With the first true battlecruiser design, typed as Grosen Kreuzer, German designers turned the table on the British. One could see the size of a ship and count her guns but could not see or measure armor protection. British writers did not know that the
Blucher had a stronger armor scheme than the British battlecruisers and assumed a six-inch belt as in previous armored cruiser designs. “Of the successors of the Blucher, being German Indomitables or Dreadnought-cruisers, little is known. The
Von der Tann, launched in March, 1909, is to be completed in the spring of 1910
.” (The Naval Annual 1910, page 32) This first mention of von der Tann attributed her with twelve 11-inch gun, presumably arranged as the 11-inch guns of Nassau
or the 8.2-inch guns of
Blucher. Nothing was mentioned about armor, except in a table at the back of the volume, which mentioned an eight-inch belt for von der Tann, but put in the caveat “particulars doubtful”. With the von der Tann German
designers set the pattern for the entire line of battlecruiser construction for the High Seas Fleet. The ship had minimalist superstructure, presenting a low target, inferior main armament to British contemporary construction (11-inch vs 12-inch) but
most importantly, far superior protection. Although always classified as battlecruisers, the German designs were more akin to fast battleships. Gone was the mistake of the wing turrets of
Blucher, instead the von der Tann improved upon the British
practice of spacing amidship turrets far enough apart to allow cross deck fire. The
von der Tann was a direct reply to the Invincible Class but was far superior in every category but main armament.

To make up for the lost time in the design and construction of the
Blucher, even as von der Tann was completing design work and being laid down, another improved von der Tann was finishing its design process. Less than eight months after the
start of
von der Tann, the first of this class was laid down on December 7, 1908, also at the Blohm and Voss yard in Hamburg. This was to be SMS Moltke. Similar in appearance to the von der Tann, the Moltke Class was larger and heavier than von
der Tann
. Displacement jumped from 19,400 tons in von der Tann to 22,616 tons in Moltke. Part of the displacement increase was taken up in the increase in size from 562-feet, 9-inches length and 87-feet beam in von der Tann to 610-feet length
and 96-feet, 9-inches in beam. With an increase of almost ten feet in beam, the Moltke could be given even greater number of compartments, further increasing survivability of the design. Although turret and barbette armor stayed on par with 9-inches,
Moltke Class increased the width of the main belt from 9.84-inches in von der Tann to 10.75-inches in Moltke. One need only compare the armor belt of Moltke with the contemporary British battleship HMS Neptune, laid down six weeks after
Moltke with an 11-inch armor belt, to see that the German battlecruisers were fast battleships. In contrast with Moltke, the second class of British battlecruisers, the Indefatigable Class, simply carried over the same six-inch armor belt from the
Invincible Class, with Infatigable being laid down February 23, 1909, two and a half months after Moltke. The increased size of Moltke not only allowed greater armor and survivability to be worked into the design, but also allowed greater offense
capability. The same 11-inch gun was retained but the increased length allowed a fifth turret to be added. This was added in a superfiring position aft. This made
Moltke the first German warship with superfiring main armament. Although Moltke beat
the British
Neptune in being laid down with superfiring main armament, both powers were late in incorporating this subsequent standard practice, as the United States Navy had used superfiring turrets from the start of the Dreadnought era. The sister
ship to
Moltke was SMS Goeben and since she was in the 1909 construction program instead of the 1908 program with the Moltke, Goeben was laid down exactly one year after Moltke, on December 7, 1909, also at Blohm and Voss. One other
increase to offensive abilities was the placement of the secondary 5’9-inch casemate guns. The deck break from forecastle to main deck in
von der Tann came at the forward superstructure but the deck break in Moltke came at the aft superstructure.
As a consequence the secondary guns of
Moltke were located one deck higher than those of the preceding design.
Only Goeben was included in the 1909 program, as the rest of the capital ships were battleships. The 1910 program saw a redesign of the Moltke. Laid down February 4, 1911 the Seydlitz was a one-off design, which sought to address weaknesses
of the previous class. To provide a drier forecastle, it was raised one level. The
Seydlitz had two deck breaks, one at the end of the forward superstructure and the second at X turret, compared to the single deck breaks for the von der Tann and
Moltke Classes. Length again increased to 656-feet but in an odd retrogression for German designs, beam was reduced by three-feet to 93-feet, 6-inches. This was done to provide a better under-water hull form for higher speed. During trials Seydlitz
attained 28.1-knots, developing 90,000shp. In partial compensation to the narrower beam, the armor belt was increased to 11-inches maximum thickness and the maximum armor on turrets and barbettes to 10-inches.  
Seydlitz retained the same main
gun turret arrangement as the Moltke class but caliber was increased from 45 to 50 caliber, with the longer barrel offering increased range and muzzle velocity. Completed May 22, 1913, Seydlitz was the last battlecruiser to join the High Seas Fleet
before World War One and was flagship of the scouting squadron when the war began. Although
Seydlitz was a superb ship, it was clear to the German Admiralty that their battlecruiser designs were falling intolerably behind British battlecruisers in
terms of offensive abilities. The HMS Lion laid down in November 1909 upped the ante by increasing the main armament of British battlecruisers from 12-inch main guns to 13.5-inches with a far greater shell weight, improved accuracy and longer
range. It was one thing to accept a tradeoff of 11-inch main guns vs 12-inch guns in British battlecruisers, given the advantages achieved in German designs, but German designers could no longer accept a main armament of 11-inch guns. A complete
redesign would have to be done of the type to break from the initial
von der Tann/ Moltke/ Seydlitz series.

Prior to November 3, 1914 the German battle cruisers had not seen any significant action. They were unable to respond in time at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, in which the British battle cruisers under Admiral Beatty had sunk several light cruisers
and destroyers. They had put to sea in conjunction with sorties of the High Seas Fleet but there had been no run-ins with the Royal Navy on these occasions. Although Kaiser Wilhelm had ordered the German Fleet to act defensively with the
battleships, in late October plans were laid to use the battle cruisers, plus
Blucher, offensively in raids on the English coast. This was to serve as bait to draw out the British forces and hopefully attrit it with submarines and mines or draw an isolated
component into the guns of the German fleet.
Late in the afternoon of November 2, Hipper with Seydlitz, Moltke, von der Tann, Blucher, light cruisers and destroyers had left the Jade for a high speed run across the North Sea during the night for a dawn raid on the port of Yarmouth. It was the
aged cruiser
Halcyon that unwittingly provided the door greeter for the German Scouting Force. At first Halcyon spotted two unknown ships in the mist, both of which were German light cruisers. Halcyon was totally outclassed by these ships but
bad turned to worse as the light cruiser shell splashes were soon joined by the towering splashes of the 11-inch and 8.2-inch shells from the main German ships. There were so many shell splashes around
Halcyon that the small target was obscured
from the sight of the German gunners. Fortunately for
Halcyon, none of the shells hit and she scooted into the mist to escape. The only true RN warships that could respond to the arrival of the Germans were destroyers and submarines but they
valiantly put to sea as puny Davids against the German Goliaths. Hipper saw that he was just wasting ammunition on his tiny foes and turned back to Germany. As he left a few haphazard shells were fired off towards Yarmouth but all they did was to
churn up some sand on the beach. The only loss was the RN submarine
D-5, which struck a mine and sank leaving only four survivors. Three trawlers were also destroyed. The Admiralty had not responded in a timely manner and had been caught flat-
footed. First Lord Winston Churchill justified the delay in stating, “
The last thing it seemed possible to believe was that first-class units of the German fleet would have been sent across the North Sea simply in order to disturb the fisher-folk of
” Churchill said that it was believed that this was a feint to hide a much more significant operation of the German Fleet and that the Admiralty simply was awaiting developments.

Hipper was bitterly disappointed and embarrassed by the meager results of the raid on Yarmouth and was eager for another mission. Plans were prepared for another raid on the British coastline in December with a number of ports selected as targets.
The targets would be further north on the Yorkshire coast, closer to the base of the British battle cruisers. This time maybe they would get a response from British heavy units. As the German force neared the Yorkshire coast they divided with
von der
and light cruisers moving south to Scarborough and Seydlitz, Moltke and Blucher heading for Hartlepool.
Sixty miles north of Scarborough was the town of Hartlepool, which unlike Scarborough and Whitby, actually had legitimate military targets. This was in the form of six docks, various foundries and mills, as well as a defensive force of two light
cruisers, four destroyers and a submarine. It also had a shore battery of three old 6-inch guns and a battalion of troops. At 07:45 the four British destroyers,
Doon, Test, Waveny and Moy were at sea off Hartlepool but the light cruisers Patrol and
Forward and the submarine were still in port. Doon spotted three large ships in the mist to the south and closed to investigate. Five minutes later the ships open fire on Doon. These were Hipper’s heavy ships and Doon fired one torpedo at them,
which missed, before retiring into the mist with light damage. At 08:10 the battle cruisers opened fire on Hartlepool. “
When the unfamiliar ships first appeared offshore, the waiting British gunners watched them with admiration; they seemed so
large, so close, and so powerful that they could not possibly be anything but British. A group of men belonging to the Durham Light Infantry was standing together near the Heugh Battery, treating the affair as if it were a holiday display,
when a shell exploded in their midst, killing seven men and wounding fourteen. Both guns of the Heugh Battery immediately fired at the leading ship. The lighthouse gun engaged the third ship in line, which was smaller than the first two.
The three enemy ships were firing 11-inch, 8.2-inch, and 5.9-inch shells at the British batteries. That the batteries were not annihilated was due to a fluke: the ships were firing at such short – almost point-blank – range that there was
insufficient time to permit the operation of their delayed action fuses. Also many of the shells were passing over the battery and hitting houses or falling onto the docks and the town behind. Other shells landing near the guns ricocheted,
bouncing along intact, before exploding.
” (Castles of Steel, Random House, New York, 2003, by Robert K. Massie, at page 323)

The old light cruiser
HMS Patrol sortied from the harbor and as she cleared the breakwater was smothered in shell splashes. Her nearest antagonist was Blucher and the German armored cruiser pumped two 8.2-inch shells into the much smaller foe.
Four men were killed and seven wounded as
Patrol sheered away and ran aground. The light cruiser Forward was also in Hartlepool harbor but fortunately for her, the German ships had left before she raised steam. Submarine C-9 followed Patrol out
of the harbor but as she reached the harbor exit, she too was straddled. The submarine dove to avoid the gunfire but it was low tide. Only 18 feet of water was over the sand bar and
C-9 instantly bottomed and was stuck there until after the action.
Only the three old six-inch guns of the shore battery continued to respond against Hipper. As
Seydlitz and Moltke steamed slowly across the mouth of the harbor, Blucher glided to a stop to improve her gunnery. Two guns fired at the battle cruisers
and a single gun at
Blucher. The gunners managed to score some hits but the shells bounced off the armor. At 8:52 Hipper ceased firing and his ships turned back into the North Sea. Although none of the three British guns had been put out of action,
German shells had savaged the port with the 1,150 shells expended. Two ships under construction had collapsed as their building ways had been hit. One gas tank had exploded and two others were damaged. In all 86 civilians were killed and another
425 wounded.
Blucher had been hit with four 6-inch shells while stationary, damaging one turret and knocking two 5.9-inch guns out of action, while killing or wounding nine of her crew. By 9:30 the two German forces had joined together and
headed back toward Helgioland.

The British papers went into a rage and the Germans were branded as baby killers and as an assassin squadron. However, one London newspaper, although condemning the shelling of Scarborough and Whidby, correctly observed that Hartlepool was
a legitimate target. A jury wanted to indict the German officers of the ships until it was pointed out to them that it would be rather difficult for the local police to arrest the culprits. Everyone in the RN was bitterly disappointed about the failure to bring
Hipper’s ships to justice but they would be even better prepared for the next of Hipper’s raids. Hipper was disturbed by the fact that heavy British ships always seemed to appear when he was on a raid. Neither he nor any other admiral of the High
Seas Fleet thought that the reason was through capture of code books and that the German naval code had been broken, nor that German wireless discipline was extraordinarily lax. For Hipper he thought that the reason was the British fishing smacks
operating on Dogger Bank. They had to be spies, radioing the Admiralty every time his ships passed nearby. For his next operation Hipper was determined to wipe out this nest of spies. His goal would be to destroy the multitude of fishing boats
operating around Dogger Bank.
This mission was designed by Hipper to wipe out the British fishing fleet operating around Dogger Bank, as well as any other suspicious vessels thought to spying on German operations. The fleet’s involvement was just to support the return of the battle
cruisers to port. On the evening of January 23, 1915 Hipper sortied with
Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Moltke, Blucher, four light cruisers and 19 destroyers. The Royal Navy had been caught by surprise by the Yarmouth raid. They had partial information
through code breaking about the Scarborough raid but by now code-breaking was in fine form and the Grand Fleet was made aware of the steaming of Hipper’s force without
von der Tann, which was in drydock.  The British battle cruisers left harbor
at 6:00 PM January 23 within an hour of the departure of Hipper. Beatty had
Lion, Tiger, Princess Royal, Indomitable and New Zealand, as well as supporting light cruisers and destroyers. It was not only Beatty’s force in motion. The King Edward
lass battleships and three armored cruisers followed Beatty at 8:30PM, the Channel force of three light cruisers and 35 destroyers steamed northeastward and the Grand Fleet left Scapa Flow at 6:30, all to converge on the Dogger Bank on January
24. Eagerly anticipating Hipper’s entire force, Beatty called action stations at 7:00AM even before the Germans were sighted. At 7:20 the light cruiser
Aurora encountered the German screen. Aboard Lion gun flashes were seen to the southeast and
Beatty ordered his cats to steam to the gun flashes. It was not long before the main targets, Hipper’s battle cruisers, were sighted. Hipper first thought that there were isolated British light forces in the area, as there was no clue that Beatty’s force had
left harbor. Reports started coming in of a large mass of smoke to the southwest and shortly thereafter a cruiser reported large masses of smoke to the northwest. Then
Blucher reported seven light cruisers and a mass of destroyers to the northwest.
Hipper quickly tumbled to the reality that he was in a British trap. At 7:35 Hipper’s force turned for home to get out of the target area. Maximum speed of his force was restrained to 20 knots because of the speed of

Twelve minutes later Beatty received a report that Hipper’s battlecruisers were in sight. Beatty had the edge in speed and quickly closed the gap between the forces. At 8:28 some British destroyers had closed to within 7,000 yards of
Blucher. HMS
opened fire and after ascertaining the exact locations of the German warships, fell back to clear the line of sight of the onrushing Splendid Cats and follow at a discreet distance behind the German formation. In large part the withdrawal of the
M Class destroyers of the Harwich force was due to the firing of Blucher, which raised a forest of shell splashes among the British light forces. As Beatty continued to raise the speed of his battlecruisers, a gap appeared in the British formation,
as the Splendid Cats surged forward, the older
New Zealand and Indomitable fell behind. By 7:50 Hipper saw Beatty’s battlecruisers closing from behind. The British were behind but on a parallel course to avoid mines that might be dropped by the
fleeing German ships. At 8:45AM  
Lion opened fire and the poor Blucher, which was last in Hipper’s column,  became the punching bag for all of the pent up frustration of the British force. Within minutes Princess Royal and Tiger also opened up on
Blucher. At 9:09 Blucher was initially hit but with range closing and multiple ships firing at her, Blucher was rapidly hit by large caliber shells. Blucher slowed, as she absorbed repeated hits of 13.5-inch shells.
By 9:30AM New Zealand had joined in the fun and Beatty issued an order for each of his ships to fire on its opposite number. Blucher had dropped to 17 knots and veered out of the column to the northeast because of steering damage. Blucher wasn’t
road kill yet but was clearly in great distress. Hipper hated the idea to leave the
Blucher to her fate but his operational situation was rapidly disintegrating. British fire began to shift to his flagship, the Seydlitz. At 10:01AM Seydlitz hit Lion and knocked
out her electrical system. This proved one of the pivotal strikes of the battle. With additional strikes by German shells,
Lion had shipped 3,000 tons of saltwater in her hull and had lost all electrical power. Lion lost an engine and speed rapidly dropped.
Lion had to drop out of the line. Beatty ordered the Indomitable to destroy the enemy breaking away to the north, which was Blucher. Lion had no electricity for the radio and only two signal halyards intact, Flags Seymour again came to the rescue of
the German battle cruisers. With the signal to attack the rear of the enemy column still on the halyard, the Flag Lieutenant raised the squadron signal to turn to the north. The entire British force, not just
Indomitable, had just been directed to concentrate

It is sometimes said that one learns more through defeat than through victory. This was certainly true at the Battle of Dogger Bank. Another key hit, this time against
Seydlitz, happened at 10:40 AM. Just before Lion had dropped out of line, one of her
13.5-inch shells penetrated the rear face of the barbette of the aft 11-inch gun turret of
Seydlitz. This shell exploded in the shell handling chamber under the aft turret, igniting 62 charges in that chamber. The men in the turret directly above were
instantly incinerated in the flames. A few survivors tried to escape into the shell handling chamber in the adjacent turret and opened flash proof doors connecting the two barbettes. This attempt did not save them and doomed the crew of the neighboring
turret. The flash explosion traveled through the open doors and ignited the ready ammunition in the next barbette, creating a new pillar of fire. Every man in the aft two turrets was lost but the ship was not, as the aft magazine was flooded before the
fire could reach it. The British saw the pillars of fire rise above the mast head of
Seydlitz and naturally thought that they had destroyed the ship. The near loss of Seydlitz to the haphazard shell handling procedures was an eye opener. The German fleet
learned an important lesson and greatly improved anti-flash precautions. The Royal Navy would not learn that same lesson until Jutland. As Hipper steamed to safety, the
Blucher was now an immobile punching bag of four battlecruisers, which
continued steaming in circles around her, firing at point blank range.
Blucher received 50 to 200 large caliber hits and two torpedo strikes before rolling over at 12:07PM. The tremendous punished received by the Blucher before she succumbed,
reflects the sterling survival qualities of German battlecruiser designs.
For the remainder of 1915, there were only two timid sorties that stayed within 100 miles of the German port. In August 1915 von der Tann, Seydlitz and Moltke were sent to the eastern Baltic as heavy support for operations in the Gulf of Riga
against the Russians. On August 10 the trio silenced Russian shore batteries on the island of Utoe at the entrance of the Bay and also took pot shots against a Russian cruiser, which quickly left the area. In addition to the constant threat of mines,
British submarines posed the greatest threat to the German heavy ships. On August 16
Seydlitz caught the British E9 on the surface and opened fire. E9 managed to safely dive before she received a hit. It was the British turn on August 19. The E1
found the German battlecruisers at close range. The
Seydlitz was very close but the torpedo from E1 passed ahead of Seydlitz but luckily hit Moltke, which took on 1,500 tons of water but maintained her operations. After the Riga operation was called
off, the trio returned to the North Sea base. The next operation which involved combat, was designed to sweep the Skagerrak and Kattegat and got underway early on May 31, 1916.  Although the Royal Navy knew something was afoot, the British
didn’t know exactly what the Germans were up to but the Grand Fleet steamed out of Scampa Flow and Beatty’s battlecruisers left their separate base at Rosyth, on the night of the 30th, before the High Seas Fleet left the next morning.

The German Fleet steamed north paralleling the Danish coast, while the Grand Fleet steamed eastward. As Hipper steamed north 50 miles ahead of the German battleships, he flew his flag in
Lutzow. This time he had all five of his available ships. At
3300PM Beatty and Hipper were 50 miles apart and may have missed each other, except for the presence of the Danish tramp steamer
N. J. Fjord. The steamer was midway between the British and German battlecruisers and both sides could see the
steamer. Both sent out light ships to investigate and accordingly sighted each other. At 3:28PM British opened fire on German torpedo boats and the greatest naval battle of World War One, the Battle of Jutland, had begun. The first portion of the battle
has been called the run to the south, as Hipper tried to lure Beatty south to be destroyed by Scheer’s battleships. Hipper had five battlecruisers in column,
Lutzow (flag), Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke and von der Tann against Beatty’s six ships (Lion
Princess Royal, Queen Mary, Tiger, New Zealand and Indefatigable. However, Beatty was also supported by the 5th Battle Squadron of Barham, Warspite, Valiant and Malaya of Queen Elizabeth Class, armed with eight 15-inch guns. There
was separation between the British battlecruisers and battleships caused when the battlecruisers turned south and the battleships continued east, having missed the signal flags on
Lion due to the heavy smoke emitted by the battlecruisers.
Sixty miles separated Hipper from Scheer’s main fleet and at 4:00PM Hipper signaled for each ship to engage its opposite number. Visibility aided Hipper as the sun was to the west, highlighting Beatty’s ships, while the low-profile, light gray German
battlecruisers merged with their darker background to the east. Although Beatty had an advantage in maximum range of main guns, he didn’t use it, as the range between the battlecruisers rapidly closed. It was Hipper’s ships that opened fire at 4:48PM.  
One of the significant factors in the Run to the South was fire distribution. Both Admirals wished to engage all of the enemy battlecruisers but Hipper had one less ship so one of the British ships had to be uncovered. This was
New Zealand as von der
engaged Indefatigable last in line, rather than New Zealand, 5th in line.  However, for Beatty, he had the advantage of numbers and wanted to have two ships fire on Lutzow, while the remaining four German battlecruisers would receive fire from
one ship.
Queen Mary, which had not received the distribution of fire signal, engaged the Seydlitz, 3rd in line, leaving Derfflinger uncovered. For ten minutes Derfflinger was left unmolested by British fire. Without shell splashes obscuring her fire,
Derfflinger could fire very accurate salvos at her target, the Princess Royal. From the start, the German ships struck early and often. Both Princess Royal and Tiger had turrets put out of action. Queen Mary, always a crack gunnery ship, knocked out
X turret of
Seydlitz when one of her 13.5-inch shells penetrated the barbette armor at 4:57PM and ignited four charges (compared to the 62 ignited in a similar hit on the barbette of Y turret at the Battle of Dogger Bank). The anti-flash precautions put in
place after Dogger Bank contained the damage just to X turret. At 5:00PM a 12-inch shell from
Lutzow hit Q amidship turret on Lion. The armor roof was peeled off and except for the bravery of mortally wounded Major F.J.W. Harvey, RM, who
ordered the magazine doors closed and magazine flooded, burning charges most likely would have reached the magazine, destroying the ship. The British had not learned the lesson that the Germans did at Dogger Bank and still had lax anti-flash

Three minutes later these lax anti-flash procedures were more dramatically demonstrated.
Von der Tann and Indefatigable had been engaged in a ship to ship duel for fifteen minutes. Indefatigable was hit aft by two or three 11-inch shells and then by
two more forward with her next salvo. Initially no smoke or flames were observed but after over 30 seconds the Indefatigable exploded. The lengthy delay from the hits to the explosion strongly indicates the loss was caused by a lack of proper anti-
flash procedures, rather than a direct penetration of a magazine.
Von der Tann had little time to enjoy her victory because at 5:06PM Barham of the 5th Battle Squadron opened fire on von der Tann. As the other Queen Elizabeth Class battleships
entered firing range, they concentrated fire on the last two German battlecruisers with two on
von der Tann and two on Moltke.  The range was initially over 19,000 yards and with the tremendous amount of smoke lying between the German
battlecruisers and the
Queen Elizabeths, the British battleships could only fire intermittently. Nonetheless the von der Tann and Moltke were surrounded by the towering splashes of the 15-inch shells. Also by 5:16PM Derfflinger shifted fire from
Princess Royal to Queen Mary and the crack gunnery ship of the British battlecruisers was engaged by Seydlitz and Derfflinger. Queen Mary was hit by three shells out of a four shell salvo and nothing seemed to happen until the next salvo arrived at 5:
25PM when there were two more hits. Again there was nothing initially apparent, other than some black smoke. Suddenly, the
Queen Mary was enveloped in a massive explosion amidships and forward, as the Queen Mary broke in half. As with the
Indefatigable, the substantial delay between the shell hits and magazine explosion, demonstrates the loss of the ship was caused by lax anti-flash procedures, rather than penetration of a magazine.
Beatty was still confident, the 5th Battle Squadron had rapidly closed the German battlecruisers and he still foresaw the destruction of Hipper’s force. A very ominous portent arrived at 5:38PM when the light cruiser Southampton reported sighting the
entire High Seas Fleet deployed in battle column, approaching from the south. This report was followed by the same report from the light cruiser
Champion. Beatty ordered at turn to the northwest, towards the Grand Fleet, at 5:43PM. The “Run to the
South” had lasted 58 minutes, during which the German battlecruisers had scored 42 major hits on the British battlecruisers, destroying two of them, and two more hits on battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron. In turn Hipper’s ships had been hit 17
times, eleven from the battlecruisers and six from the 5th Battle Squadron.
Von der Tann and Seydlitz each had one turret permanently put out of action and Lutzow had a large hole on the forecastle, which would eventually play a part in the loss of the
ship. Now began the “Run to the North” during which Hipper and Scheer, confidently expected bagging a significant portion of the British Fleet. Just as Hipper had led Beatty to the High Seas Fleet, Beatty was now returning the favor by leading the
entire German Fleet to the Grand Fleet.

Hipper had reversed his battlecruisers at 5:50PM to be in the van of the German battleships. All of his ships were still able to maintain speed. Even after
Seydlitz took a torpedo hit from a British destroyer at 5:57PM, her speed was unimpaired. Initially
Hipper’s ships were still firing on Beatty’s battlecruisers but as they became out of range, Hipper shifted fire to the 5th Battle Squadron. During this fight Hipper’s ships were slowly but steadily being ponded with 15-inch hits and Hipper slowed his force
to 15-knots in order to allow the German battleships to close the gap. At 6:50PM Beatty’s battlecruisers were sighted by the lead battleship of the starboard column of the Grand Fleet. Hipper and Scheer were still unaware of the presence of the Grand
Fleet. In the van of the Grand Fleet was the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron, consisting of the three ships of the
Invincible Class. Earlier the squadron commander Rear Admiral Horace Hood ordered his squadron to increase speed so that they could rejoin
Beatty’s battlecruiser force. At 6:55PM, Hood’s ships were already 25 miles ahead of the battleships, when they engaged German light cruisers of the fleet screen. It was another half an hour before Hipper found his ships engaged from two directions
with battleships to the north and the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron to the Northeast. Aboard
Derfflinger the gunnery officer clearly sighted Hood’s flagship, HMS Invincible, and opened fire on the very first battlecruiser. At 7:31PM one of Derfflinger’s
shells struck Invincible amidship and in a short span the amidship magazine.
Lutzow also claimed credit but the fatal strike is generally attributed to Derfflinger. However, before her sudden loss, Invincible had struck a fatal blow at Lutzow. One of her
12-inch shells pierced the forward armored bulkhead of Hipper’s flagship, allowing progressive flooding from the bow to amidships. At 7:33PM Scheer ordered his fleet to simultaneously turn south in order to get his ships out of the concentrated
gunfire of the Grand Fleet as quickly as possible. Hipper didn’t get the order but conformed with the turn at 7:38PM. His
Lutzow was losing speed from the progressive flooding and could no longer keep up with his other ships. The Lutzow was in such
a poor state that Hipper and his staff left the ship and transferred to the torpedo boat
G39 a little before 8 PM. By 7:50PM the British capitol ships had lost sight of the German ships and Jellicoe assumed they had all turned south to reach the safety of
German ports. He accordingly turned the Grand Fleet to the southeast.
Scheer had made another turn to the east with his battlecruisers, led by Derfflinger, to assume the point position ahead of the battleships. This turn put him in a direct collision course with the Grand Fleet. By 8:12PM the fleets had again made contact.
Only the muzzle flashes of the British ships could be made out and battlecruisers and lead battleships were taking punishment. At 8:13PM Scheer ordered his battlecruisers to attack the enemy fleet and at 8:18 ordered the battleships to again reverse
course simultaneously.  With the four battlecruisers charging the entire British fleet,
Lutzow was separated and out of action, the battlecruisers were each being engaged by multiple ships. Derfflinger especially suffered with Bruno (B) and Dora (Y)
turrets quickly knocked out, with each turret loosing almost every man of their crews. Again, the improved German anti-flash precautions proved their worth, as the flash of exploding charges in the turrets and handling chambers didn’t reach the
magazines. The German battlecruisers closed to within 7,700 yards of the nearest British battleships but their “Death Ride” had served its purpose. The High Seas Fleet had disengaged successfully. At 8:20PM it was time to extradite the battlecruisers
from the massed firepower of the Grand Fleet. In coordination with a massed destroyer torpedo attack, the battlecruisers turned to the west to disengage. For a while they remained unengaged but at 9:18PM they were seen by Beatty’s battlecruisers at
a range of 8,500 yards with
Derfflinger and Seydlitz receiving heavy punishment. The German ships turned further to the west to get out of British fire. With the heavy smoke and steadily failing light conditions of twilight, the firing ceased but Scheer
was in a predicament with the Grand Fleet blocking the direct line to the German ports. The
Derfflinger and von der Tann, whose top speed had been reduced to 18-knots, fell in behind the German battleships. Moltke and Seydlitz moved towards the
head of the German line. As the night progressed
Seydlitz and Moltke separated and each ship ran into British battleships at very close ranges. On each occasion they were sighted but the British chose to withhold fire because they didn’t want to
disclose their location with gun flashes. This is somewhat puzzling because their location could be reported by the German battlecruisers. Scheer turned his fleet to the East and passed behind the Grand Fleet in the darkness. At midnight the lonely
Lutzow was steaming south at 7 knots and was still hoped to reach safety but the severe punishment taken forward created a cascading damage situation. By 1:30AM the forward boiler room started to flood and the ship tried to proceed stern first but
was unable to do so as the 8,000 tons of water forward caused her propellers to rise out of the water. At 2:20 AM the ship was abandoned and at 2:45 two German torpedoes finished her off.
At dawn Jellicoe, who believed the High Seas Fleet was still to his west saw nothing and ordered the Grand Fleet to turn north, further increasing the distance between his fleet and the High Seas Fleet to the east. The Battle of Jutland was over and the
German battlecruisers had proved their qualities of survivability.
Seydlitz was almost in the same condition of Lutzow but not quite. She reached Horn’s Reef at 3:40 AM and rejoined the High Seas Fleet at 7:00 AM. Unable to keep up with the fleet,
Seydlitz fell astern. She drew too much water forward to cross the Jade Bar. She had to wait until the high tide point at noon before she could be towed over the bar to the safety of port. All four of the surviving battlecruisers required more time to
repair than any of the damaged German battleships.  Repairs to
Moltke were completed July 30 with von der Tann completing three days later on August 2. The heavily damaged Seydlitz and Derfflinger took far longer to repair. Seydlitz repairs were
completed September 16 and
Derfflinger completed on 15 October. This was the last significant engagement of the German battlecruisers.  At the armistice, all of the battlecruisers were interned at Scapa Flow, where they swung at anchor as peace
negotiations were conducted.  All were scuttled June 21, 1919 by their crews.
The SMS Seydlitz in 1:200 Scale from Chuan Yu Model - This kit was ordered from a hobby store in China, so I was expecting a significant delay in receiving it. It arrived in a comparatively short period of three weeks. After removing the plastic
wrap and thick outer layer of protective cardboard, I was left with a large crimson box with the Chuan Yu Model label. When I opened the box I was overwhelmed with the content. The
SMS Seydlitz is the largest model kit produced by Chuan Yu
Model at this time and they clearly took on the project as a labor of love. The kit includes 3D printed parts in a white resin, nine brass photo-etch frets, three stainless steel photo-etch frets, hundreds of turned brass parts including all gun barrels, steel
rigging wire, a full wooden deck, deck paint masks and of course instructions. It also has four electric motors and running gear to make the model Radio Controlled. You’ll have to supply the RC receiver. What it lacks is my number one gripe. There
NO ANCHORS! What is it? Do the Chuan Yu folks think that the Seydlitz was so busy that she didn’t need anchors. The lack of anchors is a reoccurring problem with Chan Yu kits. I currently have four of them and only the Chuan Yu 1:200
scale model of
HMS Aurora came with anchors. James Corley of Nautilus Models may be working on a solution using 3D printing. He is about finished with an upgrade set for the Chuan Yu 1:200 scale model of the USS Smith in 1:200 scale and
I can only hope that James takes on at least anchors for the 1:200 scale
Seydlitz anchors. COME ON JAMES!
The first thing that you will notice about the hull is that it is divided vertically into two parts. Larger hulls are apparently beyond the capabilities of Chuan Yu to print in one piece. Of the Chuan Yu models that I have seen, only the smaller hulls are printed in
one piece, such as their models of World War One destroyers. Their World War Two destroyer models also have the two part hulls done as in
Seydlitz. However, it doesn’t appear to difficult to mate the two hull halves. Their edges will need some sanding
so that fit flush with each other and the seam between the hull halves will probably need a little filling and sanding. The hull halves are hollow with support frames joining the hull sides. This is certainly necessary for Chuan Yu hulls because I have noticed
that their hulls tend to shirk inwards, so I store the hulls with the separate decks in place on the hull. As this minimizes the opportunity for shrinkage. The bow has hull anchor hawse fittings but they are not hollowed out. Likewise the forecastle deck has
the deck hawse but they too, are not drilled out. You may ask, why drill out anchor hawse when there are no anchors? That is where
James Corley and Nautilus Models can come to the rescue. HEY JAMES, WHAT ABOUT A RESCUE PACKAGE
If only there were anchors to attach to anchor chain, it would be well worth drilling out the hawse. In 1:200 scale it certainly will be a strong focal point. Also prominent
hull side detail at the bow are the submerged torpedo tube and the line of the armor belt that follows reference profiles. At the top of the hull, at the juncture with the deck, are open chocks on each side and the jack staff base fitting. Port holes are present
but not hollowed out. With 1:200 scale, it would pay to hollow them out, especially since the kit comes with relief-etched brass port hole fittings. At the rear halve of the forward hull piece you get four of the 5.9-inch (150mm) casemate positions at the top
of the hull and integral bilge keels near the bottom. I like the bilge keels, as separate bilge keels can sometimes cause problems in attaching to the hull. You, of course, will have to mate the bilge keels on the forward hull piece with the bilge keels on the rear
hull piece. There will undoubtedly be some filling and sanding. The casemate position are open for separate 3D casemate positions. The rear hull piece continues with the bilge keels towards the bottom and three more 5.9-inch casemate positions on each
side at the top. Around the start of the quarterdeck the armor belt drops a level and continues on to the stern. Underneath the stern there are three nicely done propeller shaft skegs, as well as a keel extension to the rudder position. At the top of the hull are a
flag staff base fitting and another fitting on either side. At first glance it appears that the greatest effort in assembling this kit will be mating and cleaning up the juncture of the two halves of the hull.
There are four 3D printed deck pieces. The first thing that is noticed is that they have no wood plank lines. Why, in a model this size? The answer is simple. Chuan Yu provides a full wooden deck with cutouts for the deck fittings on the 3D decks.
For example, there are holes for the bollards, which are turned brass parts. One deck is the forecastle. One runs past the bridge to the second funnel. The third fits over the junction of the two hull halves and the forth is the quarterdeck. The
forecastle features nice deck hawse, raised pyramid ventilation coamings, a detailed deck hatch and detailed anchor chain locker entrance fittings. The second deck piece covers the area from just in front of A turret to just aft of the P wing turret and
includes the forward superstructure base integral to the deck. The forward part of the deck has A barbette with detailed deck hatches on either side and windlass plates in front. At the front of the barbette are more pyramid ventilation hatches and on
deck edge nice open chocks. Additionally, there are small ventilation fittings on the main deck at the deck break. The superstructure base is very nice, starting with embrasures for 88mm tertiary guns. The 01 level deck has locater outlines for the
conning tower, bridge and forward funnel. On each side of the bridge outline are ventilation hatches and deck hatches. On the main deck level is P barbette, open chocks, twin bollards and more deck access hatches. Superstructure side detail has
more of the small ventilation hatches at the juncture of the forecastle bulkhead and main deck, two vertical strakes, forward facing doors opening onto the forecastle, port holes, and large lovers surrounding the forward funnel. The short amidship
deck covers the juncture of the two hull halves. It covers Q barbette, and the aft funnel. Deck fittings include twin bollards, detailed deck hatches, and a couple of lockers. At deck edge there are notches where hull casemate positions are located. The
quarterdeck piece includes the aft end of the main deck and has locater outline for the aft superstructure. On the bulkheads on each side are gun positions for 88mm tertiary guns and more small ventilation hatches at the juncture of the lower
quarterdeck and bulkheads. Around the aft superstructure outline are more deck access hatches and ventilation hatches. Around Y barbette are deck access hatches, ventilation hatches and deck edge open chocks. Aft of Y barbette is littered with
numerous fittings, including access doors, lockers, ventilation hatches, skylights, and flagstaff base.
There are ten superstructure parts that are 3D printed separately. These include five parts that are part of the superstructure and the five main gun turrets. The conning tower is the smallest of these parts. It has nicely cut vision slits on two levels with a
director base at the crown. The bridge is my favorite part. With most kits you have to build the bridge, level by level. With this
Seydlitz bridge almost everything is cast as one piece. This greatly simplifies assembly’ At the base are fine ventilation louvers
surrounded by bridge support pillars with a deck house to the rear. A platform with deck house rests on these pillars with the navigation deck and chart house above that. The chart house is open with windows perfect for glazing and the wings of the
navigation deck have no warp. On top of the chart house is a compass fitting. Both funnels are very well done. The forward funnel has a rectangular base with a ventilation louver forward on which rests a searchlight platform going around the funnel
with searchlight positions. The metal decks have no surface detail because Chuan Yu provides stainless steel metal decks relief-etched with an anti-skid pattern. The top apron is excellent with numerous steam pipes and a beautiful interior. The same
praise can be sung about the rear funnel. It rests on a sloping hexagon base with the vertical bulkheads covered in ventilation louvers. On the deck with the actual funnel, there are boat crane kingposts located in echelon. The funnel rises from this deck
with a small bottom apron but no apron at the top. As with the forward funnel, the interior of the rear funnel is nicely done. The aft superstructure is another excellent part. It has the aft conning tower, large ventilator, four platforms, numerous lockers
at the base and oodles of ventilation louvers, all 3D printed in one piece. Each of the five main gun turrets come in five pieces. One is the turret base that locks into the barbette. Two is the gun barrel base that fits into cradles inside the turret with holes
for the brass barrels. The turret itself comes with cupolas, director rod and centerline seam on the crown. Stainless steel relief etched crowns are provided with raised rivet detail and a textured crown. Also the aft face of each turret gets a photo-etched
bulkhead with relief etched shell case ejection chutes. The last two parts of each turret are gun mount tops that keep the gun mount in its cradle.
3D printed parts include the 5.9-inch casemate positions, 88mm casemates. open backed 88mm gun positions with mount and detailed gun shields. Holes are present for the separate turned brass gun barrels. Fine windlasses and other deck equipment
are part of the smaller 3D printed bonanza. Eight detailed searchlights with shutter detail and another searchlight platform are included. The searchlights also get a photo-etch part that fits over the shutter. There are two different sized rudders that
mounted one after the other on centerline. Other 3D printed parts include superstructure gun directors, searchlight davits, crow’s nests, ship’s wheel base, and many other smaller parts. There are numerous ship’s boats, which get further detailing from
brass photo-etched parts. These range from a small dinghy up to large steam launches, which are really nice.        
As mentioned, the kit comes with twelve relief-etched, photo-etched frets. Nine ar done in brass and three in stainless steel. Fret A contains only parts for the shelf of the torpedo net with support struts that fold back to the hull sides. B fret has
delicious relief-etched bow coat of arms crests, bow gear, stern gear, equipment base plates, various runs of railing (many of which have sagging chains) and multitudes of port hole fittings, which an be placed open or closed. C fret picks up where B
fret ended, with more railings, equipment base plates, and port hole fittings. Also thrown in are the main deck breakwaters on each side of the bridge with individual support gussets, accommodation ladder platforms with open grid platforms at the
bottom and anti-skid platforms at the top, and the windlass caps. D fret is dominated by the large anchor chain run plates that fit over the wooden forecastle deck. A good amount of the parts on this fret are coal scuttle plates. Relief etched parts include
doors in two styles, rectangular ventilation hatch fittings which can be posed open or closed, large ventilation hatch fittings and windlass heads. Other parts include a good number of skylight crowns, short inclined ladders with safety railing, trainable
treads and wight saving cutouts in the bottom rung of the safety railing. E fret has the chart house face and navigation shacks. Relief-etched parts include poseable deck hatches and more small ventilation hatches for the fittings at the juncture of the
bulkhead and deck. A good portion of the fret are vertical climbing rungs, with the rungs trainable, so they stand out from the sides of the funnel or other location. Other parts include more inclined ladders, the searchlight lens caps, deck hatch upright
frames for canvas covers, ventilation fitting covers, ship’s wheel, and accommodation ladder davits with falls.
F fret has the large forecastle breakwater with individual support gussets. Relief-etched parts include the Seydlitz name plates, two platforms with anti-skid covering, and doors. Other parts include yards, boom brackets and fittings, inclined ladders,
ventilation hatch covers, cable reel frames, block and tackle, boat railing, and support gussets. Although the cable reel frames are photo-etch the actual reels come as turned brass parts. The only relief-etched parts on brass photo-etch fret G are the rear
faces of the main gun turrets. They have raised rivets on both lines of a recessed center seam and the doors to the shell case ejection chutes can be posed open or closed. Over 50% of this fret are handrails for the funnels. The funnel grates are also on
this fret. Other parts are short runs of vertical ladders, a couple of longer runs of climbing rungs, and some railing. H fret is over half railing but also starts the ship’s boats detail On this fret are oars, two open boat thwarts with relief-etched transon
decks, steam launch propellers, rudders, boat railing and folding deck boat cradles. Fret I has four more boat thwarts with relief-etched decks. Other relief-etched parts are boat davits with block and tackle and a couple of leadsman platforms. Further
boat detail includes more rudders, propellers, boat ladders and boat skids that fit inside the larger open boats to cradle smaller boats. Other parts are more boat deck cradles and inclined ladders. Every part on J fret is relief-etched. This is the first of the
stainless steel frets and the fret contains the metal decks and platforms, all with anti-skid pattern relief-etching. K fret is also stainless steel. It has the five turret crowns with raised rivet detail with cutouts to fit over the turret cupolas and director rods.
Also included is the deck halfway up the aft funnel and a couple decks for searchlight platforms, which have the raised anti-skid pattern. The ast stainless steel fret has the anti-torpedo nets extended down. There is no rolled net parts, so that you’ll have
to scratch-build. Also included is a package of steel wire for use in rigging.                
In addition to the extensive photo-etch parts, Chuan Yu provides a huge number of turned brass parts. First of all, all of the gun barrels, 11-inch, 5.9-inch and 88mm have hollow muzzles. All of the torpedo net booms are detailed turned brass parts.
Plentiful booms and yards are present for the crane kingposts and masts. Eleven cable reels with beautifully executed cable are present that fit inside of photo-etch frames. Also there are two signaling cones for the foremast rigging. Single bollard heads
are present that fit into deck locater holes, as well as numerous other turned brass parts that are not immediately obvious. The four propeller shafts are turned brass. They look more appropriate for a RC build than a static build but they appear good in the
photographs of the assembled model in the instructions. However, they just don’t look right and are more likely used only for an RC build. Separate propellers and shaft struts are present, which certainly look right and the photographs mentioned above
are most likely showing the turned brass propellers, shaft supports and the shafts themselves cut from the RC shafts. Three metal anchor chains are included but unfortunately
THERE ARE NO ANCHORS TO ATTACH to the chains.        

A full wooden deck is included. It is certainly far easier to use these than to try to scribe plank lines on the 3D decks. From the photographs of the model with dry-fitted parts, you can see how good the wooden decks appear. Three large decks are
included, the forecastle, the weather deck and the quarter deck. The openings for barbettes and fittings on the 3D decks are already cutout and I found that it was very easy to fit the wooden decks on top of the 3D printed decks when I dry fitted the
major parts to the model. I think that the planking looks very nice, especially with the darker butt end joints. On the weather deck part lines show the for the photo-etch boat cradles. Likewise the same lines show the attachment locations for the
forecastle breakwater and gussets and the side breakwaters and gussets. Chuan Yu also includes desk masks to cover the wooden deck while your are painting the model. For those that wish increased deck support, Chuan Yu includes thicker support
pieces to place on top of the 3D printed decks on top of which rests the wooden planked decks.
The Seydlitz instruction pamphlet consists of 21 pages. Page one has a CAD drawing of the assembled model but makes an error in showing anchors on the model. Page two has a CAD plans and Chinese text. Page 3 has both profiles, plan frontal end
on view and stern end on view. Page 4 and 5 each have four closer detailed views. Page six is a metal parts laydown of the photo-etch frets and turned brass parts, which are given a “G” prefix used in the instructions. Page seven is the 3D printed
parts laydown with each part numbered with the same number used in the assembly part of the instructions. Page eight shows the internal arrangement of the electric motors, wiring and other RC gear, including slabs of lead ballast. Page nine has the
stern of the RC mounting and caution about getting the correct anchor chain run plates in their correct position. Starting with page 10, the instructions cover assembly steps. Photo-etch parts are designated with a “PE” prefix and number, turned brass
parts with a “G” prefix followed by the part number and 3D printed parts with just a number that was used on the parts laydown. This page has assembly of the turrets, casemate guns, ship’s boats, cable reels, and searchlights. Page 11 has assembly
of the aft funnel and aft superstructure. Page 12 looks at masts and accommodation ladders. Page 13 covers forecastle assembly. Page 14 covers the starboard area from the forecastle breakwater through the forward funnel. Page 15 takes a port view
of the assembly from the forward superstructure to the aft funnel. Page 16 extends the port view aft to the aft superstructure. Page 17 covers the area from the aft funnel to the two stern turrets. Page 18 extends the view further aft, from the aft
superstructure to the start of the quarterdeck. Page 19 has the last of the quarterdeck and running gear assembly. Page 20 looks at the boat cradle and coal scuttle attachment. Page 21 concludes with line drawings of the profile, plan and insets of net
booms and side ship’s boat davit and gear assembly.
If a Grossenkreuzer in 1:200 scale is your cup of schnapps, then the 3D printed model of the SMS Seydlitz from Chuan Yu Model fills the cup to the brim. With fine 3D printed parts, twelve photo-etched frets with a high degree of relief-etching, hundreds
of turned brass parts, wooden decks and paint masks, and even electric motors and running gear for a radio controlled
Seydlitz, you get a lot to work on with the Chuan Yu SMS Seydlitz.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama