Germany's First Battlecruiser - SMS Von der Tann

Ship's Crest

Battlecruiser Von der Tann

Laid down in 1909 just as HMS Invincible was commissioning, SMS Von der Tann was destined to be the workhorse of the German 1st Scouting Group. From the early raids on the East coast of England to Jutland and beyond, SMS Von der Tann was in the thick of the action, accounting well for herself. SMS Von der Tann is credited with sinking the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable at Jutland in June 1916. But even before her construction was started, the design of her successor had begun - the Moltke-class.


Plans and Construction

Line Drawing - Side View (Koop)
Line Drawing - Side View (Greger)
Line Drawing - Top and Side Views (Greger)
Line Drawing - Side View (Gröner)

Active Duty

Starboard Bow View while in floating drydock (U.S. National Archives)
Starboard Bow Aspect
Starboard Bow Aspect - 1911
Starboard Aspect - 1916
Starboard Midships
Port Quarter Aspect (U.S. National Archives)
Port Quarter Aspect
Port Aspect
Port Aspect - 1918
Port Bow Aspect
Port Bow Aspect - 1913
Port Bow Aspect

The Battle of Jutland (aka the Battle of Skagerrak) 31 May to 1 June, 1916

Starboard Quarter showing damage received at 1609 hrs from a 15" shell fired by HMS Barham. The hit allowed in nearly 1,000 tons of water, flooded the steering room and nearly put the steering gear out of action which would have probably led to the loss of the ship.


Project Name: Heavy Cruiser F
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Laid Down: March 25, 1908
Launched: March 20, 1909
Commissioned: February 19, 1911
Sunk: June 21, 1919 (scuttled at Scapa Flow - sank at 1415 hrs)
Scrapped: 1930-1934
Displacement: 19,370 tonnes (designed) / 21,300 tonnes (maximum)
Dimensions (meters): 171.7 (overall) x 26.6 x 9.17
Dimensions (feet): 566.61 (overall) x 87.78 x 30.26
# of Shafts: 4
# of Blades: 3 (3.6m diameter)
# of Rudders: 2 (side by side)
Max Speed/Range: 24.8 kts / 4,400 nm at 14 kts
Main Battery: Eight 280mm (11")/45 caliber - 4 twin turrets
Secondary Battery: Ten 150mm (5.9")/45 caliber - 10 casement mounts
Anti-Torpedo Boat / Anti-Aircraft Battery: Sixteen 12cm QF guns and Four 88mm (3.5")/45 caliber - single mounts
Torpedo Tubes: Four 45cm tubes (all underwater - one bow, one stern, one mounted on each side just forward of "Anton" turret)
Complement: 41 officers and 882 enlisted (as designed)


Naval Weapons of the World German Naval Guns
Naval Weapons of the World Pre-World War II German Torpedoes
The Imperial German Navy from 1888 to 1918
German Kriegsmarine Encyclopedia

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This page © Copyright 2000, Thomas L. Tanner, Jr. unless otherwise noted.