1897 – 1914 / Norddeutscher Lloyd’s Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was the ship that shook the British by snatching the Blue Riband into German hands for the first time. Serving as an armed merchant cruiser in The Great War, she was sunk in battle with the HMS Highflyer.
1901 – 1923 / A true German greyhound, the Kronprinz Wilhelm was one of the fastest ships of her time. Serving as an armed merchant cruiser in World War I, she spent eight successful months as a raider. Seized by the US in 1917, she served as a troopship and was sent to the breakers a few years after the armistice.
1903 – 1940 / The Kaiser Wilhelm II managed to set a new record for an eastbound crossing of the North Atlantic, but was interned in the US at the outbreak of World War I. Eventually seized and used as an allied troopship, the ship then languished for almost 20 years after the war, and was in the end sent to the breakers.
1907 – 1940 / The last of the German ‘Four Flyers’, the career of Kronprinzessin Cecilie ended when she was confiscated by the US for military use in World War I. Afterwards, she languished in Chesapeake Bay for almost 20 years before being scrapped.