Ships Nostalgia banner
WWI German battlecruiser = Derfflinger

WWI German battlecruiser = Derfflinger

One of several WWI warship photos bought at collectables fair. Looks like 'Derfflinger' to me, but there are others I'm sure who can ID her. Sorry about poor quality, but I would love to know on what occasion this photo was taken, as I seem to recall that Derfflinger and her sisters' contribution at the Battle of Jutland was considerable.

· Registered
254 Posts
looking at pictures of derfflinger and her sister shipthe hindenburgh the tripod fore mast makes it i am sure the defflinger alex

· Registered
2,294 Posts
Quite definitely the Derfflinger - who's sistership was the Lutzow, Hindenburg was similar but had a different bow and stern design and was some 8 feet longer, had 9,000 more horses and was slightly faster.
This image was taken postwar probably at the time of the internment of the High Seas Fleet at Scapa flow, earlier images show her with a very tall main mast which was cut down mid WW1.
The Derfflinger class were without a doubt the best of the German battlecruisers, and very good ships they were too. There will always be heated debate about how much better they were than the British battlecruisers, to be fair the two navies idea's regarding the designs for a battle-cruiser were completely different, the Germans wanted a fast ship that could fight in the line of battle with the battleships, the British idea was a very fast large armoured cruiser which would cruise world wide with an accompanying flotilla of light cruisers to hunt down German commerce raiders which could be either converted merchantmen, which could easily de destroyed by the light cruisers, or normal cruisers which the large armoured cruiser would deal with, this theory worked excellently at the Falklands battle were the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were dealt with by the Invincible and Inflexible, whilst the German light cruisers were tackled by their British counterparts, these large British armoured cruisers were assigned to the normal cruiser squadrons at first.
The big mistake was when the Lion class were built, these huge, and hugely expensive, ships were hyped up to the British public so much that the term capital ship and then battle-cruiser was coined for them. With their battleship sized guns it was too much for Admirals not to include them in their line of battle, a mistake that along with very poor ammunition propellant handling practices and the more volatile British propellant was to prove fatal in three cases at Jutland. It is said that due to the poor handling of propellant (cordite) that the British sank their own ships, tragically this is quite true.
Let us take one battlecruiser that was lost at Jutland - the Queen Mary, I am at the moment writing an article on her for the SN Directory at the present time, According to her adversaries right up to the moment of her detonation she had been maitaining a very high rate of fire from her Mk5H 13.5" guns, impressivly so in fact, to do this safeguards were being broken, when firing a gun such as the 13,5" there should only be two sets of cordite out of it's protective case, a set is four quarter charges the four quarters making up the full charge, about 300lbs of cordite, one set should be in the gun and the second set in the main hoist from the magazines up to the gun loading cages. It was known that the british battle-cruisers were removing large ammounts of cordite from it's cases and stacking it in the passageways leading from the magazines to the lower handling chamber so that it was easy for the flash from cordite ignited in the gun house to pass down the chain of loose cordite into the magazine, the rest is history and it cost the RN three ships and 3,600 men.
One reason there were not four British ships lost that day was down to the Gunner on Beatty's flagship Lion, a certain Alexander Grant, he found this practice when he took over as gunner on Lion, he put a stop to it and set up the correct and safe systems, Lion was heavily hit and suffered a serious hit on Q turret, this started a serious cordite fire in the turret and magazine passageways, it dished the bulkheads of the magazines but because the proper safeguards were in place the flash did not explode the magazine and the ship fought on even though she was hit by 13 heavy shells at Jutland, Defflinger herself was hit by 21 british heavy shells and was very lucky to stay afloat.
Britain was not alone in having a serious cordite fire, at an earlier battle, Dogger bank, the Seydlitz an earlier sibling of Derfflinger was hit by a 13.5" ,1250lb shell from Lion, this penetrated her after turret barbette and ignited propellant in the main hoist, this flashed up into the turret and down into the magazine handling spaces, in their terror the magazine handling space crews opened the handling doors to the adajacent superfiring turret, the flame followed them, flashing up into that turret, in all 62 charges of cordite were burned and 160 odd men killed, the Seydlitz was saved by her safer ammunition which was less volatile than it's British counterpart and mainly by the fast actions of the damage control officer who flooded both magazines, the German navy learned by this event, the British were still to received their lesson.
Derfflingers ( cruizer K) general info :
Builder : Blohm and Voss Hamburg, laid 30th March 1912, Launched 12 July 1913 and commissioned 01st september 1914
L 210.4 B 29.00 Dtaft 9.50 mts Disp 26,600 tonnes standard and 31,2050 tonnes full load
machinery : Quadruple screws, parsons direct drive steam turbines, eighteen Thornycroft- Schultze double c/f boilers, 63,000 shp 25.5 knots and 76,600 shp on trials for 26.5 knots coal 3,640 tons plus 985 tons oil
Armament ; eight 30.5 cm (12") C50 guns in four twin turrets, twelve 15cm (5.9") C45 guns in single casemmate type mounts, four 88mm guns, and four submerged 50cm torpedo tubes.
armour Main belt 300mm tapering to 100mm, Armoured bulkheads 250 to 100mm, Barbettes 260mm to 30mm, Turret face plates 270mm, control tower 350mm to 80mm
Crew 1120 in peace , 1391 in war.
Surrendered at the end of WW1 Derfflinger was Scuttled on the 21st June 1919, raised in 1934 and scrapped at Rosyth.
her sister Lutzow was so badly damaged at Jutland she had to be scuttled on the return journey to Germany as she was so deep in the water she would not have reached her home port even if she has stayed afloat, the flooding was partly caused by shell damage and partly by her own poor design allowing sequential flooding to take place.

· Registered
17 Posts
Steve--most grateful for that impressive info and expose of the various battlecruisers.
Regards, Brent

· Banned
9,120 Posts
Nice on Steve, but once again our members will be hugely disappointed by your lax approach to your duties and the briefest of text you have added - such very limited information is quite unfair (Jester)

Media information

Navies of the World
Added by
Brent Chambers
Date added
View count
Comment count
0.00 star(s) 0 ratings

Share this media