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


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:


SMS Seydlitz


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser
(Battle cruiser)


Single ship


Blohm & Voss, Hamburg


44.685.000 Mark


March 30th, 1912


May 22nd, 1913


Sunk on June 21st, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


200,6 meters


28,5 meters


Max. 9,29 meters


Max. 28.550 Tons


1.068 Men


27 water tube boiler
2 sets of steam turbines


63.000 PS (46.336 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,1 kn (52 km/h)


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)



Belt: 100-300 mm
Deck: 30-80 mm
Front command tower: 100-300 mm
Aft command tower: 50-200 mm
Casemates: 150 mm
Citadel: 265 mm
Towers: 70-250 mm
Shields: 70 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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