Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Lützow

The large cruiser (also called battle cruiser) SMS Lützow belonged to the Derfflinger class and was a new development based on the experience of SMS Seydlitz and the ships of the Moltke class. The Derfflinger class was one of the last built in the Empire battlecruisers, but already showed the construction of groundbreaking progress and belonged to the strongest fighting ships of the German Navy.


Launching and design:

The design of the Derfflinger class stems from the ships of the Moltke class and the large cruiser SMS Seydlitz, which came out as an evolution from the Moltke class. Completely new was the construction with a smooth deck and the height-adjusted turrets. Of the newer small cruisers, the novel longitudinal systemwas taken over. In addition, the bow was redesigned and was designed completely vertically above the waterline, which increased the speed of the ship.

The combat strength was increased by the use of 30,5cm fast charge guns in four twin towers, also unlike the predecessor ships. Although British ships had already used the caliber 35,5cm, but the slightly smaller German caliber were due to the quality and bullet speed equal to those of the British.

The launching of the SMS Lützow took place on November 29th, 1913, the commissioning on August 8th, 1915.


Drawing of SMS Lützow


Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Lützow

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Lützow




Use in the war:

Already during the first test drives there was damage to the drive system. Because of the repair the SMS Lützow was only starting from March 1916 ready for use. She was then assigned to the I. reconnaissance group and had their first use in shelling the British coastal towns of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

From May 31 to June 1, 1916, the ship took part in the Battle of the Skagerrak and was able to sink together with the SMS Derfflinger the British battlecruiser Invincible. During the battle, the Lützow had to take even several heavy hits and a torpedo hit. 115 crew members died and by two hits in the front torpedo room water penetrated into the ship, so that the forecastle was already over-flushed and the Lützow could barely pick up speed.


Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Lützow

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Lützow





During the return trip to Wilhelmshaven, about 7.500 liters of water penetrated the ship, which caused the stern to rise so far out of the water that the bolts were already turning in the air. Since the British fleet was still in the field of fire, the towing measures were discontinued, the crew switched to the accompanying torpedo boats and the SMS Lützow was sunk by two torpedo hits of the G38 on June 1st, 1916 itself.




Ship data:


SMS Lützow


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




F. Schichau, Gdansk


58.000.000 Mark


November 29, 1913


August 8th, 1915


On June 1st, 1916 sunk by torpedo boat G38 itself


210,4 meters


29 meters


Max. 9,56 meters


Max. 31.200 Tons


1.112 to 1.182 Men


18 Marine Boiler
2 steam turbines


63.000 PS

Maximum speed:  

26,5 kn (49 km/h)


8 × Rapid Fire Gun 30,5 cm L / 50 (720 shots)

14 × Rapid Fire Gun 15 cm L / 45 (1.920 rounds)

8 × Anti-aircraft guns 8,8 cm L / 45 (total 3.000 rounds)

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 60 cm (1 stern, 2 sides, 1 bow, under water, 12 shots)



Belt: 30-300 mm
Deck: 30-80 mm
Citadel: 270 mm
Casemate: 150 mm
Towers: 110-270 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 45 mm
Front command tower: 130-300 mm
Aft command tower: 50-200 mm






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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!






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