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Karl Eduard Heusner

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Title: Karl Eduard Heusner  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Leo von Caprivi, Eulenburg Expedition, Imperial German Navy, Wilhelm II, German Emperor, January 8
Collection: 1843 Births, 1891 Deaths, Imperial German Navy Admirals, Prussian Naval Officers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Karl Eduard Heusner

Karl Eduard Heusner (8 January 1843 in Perl (today in the German state of Saarland) – February 27, 1891 in Weimar, Germany) was a Vice-Admiral of the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine).

Heusner entered the Prussian Navy in 1857 and 1859–1862, was on an expedition to the Far East on the frigate Thetis. In 1864 during the Second Schleswig War he commanded the Prussian gunboat the Wespe, and then was in the following years stationed in the Mediterranean and the West Indies. In 1872 he did survey work in the Baltic Sea and in 1873 and was chairman of the Torpedo Examination Board or Torpedo Depot at Kiel-Friedrichsort where he and Otto von Diederichs worked on the Whitehead torpedo.[1]

In 1877 he left the Torpedo Depot and was sent with Tirpitz to the Whitehead Torpedo works (Torpedo-Fabrik von Robert Whitehead) at Fiume to further study the torpedo.[2]

In 1878 to 1880 he was posted to South America to protect the interests of Germany during the War of the Pacific. Here he also supervised the observance of the neutrality laws. In 1882 Heusner was Chief (Dezernent) of Section A1 (Military Utilization of Ships/Militärische Verwendung der Schiffe) of the Admiralty's Military Department (Militärische Abteilung), which was headed by Eduard von Knorr. In March, von Knorr put him to develop 'Plan-O' for naval operations against Russia in case of war. His plan called for an attempt at a quick and decisive battle to cripple the Russian fleet, followed by the mining of ports and blockade by a screen of light warships.[3] In 1883-87 he commanded the armored ships (Panzerschiffen) SMS Deutschland (1875) and SMS Oldenburg (1884) and then the squadrons off Australia and East Africa.

In 1888 Wilhelm II appointed him as Chief of the Navy Department (Marineabteilung) in the Admiralty and promoted him to Rear Admiral. In April 1889 he became Secretary of the German Imperial Naval Office in the Cabinet of Otto von Bismarck. He stayed on when Bismarck was replaced as chancellor by Leo von Caprivi, but soon had to resign because of heart disease, turning the office over to Friedrich von Hollmann.

He retired as a Vice Admiral, and died on 27 February 1891 in Weimar, Germany.


  1. ^ By order of the Kaiser, p. 48
  2. ^ By order of the Kaiser, p. 50
  3. ^ By order of the Kaiser, p. 89-90


  • By order of the Kaiser: Otto von Diederichs and the rise of the Imperial German Navy, 1865-1902 by Terrell D. Gottschall; Institute Press, 2003, 337 pages.
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