While thought of as coast defense ship by the beginning of The Great War these five were assigned to the IV Battle Squadron under the command of Vice Admiral Erhard Schmidt. Seeing active service in the Baltic one, the Hessen, took part in the Battle of Jutland helping to cover the withdraw of von Hipper’s battlecruisers.
Towards the end of the war these ships were used in reduced rolls of training and support ships. There age and the lack of dreadnoughts in the post war era allowed the German navy to used these again as coast defense ships.
The Hessen was taken as a prize by the Soviets and scraped in the 1960s. These ships were part of three German navies in their 40 years of service and have a place in the hearts of naval enthusiasts everywhere.