SMS Helgoland, the lead ship of her class, was a dreadnought battleship of the German Imperial Navy. (SMS is the German equivalent of the British HMS.) Helgoland's design represented an incremental improvement over the preceding Nassau class, including an increase in the bore diameter of the main guns, from 28 cm (11 in) to 30.5 cm (12 in). Her keel was laid down on 11 November 1908 at the Howaldtswerke shipyards in Kiel. Helgoland was launched on 25 September 1909 and was commissioned on 23 August 1911.
Like most battleships of the High Seas Fleet, Helgoland saw limited action against Britain's Royal Navy during World War I. The ship participated in several fruitless sweeps into the North Sea as the covering force for the battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group. She saw some limited duty in the Baltic Sea against the Russian Navy, including serving as part of a support force during the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915. Helgoland was present at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May1 June 1916, though she was located in the center of the German line of battle and not as heavily engaged as the König- and Kaiser-class ships in the lead. At the end of the war, Helgoland was ceded to Great Britain and broken up for scrap in the early 1920s. Her coat of arms is preserved in the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden.