SMS Grosser KurfÃ¼rst was an ironclad turret ship built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). She was laid down at the Imperial Dockyard in Wilhelmshaven in 1870 and completed in 1878; her long construction time was in part due to a redesign that was completed after work on the ship had begun. Her main battery of four 26 cm (10 in) guns was initially to be placed in a central armored battery, but during the redesign, this was altered to a pair of twin gun turrets amidships. Grosser Kurfurst was sunk on her maiden voyage when she was accidentally rammed by the ironclad SMS KÃ¶nig Wilhelm. The two ships, along with SMS Preussen, were steaming in the English Channel on 31 May 1878. The three ships encountered a group of fishing boats under sail; in turning to avoid them, Grosser KurfÃ¼rst inadvertently crossed KÃ¶nig Wilhelm's path and was rammed, sinking within about eight minutes. Between 269 and 284 of her crew drowned. Her loss spurred a series of investigations into the circumstances of the collision, which ultimately resulted in the acquittal of both Rear Admiral Karl Ferdinand Batsch [de], the squadron commander, and Count Alexander von Monts, the captain of Grosser Kurfurst Political infighting over the affair led to the ousting of Rear Admiral Reinhold von Werner from the navy.