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SMS Seydlitz

SMS Seydlitz

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SMS Seydlitz

SMS Seydlitz was the fourth German battlecruiser, and was essentially an enlarged version of the previous Moltke class ships. She was 46 feet longer but 3 feet narrower, carried the same main armament of ten 11.1in guns, and had a designed speed one knot faster (although her actual top speed of 28.1kts was lower than that achieved by the Moltke).

The Seydlitz was Admiral Hipper’s flagship from June 1914 until October 1917. She took part in the Gorleston Raid of 2-4 November 1914, the first attack on the British coast during the First World War, and the attack on Hartlepool on 16 December, where she was hit by three 6in shells from the coastal guns,

The Seydlitz was hit three times at the battle of Dogger Bank (24 January 1915). The second of those hits, a 13.5in shell from the Lion, hit the upper deck aft and penetrated the barbette of “D” turret. The flash ignited some of the cordite in the reloading chamber, causing a fire that spread up to the gun house and threatened to detonate the magazine. Only the actions of Pumpenmeister Wilhelm Heidkamp, who flooded “C” and “D” magazines saved the ship. The damage spread to “C” turret when some of the crew of the “D” turret attempted to escape through a connecting hatch. The same thing would happen on four British battlecruisers at Jutland, destroying three.

In the aftermath of the battle of Dogger Bank the Germans modified the way their cordite was handled. Automatic doors were installed in the ammo hoists, much more care was taken to reduce the amount of cordite charges in the turret, and the fore charges were to be kept in their tins until they were about to be used. These changes almost certainly saved several German ships from destruction at Jutland.

The Seydlitz was Hipper’s flagship at the start of the Lowestoft raid of 25 March 1916. Early in the sortie she hit a mine, which blow a 90 meter hole in her side and let in 1,400 tons of water. Admiral Hipper had to transfer his flag to the Lützow, significantly delaying the raid. The Seydlitz needed two months of repairs, only coming back into service on 29 May.

The High Seas Fleet sortie that led to Jutland was delayed until the Seydlitz was ready to take part. Once again she was very badly damaged in the battle, although not until after she had played a part in the destruction of HMS Queen Mary. The Seydlitz opened fire on the Queen Mary at 15.50. The British had the best of the early duel. A hit at 15.55 knocked out the starboard forward switch room. The significance of the changes made after Dogger Bank was demonstrated at 15.57 when the working chamber of “C” turret was hit. The turret was knocked out, but without the disastrous results that followed at Dogger Bank.

At 16.36 the Queen Mary suffered from the lack of anti-flash precautions on the British battlecruisers and exploded under fire from the Seydlitz and Derfflinger.

The Seydlitz continued to take damage throughout the battle. In all she was hit by 25 shells and one torpedo. C, B, D and E turrets were all hit, and she began to take on water. At 2.40am on 1 June she scrapped across Horns Reef, taking on more water, and by 2.30 that afternoon only her buoyant broadside torpedo room kept her afloat. She was rescued by two pump ships, and reached the entrance to Jade Bay by 2 June, where she was briefly beached.

She was repaired by 1 October 1916, taking part in most of the remaining High Seas sorties of the war. At the end of the war she was interned at Scapa Flow, and was scuttled on 21 June 1919.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,700 nautical miles at 14kts

Armour – deck


- belt


- bulkheads


- battery


- barbettes


- turrets


- conning tower



657ft 11in


Ten 280mm (11.1in) SKL/50 guns
Twelve 150mm (5.9in) SKL/45 guns
Twelve 88mm (3.45in) SKL/45 guns
Four 500mm (19.7in) submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement

1068 normal
1425 at Jutland


30 March 1911


17 August 1913


21 June 1919



Kapitän zur See Moritz von Egidy


Kapitän zur See Wilhelm Tägert


Kapitän zur See Moritz von Egidy


Kapitän zur See Wilhelm Tägert


Kapitänleutnant Brauer

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War

SMS Seydlitz

SMS Seydlitz, heavily damaged after the battle of Jutland, 1916.

SMS Seydlitz, View of torpedo damage after the Jutland battle

SMS Seydlitz, Photo taken in a drydock after the Jutland battle

SMS Seydlitz, In port for repairs after the Jutland battle

SMS Seydlitz, Heavily submerged while en route to port after the Jutland battle

SMS Seydlitz, prior to World War I

SMS Seydlitz, underway ca. 1913-1914

SMS Seydlitz, underway, probably to be interned in Scapa Flow, 1918


German armored cruisers—referred to as Grosse Kreuzer (large cruisers)—were designed for several tasks. The ships were designed to engage the reconnaissance forces of rival navies, as well as fight in the line of battle. [2] The earliest armored cruiser—Fürst Bismarck—was rushed through production specifically to be deployed to China to assist in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. Subsequent armored cruisers—with the exception of the two Scharnhorst-class ships—served with the fleet in the reconnaissance force. [3]

On 26 May 1906, the Reichstag authorized funds for Blücher, along with the first two Nassau-class battleships. Though the ship would be much larger and more powerful than previous armored cruisers, Blücher retained that designation in an attempt to conceal its more powerful nature. [4] The ship was ordered under the provisional name "E". [b] Her design was influenced by the need to match the armored cruisers which Britain was known to be building at the time. The Germans expected these new British ships to be armed with six or eight 9.2 in (23 cm) guns. [5] In response, the German navy approved a design with twelve 21 cm (8.3 in) guns in six twin turrets. This was significantly more firepower than that of the Scharnhorst class, which carried only eight 21 cm guns. [6]

One week after the final decision was made to authorize construction of Blücher, the German naval attache obtained the actual details of the new British ships, called the Invincible class. In fact, HMS Invincible carried eight 30.5 centimetres (12 in) guns of the same type mounted on battleships. It was soon recognized that these ships were a new type of warship, which eventually came to be classified as the battlecruiser. When the details of the Invincible class came to light, it was too late to redesign Blücher, and there were no funds for a redesign, so work proceeded as scheduled. [7] Blücher was therefore arguably obsolete even before her construction started, and was rapidly surpassed by the German Navy's battlecruisers, the first of which (Von der Tann) was ordered in 1907. [8] Despite this, Blücher was typically deployed with the German battlecruiser squadron. [5] [c]

General characteristics Edit

Blücher was 161.1 m (528 ft 7 in) long at the waterline and 161.8 m (530 ft 10 in) long overall. The ship had a beam of 24.5 m (80 ft 5 in), and with the anti-torpedo nets mounted along the sides of the ship, the beam increased to 25.62 m (84 ft 1 in). Blücher had a draft of 8.84 m (29 ft) forward, but slightly less aft, at 8.56 m (28 ft 1 in). The ship displaced 15,842 t (15,592 long tons) at her designed weight, and up to 17,500 t (17,200 long tons) at full load. Her hull was constructed with both transverse and longitudinal steel frames and she had thirteen watertight compartments and a double bottom that ran for approximately 65 percent of the length of the hull. [9]

Documents from the German naval archives generally indicate satisfaction with Blücher's minor pitch and gentle motion at sea. [9] However, she suffered from severe roll, and with the rudder hard over, she heeled over up to 10 degrees from the vertical and lost up to 55 percent of her speed. Blücher ' s metacentric height was 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in). The ship had a standard crew of 41 officers and 812 enlisted men, with an additional 14 officers and 62 sailors when she served as a squadron flagship. She carried a number of smaller vessels, including two picket boats, three barges, two launches, two yawls, and one dinghy. [9]

Propulsion Edit

Blücher was equipped with three vertical, 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines. Each engine drove a screw propeller, the center screw being 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in) in diameter, while the outer two screws were slightly larger, at 5.6 m (18 ft 4 in) in diameter. The ship had a single rudder with which to steer. The three engines were segregated in individual engine rooms. Steam was provided by eighteen coal-fired, marine-type water-tube boilers, which were also divided into three boiler rooms. Electrical power for the ship was supplied by six turbo-generators that provided up to 1,000 kilowatts, rated at 225 volts. [9]

The ship had a designed maximum speed of 24.5 knots (45.4 km/h 28.2 mph), but during her trials, she achieved 25.4 knots (47.0 km/h 29.2 mph). The ship was designed to carry 900 t (890 long tons) of coal, though voids in the hull could be used to expand the fuel supply to up to 2,510 t (2,470 long tons) of coal. This provided a cruising radius of 6,600 nautical miles (12,200 km 7,600 mi) at a cruising speed of 12 knots (22 km/h 14 mph). At a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h 21 mph), her range was cut down to 3,250 nmi (6,020 km 3,740 mi). [9] The highest power ever achieved by a reciprocating engine warship was the 37,799 indicated horsepower (28,187 kW) produced by Blücher on her trials in 1909. [10]

Armament Edit

Blücher was equipped with twelve 21 cm (8.3 in) SK L/45 [d] quick-firing guns in six twin turrets, one pair fore and one pair aft, and two pairs in wing turrets on either side of the superstructure. The guns were supplied with a total of 1,020 shells, or 85 rounds per gun. [9] Each shell weighed 108 kg (238 lb), and was 61 cm (24 in) in length. [11] The guns could be depressed to −5° and elevated to 30°, providing a maximum range of 19,100 m (20,900 yd). [9] Their rate of fire was 4–5 rounds per minute. [11] [12]

The ship had a secondary battery of eight 15 cm (5.9 in) quick-firing guns mounted in MPL C/06 casemates, [13] [14] four centered amidships on either side of the vessel. [9] These guns could engage targets out to 13,500 m (14,800 yd). [12] They were supplied with 1320 rounds, for 165 shells per gun, and had a sustained rate of fire of 5–7 rounds per minute. [13] The shells were 45.3 kg (99.9 lb), [14] and were loaded with a 13.7 kg (30.2 lb) RPC/12 propellant charge in a brass cartridge. [13] The guns fired at a muzzle velocity of 835 m (2,740 ft) per second, [12] and were expected to fire around 1,400 shells before they needed to be replaced. [13]

Blücher was also armed with sixteen 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/45 quick-firing guns, placed in both casemates and pivot mounts. Four of these guns were mounted in casemates near the bridge, four in casemates in the bow, another four in casemates at the stern, and the remaining four were mounted in pivot mounts in the rear superstructure. They were supplied with a total of 3,200 rounds, or 200 shells per gun, [9] and could fire at a rate of 15 shells per minute. Their high explosive shells weighed 10 kg (22 lb), [14] and were loaded with a 3 kg (6.6 lb) RPC/12 propellant charge. These guns had a life expectancy of around 7,000 rounds. [15] The guns had a maximum range of 10,700 m (11,700 yd). [14]

Blücher was also equipped with four 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes. One was placed in the bow, one in the stern, and the other two were placed on the broadside, all below the waterline. The ship carried a total of 11 torpedoes. [9] The torpedoes carried a 110 kg (240 lb) warhead and had two speed settings, which affected the range. At 32 knots (59 km/h 37 mph), the weapon had a range of 2,000 m (2,200 yd) and at 36 knots (67 km/h 41 mph), the range was reduced to 1,500 m (1,600 yd). [14]

Armor Edit

As with other German capital ships of the period, Blücher was equipped with Krupp cemented armor. The armored deck was between 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) in thickness more important areas of the ship were protected with thicker armor, while less critical portions of the deck used the thinner armor. [9] The armored belt was 18 cm (7.1 in) thick in the central portion of the ship where propulsion machinery, ammunition magazines, and other vitals were located, and tapered to 8 cm (3.1 in) in less important areas of the hull. The belt tapered down to zero at either end of the ship. Behind the entire length of the belt armor was an additional 3 cm (1.2 in) of teak. The armored belt was supplemented by a 3.5 cm (1.4 in) torpedo bulkhead, [9] though this only ran between the forward and rear centerline gun turrets. [16]

The forward conning tower was the most heavily armored part of the ship. Its sides were 25 cm (9.8 in) thick and it had a roof that was 8 cm thick. The rear conning tower was significantly less well armored, with a roof that was 3 cm thick and sides that were only 14 cm (5.5 in) thick. The central citadel of the ship was protected by 16 cm (6.3 in) armor. The main battery turrets were 8 cm thick in their roofs, and had 18 cm sides. The 15 cm turret casemates were protected by 14 cm of armor. [9]

Blücher was launched on 11 April 1908 and commissioned into the fleet on 1 October 1909. She served as a training ship for naval gunners starting in 1911. In 1914, she was transferred to the I Scouting Group along with the newer battlecruisers Von der Tann, Moltke, and the flagship Seydlitz. [9] The first operation in which Blücher took part was an inconclusive sweep into the Baltic Sea against Russian forces. On 3 September 1914, Blücher, along with seven pre-dreadnought battleships of the IV Squadron, five cruisers, and 24 destroyers sailed into the Baltic in an attempt to draw out a portion of the Russian fleet and destroy it. The light cruiser Augsburg encountered the armored cruisers Bayan and Pallada north of Dagö (now Hiiumaa) island. The German cruiser attempted to lure the Russian ships back towards Blücher so that she could destroy them, but the Russians refused to take the bait and instead withdrew to the Gulf of Finland. On 9 September, the operation was terminated without any major engagements between the two fleets. [17]

On 2 November 1914, Blücher—along with the battlecruisers Moltke, Von der Tann, and Seydlitz, and accompanied by four light cruisers, left the Jade Bight and steamed towards the English coast. [18] The flotilla arrived off Great Yarmouth at daybreak the following morning and bombarded the port, while the light cruiser Stralsund laid a minefield. The British submarine HMS D5 responded to the bombardment, but struck one of the mines laid by Stralsund and sank. Shortly thereafter, Hipper ordered his ships to turn back to German waters. On the way, a heavy fog covered the Heligoland Bight, so the ships were ordered to halt until visibility improved and they could safely navigate the defensive minefields. The armored cruiser Yorck made a navigational error that led her into one of the German minefields. She struck two mines and quickly sank only 127 men out of the crew of 629 were rescued. [18]

Bombardment of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby Edit

Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl, commander of the German High Seas Fleet, decided that another raid on the English coast should be carried out in the hopes of luring a portion of the Grand Fleet into combat where it could be destroyed. [18] At 03:20, CET on 15 December 1914, Blücher, Moltke, Von der Tann, the new battlecruiser Derfflinger, and Seydlitz, along with the light cruisers Kolberg, Strassburg, Stralsund, Graudenz, and two squadrons of torpedo boats left the Jade estuary. [19] The ships sailed north past the island of Heligoland, until they reached the Horns Reef lighthouse, at which point the ships turned west towards Scarborough. Twelve hours after Hipper left the Jade, the High Seas Fleet, consisting of 14 dreadnoughts and eight pre-dreadnoughts and a screening force of two armored cruisers, seven light cruisers, and 54 torpedo boats, departed to provide distant cover for the bombardment force. [19]

On 26 August 1914, the German light cruiser Magdeburg had run aground in the Gulf of Finland the wreck was captured by the Russian navy, which found code books used by the German navy, along with navigational charts for the North Sea. These documents were then passed on to the Royal Navy. Room 40 began decrypting German signals, and on 14 December, intercepted messages relating to the plan to bombard Scarborough. [19] The exact details of the plan were unknown, and it was assumed that the High Seas Fleet would remain safely in port, as in the previous bombardment. Vice Admiral Beatty's four battlecruisers, supported by the 3rd Cruiser Squadron and the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, along with the 2nd Battle Squadron's six dreadnoughts, were to ambush Hipper's battlecruisers. [20]

On the night of 15/16 December, the main body of the High Seas Fleet encountered British destroyers. Fearing the prospect of a nighttime torpedo attack, Admiral Ingenohl ordered the ships to retreat. [20] Hipper was unaware of Ingenohl's reversal, and so he continued with the bombardment. Upon reaching the British coast, Hipper's battlecruisers split into two groups. Seydlitz, Moltke, and Blücher went north to shell Hartlepool, while Von der Tann and Derfflinger went south to shell Scarborough and Whitby. Of the three towns, only Hartlepool was defended by coastal artillery batteries. [21] During the bombardment of Hartlepool, Seydlitz was hit three times and Blücher was hit six times by the coastal battery. Blücher suffered minimal damage, but nine men were killed and another three were wounded. [21] By 09:45 on the 16th, the two groups had reassembled, and they began to retreat eastward. [22]

By this time, Beatty's battlecruisers were in position to block Hipper's chosen egress route, while other forces were en route to complete the encirclement. At 12:25, the light cruisers of the II Scouting Group began to pass through the British forces searching for Hipper. [23] One of the cruisers in the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron spotted Stralsund and signaled a report to Beatty. At 12:30, Beatty turned his battlecruisers towards the German ships. Beatty presumed that the German cruisers were the advance screen for Hipper's ships, but the battlecruisers were some 50 km (27 nmi 31 mi) ahead. [23] The 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, which had been screening for Beatty's ships, detached to pursue the German cruisers, but a misinterpreted signal from the British battlecruisers sent them back to their screening positions. [e] This confusion allowed the German light cruisers to escape and alerted Hipper to the location of the British battlecruisers. The German battlecruisers wheeled to the northeast of the British forces and made good their escape. [23]

Both the British and the Germans were disappointed that they failed to effectively engage their opponents. Admiral Ingenohl's reputation suffered greatly as a result of his timidity. The captain of Moltke was furious he stated that Ingenohl had turned back "because he was afraid of eleven British destroyers which could have been eliminated . Under the present leadership we will accomplish nothing." [24] The official German history criticized Ingenohl for failing to use his light forces to determine the size of the British fleet, stating: "He decided on a measure which not only seriously jeopardized his advance forces off the English coast but also deprived the German Fleet of a signal and certain victory." [24]

Battle of Dogger Bank Edit

In early January 1915 the German naval command found out that British ships were conducting reconnaissance in the Dogger Bank area. Admiral Ingenohl was initially reluctant to attempt to destroy these forces, because the I Scouting Group was temporarily weakened while Von der Tann was in drydock for periodic maintenance. Konteradmiral (counter admiral) Richard Eckermann—the Chief of Staff of the High Seas Fleet—insisted on the operation, and so Ingenohl relented and ordered Hipper to take his battlecruisers to the Dogger Bank. [25]

On 23 January, Hipper sortied, with Seydlitz in the lead, followed by Moltke, Derfflinger, and Blücher, along with the light cruisers Graudenz, Rostock, Stralsund, and Kolberg and 19 torpedo boats from V Flotilla and II and XVIII Half-Flotillas. Graudenz and Stralsund were assigned to the forward screen, while Kolberg and Rostock were assigned to the starboard and port, respectively. Each light cruiser had a half-flotilla of torpedo boats attached. [25]

Again, interception and decryption of German wireless signals played an important role. Although they were unaware of the exact plans, the cryptographers of Room 40 were able to deduce that Hipper would be conducting an operation in the Dogger Bank area. [25] To counter it, Beatty's 1st Battlecruiser Squadron, Rear Admiral Gordon Moore's 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron and Commodore William Goodenough's 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron were to rendezvous with Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt's Harwich Force at 08:00 on 24 January, approximately 30 nmi (56 km 35 mi) north of the Dogger Bank. [25]

At 08:14, Kolberg spotted the light cruiser Aurora and several destroyers from the Harwich Force. [26] Aurora challenged Kolberg with a searchlight, at which point Kolberg attacked Aurora and scored two hits. Aurora returned fire and scored two hits on Kolberg in retaliation. Hipper immediately turned his battlecruisers towards the gunfire, when, almost simultaneously, Stralsund spotted a large amount of smoke to the northwest of her position. This was identified as a number of large British warships steaming toward Hipper's ships. [26] Hipper later remarked:

The presence of such a large force indicated the proximity of further sections of the British Fleet, especially as wireless intercepts revealed the approach of 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron . They were also reported by Blücher at the rear of the German line, which had opened fire on a light cruiser and several destroyers coming up from astern . The battlecruisers under my command found themselves, in view of the prevailing [East-North-East] wind, in the windward position and so in an unfavourable situation from the outset . [26]

Hipper turned south to flee, but was limited to 23 kn (43 km/h 26 mph), which was Blücher's maximum speed at the time. [f] The pursuing British battlecruisers were steaming at 27 kn (50 km/h 31 mph), and quickly caught up to the German ships. At 09:52, Lion opened fire on Blücher from a range of approximately 20,000 yards (18,000 m) shortly after, Princess Royal and Tiger began firing as well. [26] At 10:09, the British guns made their first hit on Blücher. Two minutes later, the German ships began returning fire, primarily concentrating on Lion, from a range of 18,000 yd (16,000 m). At 10:28, Lion was struck on the waterline, which tore a hole in the side of the ship and flooded a coal bunker. [27] At around this time, Blücher scored a hit with a 21 cm shell on Lion ' s forward turret. The shell failed to penetrate the armor, but had concussion effect and temporarily disabled the left gun. [28] At 10:30, New Zealand—the fourth ship in Beatty's line—came within range of Blücher and opened fire. By 10:35, the range had closed to 17,500 yd (16,000 m), at which point the entire German line was within the effective range of the British ships. Beatty ordered his battlecruisers to engage their German counterparts. [g]

By 11:00, Blücher had been severely damaged after having been pounded by numerous heavy shells from the British battlecruisers. However, the three leading German battlecruisers, Seydlitz, Derfflinger, and Moltke, had concentrated their fire on Lion and scored several hits two of her three dynamos were disabled and the port side engine room had been flooded. [29] At 11:48, Indomitable arrived on the scene, and was directed by Beatty to destroy the battered Blücher, which was already on fire and listing heavily to port. One of the ship's survivors recounted the destruction that was being wrought:

The shells . bore their way even to the stokehold. The coal in the bunkers was set on fire. Since the bunkers were half empty, the fire burned merrily. In the engine room a shell licked up the oil and sprayed it around in flames of blue and green . The terrific air pressure resulting from [an] explosion in a confined space . roar[ed] through every opening and [tore] its way through every weak spot . Men were picked up by that terrific air pressure and tossed to a horrible death among the machinery. [29]

The British attack was interrupted due to reports of U-boats ahead of the British ships. Beatty quickly ordered evasive maneuvers, which allowed the German ships to increase the distance from their pursuers. [30] At this time, Lion ' s last operational dynamo failed, which reduced her speed to 15 kn (28 km/h 17 mph). Beatty, in the stricken Lion, ordered the remaining battlecruisers to "Engage the enemy's rear", but signal confusion caused the ships to target Blücher alone. [31] She continued to resist stubbornly Blücher repulsed attacks by the four cruisers of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron and four destroyers. However, the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron flagship, Aurora, hit Blücher twice with torpedoes. By this time, every main battery gun turret except the rear mount had been silenced. A volley of seven more torpedoes was launched at point-blank range these hits caused the ship to capsize at 13:13. In the course of the engagement, Blücher had been hit by 70–100 large-caliber shells and several torpedoes. [32]

As the ship was sinking, British destroyers steamed towards her in an attempt to rescue survivors from the water. However, the German zeppelin L5 mistook the sinking Blücher for a British battlecruiser, and tried to bomb the destroyers, which withdrew. [31] Figures vary on the number of casualties Paul Schmalenbach reported 6 officers of a total of 29 and 275 enlisted men of a complement of 999 were pulled from the water, for a total of 747 men killed. [32] The official German sources examined by Erich Gröner stated that 792 men died when Blücher sank, [9] while James Goldrick referred to British documents, which reported only 234 men survived from a crew of at least 1,200. [33] Among those who had been rescued was Kapitan zur See (captain at sea) Erdmann, the commanding officer of Blücher. He later died of pneumonia while in British captivity. [31] A further twenty men would also die as prisoners of war. [32]

The concentration on Blücher allowed Moltke, Seydlitz, and Derfflinger to escape. [34] Admiral Hipper had originally intended to use his three battlecruisers to turn about and flank the British ships, in order to relieve the battered Blücher, but when he learned of the severe damage to his flagship, he decided to abandon the armored cruiser. [31] Hipper later recounted his decision:

In order to help the Blücher it was decided to try for a flanking move . But as I was informed that in my flagship turrets C and D were out of action, we were full of water aft, and that she had only 200 rounds of heavy shell left, I dismissed any further thought of supporting the Blücher. Any such course, now that no intervention from our Main Fleet was to be counted on, was likely to lead to further heavy losses. The support of the Blücher by the flanking move would have brought my formation between the British battlecruisers and the battle squadrons which were probably behind. [31]

By the time Beatty regained control over his ships, after having boarded HMS Princess Royal, the German ships had too great a lead for the British to catch them at 13:50, he broke off the chase. [31] Kaiser Wilhelm II was enraged by the destruction of Blücher and the near sinking of Seydlitz, and ordered the High Seas Fleet to remain in harbor. Rear Admiral Eckermann was removed from his post and Admiral Ingenohl was forced to resign. He was replaced by Admiral Hugo von Pohl. [35]

SMS Seydlitz

Figure 1: SMS Seydlitz (German battlecruiser, 1913-1919) photographed prior to World War I, circa 1913-1914, by M.L. Carstens, Hamburg. Note the photographer's distinctive mark in the lower right. The ship's anti-torpedo nets and booms were removed in 1916. This print was received from the US Office of Naval Intelligence in 1935. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2: SMS Seydlitz underway, probably between the time she entered service on 22 May 1913 and the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. The original print was transferred from the Office of Naval Intelligence. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 3: SMS Seydlitz underway, circa 1914-1916. The original print is marked on the reverse side: "Photogr. Atelier Heinr. Meents, Wilhelmshaven, MarktStr.19." Courtesy of Master Sergeant Donald L.R. Shake, USAF, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 4: SMS Seydlitz moored in harbor, circa 1913-1916. Note the anti-torpedo nets stowed along the ship's side. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 5: SMS Seydlitz badly damaged but underway while en route to port after the Battle of Jutland, circa 1-2 June 1916. Note that her bows are nearly submerged due to torpedo and shell hits forward. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 6: SMS Seydlitz in port for battle damage repairs after the Battle of Jutland. Photographed on 6 June 1916, after the guns had been removed from her forward gun turret. Note her list to port and the nearly submerged condition of her bow. The inscription in the upper left is a German security warning notice. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 7: View of damage to the port bow of SMS Seydlitz, including a missing section of side armor plate, taken in dry dock in June 1916 following the Battle of Jutland. The inscription in the upper left is a German security warning notice. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 8: View of torpedo damage to the hull of SMS Seydlitz, forward, taken in dry dock in June 1916 following the Battle of Jutland. Note the effect that the armor belt (at top) had in limiting the upward extent of the hole. The inscription in the upper left is a German security warning notice. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 9: SMS Seydlitz steaming to Scapa Flow to be interned, 21 November 1918. Collection of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) A. Alvin Booth, USNRF. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 10: SMS Seydlitz steaming to Scapa Flow to be interned, 21 November 1918. Collection of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) A. Alvin Booth, USNRF. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 11: SMS Seydlitz leads the German battle cruisers toward Scapa Flow and internment, 21 November 1918. SMS Moltke is next astern, followed by the two remaining Lutzow class ships, Hindenburg and Derfflinger. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 12: German battle cruisers steaming toward Scapa Flow for internment, 21 November 1918. The British blimp N.S.8 is flying overhead. SMS Seydlitz is leading, at left, with Moltke next astern followed by the two remaining Lutzow class ships, Hindenburg and Derfflinger. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 13: SMS Seydlitz capsized at Scapa Flow, probably shortly after she was scuttled by her crew on 21 June 1919. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 14: SMS Seydlitz capsized at Scapa Flow, after she was scuttled by her crew on 21 June 1919. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Admiral Joseph Strauss, USN. Admiral Strauss commented (in pencil) on the original print "I saw this one sink." US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

SMS (which stands for Seiner Majestät Schiff or His Majesty's Ship) Seydlitz, was a 24,988-ton battle cruiser that was built by Blohm & Voss at Hamburg, Germany, and was commissioned in May 1913. Seydlitz was the fourth battle cruiser built for the German High Seas Fleet and was named after Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, a Prussian general who served King Frederick the Great. Seydlitz was approximately 658 feet long and 94 feet wide, had a top speed of 26 knots, and had a crew of 1,068 officers and men. The ship was armed with ten 11.2-inch guns, twelve 5.9-inch guns, and twelve 3.45-inch guns.

Seydlitz was commissioned slightly more than a year before the outbreak of World War I and during that time patrolled the North Sea and the Baltic with other units in the German High Seas Fleet. After hostilities began in August 1914, Seydlitz participated in two of the most famous naval battles of World War I. The first occurred on 24 January 1915, when Seydlitz served as the flagship of the German battle cruiser force in the Battle of the Dogger Bank. During that confrontation, three German battle cruisers and one large armored cruiser under the command of Admiral Franz von Hipper were intercepted by five British battle cruisers under the command of Admiral David Beatty. The ships met at the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, located roughly midway between Germany and Great Britain. During the battle, Seydlitz was hit by a 13.5-inch shell from HMS Lion. The shell went through her after turret and ignited a large fire. The fire spread rapidly and consumed a number of compartments, gradually making its way to the aft ammunition magazines. Only the quick thinking of the ship’s executive officer, who decided to flood the magazines, prevented the ship from blowing up in a massive explosion. The shell hit and resulting fire, though, killed 160 members of the crew and put both of the ship’s rear turrets out of action. One of the German battle cruisers, Blücher, was sunk by the British, but the other three German warships were able to escape back to Germany where Seydlitz was repaired after several months.

The next major confrontation involving Seydlitz was the famous Battle of Jutland, which occurred on 1 June 1916. The battle took place in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark, where the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet under Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer clashed with the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet, under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. Jutland was by far the largest naval battle of World War I and most of the major units in both the German and British fleets participated in the action. During this battle, Seydlitz and the German battle cruiser SMS Derfflinger unleashed broadsides against the British battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary, hitting her five times. The hits caused a huge explosion on board Queen Mary and the ship broke in two and sank with heavy loss of life. But then Seydlitz was pounded by several British warships. In all, Seydlitz was struck by approximately two dozen large-caliber shells, which caused extensive damage and fires and put several of the ship’s guns out of action. The German battle cruiser also was hit by a torpedo that was fired by a British destroyer. The torpedo hit Seydlitz below the forward turret, ripping a 40-foot-long by 13-foot-wide hole in her hull. More than 5,000 tons of water rushed into the forward part of the ship, which reduced her freeboard at the bow to almost nothing. In fact, the forward part of the ship was barely above water, but she remained afloat. Miraculously, Seydlitz was able to make it back to port in Germany on her own power. She lost 98 crewmembers killed and 55 wounded, although these casualties could have been much worse considering the damage sustained by the ship. Seydlitz proved that German battle cruisers could take an enormous amount of punishment and still remain afloat, unlike British battle cruisers, which had a tendency to catch fire and be ripped apart by massive explosions after being hit.

It took almost four months to repair Seydlitz. Once the repairs were completed, the ship remained active within the German fleet until the end of the war on 11 November 1918, although she never participated in another major battle. On 24 November 1918, Seydlitz (along with 73 other warships from the German High Seas Fleet) steamed into the British naval base at Scapa Flow, Scotland, to be interned. While the ships were interned at Scapa Flow, diplomats at the Versailles Treaty Conference were holding negotiations on how the ships of the German Fleet were to be divided amongst the victors. But rather than have to endure the humiliation of officially handing over their warships to the Allied Powers for distribution, the German officers and men decided to commit one final act of defiance. On 21 June 1919, the remaining German crewmembers aboard the interned ships scuttled all of them. Seydlitz was one of the 52 ships to go down, although she didn’t actually sink. Seydlitz capsized, with the bulk of her hull remaining above water. The wreck remained that way until raised in 1928. What was left of the ship was scrapped in 1930.

SS Seydlitz Ephemera Collection

All Digitized Ephemera for the SS Seydlitz available at the GG Archives. Common items of ephemera in our maritime collection include passenger lists, brochures, event and entertainment programs, and other memorabilia produced for a voyage or ship.

Example of an Immigration Control Card for Australia, issued by the North German Lloyd SS Seydlitz for a German immigrant on 14 July 1913. The immigrant would have carried this card with him and showed Australian Immigration Officers at Fremantle as required.

Vintage Dinner Menu from 6 September 1930 on board the SS Seydlitz of the Norddeutscher Lloyd/North German Lloyd featured Filet Mignon, French Fried Potatoes, Ham in Burgundy, and Strawberry Ice-Cream with Wafers for dessert.

Postcard with Photo of Sailors from the SMS Seydlitz dated 18 October 1914. Image Contributed by Lydia Sayers Yee. GGA Image ID # 1595a2bae6

Left Side "Tombstone"

Erinnerung an die Kriegszeit 1914

Memory of the wartime 1914

Right Side "Tombstone"

Wir waren gern bei Euch fhr Lieben!
Doch weil der Engländer Frech geworden, Sind wit hier geblieben

We were happy to be with you dear ones!
But because the English got naughty, we stayed here.

Photograph of German Sailor Hans Faber from the SMS Seydlitz, nd, circa 1914. Image Contributed by Lydia Sayers Yee. GGA Image ID # 15967e42b0

Ephemera contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenirs provided to the passengers of each voyage. Many of these souvenir ephemeral items have disappeared over the years.

Our selection varies considerably by ship, and likely contains only a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.

Bookmark pages you're researching and check back periodically for additions as we continue to digitize our extensive ephemera materials.


All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

Accepted Non-commercial Use

Permitted use for these purposes:

If you are interested in the full range of licenses available for this material, please contact one of our collections sales and licensing teams.

SMS Seydlitz Final

Model Details
Length : 200,600 m
Width (with armor): 28.500 m
Construction depth : 8,400 m
Speed : 28,1 MPS
Weight : 25,400 T
Original Construction Finished : 1913
Time Spent : over 100 hours
Rendered in : Brazil
Plugins : Dreamscape
Textured : Photoshop
Post production : Photoshop
Next in line : Admiral graf spee

Is there any way to get this at 1920x1200? it would be an excellent wallpaper!

simply amazing, it looks like a real photo, yet at the same time you could tell it was made, its just so wonderfully done.

The details you put in this piee are simply overwhelming, you have to look at it for a while to be able to take it all in, just awe inspiring.

SMS Seydlitz was a 25,000 ton battlecruiser of the Imperial German Navy, built at Hamburg, Germany,
and commissioned in May 1913.
She was named after Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, a Prussian general during the reign of King Frederick the Great

The Seydlitz was a unique vessel, being a modified version of the previous Moltke class Battlecruisers.
As the Moltke was herself basically an enlarged version of Germany's first Battlecruiser, Vonn Der Tann, the
Seydlitz can be considered the ultimate evolution of Germany's first generation of Battlecruisers.
The Principle difference between the Seydlitz and her predecessors was her raised forecastle,
giving her greater freeboard at the bow.
The intent was to improve the seakeeping qualities of the vessel as the Moltke Class had proved
notoriously "wet" in even relatively mild swell.

At the Battle of Dogger Bank,24 January 1915, in World War I SMS Seydlitz was the flagship of
Admiral Franz von Hipper.
She was hit by a 13.5-inch shell from HMS Lion which penetrated the working chamber of her after turret.
The resulting explosion knocked out the rear turret and, due to an open door to the adjacent turret,
knocked out that one as well, with the loss of the 160 men of the two turrets’ crews.
Only the prompt action of her executive officer in flooding the magazines saved Seydlitz from a
magazine explosion that would have destroyed the ship.
At the Battle of Jutland, a similar situation befell HMS Lion

At the Battle of Jutland in 1916 she fought in Hipper's battlecruiser squadron and would carry the
Admiral's flag again when he was forced to transfer from the sinking Lutzow.
Her gunfire led to the explosion of HMS Queen Mary.
Seydlitz was heavily damaged herself, being hit by twenty-one heavy shells and one torpedo and
suffering 98 men killed and 55 injured.
She shipped 5,000 tons of water, reducing her freeboard to almost nothing, but made it back to port.

Seydlitz survived more damage that any other German Captial Ship during WWI, a remarkable
testament to the incredibly strong basic design of German Battlecruisers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she was always considered a lucky ship by the sailors of the High Seas Fleet.

After the armistice she was interned at Scapa Flow where she was scuttled by her crew with the rest of the
High Seas Fleet on 21 June 1919.
She was salvaged in 1928 and scrapped.

:: SMS SEYDLITZ (1912) ::

High resolution picture

Completed one year before the British battlecruisers of the Lion class, the SMS Seydlitz carried much lighter armament and unlike in the British counterparts, two of the turrets were placed outside the centerline, with the disadvantages that this arrangement causes. Besides, the two ships of the Lion class had only one turret below the forecastle level, while the SMS Seydlitz had all but one at that level.

The SMS Seydlitz had advantage over the British ships regarding the higher armor thickness and the much better internal subdivision, but this factor diminished in importance considering the much higher penetration power of the British projectiles. There was also a problem in the isolation of the magazines in the German ship, which caused the two aft turrets to get ablaze when one of the barbettes was penetrated during the Battle of Jutland. In similar circumstances, the turret Q of the HMS Lion was prepared to prevent the explosion. Finally, the boilers and the machinery, albeit larger and heavier, were also more reliable.

During the Battle of Jutland the SMS Seydlitz was responsible, together with the SMS Derfflinger, of the sinking of the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary. The SMS Seydlitz suffered very heavy damage during the battle, being hit by 21 heavy projectiles and one torpedo, but she survived despite of 5300 tonnes of water flooding the hull. In reparation during some months, she spent the rest of the war patrolling the North Sea without important events. After the war she had an innoble end, being sunk by her own crew in Scapa Flow in 1919, as the rest of the German High Seas Fleet seized by the British and reunited in that remote naval base.

The illustration shows the SMS Seydlitz as she was during the Battle of Jutland the 31st May 1916. Note the heraldic shield in the prow worn by every German capital ship, the tall forecastle and the "echelon" turrets.

Class: Seydlitz (1 unit - Seydlitz)

Displacement (normal): 25000 tonnes

Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Naval, 27 x boiler Naval, 89738 horsepower

Speed: 29.12 knots (53.4 kilometers/hour)

Range: 4700 nautical miles (8700 kilometers) at 14 knots

Armament (as built): 10 x 280-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 12 x 150-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 14 x 88-millimeter cannon, 4 x 500-millimeter torpedo tube

Armament (in 1918): 10 x 280-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 12 x 150-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 2 x 88-millimeter cannon, 4 x 500-millimeter torpedo tube

Armor: 150-300 millimeters in belt, 100 millimeters in ends, 30-80 millimeters in upper deck, 30-80 millimeters in armored deck, 100-200 millimeters in barbettes, 70-250 millimeters in main turrets, 150 millimeters in casemates, 350 millimeters in conning tower

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Seydlitz

The battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz was a single ship, which emerged from the Moltke class and paved the way to the modern Derfflinger class. Just before the war, put into service, it shared the fate of most other modern warships of the Imperial Navy and was sunk in Scapa Flow itself.

Launching and design:

The construction of SMS Seydlitz was based on the experience of the two Moltke-class ships. The most noticeable difference was that the Seydlitz had a deck higher in the front area so that the water could not overflow the deck, as was the case with the predecessor ships.

Although further technical innovations were already known during the construction of the ship, these were only implemented in the following ship class.

The launching of the SMS Seydlitz took place on March 30, 1912, the commissioning on May 22, 1913.

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Seydlitz

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Seydlitz

Use in the war:

Already during the test drives the first world war broke out in Europe. The SMS Seydlitz was therefore assigned to the German High Seas Fleet.

The first missions led the ship on November 3 and December 16, 1914 by when it shelled the British coastal towns of Yarmouth and Hartlepool.

On January 24, 1915 Seydlitz was involved in the Dogger Bank Battle, where she got a hit in the rear turret, which triggered a cartridge fire and could only be deleted by the flood of ammunition chambers.

On April 24, 1916, the Seydlitz should again bombard British coastal cities. On the way there, the ship sailed on the British east coast on a sea mine and was so badly damaged that the ship had to return and had to be repaired until May 29, 1916 in Wilhelmshaven.

On the night of 31 May to 1 June 1916 SMS Seydlitz also participated in the Battle of the Skagerrak. There she could, together with the SMS Derfflinger sink the British battlecruiser Queen Mary. During the battle, however, the Seydlitz itself received more than 20 hits, including a torpedo hit. With great effort and a temporary drive backwards, the heavily damaged ship was able to return to Wilhelmshaven by itself.

SMS Seydlitz after the Battle of the Skagerrak

SMS Seydlitz after the Battle of the Skagerrak

Torpedo damage after the Battle of the Skagerrak


According to the terms of the ceasefire Seydlitz was one of the ships that had to be interned in Scapa Flow. On November 19, 1918, the ship moved along with most other German ships in the British port.

Since at the end of the talks on the Treaty of Versailles was foreseeable that the ships will not be returned to Germany back Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued on June 21, 1919 the order for self-subsidence.

The crew of the Seydlitz also opened the sea valves, so that water entered the ship. It got list and started to sink. As it sank in shallow water, it could not sink completely. Parts of the ship sticking out accordingly.

In November 1928, the wreck was lifted and scrapped until 1930 in Rosyth.

SMS Seydlitz on the way to Scapa Flow

SMS Seydlitz in the sunken state in Scapa Flow

Ship data:

10 × Rapid Fire Gun 28,0 cm L / 50 (870 rounds)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 45 (1.920 rounds)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 45 (3.400 rounds)

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 50.0 cm (11 rounds)

You can find the right literature here:

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard)

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – February 23, 2010

Supported by official documents, personal accounts, official drawings and specially commissioned artwork, this volume is an enlightening history of the Deutschland to Osfriesland classes. Detailing the last of the pre-dreadnaught battleship classes, this book goes on to explain the revolutionary developments that took place within the German Imperial Navy as they readied themselves for war. This included creating vessels with vast increases in size and armament. This account of design and technology is supplemented by individual ship histories detailing combat experience complete with first-hand accounts. The specially commissioned artwork also brings this history to life with recreations of the battleship Pommern fighting at Jutland and ships of the Osfriesland class destroying HMS Black Prince in a dramatic night-time engagement.

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces Hardcover – December 28, 2016

The Imperial German Navy of WWI is a series of books (Warships, Campaigns, & Uniforms) that provide a broad view of the Kaiser's naval forces through the extensive use of photographs. Every effort has been made to cover all significant areas during the war period. In addition to the primary use of photographs, technical information is provided for each warship along with its corresponding service history with a special emphasis being placed on those warships that participated in the Battle of Skagerrak (Jutland). Countless sources have been used to establish individual case studies for each warship multiple photos of each warship are provided. The entire series itself is unprecedented in its coverage of the Kaiser's navy.

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations Hardcover – November 4, 2014

This is the most comprehensive, English-language study of the German Imperial Navy's battlecruisers that served in the First World War. Known as Panzerkreuzer, literally "armored cruiser," the eight ships of the class were to be involved in several early North Sea skirmishes before the great pitched battle of Jutland where they inflicted devastating damage on the Royal Navy's battlecruiser fleet. This book details their design and construction, and traces the full service history of each ship, recounting their actions, drawing largely from first-hand German sources and official documents, many previously unpublished in English.

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918 Hardcover – March 15, 2016

The battleships of the Third Reich have been written about exhaustively, but there is little in English devoted to their Second Reich predecessors. This new book fills an important gap in the literature of the period by covering these German capital ships in detail and studying the full span of battleship development during this period. The book is arranged as a chronological narrative, with technical details, construction schedules, and ultimate fates tabulated throughout, thus avoiding the sometimes disjointed structure that can result from a class-by-class approach. Heavily illustrated with line drawings and photographs, many from German sources, the book offers readers a fresh visual look at these ships. A key objective of the book is to make available a full synthesis of the published fruits of archival research by German writers found in the pre-World War II books of Koop & Schmolke, Großmer's on the construction program of the dreadnaught era, Forstmeier & Breyer on World War I projects, and Schenk & Nottelmann's papers in Warship International. As well as providing data not available in English-language books, these sources correct significant errors in standard English sources.


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SMS Seydlitz - History

The heavy cruisers of the Kriegsmarine were a result of the Washington Fleet Treaty of 1921, so called "Washington Cruisers". Their displacement was not to exceed 10.000 tons and their main artillery was limited to 8" (20,3 cm) guns, but in reality they were up to 60% bigger than allowed.

Between 1935 and 1937 the keels of five of this ships were laid down which belonged to two slightly different classes of ships: The Admiral Hipper and her sister Ship Blücher , the improved second batch consisting of the Prinz Eugen , Seydlitz and Lützow . The last two were originally planned to be big CLs with an armament of twelve 15 cm guns, but due to the lack of guns and turrets and the threat of a new class of Soviet cruisers, the ships were built as additional ships of the Prinz Eugen design. Those ships were designed with the idea of commerce war in mind, they should attack allied merchant shipping and evade allied warships, but it soon got obvious that they were not ideal for this task. With their high-pressure steam engine their fuel consumption was too high and their operational range was not big enough to be used in the North Atlantic. In addition, the complicated engine construction often broke down. Of the five ships, only three got completed at all.

The Seydlitz was to be converted to an aircraft carrier, but was never completed, too. The ship was captured by the Russians in Königsberg and scrapped in 1958.

Watch the video: The sinking of Blücher 1940 Animation (May 2022).