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
. 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, the
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 Indefatigable being laid down February 23, 1909, two and a half months after Moltke. The increased size of Moltke not only allow 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.

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.
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
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 Yarmouth.” 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 Tann 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
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
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 VII class 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 Meteor 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 seven 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
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 on Blucher.
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 Scapa 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 3:00PM 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 (flag), 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 Tann 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 procedures.

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.  He 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.
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 Combrig SMS Seydlitz in 1:350 Scale - Exactly one century ago on June 1, 1916 the SMS Seydlitz was outside the Jade, drawing too much water for the
safety of the port. This was the second time she had narrowly evaded her demise and was the poster child, so to speak, of the Imperial German battlecruiser with their
almost uncanny ability to absorb punishment. The 1:350 scale
SMS Seydlitz exhibits all of the strengths and weaknesses of other Combrig kits with high quality resin
casting as a strength and lack of generic brass photo-etch and poor instructions as a weakness. This is the full hull version of the kit. The hull casting measures 22.62-
inches. The length of the actual
Seydlitz was 656-feet, which in 1:350 scale measures 22.49-inches. Accordingly the variance is 0.13 inches. That is 3.79-feet
variance, so the kit comes in at 1:348 scale. Although not as close to scale as their
HMS Indefatigable in 1:350 scale, the Combrig SMS Seydlitz is still very close to
scale. With the full hull model you have the upper and lower hull halves separated at the waterline and oth need substantial clean-up of the remains of the resin cast.
Combrig a very hard resin formula, this will involve some work. Start with a Dremel to removed the bulk of the resin. Then use a sanding drum with coarse
sandpaper and follow-up with fine sandpaper. You may also have to do a little filling. Having built a number of the full hull
Combrig kits, the results are well worth the

The upper hull piece is very crisply cast. It does not have the anti-torpedo net shelves cast onto the hull. The German Navy still used this system at the time of the
Battle of Jutland and
Combrig provides the shelves on the included brass photo-etch fret. The Combrig 1:350 Seydlitz was released prior to the Combrig 1:350
Indefatigable and on the Indefatigable the hull casting does have the net shelves cast onto the upper hull. Since Combrig has a 1:350 scale SMS Von der Tann on
their production schedule, hopefully the model will have the net shelves on the casting, as it saves the time of attaching brass shelves. You’ll also need to scratch-build
the net and net booms. The only profile and plan views of
Seydlitz that I had for comparison were from the old Warships in Profile publication on the battlecruiser.
When I first compared the porthole placement of the
Combrig model with the profile, I noticed quite a few differences. However, I then compared the Combrig
porthole placement with actual photographs of the
Seydlitz. The Combrig placement was far, far closer to the photographs than the reference profile that I was using.
It is not spot on but very close. There is a slight variance with some of the bow portholes. I don’t think that it rises to the level of filling and redrilling but a purist may
wish to do so. The portholes lack rigoles (eyebrows). Also the portholes on the superstructure had covers that open outward. There is 3rd party brass photo-etch that
will provide this detail, as it is not cast into the hull or provided in the kit photo-etch. The armor belt lines are good and the anchor hawse openings have depth, except
for the small hawse at the very stern. The 5.9-inch secondary casemates are very nice with slab-sided oval openings with barrel locator holes inside and square site
next to the casemate opening. At the bows are doors for 88mm tertiary guns, two per side. They were landed before Jutland ut the doors were still present. Each
position has four doors that drop down against the hull side. The doors are molded up with fine door detail. The ship's crests at the bow are not present on the hull or
on the brass fret

The plan view of
Seydlitz in Warships in Profile was as weak as the profile as it didn’t show any coal scuttles. Clearly Combrig was using another plan as the deck
of the model has multitudes of coal scuttles. Deck planking detail is nice but lacks butt-end detail. Forecastle detail is very nice with the standard smooth anchor chain
run plates raised over the wood plank decking. The raised deck anchor hawse jump out. At the other end the fittings for entrance of the chain locker are slightly
hollow. A little work in hollowing the deck hawse and chain locker fittings could pay dividends in the illusion of the anchor chain coming out of the chain locker
fittings, running around the windlass and then running forward and then disappearing into the deck hawse. Twin bollard fittings have the hourglass shape. There a
number of skylights with window detail, deck access coamings and open chocks. The long deck amidship has the majority of coal scuttles. There are far more deck
access coamings on this deck in two styles. There are smaller skylights but they are in three styles. The bollard fittings are smaller than those on the forecastle but still
retain the hourglass shape.
Combrig provides locater outlines for the superstructure and as I have mentioned in other reviews, use white glue to give time to adjust the
superstructure parts to the hull. The quarterdeck is the busiest when it comes to deck fittings with nine skylights in five different styles, nine deck access coamings in
three different patterns and four large twin bollard fittings. At the very stern is an anchor hawse for a small stern anchor with an interesting fitting at deck edge.
As with other Combrig kits, the smaller parts are cast in three different ways. The largest are cast as separate parts, some are on a resin casting wafer but most are on
the standard runner. In addition to the five turrets, there are seven parts that are cast separately. The forward superstructure has two parts, one piece in front of the
deck break from the forecastle to main deck and the part aft of the deck break that is mostly the base for the forward funnel. The forward part has 88mm casemate
position with site openings. The aft piece is loaded with those lovely German louver ventilators found in their World War One designs and always carried out well by
Combrig. In my copy one of the few blemishes in this kit was a broken corner at the corner of one louver blade. The aft funnel base is a hexagon shaped, tapering
pyramid with ventilation louvers on four sides and two boat boom locater holes on the crown. The aft superstructure piece is loaded with more ventilation louvers,
conning tower with vision slits and deck access coamings along the base. Clean up on all of these parts is almost nonexistent. Three of the separate parts are on thick
casting plugs best removed with a cutting wheel, followed by sanding. Two are the funnels with excellent base and top aprons. The aprons have locater holes for
steam pipes, which will have to be scratch-built as they are not provided in the kit. The top of the funnels are hollow to a large degree. The funnel castings are further
enhanced by the bands around them. In reality these bands are foot rungs. For those totally immersed in the greatest possible detail, the bands could be sanded smooth
and brass footrungs used instead by cutting an inclined ladder in half lengthwise. The smallest of the separate parts is a small curved ventilator with louver detail on one
face. The turrets are in two styles as Y turret does not have sighting hoods. The turrets have a lot of crown detail but lack two hatches on the rear of the crown. This
can easily be duplicated by cutting small squares from thin plastic card or from the resin waste on the resin casting wafer. The aft face has two ejection ports in their
correct U shape and the forward face has site openings on the outboard of each gun opening. The turrets have very thin aprons. Casting plugs were used here as well
and some sanding will be needed to reduce the plug to fit in the barbette with the turret flush with the barbette.

The resin sheet has thirteen parts.
Combrig cast thin items such as platforms and decks on the sheet. Three of the parts are for the aft superstructure platforms for
searchlights but most parts are for the forward superstructure. There are four levels of forward superstructure starting with the navigation bridge with conning tower ,
ventilation louver and chart cabin cast integral with the deck. The next two levels are smaller deck houses with an open observation platform with binnacle at the top.
The decks have what appears to be splinter shields but in reality canvas covered railing. Purists may wish to remove the shielding and replace with tissue covered
railing. Also included on the sheet are mast tops and a large platform in front of the forward stack. There are thirty resin runners with the smaller parts but this is
somewhat misleading as twelve of these are for ship’s boats, cast one boat per runner. The breakwater with supporting gussets is another sole piece on a runner.
Three of the runners have barrels; main gun barrels with hollow muzzles; secondary guns and small davits; and 88mm AA guns with mount and open backed gun
shield in place from 1915 to 1919. One runner is all cable reels. Other runners that have multitudes of identical parts are the ones for searchlights; searchlight mounts;
two ship’s booms; propellers; and small eye bolts. The larger davits and windlass caps take up another runner. Four anchors and smaller ventilator fittings are on
another. Another nice runner has the kingposts, circular ventilators and more windlass tops. Main gun turret directors, binnacles, signal lamps and binocular mounts
are on a runner. The lower hull parts occupy a runner with two rudders, two shafts and support struts. Two other runners have minute parts with brackets,
ventilators, boat boom hardware among others. There are six steam launches, three with cabins in two patterns and three open steam launches in two patterns. The
cabins have window detail. Oared boats with bottom planking include two whalers, two mis-sized boats and two small dinghies. All of the small parts are well formed
and well detail. They are almost free of all flash.

Combrig provides three brass frets with their 1:350 scale Seydlitz. The largest fret is dominated by the torpedo net shelves. The three bridge bulkheads have open
windows for glazing. Th ship had a unique prow fitting that overhang the top of the cutwater. This part is present on this fret. Other items on this fret are the 1913-
1915 gun shields for open single purpose 88mm guns, funnel clinker grates, six runs of anchor chain and windlass top wheels. The second fret has side breakwaters
and support gussets, relief-etched name plates, pulley rig, relief-etched doors, platform supports, ship’s wheel, boat detail, vertical ladders with railing but without
trainable treads and vertical ladder runs. The third fret has boat chocks in different patterns with separate base plates and chocks. No railing is provided so you will
need to get generic railing, even if you don’t replace the vertical ladders with ones with trainable treads. My kit did not have the instructions but
Combrig has pdf files
that can be downloaded on their web site. When it comes time to build this kit, I’ll simply print out the pdf files.
Combrig provides an excellent kit of the iron horse of the German Grossen Kreuzer of World War One, the mighty SMS Seydlitz in all of her glory. You get crisp
clean resin castings and three frets of relief-etched brass. I happened to pick up my copy of the
Combrig SMS Seydlitz when I visited Free Time Hobby in Blue
Ridge, Georgia.
Free Time is the sole distributor of Combrig kits in the United States.
Steve Backer