This is a postcard of the Battleship S. M. S. Westfalen. She was named for the Prussian province of Westphalia. The ship was commissioned in 1909 and was one of the four ships of the Nassau Battleship Class, and a part of the 1st Battleship Squadron. She fought at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak) from 31 May through 1 June 1916. She took a major part in the overall action’s night battle, and was a big help in saving the fleet, which retreated to the port of Wilhelmshaven. She spent the balance of the war on minor operations in the Baltic against the Russians.
She was scrapped in 1924. The postcard shows the ship steaming in profile. To the left we see a Prussian Naval Ensign and Westphalia’s flag. Above the two flags is a S. M. S. Westfalen pennant. These flags are seen on a small spit of land. A lighted buoy and a white life preserver form part of the montage.
The postcard’s reverse reveals a Feldpost message that was processed through the Navy’s postal service. The message was written by a sailor who served on the S. M. S. Derfflinger. She was a Battle Cruiser that saw extensive service at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak), where she was credited with sinking two British Battle Cruisers. She took more than twenty major hits and returned to port with 157 dead sailors. She was interned at Scapa Flow in 1918 and was scuttled along with the rest of the front-line German fleet. It appears that the postmark is from January 1916, several months from WW I’s biggest naval battle.