|SMS MARKGRAF – SHIP DETAILS
|Steel, Konig class dreadnought battleship
|A G Weser Shipyard, Bremen
|575.8’x96.8’x27.3’ (IMP) 175.5×29.5×8.3 metres
|3 x 45,750 shp steam turbines
|10 x 30.5cm quick firing L/50 guns, 14 x 15 cm guns, 4 x 8,8 cm anti-aircraft guns, 2 x machine guns, 5 x 50 cm submerged torpedo tubes
|SMS MARKGRAF – WRECK DETAILS
|58° 53.474’N, 003° 10.004’W
|Least depth on wreck
|Lies inverted with slight list to port and bow pointing west
|The Markgraf has received the least amount of salvage activity of the three battleships making it the more intact and perhaps most interesting for divers. The wreck lies inverted and listing slightly to port so that all its casemate guns on the port side are below the seabed. Most of her five main turrets are also buried, although it is reported that it is possible to see parts of turrets A&B. This apparently involves venturing into confined space below the wreck, and we would not recommend unless you are familiar with the location and adequately trained and equipped. The salvors over the years have removed the forward torpedo tube, forward and aft armoured bulkheads, propellors and part shafts, main armour belting and some work within the engine rooms. This work has left its scars and no doubt contributed to the deterioration of the wreck.
The bow section has dropped as a result of works to remove the forward bulkhead. The stem still sits slightly off the vertical and rises around 7-8 metres. On top of the bow is the damage from the removal of the bow torpedo tube. The hull/keel behind is essentially intact until you reach the extensive damage where the forward bulkhead was removed. Just behind and above this large rent in the hull can be found one of her anchor chains which is wrapped around her hull. At this point it’s probably sensible to descend her starboard side as the hull up top, moving aft, has little of interest to see until the salvage opening to the engine room area.
The central section of the wreck on the starboard side provides the area of interest for the diver and extends from 26 metres cascading down to the seabed. As with the other battleships to the untrained eye this is a jumble of metal although there are many inshots and doorways but be careful. The main items of interest are the control tower, fore mast and spotting top which lie on the seabed perpendicular to the side of the ship. Next are the 5.9” casemate guns almost at seabed level and most are visible, or part covered with debris.
Remains of the aft mast are out on the seabed, here you can start to ascend the starboard side to the top of the wreck where the large torn opening into the engine room can be found, as with the other battleships an area of interest for the salvors. Move aft from here descending slightly along the centre line of the hull you will see the stubs of the three propshafts and some of their bracing and behind the twin rudders which stand probably 3-3.5 metres high, a good place for a photograph if visibility allows. From here it is not far to the rounded stern which seems small for such a large ship. If you have time, return to the starboard side and follow the stern around at seabed level and you should find a few of the remaining portholes into the officer’s accommodation.
The Markgraf still retains its size and mass and while it is showing signs of its 100+ years underwater and of course salvage, it is still a world class dive. As with the other wrecks it will take 2-3 dives to get a clearer understanding of the layout. Recent multibeam sonar surveys provide 3D visual models of these wrecks, and we recommend viewing them online prior your dive expedition.