Battle of Jutland – May 31 1916


United Kingdom vs. Germany

Prelude and context

Since the starting of hostilities, both fleets had been wisely kept out of harm in their respective bases, Scapa Flow for the Grand Fleet and Kiel for the Hochseeflotte. Perhaps by excessive prudence, the only ships engaged were most of the time cruisers and battle cruisers, the fasters in the fleet, so capable to flee a superior opponent if needed. Therefore these were engaged on the Dogger bank and Helgoland, but no decisive engagement was in sight, whereas Germany in 1916 which lost all its worldwide assets already in 1914 and early 1915 (The Pacific fleet, ships in the Mediterranean or Africa) began to suffer from the British Naval blockade. Despite a vigorous submarine warfare campaign, perhaps too cautious admirals were pressed, both by the top, including the Kaiser, to simple sailors that badly supported their long inaction, to try at least to fight the Royal Navy.

The beginnings (January-May 1916):
In the roots of this “decisive battle” in the sense of Alfred Thayer Mahan, the American strategist, who had some influence on naval staffs at that time, certainly lays the blockade imposed by Britain since 1914 on Germany. Not only access were blocked by minefields, but destroyers and torpedo boats were massed in southern Britain harbours, to prevent any access through the Channel, why the norther access to the Atlantic were locked by the presence of the “Home Fleet” in the Scottish ports of Rosyth, Edinburgh, Cromarty and Scapa Flow, traditional stronghold for the Grand fleet since the start of this rivalry with Germany.


The top brass: Left to right: Admiral Beatty (battlecuiser), rear-admiral Arbuthnot (1st Dreadnought Sqn), rear-admiral Hood (2nd), grand admiral Jellicoe (Grand fleet), Admiral Scheer (Battleships), Admiral Hipper (Battlecruisers).

On the German side, the problem as been the same since 1914, an acute sense of inferiority at least on the numerical point of view. However Admiral Scheer had plans of his own to create a balance. This plan was the driving force behind the most famous naval battle of the ww1 and certainly the last of “big gun battleships” ever since ww2 battleships mass encounters were much rare.

This naval episode of the Great War is probably by far the most famous, and it is also the last major naval battle online or aviation played no role. It was finally the only major confrontation between the two great opposing fleets in the North Sea, the Royal Navy and the Hochseeflotte, and it was also the full demonstration of the weaknesses and qualities battle cruisers but also left many mysteries only answered recently with progress in deep sea exploration. In the opinion of most historians and naval experts, that was the largest naval battle of the twentieth century, and for many, the largest naval battle in history, now 100 years old. That’s the indeed its centennial in May 31, 2016.

Reinhard Scheer in 1920 This blockade came to fruition thanks to the numerical superiority of the British forces, alowing permanent rotations of ships for coaling, ensuring a massive presence at sea, ready for any German attempt. German response was taken by submarines, trying to severe or at least compromising British (and later international) shipping.

On the other hand German designers managed to find a solution to carry supplies and force the blockade, designing the Deutschland, a huge cargo submersible (unarmed) that made headlines by crossing the Atlantic back and forth, bringing much-needed supplies from New York. The goods carried were symbolic in scope, but gave back hope to the Germans people that began to suffer from multiple shortages.

Franz Hipper The “disengagement battles” as Heligoland and the Dogger Bank, were motivated by the desire to attract the bulk of British forces in German waters, were the balance can be restore some balance by mines, coastal submarines and destroyers before the decisive confrontation.

Afterwards, the Germans relied on their fire control technology and excellent protection to make a difference. For their part the British also expected to attract the Hochseeflotte at sea into the jaws of their Grand Fleet. Admiral Von Pohl, considered too timorous, was replaced by Von Scheer. Faced with pressure from higher officers, the Kaiser, as well as public opinion in late May 1916, Scheer devised a plan. Part of it was to make the British Admiralty believe he was to continue to keep the fleet into inaction.


Animation on Vimeo (http://www.jutland1916.com)

Opening

Hipper sailed on May, 30 with a “bait” of 40 fast ships, all available battle cruisers, completed with cruisers and destroyers with orders to sail for the Danish coast, and thus attract the Royal Navy in the Baltic, where Scheer waited with all the Hochseeflotte. The Germans were preparing their plan when signals were intercepted by a British spy, and the Royal Navy was informed of Hipper’s raid soon enough to act decisively, remained however ignorant of the position of Scheer, believed still in harbor. Meanwhile, Hipper and Scheer were totally unaware of the nearby presence of major naval units.


German Von Der Tann Battlecruiser

The battle unfolds

The Royal Navy device was based on the battleships of the Grand Fleet, including its rapid squadrons of dreadnoughts, the orders of Commodore Jellicoe, and “recognition”, rapid squadrons David Beatty’s battle cruisers of the Home Fleet, from Rosyth. It is they who met at 2:00 the “tip” of the German device embodied by Hipper. The first ship to see the Germans was the light cruiser Galatea, he had time to fire a few rounds before falling to the threat of 280 mm of Scheer line vessels.

The latter had five main battlecruisers (Lützow, Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke and Von der Tann), and several light cruisers and ocean destroyers. Opposite, admiral David Beatty had the Lion, Princess Royal, Queen Mary, Tiger, Indefatigable and New Zealand in two parallel columns, escorted and preceded by battleships and light cruisers and surrounded by destroyers. The young and brash rear-Admiral Horace Hood (“The Honorable”) for his part, had 3 battle cruisers (including the Invincible, bearing his mark, Indomitable, Infexible). And there were the eight armored cruisers, Defence, Formidable, Warrior, Black Prince and Duke of Edinburgh, commanded by Rear-Admiral Robert Arbuthnot.

Respective forces and weaknesses

On paper, the British artillery superiority was evident (305s and 343s against 280s and 305s). Additionally, advanced automatic sighting systems were well-oiled, controlled by the firing synchronized the director who effectively. But soon the facts would demonstrate the superiority of the Germans: Although it has a more modest artillery but also performing optical instruments, the Germans used a stepped-up firing technique, in order to bring each burst, and especially distinguished by a rate much higher shooting, almost double, consideration of a lower caliber. The English on their side had adopted a more progressive technology with shooting a piece by turret, and a full broadside when the right distance seemed found.


Maps showing the battle as it unfolded on May, 31, 1916.

But this implied the cooldown of several parts, the Germans pulling them continuously. Moreover, as it was demonstrated by studying the ships involved in the battle and repaired in dry dock, the Germans certainly cashed buildings more shots, due to better precision English but half of the English shells had a malfunction and do not explode. On their side the English lost their battle cruisers due to fires releases too quickly to their bunkers ammunition because of their cordite (exhaust gas guns, sockets residue) highly explosive stagnant in poorly ventilated compartments. Finally, the quality of the German armor is probably the most plausible explanation when the surprisingly low figure of losses Hochseeflotte facing a real deluge of fire.

The battlecruisers are fighting

Overall, the commitment was brief, indecisive, Hipper folding its ships as planned on Scheer. At 3:45, the battle between the two vanguards raged. Jellicoe Hood decided to send reinforcements to other battle cruisers. The arrangement of British ships was that despite coal smoke, the sheaves and smoke shooting, hindering visibility of the two adversaries, the silhouette of the British ships stood out on the horizon, allowing the Germans to better focus their shots. Most rapidly Beatty ships were struggling, conceding blows, until the destruction of HMS Indefatigable. Then it was the turn of the Queen Mary. Orders Beatty also were misinterpreted, the latter requiring focus shots of the first two units on the battle cruiser No. 1 of the German fleet, (but the situation was reversed for the British commanders and confusion s’ settled). The old Nelson technique of obtaining a local superiority did not work.

The Grand Fleet at Jutland
Admiral Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet at Jutland

“There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today”

Admiral David Beatty In turn, this mistake was paradoxically due to battle cruiser Queen Mary: Two German ships concentrated their fire on her, inadvertently applying to the letter Nelson’s tactics. British gunners were also deceived by the light cruiser at the front of the line that smoke plume was taken for that of a battle cruiser. Now, a light cruiser was significantly smaller and thus harder to hit, and precious shells were wasted while other German capital ships were spared.

Beatty did not yet renounced his plan to close in even more. Thus, however favored by the Gremans which started out-ranged and out-gunned (their 280mm only had a 16,000 meters range) and were in turn capable to return fire, compounded by the arrival of Scheer’s main battle line. The were, however, detected by a ship, that ventured to the forefront of the Grand Fleet, HMS Southampton. She hastened to warn Jellicoe. Scheer was now himself trapped, and Beatty by his daring pursuit and sacrifice succeeded to immobilize the entire German fleet, allowing Jellicoe to start wrapping masterfully the entire Hochseeflotte.

In the midst of this confrontation, a large white sailboat appeared out of nowhere, crossing like a ghosty apparition coming through the fog. Sailors from both sides were stunned as the ship crossed the “no man’s land” between the two battle lines, without emitting any signal, the sailed away and disappeared in the mist. Of course, some sailors from both sides affirmed later that this was an omen for victory, others of defeat, some even swearing they saw the infamous “Flying Dutchman”.

General melee

At 4:40, Beatty now fully aware of the situation changed course, sailing towards Jellicoe’s squadron, hoping Hipper would do the same. But dreadnoughts of the 5th squadron (Admiral Thomas Evans), could not perceive signals sent from HMS Lion, and Beatty, was found himself unsupported, in front of Scheer’s battleships. His quick dreadnoughts Valiant, Barham, Warspite and Malaya at the same stumbled upon Scheer and Hipper while changing course at 4:57. They managed to point their formidable 381 mm at the Grösser Kurfurst, Markgraf, König, Seydlitz, Lützow, and Derfflinger. One can easily imagine the astonishment of the Germans before gigantic water columns appeared suddenly, caused by these big guns from behind Beatty’s battle line (nearly 35 km)…

Warspite and Malaya
HMS Warspite and Malaya

A much larger trap was being set up: The fleet of Jellicoe tried a wide maneuver of circumvention, the famous “T”. Scheer was going to be cut off from its bases. To clear out he would then attempt a desperate maneuver which will remain legendary for its boldness, the “charge to death.” Four of his least damaged battle cruisers, guided by the heroic Derfflinger and escorted by high sea destroyers would try to cross the British line. The maneuver was daring: Taking ramming positions, but at the same time offering a reduced target for English gunners. The British knew well indeed the quality of German torpedoes: They broke their lined, but still managed to concentrate their fire on the lead ship, which was sunk. The Derfflinger was thus the single most severe loss of this battle on the German side.

HMS Lion, struck by salvos and burning
HMS Lion, struck by salvos and burning

Losses

Other losses consisted in the old battleship Pommern, lagging after Scheer’s manoeuver with four light cruisers and 5 destroyers. Many Zeppelins were used without success, as U-Bootes on duty remained behind the Skagerrak Strait without seeing the promised Grand Fleet. Thus ended the last phase of the battle. Taking advantage of a huge fog bank, Scheer and Hipper escaped and returned to German waters and the port of Wilhelmshaven, helped by a rearguard distraction from the ocean destroyers, keeping distance with British ships. These latter had to deplore the loss of 3 battle cruisers, 3 armoured cruisers, a light cruiser and 5 destroyers. The balance was relatively in favor of the Germans, but they had several badly damaged capital ships that would be immobilized for several months in repairs. Controversy still emerge on exact details of operations, but as a matter of fact Beatty and Jellicoe were particularly criticized afterwards (especially by Churchill), for having either taken too much risks (Beatty) or at the contrary being too timorous (Jellicoe) ruining a unique opportunity to take care of the German fleet once and for all, while Scheer and Hipper came back to be celebrated as heroes.

HMS Queen Mary blowing up
HMS Queen Mary blowing up

Total, on the British side:
54 ships committed: 9 battlecruisers, 28 battleships, 34 cruisers and 78 destroyers.
Losses: 3 battle cruisers, 3 cruisers, 8 destroyers.

Total, on the German side:
42 ships engaged, 5 battlecruisers, 22 battleships, 11 cruisers, 61 destroyers.
Losses: 1 battlecruiser, 1 battleship, 4 cruisers, 5 destroyers.

Conclusion

This was the last naval battle of that scale of the Great War. After this, the bulk of both fleets would never to leave their stations. And this was an almost intact Hochseeflotte, even reinforced with many new ships, which was forced to sail under escort to captivity, at the great naval base of Scapa Flow. She scuttled there in 1919, after a mutiny and even new naval battle in the bay was narrowly avoided. Sailors and officers kept from this episode a bitter memory, and met indifference on their return to Germany, or worst in Berlin, political unrest and armed bands, often taking part in these events.

SMS Seydlitz after the battle
SMS Seydlitz badly damaged, after the battle

Post-battle German propaganda postcard Officers would say long after “never again Scapa Flow”, as a supreme symbol of German humiliation. Discredit of the Navy weighed much on German rearmament from 1933: Hitler considered an unnecessarily expensive surface fleet, preferring to concentrate on aviation and submarines. However from 1935 to 1936 with the Anglo-German naval agreement, the dream of a powerful surface fleet returned. Its first representative (and most famous) would be the battleship Bismarck, first and ambitious “Plan K”. But this is another story

Links

The Battle of Jutland on wikipedia
jutland1916.com – centennial website
battle-of-jutland.com
On firstworldwar.com
On worldwar1.co.uk

Video: Jutland – Battlefield detectives

HMS Tiger

United Kingdom (1913)
Battlecruiser

Genesis of the Tiger

Despite active lobbying from Sir “Jackie” Fisher, the Admiralty began to doubt the usefulness of battle cruiser concept in 1911 already. Instead of launching a new class of three ships, a sole battlecruiser was authorized in the 1911–12 Naval Programme, and a less expensive ship than the last “splendid cats”. (In fact the cost was £2,593,100) This plan focused on improvements based on the Queen Mary, integrating the experience gained in years. Turrets placement and superstructure were completely revised, as well as the position and height of chimneys and the front firing control tower. A potent secondary armament was added, located into the central battery, giving concentrated superstructures to clear the range, like the Japanese Kongo class, then under construction at Vickers. Again, it was specified a very high speed, 28 knots from a nominal 85,000 hp and more resulting from machines pushed white hot to give 105 000 hp (in theory capable of giving 30 knots). In fact 29 knots were achieved with 104,000 hp, but with a daily consumption rising to 1245 tonnes of fuel oil. The smaller hull necessitated twisted compromises to try to find the missing extra storage.

Tiger in 1916
Tiger in 1916

Design

Although not yet have good protection, the Tiger was a ship with fine and pleasant lines, original though childless. Although it was laid down after the Kongo, the chief engineer of Vickers drew extensively the ideas contained in the design of Tiger, whose plans had arrested early summers. Indeed, the last of the “splendid cats” – a little less expensive than the others, was launched in December 1913 and completed and accepted into service after trials in October 1914.

tiger in 1918
The HMS Tiger in 1918.

Active service

HMS Tiger joined the Grand Fleet in November, naturally placed with the 1st squadron of battle cruisers. She took Part in the Dogger Bank battle, her first major commitment, and took six large caliber hits, one blowing off its Y rear turret, but only suffered 11 dead and 11 wounded.
Repaired in February 1915 she later participated in the battle of Jutland. At the heart of the scrum in David Beatty squadron wing, she fired no less than 303 rounds, but only score thee hits, conceding 15 heavy impacts, without however compromising its chances of survival. Yet it was a miracle: The Q turret (rear center) was blown ff, and a barbette, but the ammunition stores were spared a flash. Returning to Rosyth, she was listing to port and had 24 dead and 46 wounded. Repairs were completed in July 1916 and the Tiger resumed service in the 1st squadron, performing various missions. She served in the squadron of the Atlantic from 1919 to 1922, and after the Treaty of Washington served as gunnery training ship after two years of conversion, from 1924 to 1929. She then replaced the Hood in 1929 and 1931 and was retired in 1931 in Devonport, paid off and broken up in 1932.

Links

The HMS Tiger on wikipedia
Detailed armour scheme
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

HMS Tiger specifications

Dimensions 214,6 x 27,6 x 8,7 m
Displacement 428 430 t, 35 710 t FL
Crew 1121
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Brown-Curtis turbines, 39 B&W boilers, 85 000 cv.
Speed 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Armament 8 x 343, 12 x 152, 2 x 76 AA, 4 x 47 parade, 4 TT 533 mm SM.
Armor Blockhaus 254, belt 230, bulkheads 100, barbettes 230, turrets 230, deck 75 mm.

Gallery

Profile
HMS Tiger profile

HMS Tiger in drydock
HMS Tiger in drydock

Tiger X barbette damageX turret roof damageDamaged sustained at JutlandSopwith pup on a launching ramp 1919Diagrams Brasseys annual 1923

Tiger illustration
The HMS Tiger in 1916.

Lion class Battlecruisers

United Kingdom (1910)
HMS Lion, Princess Royal, Queen Mary

Development and design

The Lion and Princess Royal, as well as the strongly related Queen mary launched in 1912, were three ships of a new standard, breaking with the Invincible and Indefatigable series. Larger, they opted for a 343 mm caliber, that of Orion class battleships, thus becoming even more formidable hard-pounding ships, still capable to remain out of reach. At that time German battleships were still armed with feebler 280 mm artillery pieces. They embodied perfectly the essence of the battle cruiser concept. The hull was massive, artillery was distributed in the same centerline arrangement as the Orion, but machines power was increased by 150% compared to that of Orion. Despite being 29,700 tonnes fully load, they were 6 knots faster than the Orions.

3 inches 2cwt AA guns
3 inches 2cwt AA guns onboard HMS princess Royal

However these ships suffered from conception issues: The central turret position combined was the placement of its ammunition bunkers and boilers between the front and stern was an error, the hull was fragile and vibrated, and they possessed woefully unprotected areas, even though the press was talking of “capital ships”, “fast battleships” which was false. Moreover the fire direction system placed very close to the forward chimney became a prison for its servants such as the temperature of the mast became unbearable by metal heat transmission. Despite of this, the three Lion, built in Devonport, Vickers and Palmers respectively were launched in 1910, 1911 and 1912, completed in 1912 and 1913 and at their acceptance into service were the largest warships in the world and the pride of the Royal Navy. Nobody then would have thought or believed a second what fate was awaiting for them…

HMS Lion damage to Q-turret 1916
HMS Lion damage to Q-turret 1916

This pride turned into propaganda at the beginning of the war, the press exaggerating also their speed figures (alleged peaks of 34 knots) when actually it was only possible on trials for very short periods, and wearing their boilers red hot (to reach a staggering 90,000 hp). In reality, speed remained in service under 28,1 knots. These “beautiful cats”, adored by the press,and despite teething problems were naturally always at the forefront of the action in 1914-18. During the war their AA artillery was improved, their mast became tripod and the chimney-heating problem was fixed, their firing range was extended while the torpedo nets were removed.

Lion_class_battleship_Janes_Fighting_Ships_1919
Lion class battleship Jane’s Fighting Ships 1919

HMS Lion

The Lion was part of the 1st battle cruisers squadron (Counter-Admiral Beatty) in 1914. She took part in the Heligoland Bay battle in August 1914 then to the Dogger bank action in 1915, claiming three hits but also conceding three with serious consequences: Stopped dead in the water after its machines were shut down (port turbines damaged) she had to be towed to Rosyth by the Indomitable. Repaired, she became flagship of the fleet and had its moment of truth at Jutland in may 1916. She undergone took no fewer than 13 hits from the Lützow. She escaped certain destruction by the heroism of the only surviving officer inside the bunker that prevented explosion, although badly injured and burned, by ordering through the intercom to drown this section (and drawned with other survivors as a consequence). The Lion joined with great difficulty Rosyth and undergine comprehensive repairs. She returned at sea in September. She then made numerous trips until the armistice under the command of counter-Admiral Pakenham. She was decommissioned in 1924 following the Treaty of Washington, paid off and broken.

HMS Princess Royal

She became flagship of the 1st squadron of battle cruisers in 1914. She fought at Heligoland, was sent to the Far East to intercept Von Spee’s pacific squadron, then came back to the North Sea to participated in the Dogger bank engagement, without damage. However in May 1916 this was not the same music anymore. Targeted by concentrated and accurate fire from Derrflinger, Markgraf and Posen, she took eight hits and had to drown her ammunition bunkers to avoid the fire trigerring yet again an explosion (the fate suffered by the Queen Mary). Despite being still operational and remaining so until the end of the battle with part of her artillery useless she escaped. From Rosyth, she still did a number of missions before disarmament in 1922.

HMS_Princess_Royal
Princess Royal, Andrey Pervozvannyy, Admiral Makarov & Queen Mary in Kronstadt

HMS Queen Mary

The Queen Mary differed in some details: She was slightly faster, bigger and heavier. Her late completion (August 1913) was caused by strikes and social troubles in the yard. Nonetheless, she passed her tests successfully, and joined Beatty’s first squadron for the duration of the war. She took part in the Heligoland bay action, but not the Dogger as being in overhaul at that time. At Jutland she fired about 150 rounds to the Seydlitz, and was attacked by the Derrflinger. The latter responded with a shot in here third turret. Another shell fell, following the same path the same turret, making the jump even though a second made its transition to the ammunition bunkers turrets before. The result was a terrifying explosion that vaporized the entire front, including the footbridge. The ship sank slowly forward while burning inside, with new explosions before sinking with almost all hands 38 minutes after the start of the battle.

HMS_Princess_Royal
HMS Princess Royal

Links

Lion class BCs on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Lion class specifications

Dimensions 213,4 x 27 x 8,4 mm
Displacement 26,270 t, 29,690 t FL
Crew 997
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 42 Yarrow boilers, 70,000 hp
Speed 27 knots ()
Range
Armament 8 x 343 (4×2), 16 x 102, 4 x 37, 2 TT 533 mm (side SM)
Armor Belt 230, Battery 230, Barbettes 230, turrets 250, blockhaus 250, decks 65 mm.

Video

Gallery

HMS Lion hit at Jutland
HMS Lion hit at Jutland

Queen Mary
Battlecruiser Queen Mary, 1916.

Indefatigable class battlecruisers

United Kingdom (1907)
Battlecruisers – Indefatigable, Australia, New Zealand

Development and design

This second-class of battle cruisers (1908 plan) was based on that of Neptune to the artillery configuration plan and still strongly resemble the Invincible, not only keeping their armour configuration, but also their faults. Construction in a short time was also justified for providing two first line ships for the Pacific Commonwealth navies, HMAS Australia and HMNZS New Zealand. They were the subject of some exaggerations both from Sir John Fisher in terms of firepower, as from Fred T. Jane in his review for the armour.

HMAS Australia
HMAS Australia

In fact they were neither faster nor better armed/protected. Additional length for the hull was meant to give more room for the central battery, allowing an easier broadside, unlike the Invincible. For obvious reasons of smoke clogging the watcher’s view, it was made higher during testing, a modification applied in the yard for the other two. The problem was also the same with the rear tripod fire control, which was dismantled during the war on the three ships.

Modifications

HMS Indefatigable was laid down and launched in 1909, completed in April 1911 while HMAS Australia was ordered in June 1913 and New Zealand in November 1912. The latter received a 76 mm and a 57 mm AA guns. The other two received a single 76 mm gun AA in March 1915. After the battle of Jutland their protection was altered, they received new modern searchlights, new enlarged fire direction post and a shorter, reinforced main mast. Their stern torpedo tubes were removed. A further 76 mm gun was added in 1917 and in 1918 a short take-off platform on the two central turrets, operating a a Sopwith Strutter for reconnaissance and a Sopwith Camel for escort. In 1919-20, they received some changes to their AA artillery. Their career was active but not especially memorable.

HMS Indefatigable rear 1909
HMS Indefatigable rear 1909

HMS Indefatigable

HMS Indefatigable was operational within the 1st squadron of battle cruisers, then was sent to the Mediterranean with the 2nd squadron of battle cruisers. She participated in the hunting of the Admiral Souchon’s German squadron, and then served in the Aegean. She became Admiral Carden’s flagship, and was replaced by the HMS Inflexible. Back to the Grand Fleet in early 1915 she was at the forefront of Beatty vessels during the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, taking several hits from the Von der Tann, including two in the ammunition rear turret bunker. The hull broke up in two at the rear, and the ship quickly sank by the stern. Another salvo made explode central bunkers and the ship was literally blew apart and disintegrated in the world’s known largest explosion at that time, leaving no chance to her crew.

HMAS Australia at Sydney October 1913
HMAS Australia at Sydney October 1913

HMAS Australia

HMAS Australia was sent to Australia where she became the flagship of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy). She was mobilized in a massive squadron combining Australian and New Zealander ships to prevent an incursion of Von Spee’s squadron in the South Pacific. She participated in the Second Battle of the Falklands, still hunting down Spee’s ships, then returned in the Grand Fleet. She was not present at the Battle of Jutland, being repaired after a collision at sea with her sister ship New Zealand in April 1916. She remained flagship of the 2nd squadron of battle cruisers until 1919 before returning to Australia and serve until 1922 but then was out of service due to compliance with restrictions of tonnage resulting from the Washington Treaty. The Australian Government decided to scuttle her in a great ceremony held in April 12, 1924 in Sydney Harbour. Today she’s a large artificial artificial coral reef teaming with life, and a major local touristic and diver’s attraction, a fitting end for such a steel grim reaper.

Indefatigable_class_battlecruiser_diagrams_Brasseys_1923
Indefatigable_class_battlecruiser_diagrams_Brasseys_1923

HMAS Australia
HMAS Australia

HMNZS New Zealand

HMNZS New Zealand became the flagship of the small Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), but she was requisitioned after completion by the Royal Navy to bolster the Grand Fleet’s strenght. She began touring the world as RN courtesy ambassador, then left for the Baltic in 1913. She was flagship of the Admiral of the 2nd squadron of battle cruisers in August 1914. She fought in Dogger Bank carrying Admiral Beatty’s mark when HMS Lion was badly damaged and out of action. She collided later with Australia but was repaired in time to participate in the battle of Jutland. She fired 420 shots but only scored 4 hits and in return was struck by a 280mm shell behind the rear turret. She made another cruise, carrying Admiral Jellicoe around the world in 1919, but was disarmed and demolished under Washington Treaty’s tonnage limitations.

HMS New Zealand at Adelaide
HMS New Zealand at Adelaide

Links

The Indefatigable class on wikipedia
HMS Indefatigable on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Indefatigable specifications

Dimensions 179,8 x 24,4 x 8,1 m
Displacement 18 500 t, 22 110 t FL
Crew 800
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 32 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 44,000 hp
Speed 25.8 knots (47.8 km/h; 29.7 mph)
Range 6,690 nmi (12,390 km; 7,700 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament 8 x 305 (4×2), 16 x 102, 4 x 47 mm, 3 TT 457 mm (SM)
Armor Belt 150, Battery 180, Barbettes 180, turrets 180, blockhaus 250, deck 65 mm.

Video

Gallery

Indefatigable
Illustration of the Indefatigable in November 1914.

Ramming12inchShellHMASAustralia1918.jpg

Invincible class Battlecruisers

United Kingdom (1907)
Battlecruisers – Invincible, Indomitable, Inflexible

Introduction: The world’s first battlecruisers

Admiral John Fisher Cruisers, naturally faster than the ponderous battleships, went to be seen like the “tip of the sword”, and compared to heavy cavalry on a conventional battlefield. The first single caliber battleship, the Dreadnought, has been influenced herself by a new type of armoured cruisers developed by Italian engineer Cuniberti. Moreover, continuity in the Royal Navy capital ship programme saw each new class of battleship assisted by a new class of armoured cruisers, like the Minotaur compared to Nelson. So it could not be otherwise with the new Dreadnoughts.

Prior to the order to built HMS Dreadnought, discussions went well underway between Admiral Fisher and engineering shipbuilding offices. The latter, after the demonstration of the Russo-Japanese War, had rallied to his views the rest of the Admiralty. He said that speed was the determining factor, and that actual battleships were too slow. Speed was a kind of “active” protection, allowing a ship not strong enough to sail out from enemy blows, unlike passive protection which was only useful against submarines, torpedo boats and destroyers. Typically “fight the weak, flee the strong”.

HMS Invincible in 1914.
HMS Invincible in 1914.

It is on these premises that was created the concept of “battlecruiser” to break with the continuity with previous armoured cruisers. Because unlike the latter, the new ships were given the same powerful all-big guns artillery, but in return traded protection for speed as protection (at least on British ships) was still comparable to a cruiser (150 to 200mm). Theur great speed made them best suited for “armed reconnaissance” missions. This tradeoff in protection became quite popular in navy staffs around the world, but this theory only came to its ultimate moment of truth at the Battle of Jutland.

Only three countries will have the opportunity to build battlecruisers, which were fewer in number than battleships. The British will launch sixteen (the last, HMS Hood, being launched in 1920), The Germans had seven, and the Japanese four. France programmed some in the Durant-Viel 1912 programme to be delivered in 1916, and the Americans planned a class of five to be launched in 1920. After the Treaty of Washington, this type of vessel was very much dropped but the “speed as a protection” illusion still prevailed as shown with the 1930s Washington treaty compliant “tin-clad cruisers”. At the beginning of World war II, only three battlecruisers were in service (with the British Navy), the others being converted as aircraft carriers of as fast battleships (like the Kongo class). They have been indeed rendered obsolete by new fast battleships, and combat aviation.

HMS Indomitable at Quebec Tercentenary
HMS Indomitable at Quebec Tercentenary.

Design

The Three Invincible, were laid down respectively in Fairfield, Clydebank and Elswick, from February to April 1906, launched in early 1907 and completed in June 1908 (Indomitable), October 1908 (Inflexible) and March 1909 (Invincible). Final plans revealed vessels that were not elongated clones of the Dreadnought, but rather armoured battleships with heavy artillery. They shared the same turrets (although lighter) but had but only four turrets and eight 305 mm guns instead of 10. In addition, these turrets were disposed in lozenge, with the central on en échelon much like the Colossus and Neptune battleships. Theoretically, this provision allowed a full Broadside, although their shooting angle was limited, and six guns only in pursuit or retreat.

The design of these ships took time, as their construction. They were also 50% more expensive than the previous Minotaur class, but perfectly fulfilled initial specifications and obtained excellent trials results. Critics came later, and concerned the whole battlecruiser type. Confusion was maintained in the admiralty as they had heavy artillery, were named like battleships, and included from the outset in battle lines together whith battleships, while their true role was more of a classic cruiser: Waging war on trade and hunting smaller vessels. They had been designed to perform both.


Invincible at the battle of Falklands Islands

Their propulsion was a must at that time, due to no less than 31 boilers. They reached 25.5 knots, 2.5 more than armoured cruisers. Some subsequent changes affected their appearance during service, as all three had their fore chimney raised, and canvas protections added to their light artillery on the turrets roofs, and in 1914, their torpedo nets were removed and a new firing control system was added. Later in the war they anti-aircraft 76 mm ordnance, then their upper masts were removed, and platforms added on the “A” turret for airplanes. Following the experience of Jutland in May 1916, protection was also improved.

Active career

HMS Invincible

Invincible suffered from a collision with submarine C13 in 1913. At the time of the declaration of war, she was in Queenstown, to prevent German raids. Then participated in the Battle of the Bay of Helgoland, then was detached with the Indomitable to the Falklands under the command of Commodore Sturdee, taking part in the Second Battle of the Falklands in November 1914, avenging the destruction of Sir Cradock’s squadron and destroying Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the best ships of the German Pacific squadron. After a brief overhaul at Gibraltar the Invincible was detached to Rosyth, joining other sister ships to from the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron. In May 1916 she was training at Scapa Flow, taking part in major firing exercises, soon before the legendary Battle of Jutland.

Flagship of Admiral Horace Hood, the Invincible engaged light cruisers scouts Pillau and Wiesbaden, putting them out of action, then crossed swords with battlecruiser Lützow, inflicting her severe damages. But soon the Derfflinger replicated and hit the Invincible 5 times, the last round blewing up her side turret, causing a dramatic cordite fed fire of accumulated dust in the cluster well. The flash detonated itself and a huge explosion ensured, breaking hull in two. She sank quickly, carrying with her almost all her crew in the deep.

HMS Indomitable
HMS Indomitable

HMS Indomitable

The Indomitable, which interrupted tests to carry the Prince of Wales to Montreal, served in the Home Fleet. She was transferred with the Invincible in the Mediterranean, undergoing some changes in Malta in June 1914. Both ships participated in August to the hunt for Souchon’s squadron, Goeben and Breslau, escaping from Port Said. Later on she took part in the Dardanelles forts. She was then returned to Rosyth, but participated in January 1915 to the Battle of Dogger Bank, squaring on Blücher, (finally sunk by HMS Queen Mary).

She also managed to destroy a Zeppelin with two shots from her pieces of 305 mm at maximum elevation, a rare feat at that time. She towed HMS Lion out of harm, at Rosyth, severely damaged. Soon after, she was herself victim of a fire, rapidly mastered, caused by an electrical short circuit. After a brief overhaul, she joined the Grand Fleet, and participated in the Battle of Jutland, she fired on Derfflinger, Seydlitz damaging also the battleship Pommern. She spent the rest of her career detached at 2nd battlesquadron until 1919, when placed into reserved, paid off and broken in 1922.


HMS Inflexible in the Falklands.

HMS Inflexible

The Inflexible sustained damage during test firing because of the explosion of a coal barge. She was flagship of Sir Edward Seymour at New York, late 1909. In 1911, she collided with Bellerophon, was repaired, then posted in the Mediterranean, flagship of the Admiral Milne, as headquarters of the Fleet. He hunted down the Goeben and Breslau in the hours following the declaration of war, and after an overhaul was sent to the Falklands, destroying the Von Spee’s squadron.


HMS Inflexible in the Falklands.

In 1915, sent in the Mediterranean, she replaced the Indefatigable, bombarding Turkish forts of the Dardanelles. She suffered several hits, losing two 305 mm guns on 18 March and hit by a mine the day after, forcing her to resume the fight and be towed for repairs in Malta. Back in Rosyth, she participated in the Battle of Jutland, without suffering damage. Then she long inactive, participation in the short “Battle of May Island” in February 1918. She was placed in reserve in 1920 and broken two years later.

Links

Invincible class on wikipedia
On dreadnought project.org
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Invincible class specifications

Dimensions 172,8 x 22,1 x 8 m
Displacement 17 373 t, 20 080t FL
Crew 784
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 31 Babcock & Wilcox/Yarrow boilers, 41,000 cv
Speed 25.5 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range 3,090 nmi (5,720 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament 8 x 305 (4×2), 16 x 102 QF, 7 Maxim 7,62 MGs, 4 TT 533 mm (Sub)
Armor Belt 150, Battery 180, Barbettes 180, turrets 180, blockhaus 250, deck 65 mm

Video

Gallery


Illustration of the Invincible in 1914.

Derfflinger class Battlecruisers

Germany (1913)
Battlecruisers – Derfflinger, Lützow, Hindenburg

History and design Derrflinger and Lützow

Last prewar Germans battle cruisers (on the drawing board, they were completed after the war broke up), they are considered among the best. For the first time, a flush deck was preferred to the three bridges system used by Seydlitz. Their prismatic shape was accentuated, and they had good maneuverability. Their protection was also excellent and they “digested” heavy shells with surprising strength: It took no less than 24 hits to destroy Lützow at Jutland.

For the first time these ships were given height 305 mm guns, which at the time still feeble compared to the caliber adopted by Royal Navy equivalents. Therefore, these were still were out-ranged in addition to be out-gunned. Central battery was a bit low and prone to spray, and their protection and compartmentalization under the waterline was not excellent. Both battlecruisers were launched at Hamburg (Blohm & Voss) and Danzig (Schichau) respectively, accepted into service in November 1914, and March 1916.

The last German Battlecruiser, SMS Hindenburg

The Hindenburg was distinguished by an increased length for better hydrodynamics, sturdy tripod mast supporting an imposing fire control but the same armament as the previous Lützow (600 mm TT, 14 x 150mm instead of 12), however it received the new SKL 305/55 designed in the fall 1913 which had a better range. Much more powerful she was a knot faster. The ammunition loading system was also revised and more efficient. Like other ships in the German navy, she walked with a mixed coal-oil heater.


The Derfflinger (colorized photo).

Active service

The Derfflinger began its tests in March 1915 but underwent teething turbine problems. They managed to achieve 26.4 knots in trials. The Derfflinger fought at the Dogger Bank, conceding three hits, but at Jutland it was another matter: The Queen Mary was hit 11 times by Derfflinger, but she took herself 21 hits (particularly pounded by Revenge 381mm guns), knocking off the two rear turrets. She took 3300 tons of water, but remained stable due to its ballast, banking only only 2°. She managed to return in Kiel, was repaired, but came out only to be led to Scapa Flow, and its fate.

Derfflinger aft turrets She was salvaged and broken up in 1934. The Lützow has a short career. Due to the war indeed, the yard was deserted, so she was operational only two months before Jutland. She managed to send HMS Invincible to the bottom (conceding two hits herself) and badly damaged HMS Defence before succumbing to a withering fire from other ships, taking 24 impacts of large caliber. Destroyer G38 torpedoes eventually finished her off as she refused to sink.

Started in June 1913 in Wilhelmshaven, the Hindenburg was launched in August 1915 and began tests in May 1917. In November, she was accepted into service. Her career thus barely spanned a year. She did a few raids in the Baltic, but remained mostly inactive until the surrender, and sailed to Scapa Flow to scuttle it in June 1919. In 1930 an official Royal commission of Engineers moved to the ship for a comprehensive study. It was then realized the excellence of its protection, ammunition management systems, modern communication and advanced fire control system.


The Hindenburg at Scapa Flow.

Links

Derfflinger class on wikipedia
The Hindenburg on Wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Hindenburg specifications

Dimensions 212,8 x 29 x 9,4 m
Displacement 26 500t, 31 000t FL
Crew 1182
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 18 Schultze-Thornycroft boilers, 72 000 hp
Speed 26.6 knots (49.3 km/h; 30.6 mph)
Range 6,100 nmi (11,300 km; 7,000 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Armament 4×2 305, 14×150, 4x 88 AA, 4 TT 600mm (2 sides, bow, stern).
Armor Battery 150, citadel 250, turrets 270, belt 300, blockhaus 350, barbettes 260 mm

Video (gallery)

Gallery

Painting of the Lützow and Derfflinger at Jutland, May, 31, 1916
Painting of the Lützow and Derfflinger at Jutland, May, 31, 1916

Hindenburg at Scapa FlowHindenburg at Scapa FlowSMS_Lutzow_illustrationBundesarchiv_Hindenburg_launchedSMS-Derflinger-cross-sectionDerfflinger_class_battlecruiser_-_Janes_Fighting_Ships_1919SMS_Derfflinger_1918Derfflinger-after-jutland

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Illustration of the Lützow in May 1916.


Illustration of the Hindenburg.

SMS Seydlitz

Germany (1912)
Battle cruiser

Development and Design

Derived from battle cruisers Moltke class, Seydlitz differed in many respects. She had a revised hull with three successive bridges, and a singular configuration, but with the same arrangement of artillery, again a revised protection, plus three thousand tons more in displacement. Despite of it was more powerful and faster. Probably the most modern battle cruiser ever owned a Nation in 1914, SMS Seydlitz proved the excellence of its fire control systems at the famous battle of Jutland, taking torpedoes and perhaps 25 hits without sinking, whereas the British cruisers blew up at the first salvo (for hazardous storage and ammunition handling procedures).

SMS Seydlitz in Kiel prior to ww1
SMS Seydlitz in Kiel prior to ww1

The “shell magnet”

Her baptism of fire took place at the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1914, against the HMS Lion, conceding three hits that caused a dramatic fire. Repaired, she back into service only to hit a mine in 1916 and again repaired. At the Battle of Jutland, she was hit by two torpedoes from the destroyers HMS Petard and Turbulent, and above 22 hits including 16 from the British latest fast dreadnoughts (381 mm). Managing to survive miraculously, she barely made it to the German coast, beaching with more than 5330 tons of seawater its bulkheads. Again repaired, he reached Scapa Flow like the rest of the Hochseeflotte after the armistice, scuttled it in 1919, and was bailed to be demolished in 1928.


SMS Seydlitz in drydock

Links

The Seydlitz on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Seydlitz class specifications

Dimensions 200 x 28,5 x 9,2 m
Displacement 24,600t, 28,100t FL
Crew 1068 ()
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 27 Schultze-Thornycroft boilers, 88 500 hp
Speed 26.5 knots (49.1 km/h; 30.5 mph)
Range 4,200 nmi (7,800 km; 4,800 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Armament 10 x 280 (5×2), 12 x 150, 12 x 88
Armor Battery 200, citadel 220, turrets 251, belt 300, blockhaus 350, barbettes 230 mm

Video: The Seydlitz – specs and battle damage

Gallery


Steaming to Scapa Flow, 1919

Kaiserliches Marine

Seydlitz in 1914
Illustration of the Seydlitz in 1914

Moltke class Battlecruisers

Germany (1910)
Battle cruisers – SMS Moltke, SMS Goeben

Development and Design

Taking the succession of Von der Tann, Moltke class (SMS Moltke – SMS Goeben) were launched in April 1910 and March 1911, commissioned in March and August 1912) and very much improved, with a hull revised and reshaped, more “prismatic”, but longer, the additional space being used to accomodate a an additional turret at the rear, rather than in the forecastle for stability reasons. The blockhaus, battery, citadel armour thickness were raised from 50mm to 100mm additional armour, but the belt, CT and turret were left unchanged.

The new guns mounts had a lower elevation, which was corrected later. During the war, two to four 152 mm guns (on the Goeben) were taken off. The 12 88 mm guns in sponsons were removed by the end of 1916 and replaced by four 88 mm L/45 Flak. Very good steamers, these two ships could hold 28 knots and their engine develop more than 85 000 hp. At the end in 1916, two new fire stations were added to the military masts, which were strengthened, and additional projectors placed for night fighting.

SMS Moltke
SMS Moltke

Operational Carrer

Carl Ritter von Mann Moltke fought at Dogger bank in August 1914 and was torpedoed by the submarine 19 E3 without major damage. She managed to score 6 hits on HMS Tiger during the Battle of Jutland, absorbing herself four hits caliber without difficulties. However, on April 24, 1918, during an another raid, a major turbine accident disintegrated its propeller shaft and caused a major leak, making way to 2,000 tons of water. Isolated in the North Sea, she was stopped for repairs for 36 hours, to eventually receive a torpedo from the E42. However, she survived and sailed home, only to be interned after repairs in Scapa Flow, scuttled in 1919 and demolished in 1927.

For its part the Goeben was the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron in 1914 (alongside the cruiser Breslau). Surprised by the declaration of war, and isolated against major fleets, Admiral Souchon managed to join the Dardanelles and Turkey. Officially incorporated in the Turkish navy, she made frequent raids in the black sea until 1918, fighting the Russians. She was then integrated more formally as the Yavuz Sultan Selim, its crew replaced and returning to Germany. She served until 1971, but unfortunately was broken up rather than preserved by the Turkish government.

Kaiserliches Marine

Links

The Moltke class on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Moltke class specifications

Dimensions 186,5 x 29,5 x 9 m
Displacement 22,616 t, 25,300 t FL
Crew 1355 (43+1010)
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 24 Schultze-Thornycroft boilers, 52,000 hp
Speed 28.4 knots (52.6 km/h; 32.7 mph) (top)
Range 4,120 nmi (7,630 km; 4,740 mi) 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Armament 10 x 280 (4×2), 12 x 150, 12 x 88
Armor Belt 280, barbettes 230, turrets 230, deck 76.2 mm

British Pathé footage – 1927 marine salvage

Gallery

SMS Moltke
SMS Moltke

SMS Moltke forward gun turret

Moltke in 1918
Illustration of the Moltke in 1918
Yavuz Sultan Selim in 1942
Illustration of the Yavuz Sultan Selim in 1942

Von der Tann

Germany (1909)
Battle cruiser

Probably rightly regarded as the first true battlecruiser of the German navy, the Von der Tann stood out from the Blücher (often referenced as a armoured cruiser) with a consistent heavy artillery of 280 mm pieces in 8 twin turrets, which was the fashion at the time, in échelon in the central position. The generous space available allowed these central turrets such a clearance to bear a full volley of 8 guns in concert at all time. This unique ship was also seen as superior to the HMS Invincible and HMS Indefatigable of the British navy that adopted the same configuration.


The battlecruiser Von der Tann as released

Design

Well ballasted, with secondary keels, she was also a very stable ship. The secondary battery was concentrated to the center, allowing to concentrate as well protection, as well as the ammunition wells in the central turrets. The sixteen 88 mm SKL/45 QF guns were divided into 8 sponsons bow and stern, the other being arranged in deckhouse sponsons front and rear. They were all removed in 1917 and replaced by only two AA 88mm installed at the rear. After tests, the Von der Tann managed to reach 27.6 knots with its boilers giving 79,000 hp.

Painting of the Von der Tann
Painting SMS Von der Tann

Operational Carrer

Apart from a few cruises, including the bombing of British coastal cities in 1914, the Von der Tann came to shine at the battle of Jutland in May 1916: The first 15 minutes of exchanges she sent to the bottom her alter ego, battleship HMS Indefatigable. Later, however, she was hit four times with large caliber shells, disabling its two aft turrets, while the two forward experienced electrical failures that made the ship still facing mayhem for fifteen minutes with only its secondary battery. After the battle she was stranded at home until the armistice, being led to Scapa Flow and scuttled June 21, 1919, salvaged in December 1931 and demolished.

Kaiserliches Marine

Links

The Von der Tann on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Von der Tann specifications

Dimensions 171.6 x 26,6 x 9 m
Displacement 19 064 t, 21 700t FL
Crew 1174 (41+882)
Propulsion 4 screws, 4 Parsons turbines, 18 Schultze-Thornycroft boilers, 43 600 hp
Speed 24.7 knots ( km/h; mph)
Range 4,400 nmi (8,100 km; 5,100 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Armament 8 x 280 (4×2), 10 x 150, 16 x 88, 4 TT 450 mm (SM, front, rear, 2 sides)
Armor Battery 150, citadel 180, turrets 230, belt 250, blockhaus 250, barbettes 230 mm

British Pathé footage (beginning)

Gallery

Illustration of the SMS Von der Tann
Illustration of the SMS Von der Tann

Von der Tann in 1917
illustration of the Von der Tann in 1917

Deutschland class battleships

Germany (1906)
Battleship class – 5 built

The last German pre-dreadnoughts

The five battleships of the Deutschland class (not to confound with Pocket Battleship class of 1929!) were the last of their kind built in Germany. They were ordered in 1903-1905, even as the HMS Dreadnought was under construction. They were completed and accepted into service in 1906-1908, at the time or the first Dreadnoughts appeared. In fact, they were virtually obsolete in 1914. But Tirpitz eluded these criticisms by arguing that future German battleships would require to refit the Kiel Canal, a long and especially costly endeavour, worth the price of other battleships. These were the Deutschland, Pommern, Hannover, Schlesien, and Schleswig-Holstein.


Deutschland class Linienschiffe off Kiel.

Design

They relied heavily on the design of previous Braunschweig, but were a little smaller, had rearranged chimneys and a higher power-to-weight ratio but an unchanged speed, and a secondary battery fully occupied by barbettes. Similarly, their tertiary artillery, going from 18 to 20 guns 88 mm was new. Their bridge armour was slightly decreased, but the turrets and barbettes was armour increased.

SMS Schliesen
SMS Schliesen.

Fought at Jutland

As they were still fresh, even in 1914, they were affected to the front line 2nd squadron. In May 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, they had the opportunity to make talk their powder and show their metal. The Pommern barely had time to fire some volleys before being literally ripped open by the explosion of a torpedo in an ammunition bunker, launched by British destroyers of the 12th squadron. Until 1917 these ships remained inactive, withdrawn from Hochseeflotte. Outside of Deutschland, scrapped in 1920, they formed the core of the naval force of the Weimar’s Reichsmarine. They were converted into training ships and rebuilt. In September, 1st, 1939, battleship Schleswig-Holstein fire the first shots of ww2, on polish Westerplatte arsenal.

illustration of the class in 1914.
illustration of the class in 1914.

Links

The Deutschland class on wikipedia
On historyofwar.org
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Deutschland class specifications

Dimensions 127,6 x 22,2 x 8,2 m
Displacement 13,200t/14,300t FL
Crew 35+708 (officers+sailors)
Propulsion 3 screws, 3 TE engines, 16 Wagner boilers, 19 000 hp
Speed 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph)
Range 4,800 nmi (8,900 km; 5,500 mi); 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament 2×2 280 mm, 14×170 mm, 22x88mm, 8x450mm TT.
Armor Belt 240, Turrets 280, Barbettes 305mm, Deck 40 mm

Gallery

armour schematics deutschland
Deutschland class armour schematics

SMS deutschland front view
SMS deutschland front view

SMS PommernSMS SchliesenSchleswig-Holstein 1936

Kaiserliches Marine