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German Battlecruisers 1914-18 [Paperback]

Gary Staff , Tony Bryan

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Book Description

June 27 2006 New Vanguard (Book 124)
This book discusses the concept of the Battlekreuzer. The German Großerkreuzers, as they were known, were built to strict financial limits, and therefore the German designs were always a compromise between the factors listed under design philosophy. Individual ship histories are detailed with particular emphasis upon their battle experience and deployment in conflict, and author Gary Staff includes a variety of official records and personal first-hand accounts will be used. The battlekreuzer had a remarkable ability to withstand battle damage, as demonstrated by the Goeben, which suffered five mine hits on one occasion. Full colour artwork plates and detailed line drawings and photographs support the and enrich the engaging text.

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German Battlecruisers 1914-18 + British Battlecruisers 1914- 1918
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (June 27 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846030099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846030093
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.4 x 0.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #462,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"...German BattleCruisers 1914-18 is a fascinating account of one of the main types of warships comprising the heart of the German Navy during World War One... the book is finely written and extraordinarily researched. It would appeal to and make a valuable addition in the library of naval and maritimes historians, scale modellers, naval architechts, naval ordnance specialists, marine engineers and those interested in the ships and history of the Imperial German Navy. The book is highly recommended." -Mark R Condeno, Canadian Army Journal (Fall 2007)

"Overall, this is a superb book on the type and an excellent primer for those who want to get the basic on these most interesting ships." -Scott Van Aken,

About the Author

Gary Staff has had a life-long passion for the history of the Imperial Navy and translated many contemporary and original documents on the subject. He contributed to a Channel 4 documentary on Jutland, exploring the Imperial Navy's experience of the battle. He grew up in Australia and currently lives on the island of Palau.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book of Nice paintings April 4 2007
By Simon Scheuer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
German Battlecruisers outlines the physical characteristics of the four designs the Imperial Fleet put to sea in World War 1. Some discussion of their design philosophy is included along with a brief history of each ship. There are a few small pictures sprinkled in to give you a flavor of these great ships but the nicest part is the paintings of each class of ship. They show the color schemes for the time. One painting correctly depicts Lutzow at Jutland with a red after funnel. This is not a "heavy duty" reference book but gives a nice overview for people who are not very familiar with these ships.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with much detail Oct. 5 2006
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
Osprey's two new volumes in British and German battlecruisers in the First World War present fresh insight into this important class of warships and their contributions to naval operations. German Battlecruisers 1914-18, New Vanguard 124, covers the seven German battlecruisers that operated during the First World. Unlike the volume on British battlecruisers, this volume focuses more on technical details than on operational narrative, which makes both volumes very complimentary. A number of these New Vanguard volumes of late have been rather skimpy with little or no fresh insight or detail, but happily that trend does not apply to this volume or the one on British battlecruisers. Overall, German Battlecruisers 1914-18 is an excellent volume and provides detailed coverage on this aspect of naval warfare.

After a brief introduction outlining the development of the battlecruiser concept in the Imperial German Navy, the author jumps right into to discussing each of the four class of German battlecruiser. For each class, the author's narrative consists of sub-sections on armament, armor, sea-keeping, machinery, general characteristics and changes, namesake and service record. This is an excellent approach and the author packs a considerable amount of detail into the discussion of each warship class. Detail includes cross sections of ship's armor, internal turret profiles, the amount of ammunition carried for each weapons system on the ship, cost, and a list of all ship commanders. The author provides not merely a brief overview of general ship characteristics, but makes a genuine effort to outline and assess a wide variety of factors that affected the mobility, firepower and protection of each German battlecruiser.

The author spends considerable time discussing the original German battlecruiser, the Von der Tann, which was commissioned in 1910. Von der Tann was revolutionary for the Imperial German Navy in having turbine propulsion and armored torpedo bulwarks. The Imperial Fleet followed von der Tann with improved versions, resulting finally in the "Derfflinger" class which represented the best blend of firepower, protection and mobility. Although the author does discuss each ship's operational history, this comes in second to the technical detail, particularly in regard to activities beyond the Jutland or Dogger Bank actions. The volume also has excellent color plates: Von der Tann profile, Moltke profile, Seydlitz at Dogger Bank, a cut-away of Lutzow, Seydlitz profile, Lutzow at Jutland and Derfflinger profile. The only area that disappointed me was that the author made no mention of the last class of battlecruisers that were launched during the war and mounted bigger guns - this might have meant that the Germans were migrating to the 'fast battleship' concept developed by the British.

In the concluding sections, the author makes some very good points about the `lessons learned' from the action at Dogger Bank in 1915, which resulted in vastly different performances by British and German battlecruisers at Jutland in 1916. At Dogger Bank, the Germans nearly lost the Seydlitz when its turret ammunition caught fire after a hit and the ship was only saved by self-sacrificing action by the crew. The Germans learned from this incident and made changes to their ammunition handling procedures, while the British, whose battlecruisers were hit but did not burn, took the opposite approach. This is a point well argued by the author, although his conclusion that "the German kreuzer-battleships had defeated the British battlecruisers and had fought and resisted the most modern and heavily armed battleships" is a bit too biased in favor of the Germans. While the loss of three British battlecruisers at Jutland was painful, the German battlecruisers were beaten to a pulp (with one sunk and one nearly sunk) and in no condition to claim `victory.' Furthermore, the German battlecruisers certainly came off the worse for wear against the British super-dreadnoughts at Jutland. This volume does not really address weaknesses of the German battlecruisers, but I think they had both their technical and operational problems. In technical terms, they were not always mechanically reliable, as in the incident the author mentions when Moltke lost a propeller in April 1918 and suffered a complete engine breakdown at sea. In operational terms, these beautifully-built warships really did not have a role that justified their high cost ad upkeep (same could be said for most of the German battle fleet), which accounts for the fact that they saw action on only a few occasions. Impressive as they were, the German battlecruisers of the First World War neither controlled the sea nor were capable of conduct commerce raiding, leaving them sitting on most of the war on the sidelines. On the other hand, the much-maligned British battlecruisers did control the sea and swept those seas clean of enemy merchant shipping. Who did you say won?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Use More Color Illustrations April 26 2010
By Kieran A. Griffith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is worth the price I paid and as well done as any Osprey book. Would do better with more color illustrations that can be used as references for a model builder like me but overall a good purchase and excellent for someone who is more interested in the story of German battlecruisers then just how they were painted.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version is very disappointing Jan. 25 2014
By Nicholas Simpson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the attractions of books like this is image of the ships. However, the Kindle version of this book uses very low quality images. For example in the section of illustrations there are labels all over the images to identifying features, however the image is so poor that these labels are illegible. The same goes for all the photo images, which are tiny copies that heavily compressed with JPEG artifacts.

The content itself is just about OK, but glosses over the weaknesses of the German ships.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding effort! Feb. 13 2014
By Man of Steel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another great installment in a long series of books from the same publisher concerning warships of the Dreadnought era. This one doesn't disappoint in any way. Of course, at this size and price the topics aren't covered exhaustively and one couldn't expect that.

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