Battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz

The battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz (1913-1919). Her model built by Dirk Schulze in a scale of 1:100 is part of our display on The Battle of Jutland on deck 5 of the museum.

SMS Seydlitz had been commissioned in 1913 as the most advanced German battlecruiser of its time. She was an improvement on all technical aspects compared to the previous Moltke-class. Built larger and with heavier armor, her new designed propulsion system allowed her to be faster – with a top speed of 26,5 knots.

She had been ordered in 1910 and laid down at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg on February the 4th of 1911 and launched over a year later. The ship participated in some of the main naval battles of World War I: the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Battle of Dogger Bank, The Battle of the Gulf of Riga, and the Battle of Jutland.

In the Battle of Dogger Bank, January the 24th 1915, the Battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz and HMS Lyon heavily damaged each other. A hit by the Lyon destroyed Seydlitz’s rear turrets killing 159 men. The fire almost reached the ammunition bunkers, which were intentionally flooded thus avoiding the destruction of the ship. The repairs made in Wilhelmshaven after the battle improved the safety systems of the ship, allowing her to survive the terrible damages she suffered during the Battle of Jutland. She was partially responsible for the sinking of HMS Queen Mary at the start of the battle but then took 22 major hits both by shelling and a torpedo. She returned from the battle almost as a wreck and even had to be towed during the last part of the trip. She was repaired and saw limited action for the rest of the war, mostly in the Baltic Sea.

At the end of the war, the ship was interned in the British naval base of Scapa Flow together with a major part of the German High Seas Fleet. When the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Versailles made clear that the fleet was going to be seized, the reduced crews scuttled the ships on June the 21st 1919. Her wreck was raised on November the 2nd 1928 and scrapped at Rosyth in 1930.