KM Lutzow Class (BC-1916)


Back to Germanic States Navy page:


Germanys first true Battlecruisers were the four Von Der Tann class ships. then followed the three Derfflinger class. The Derfflinger class was originally going to be a four ship class but while still under construction the last unit of the class, Lutzow was altered to change the main armament from 8x12" to 6x13.75". The weight of armament and dimensions could remain the same, and visibly the two classes were very similar. The two ships were Lutzow and Yorck.

The Lutzow appeared at Jutland, but I do not know if it will survive or be sunk as happened to its namesake in the real world. My thought for that is to have one of the Von Der Tann class stand in for the loss of Lutzow and retain these better ships for dispersal around the world, or be retained as part of the Anti-Soviet Baltic Fleet. It was felt the greater penetration power of the 13.75" against the potential Borodino class ships, would be needed. The following drawings will chronicle the life and times of the ships.

Displacement: 26,600 tons normal, 32,250 tons full load
Dimensions: 690 x 95 x 30 feet
Machinery: 4 shaft, turbines, 85,000shp
Speed: 28 knots
Endurance: 6,000 nmi at 12 knots
Armour: 12" belt, 2" deck, 11"/4.1"/3.4" turrets
6 x 13.75" (4x2)
14 x 5.9" (12x1)
16 x 3.4" (16x1)
Torpedoes: 4 x 19.7" (4x1 submerged)
Crew: 1,200

Early 1930's refits show that little has been done to the ships except for the addition of a catapult on 'C' turret and a handling crane forward of it on the rear superstructure. The submerged torpedoes have been removed.

Like the Derfflinger class the rebuilt versions had cruising diesels fitted to increase the range of the ships markedly. The enhanced dual-purpose AA batteries and the new 37mm Bofors guns gave the ships a high quality armament for combating aircraft and light forces. More 37mm and 20mm weapons were added in subsequent refits.

Displacement: 28,800 tons normal, 34,200 tons full load
Dimensions: 714 x 95 x 30 feet
Machinery: 4 shaft, diesels & turbines, 90,000shp
Speed: 28 knots
Endurance: 10,000 nmi at 15 knots
Armour: 12" belt, 5" deck, 12" / 5.9" / 4.1" turrets
6 x 13.75" (4x2)
14 x 5" DP (7x2)
16 x 37mm Bofors (8x2)
16 x 20mm (2x4, 8x1)
Aircraft: 2
Crew: 1,200

The heavy cruiser HMS Roxburgh (10,000 ton, 9x8") is patrolling the Faeroes - Shetlands Gap, June 1940. The Phoney War has been raging since the defeat of Poland in September/October of 1939, Norway has fallen and the German fleet is testing the boundaries. The Germanic States Navy decides to push the boundaries to see what reaction can be provoked. The two Lutzow Class battlecruisers are sent to test the Faeroes - Shetlands Gap defences while the two Von Roon class battlecruisers are to test the Faeroes - Iceland Gap. There is a fleet behind the two pairs of battlecruisers to give support to the withdrawal of the four ships once they have stuck their sticks into the beehive.

The Yorck is 40 miles North of the Lutzow, closer to the Faeroes, when the radar room pick up a reading almost 20 miles away, and a burst of radio chatter from the same direction indicates the Yorck has found what it was looking for, the British Cruiser patrolling the gap. That it is a full warship rather than one of the Merchant Cruisers that are also used for patrolling does not make any difference to the Yorck, it is built to handle anything a cruiser has to offer. The Kapitan on the Yorck knows that the cruiser will come to investigate and he will need to surprise the British cruiser to get close enough to fire on it. The Yorck goes to full speed and makes its own sighting report. Von Roon and Ostereich turn South-East towards the Faeroes and if they have not sighted any British Patrol ships when they get to 20 odd miles from the Faeroes, they are to turn North-East to head back to the safety of the Battlefleet. Lutzow turns North-west toward the Faeroes and has the same orders as Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, get close to the Islands then turn North-East to join the battlefleet. Yorck cracks on full speed and heads toward the cruiser under radar detection. The two ships are now heading towards each other at 60 knots (an hour), it would only take 20 minutes for them to be bow to bow. Eight minutes of closure and the two ships are in visual range of each other. The Roxburgh's first sighting report says 'heavy cruiser' coming towards. Two minutes later the report is changed to 'Battlecruiser, probably Lutzow class'. The British Captain then knows he is overmatched and his only chance is flight. But it takes a large turning circle for his cruiser to turn at full speed. Half way round and the sparkles appear from the Germanic States ship to show it has fired. Seconds later the waterspouts explode two short and two long. The German gunners have straddled the Roxburgh with their first salvo. Extraordinary gunnery. The next set of shells are on the way and the Yorck has altered course to open up its rear turret to the battle.

The Roxburgh knew it was in trouble, and was screaming for help, it knew it would be under fire for at least 30 minutes before its speed advantage could take it out of range. What made it worse was having to zig-zag to try to confuse the gunners on the Yorck. The Yorcks second salvo also missed but the third salvo with six guns scored a hit that shook the Roxburgh but did no discernible damage to the Yorcks gunnery controllers. The Yorck was not going undamaged and had received two 8" hits from the Roxburgh, but they had done no damage and started no fires. Salvo four from the Yorck produced no hits, but salvo five changed the game. Three hits, lucky or otherwise, caused lots of damage to the Roxburgh, hit one wiped out the gunnery director and killed 80% of the bridge complement including the Captain. Hit two was in the forward funnel, hangar, aviation handling area and caused a major fire, hit three knocked out the aft turret. Speed had to be reduced and unless the cavalry turned up Roxburghs days were numbered. The cavalry was still hours away, and further hits from the Yorck just made things worse. The tenth salvo finished it. Aimed at the waterline, four hits opened up the side of the Roxburgh, starting uncontrollable flooding. The Roxburgh started to heel over toward its death dive. The Yorck launched boats to search for survivors. These boats were recalled after 20 minutes. The Yorck had to run if it was not to join the Roxburgh. Units of the Home Fleet, including aircraft carriers, were hurrying north and the Yorck needed to get to the north-east where it could get cover from the Germanic States battlefleet. Rejoining the fleet, the Germanic States ships headed for their base at Narvik, where they had extra coverage from Luftwaffe bases. The Home Fleet was hours too late and suffered a U-Boat attack which put a torpedo into HMS Trafalgar. While only a minor success you would have thought the whole British Navy had been sunk after Herr Goebels had got through with the propaganda machine.

What the Germanic States Navy was trying to get the British to do, was to have their Home Fleet at sea for longer periods in support of the patrol cruisers, to stop them being picked off like the Roxburgh. The Graf von Roon and Ostereich ran across HMS Rawalipindi, an armed merchant cruiser, and easily sunk it, then rejoining the Fleet. Getting the Home Fleet out of Scapa Flow and into the open where the GS U-boats can have a go at it, is the same tactics the Germanic States used in WW1. But now with their Fleet based in Norway, the Germanic States ships could be through one of the Atlantic Gaps and out into the Atlantic before the Home Fleet could intervene. More will be said of this in future posts.

Some more drawings of the Lutzow and Yorck. I had not decided on names for everything when these were done, so the names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.

A secondary drawing for Yorck without aircraft. When shown to Shipbucket members along with the rebuild version above with aircraft, they all preferred the aircraft version.

Second drawing of the Yorck with aircraft but also with single 5.9" and twin 4.1" in place of the twin dual-purpose 5"

Back to Germanic States Navy page: