SMS Derfflinger


The Derfflinger class was a new approach to the construction of the German brand of battlecruisers. Considerably larger than their predecessors, they dropped the wing turret system completely and also lost the central turrets, giving them more room to accommodate boilers and turbines, but reducing the number of heavy guns from ten to eight. To make up for this, the weaponry was upgraded to the more powerful 30,5cm guns, which were also used as standard heavy gun of contemporary German dreadnoughts. Lützow has two additional 15cm guns, the only notable difference between the ships. The Derfflingers were the first battlecruisers to use the Michigan-Aufstellung, meaning that all heavy guns were set in the centre line of the ship and the upper turrets were able to fire over the lower ones. Losing the foredeck of their forebears, the new ships were flush deckers and easily the most elegant capital ships of their time. All ships of the class bore the names of famous officers, Derfflinger was named in honour of a Prussian cavalry general from the 17th century and Lützow commemorated the popular Major Lützow from the times of the Napoleonic War, who had fought a guerilla war against the French. The (not yet finished in 1916) third ship of the class, SMS Hindenburg, was of an improved design and named after the field marshal who had defeated the Russians at Tannenberg in late 1914, if only in name.

Ship data

Relative combat value: 22979 (Lützow: 22091)

Basic damage control capacity: 121%


Displacement: 26180 tons

Length: 210 m

Width: 29 m

Draught: 8 m

Standard crew: 1391


Maximum speed (undamaged): 27 knots

Endurance: 10377 km

Coal capacity: 4625 tons

Armour protection

Conning tower armour: 14

Hull armour: 8

Main belt armour: 16 (includes backing slope of deck armour)

Deck armour: 2 (sloped at edges to provide additional belt level protection)

Best armour type: Krupp


8 x 30,5cm SK L/50 13.5, centrally controlled. Ammo: 720 rounds

12 x 15cm SK L/45 19deg, centrally controlled. Ammo: 1920 rounds (Lützow: 14 guns, Ammo: 2240 rounds)

4 x 8,8cm SK L/45, centrally controlled. Ammo: 1600 rounds

4 x 8,8cm Flak L/45, centrally controlled. Ammo: 1600 rounds

4 x 50cm G7 Torpedoes, locally controlled. Ammo: 12 torpedoes

Ships in class

  • Derfflinger
  • Lützow
  • Hindenburg (nearing completion)