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
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
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
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, 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 Infatigable 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 postion 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
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.
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
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.  
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 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

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
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
opened 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

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

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.
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
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.
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
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 hull is good. I would rate it very good to excellent except for one significant omission. The port hole pattern on the forward hull is very close to the
original ship but a couple of arrangements just aft of the anchor hawse was slightly off and a few portholes were missing. This is minor because it is easy to correct
with a drill and a dab of putty. The anchor hawse are very nice with significant depth, which in fact allows drilling out the passage of anchor chain through the deck
hawse to the hull side hawse. The unique shape of the hull around and below the hawse is captured. There is a nice crisp cutwater and the line of the armor belt starts
almost immediately and continues on to the stern with the correct pattern. The casemate gun positions are very nice with oval openings and sighting port on each
casemate shield. Lastly a single row of portholes resumes at the deck break to the quarterdeck and runs to the stern. The significant omission on the sides of the hull is
the lack of a torpedo net shelves. The
Seydlitz carried an anti-torpedo net, which was rolled up and rested on a shallow shelf. The Seydlitz carried the nets from
completion until sometime after the Battle of Jutland. The best reference that I have seen is
German Battlecruisers of World War One by Gary Sraff, Seaforth
Publishing 2014. There are a huge number of photographs of
Seydlitz and the other German battlecruisers that clearly show the existence of the net shelf. The section
Seydlitz has a series of cross sections, which also shows the net shelf protruding from the hull. The Combrig box states 1913 and the instructions do not show or
mention torpedo nets, shelves or booms. You can build the kit in a post Jutland fit without all the net fittings or you can scratch-build the necessary fittings. It will take
some time but is not that hard to do. Very thin plastic strips are commercially available for use as the shelves but you will probably need the narrowest strips available.
For the torpedo net I have used a mesh fabric purchased from Hobby Lobby wrapped around a thin plastic rod shaped to fit along the curve of the hull with a liberal
application of white glue to prevent the fabric from unravelling. The net is a very dark gray in stark contrast to the much lighter gray hull.

Deck detail is very good. It starts right at the top of the cutwater with a fitting. The fittings on the forecastle match the plan view in the above listed reference. There
are large oval deck hawse with anchor chain plates running under the breakwater to the anchor chain windlasses. On the centerline there is a medium size skylight, a
twin bollard plate, a large skylight, a deck hatch coaming and another twin bollard fitting with a locater hole for a separate small mushroom shaped fitting. Further
outboard of this fitting are twin bollard plates, which are outboard of the anchor chain plates. Aft of these fittings is the curving breakwater. The
Combrig breakwater
lacks support gussets, which were present on the rear face of the breakwater. These can be added with photo-etch gussets small enough to fit, available from third
party vendors or shaped from resin scrap. Aft of the breakwater are the fittings for the chain locker and locater holes for the anchor windlasses. At the deck edge on
both sides are two open chocks. You'll also notice locater plates for separate ventilator fittings at the corners of Anton barbette. The deck planking detail lacks butt end
detail. A smooth superstructure outline is present for attaching the forward superstructure. The deck detail continues amidship. There are three asymmetrical wells for
the two funnel assemblies and aft superstructure, as well as the two deck edge turret barbettes.
Combrig provides the coal scuttle plates on the deck. Scattered along
the deck in an asymmetrical pattern are various fittings such as hatch coamings with hatch detail, skylights, small twin bollard plates, open chocks and storage bins. At
deck edge forward of each wing turret is a plate with a locater hole for separate range finder fittings. If anything, the fittings pick up on the quarterdeck for a veritable
deck clutter. Coal scuttles are also present on the forward portion of the quarterdeck. The raised fittings include more skylights of various sizes, hatch coamings, small
twin bollard plates, large twin bollard plates, deck lockers, open chocks and stern anchor well.

The smaller resin parts come cast in three casting styles. Platforms and thin items are cast on a very thin resin sheet. The largest items are on resin plugs with the
smaller items on runners. Obviously the parts will have to be removed from the plugs and runners. Light cleanup would be recommended to remove minor resin flash
from some parts. Cast on the resin sheet in addition to the thin decks and platforms is the 01 level of the forward superstructure. This part has cast detail of base
fittings, secondary casemates, as well as a few portholes. Te next largest part is the deck that fits over the 01 level part. Detail on this deck includes chart house,
louvered ventilator, hatch coamings, locater hole for the conning tower, navigation wings and locater lines for photo-etch shelters. Also on the sheet are three more
deck houses with windows and platforms that create the top of the forward superstructure. Both funnels have unique platforms with locater holes for searchlights. The
forward platform also has an open well for an inclined ladder. Other platforms included on the sheet are the two platforms for the forward face of the forward funnel.
aft superstructure platforms, small mast platforms and quarterdeck binnacle platform.
There are seven large resin parts cast on plugs. Each funnel has a unique shape. The forward funnel is the largest and is oval in shape. It is cased and after a
prominent apron narrows for a top hat appearance until it reaches a top cap. The aft funnel is slightly oval with bottom apron detail and top cap. Both funnels have
prominent bands running around the funnels that represent foot railing. The funnels rest atop two other large parts, the funnel deck houses, which are very prominent
in their own right, as each is covered with louvered ventilators. The aft superstructure also displays this louver detail, as well as base fittings, locater holes for
additional parts and aft conning tower. A final plug has two parts, a large ventilator, which is atop the aft superstructure and the forward conning tower with vision
slit detail. The five main gun turrets are separate with a residue of resin film at the base. They are in two patterns, as the lower last turret lacks some fittings that
would be impacted by blast from the guns of the superfiring turret. Four of the turrets have cupola and range finder detail on the crowns. All turrets have bottom
aprons. The guns are on a number of runners. There are two for the main guns shared with kingposts for boat handling, and two for the 150mm secondary guns and
88mm tertiary guns. However, all of these barrels looked the same. The barrel for a 150mm gun should be significantly larger than a 88mm gun barrel. Another
runner has the gun shields for the 88mm anti-aircraft guns and another for the gun mounts. The eight large searchlights with closed shutter detail is on a runner.
Range finders, compass, binnacles and other navigation gear share a runner. Another runner has two wedge ventilators, four rectangular ventilators, quarterdeck
navigation platform base and platform on the aft superstructure. Other runners have four anchors with nice fluke detail, anchor windlasses, a small range finder and
masts and yard parts. In addition to the kingposts on the main gun runners, there are seven runners involving the ships boats. One is for boat chocks/cradles. Three
of the boats are on their own runner, a large steam launch, a small open steam launch with separate funnel and a whaler. Another large steam launch shares a runner
with a medium size steam launch and a very small steam launch. The last two runners are for open oared boats with two boats per runner, one for large boats and
one for medium sized boats. All of the oared boats have bottom planking and the steam launches had good cabin and cockpit detail.

Combrig Seydlitz comes with its own dedicated brass photo-etch fret. No railings are provided. Three of the brass parts have open windows. Two are deck
shelters on the deck atop of the 01 superstructure and also a large navigation bulkhead in front of the conning tower. There is a unique frame that fits along the top of
the cutwater. Funnel clinker grates are present. For the anchor gear you get two windlass top wheels and three runs of anchor chain. Other larger brass parts are the
wing breakwaters and support frames for the forward funnel searchlight platform. Boat handling gets a lot of parts. Each kingpost gets six bracket fittings and a three
piece block and tackle. Three of the steam launches get rudder/shaft and tiller detail with separate propellers. There are boat davits for deck edge boats. Searchlight
positions have their own, smaller davits. Inclined ladders come with or without safety railing as well as four runs of fitted vertical ladder.

The instructions are in the old
Combrig format with a single back-printed sheet. The front page features a nice plan and profile that is very useful in finding the
locations for different parts. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing showing torpedo nets, shelves and booms. The front page also has a brief history of
Seydlitz in
English as well as ship's specifications. The back page has the actual assembly centered around a single isomorphic view of the hull.  Photo-etch parts are designated
by "PE" but otherwise there is no numbering of either the resin or brass parts. There are parts laydowns for resin and brass parts as well as insets for assembly of the
two 88mm anti-aircraft guns, kingposts, block and tackle and steam launches. For this kit the minimal instructions should not pose a problem. I located every resin
and brass part attachment point with minimal searching.
The Combrig 1:700 scale model of the SMS Seydlitz is a good solid kit. The kit will build into a post Jutland Seydlitz with minimal work. The greatest shortcoming
of the kit is the lack of torpedo nets, net shelves and net booms, which are necessary to portray the
Seydlitz from commissioning through the Battle of Jutland.
Steve Backer