VON DER TANN - The Battle of Jutland - Centenary Initiative
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Ship Type



Ship Class

Von der Tann


I Scouting Group



Builder's Yard

Blohm und Voss, Hamburg

Budget Year

1907 Naval Estimates

Construction Notes

Designed as "cruiser F". Cost 36,523,000 marks.

Date Laid Down


Launch Date


Completed date

Commission date


Year laid down


Year launched


Year completed

Commission Year


Pennant No

Photo Details

Courtesy Blohm und Voss, Hamburg

Related stories

Sister ships

Eventual Fate

Scuttled at Scapa Flow, 21 June 1919. Salvaged 7th Dec 1930. Scrapped in Rosyth 1931-1934.

Jutland result

All action times are CETAt 16:49, Von der Tann opened fire on Indefatigable at about 15,000 yards. Within 14 minutes she had scored 5 hits with 52 heavy rounds expended. One of the last shells (17:03) hit the fore turret and 30 seconds later Indefatigable exploded. After she had exploded, Beatty's line turned away. The 5th BS now opened up on the rear of the German line at 19,000 yards. Barham, Valiant and Malaya poured fire onto Motltke and Von der Tann. Barham's 15" hit at 17:09 under the waterline caused 600 tons of water to be taken on. Her steering was temporarily damaged. At 17:20 a 13.5" shell from Tiger hit A turret's barbette. The guns were jammed at 120 degrees. Tiger hit again at 17:23 near C turret killing 6 men. There was enough deck damage that the turret could not traverse. Some of her anti torpedo nets also starting dragging overboard and poised a serious threat to the propellers before being cut loose. by 17:23 Von der Tann was able to hit back as the range had closed to 17,500 yards, causing serious damage to Barham. After 24 rounds, she had to re-target New Zealand with her only working midship turrets. (Queen Mary blew up at 17:26 after Seydlitz and Derfflinger had targeted her).By 18:15 the last guns were also jammed. Von der Tann, at this point, had not guns to shoot with but was courageously kept in the line by Zenker to distract british gunnery. Added to this problem her speed dropped o 23 kts. D turret came back on line after 90 minutes of repair work. Soon after 19:30 the Grand Fleet was encountered. Scheer could not get away without sacrificing his slower pre-dreadnoughts. His 180 degree turn to starboard putting them on his disengaged side.At 20:19 Von der Tann was hit again (the last time by a heavy shell, a 15") by one of Jellicoe's battleships, HMS Revenge. The conning tower was badly hit and the 3rd Gunnery officer and the two rangefinder operators were killed while wounding all the others. Fragments fell into the condenser and cut all lights on the ship. At 20:30 B turret also came back on line and half an hour later, C turret. Now the midship turrets failed.At 21:15 Hipper ordered the battle-cruisers to increase speed to 20 kts, Neither Derfflinger nor Von der Tann could push past 18 kts (the latter because of clinker, the former because of the heavy damage sustained). They both fell in behind the II Sqaudron where they were joined by Mauve's pre dreadnoughts, Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein at 00.05. Von der Tann narrowly missed being torpedoed by HMS Moresby at 03:37. The torpedo crossed he bow and was only avoided when the ship turned hard to starboard. At 03:55 Hipper reported that the battle-cruisers were no longer a capable fighting force (Derfflinger and von der Tann each only had two operable guns, Moltke had 1,000 tons of water and Seylitz was struggling).

Ready for action after dock repairs


Kapitän zur See Hans Zenker

Noteable Officers

Crew complement











Displacement full Load (tons)

21,300 long

Artefacts Data

Ship's bell (Laboe Naval Memorial, Kiel)

Ship's Model

Length (ft)


Length (mtrs)


Beam (ft)


Beam (mtrs)


Draught (ft)

30.1' (full load)

Draught (mtrs)


Max. Speed (knots)

27.7 (Design 24.8)

Range (miles)

Range (kilometres)

8,100 km at 14 kts



4 steam turbines, 4 shafts supplied by 18 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers. Rated at 43,600 shp.

Armour Main Belt

3.1" - 9.8" (80 - 250 mm)

Deck Armour

1" - 3.1"

Turret Armour IN CM

9.1" (250 mm)

Conning Tower Armour

9.8" (250 mm)

Barbette Armour


Weight of armour

Armour / Displacement Ratio

Watertight compartments

General Notes

Fire Control Table

Fire Control - Clock

Primary Gun calibre

28 cm (11”) SK/L40 guns

No. Primary Turrets


Guns (No.barrels)


Primary gun layout

Rounds per main gun


Effective broadside guns

Primary shell Weight (inches or cm)

670 (320 kg)

Primary Broadside Weight


Secondary Gun Calibre

15 cm (5.9”) SK L/45 guns

Guns (No.barrels) 2


Rounds per secondary

Other Armament

Sixteen 8.8 cm (3.5”) SK L/ 45 naval guns

Elevation (degrees)


Gunnery Range (yards)

22,300 (increased from 20,700 prior to 1915)

Gunnery Range (metres)

Rate of Fire (rds per minute)


Shells expended Main


Mines dropped

Shells expended Secondary


Torpedoes fired

Gunnery Notes

Because of financial limitations, reductions were made with VdT's main armament and instead of having the electrical turret system as was installed on the Nassau class (Drh LC/1906), she had the hydraulic elevated system (Drh LC/1907). For this reason her secondary armaments were increased. The guns were mounted on a system, then, that traversed electrically but used a hydraulic system for elevation. Secondary armament range was 18,400 using a 100 lb (54.3 kg) shell.

Torpedo Type IN


No. tubes


Torpedo Type MM

450 mm

No. Mines

Torpedo Notes

11 torpedoes stocked. Bow, stern and broadside mounts. Equipped with 240 lb (110 kg) warheads with a 2 km range when set at 32 kts (59 km /hour).

References & sources