SMS Preussen was the fourth of five pre-dreadnought battleships of the Braunschweig class, built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). She was laid down in April 1902, was launched in October 1903, and was commissioned in July 1905. Named for the state of Prussia,[b] the ship was armed with a battery of four 28 cm (11 in) guns and had a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). Like all pre-dreadnoughts built at the turn of the century, Preussen was quickly made obsolete by the launching of the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought in 1906; as a result, she saw only limited service with the German fleet.
Preussen's peacetime career centered on squadron and fleet exercises and training cruises to foreign ports. The ship served as the flagship of II Battle Squadron of the High Seas Fleet for the majority of her career. During World War I, she served as a guard ship in the German Bight and later in the Danish straits. She participated in a fleet sortie in December 1914 in support of the Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby during which the German fleet briefly clashed with a detachment of the British Grand Fleet. Preussen had been temporarily assigned to guard ship duties in the Baltic in May 1916, and so missed the Battle of Jutland. Due to her age, she did not rejoin the fleet, and instead continued to serve as a guard ship until 1917, when she became a tender for U-boats based in Wilhelmshaven.
After the war, Preussen was retained by the re-formed Reichsmarine and converted into a depot ship for F-type minesweepers. She was stricken from the naval register in April 1929 and sold to ship breakers in 1931. A 63-meter (207 ft) section of her hull was retained as a target; it was bombed and sunk in 1945 by Allied bombers at the end of World War II, and was scrapped in 1954.