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16th December


The SMS Derfflinger and the SMS Von der Tann shelled the town of Scarborough whilst the SMS Kolberg laid mines off Flamborough Head.

On the 16th November 1914 Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper persuaded Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl to ask the Kaiser for permission to conduct a raid on the United Kingdom.

Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper

Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper

Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl

Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl

Kaiser Wilhelm II - German Emperor

Kaiser Wilhelm II - German Emperor

U Boat Yorkshire Coast

A submarine snorkel is a device which allows a submarine to operate submerged while still taking in air from above the surface. British Royal Navy personnel often refer to it as the snort. A concept devised by Dutch engineers, it was widely used on German U-boats during the last year of World War II and known to them as a Schnorchel

U-Boats used either kerosene or diesel engines. These engines were used to power the submarine when cruising above the waterline as well as acting as a generator to recharge the batteries for submersed power.

Batteries provided power to the submarine when submersed under the waterline. Due to exhaust fumes and the noise of engines batteries provided a silent method of movement for the submarine. The disadvantage was the limited amount of time batteries provided as the submarine would need to surface regularly in order to recharge the batteries. A U Boat could typically submerge for 2 hours at a time.

A U Boat crew typically consisted of 35 people. In order to minimise space crew would share beds on a rotational shift pattern.

The electrical bay at the rear of the U Boat controlled all of the electrical power required for the electronic components such as the lighting and the radio. In addition to this the electrical area controlled and monitored the recharging of the batteries to power the submarine.

The periscope is a hollow column with angled mirrors at each end enabling somebody to view above the water. Periscopes allow a submarine, when submerged at a relatively shallow depth, to search visually for nearby targets and threats on the surface of the water and in the air. When not in use, a submarine's periscope retracts into the hull.

The Control Room is the nerve centre of the U Boat. It is from here where the captain commands the boat. The base of the periscope is situated here.

The Deck Gun is a high calibre gun positioned at the front of the submarine. The is the main form of offensive and defensive weaponry when above the submarine is surfaced. The Deck Gun is operated manually by a crew member.

The Anti-Aircraft Gun is a high calibre gun positioned at the rear of the submarine. The Anti-Aircraft gun is manually operated by a crew member when the submarine is surfaced and is intended to act as a defensive measure against enemy aircraft.

The U Boat was equipped with self-propelled torpedoes and formed the main offensive purpose of the U Boat, capable of silently sinking shipping vessels. The torpedo is an underwater missile comprising of a propellor to provide the forward motion through the water. The torpedo is packed with high explosive that detonates on impact or in some cases with a timing mechanism and is capable of tearing holes in the side of a large boat.

The Radio Room is situated at the rear of the submarine and provides the base for both the sending and receiving of communication between the submarine and the mainland headquarters.

The antennas for the radio communications span the length of the submarine from the front to the back in the form of transmission cables. This in effect makes the whole of the submarine a transmission device.

Room 40 Radio Operations

British Intelligence.

Code breakers at Room 40 on the evening of 14th December utilising recovered codebooks intercepted transmissions indicating that a German battlecruiser squadron would shortly be leaving port.

It was not known that this squadron may consist of the whole of the German fleet.

Room 40 Whitehall



The German High Seas Fleet left the Jade River at 03:00.

Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper took 85 ships of the High Seas Fleet to a position east of the Dogger Bank.

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Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO, SGM, DL (5 December 1859 – 20 November 1935) was a Royal Navy officer.

He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic for Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory given that they outnumbered the enemy.

Jellicoe later served as First Sea Lord, overseeing the expansion of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty and the introduction of convoys, but was relieved at the end of 1917. He also served as the Governor-General of New Zealand in the early 1920s.

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Admiral John Jellicoe of the British Grand Fleet

Admiral John Jellicoe ordered the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron , the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron, the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron and the 3rd Cruiser Squadron to be despatched.

In addition to this over 40 destroyers and 8 submarines were also despatched to join the fleet.


Allow the raid to take place and then ambush the German ships as they returned.


25 miles South-East of the Dogger Bank.



The escorting destroyer the V25-Class Torpedo Boat SMS S33 became separated from the convoy. Orders were for the SMS S33 to be radio silent so as not to give away their position and head for home. However the SMS S33 spotted British ships and reported this by radio.

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The V25 Class Torpedo Poat

The V25 class (also known as the Type 1913) was a class of torpedo boat built for the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). It was numerically the largest class ever built for the High Seas Fleet, consisting of 71 ships.

Of the class, 32 were sunk during World War I, several to mines in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Of those that survived the war 29 were scuttled with the German fleet at Scapa Flow, one was destroyed by a mine on the way there, four were given to Britain and were not scuttled while one was given to Italy and France.

V25 Class Torpedo Boats

Each boat initially carried three 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/45 guns in single mounts, one forward and two aft, all on the centerline. Each gun was supplied with 100 rounds of ammunition. Most of the boats later had these guns replaced with three much more powerful 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK L/45 guns, with 70 shells per gun. All of the boats carried six 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes with eight torpedoes as their primary offensive armament. They were also equipped to lay naval mines, and each carried twenty-four mines.

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With deteriorating weather the fleet split with the SMS Seydlitz, Blücher and Moltke proceeding towards Hartlepool, whilst the SMS Derfflinger, Von der Tann and Kolberg approached Scarborough.


SMS Von der Tann
and the SMS Derfflinger

began shelling the town


SMS Kolberg

began laying mines off Flamborough Head in a line extending 10 miles out to sea.

Find out more about the German warships that formed the raid on Scarborough

SMS Vonder Tann German Imperial Navy Battleship

SMS Von der Tann  was the first battlecruiser built for the German Kaiserliche Marine, as well as Germany's first major turbine-powered warship.

At the time of her construction, Von der Tann was the fastest dreadnought-type warship afloat, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph). She was designed in response to the British Invincible class.

While the German design had slightly lighter guns—28 cm (11 in), compared to the 30.5 cm (12 in) Mark X mounted on the British ships—Von der Tann was faster and significantly better-armoured. She set the precedent of German battlecruisers carrying much heavier armour than their British equivalents, albeit at the cost of smaller guns.

SMS Von der Tann Diagram

Von der Tann was the first large German warship to use steam turbines. Her propulsion system consisted of four steam turbines arranged in two sets: high pressure turbines, which ran the outer two shafts, and low pressure turbines, which powered the inner two shafts. Each shaft drove a 3-bladed screw propeller that was 3.6 m (12 ft) in diameter. The turbines were divided into three engine rooms. Steam for the turbines was provided by eighteen coal-fired double-ended water-tube boilers that were split into five boiler rooms. The boilers were ducted into two widely-spaced funnels, one just aft of the fore mast and the other amidships.

Her engines were rated at 42,000 metric horsepower (41,000 shp) for a top speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph), though on sea trials she significantly exceeded both figures, reaching 79,007 metric horsepower (77,926 shp) for 27.4 knots (50.7 km/h; 31.5 mph).

SMS Von der Tann Armament

Von der Tann carried eight 28 cm (11 in) SK L/45[d] guns, mounted in four twin-gun turrets: one fore, one aft, and two staggered wing turrets. The guns were emplaced in the Drh.L C/1907 turntable mount, which was traversed electrically, while the guns themselves used hydraulics to change elevation.[6] The guns could be elevated up to 20 degrees, which enabled a maximum range of 18,900 m (20,700 yd).

A refit in 1915 increased this to 20,400 m (22,300 yd). The main guns fired a 302 kg (670 lb) armored-piercing shell that had a muzzle velocity of 875 m/s; the main propellant charges were encased in a brass cartridge. A total of 660 projectiles were stored in four shell rooms, each containing 165 shells.[6] The wing turrets were staggered in such a way that all eight guns were able to fire on broadside on a very wide arc.

Unlike her British contemporaries, Von der Tann also carried a heavy secondary battery, consisting of ten 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns, casemated in MPL C/06 pivot mounts, each with 150 high explosive and armor-piercing shells. At construction, these guns could fire their 45.3 kg (100 lb) shells at targets up to 13,500 m (14,800 yd) away; after the 1915 refit, their maximum range was extended to 16,800 m (18,400 yd).

She was also armed with sixteen 8.8 cm SK L/45 naval gun 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/45 guns, to defend against torpedo boats and destroyers. These were also emplaced in pivot mounts, of the MPL C/01-06 type, with a total of 3,200 shells for these guns. These guns fired a 9 kg (20 lb) shell at the high rate of 15 rounds per minute, up to a range of 10,694 m (11,695 yd), which was quite long for a smaller caliber weapon. In late 1916, following repair work after the damage sustained during the Battle of Jutland, Von der Tann had her 8.8 cm (3.5 in) guns removed and the firing ports welded shut. Two 8.8 cm flak guns were installed on the aft superstructure.

As was customary for capital ships of the time, Von der Tann was equipped with four 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes, with a total of 11 torpedoes. These were located in the bow, the stern, and two on the broadside. The torpedoes carried a 110 kg (240 lb) warhead, and had an effective range of 2 km (1.04 nmi) when set for a speed of 32 kn (59 km/h), and 1.5 km (0.81 nmi) at 36 kn (67 km/h).


Because the Von der Tann was designed to fight in the battle line, her armour was much thicker than that of the British battlecruisers. Von der Tann weighed over 2,000 tonnes more than the Indefatigable class, and used 10% more of her weight for armour than the battlecruisers she faced at the Battle of Jutland.

Von der Tann's armour consisted of Krupp cemented and nickel steel. The main belt armour was 80–120 mm (3.1–4.7 in) thick forward, 250 mm (9.8 in) thick over the ship's citadel, and was 100 mm (3.9 in) thick aft. The forward conning tower was protected by 250 mm (9.8 in), while the aft conning tower by 200 mm (7.9 in). The four turrets had 230 mm (9.1 in) faces, 180 mm (7.1 in) sides, and 90 mm (3.5 in) on the roofs. The horizontal armour measured 25 mm (0.98 in) thick, and the sloping deck armour was 50 mm (2 in) thick.[24] Like the armoured cruiser Blücher before her, she was protected by a torpedo bulkhead, 25 mm (0.98 in) thick. It was set back a distance of 4 meters (13 ft) from the outer hull skin, the space in between being used to store coal.

SMS Derflingger

SMS Derfflinger was a battlecruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) built in the early 1910s during the Anglo-German naval arms race. She was the lead ship of her class of three ships; her sister ships were Lützow and Hindenburg.

The Derfflinger-class battlecruisers were larger and featured significant improvements over the previous German battlecruisers, carrying larger guns in a more efficient superfiring arrangement. Derfflinger was armed with a main battery of eight 30.5 cm (12 in) guns, compared to the 28 cm (11 in) guns of earlier battlecruisers. She had a top speed of 26.5 knots (49.1 km/h; 30.5 mph) and carried heavy protection, including a 30-centimeter (11.8 in) thick armored belt.

Derfflinger was completed shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914; after entering service, she joined the other German battlecruisers in I Scouting Group of the High Seas Fleet, where she served for the duration of the conflict.

As part of this force, she took part in numerous operations in the North Sea, including the Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914, the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915, and the Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft in April 1916. These operations culminated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May – 1 June 1916, where Derfflinger helped to sink the British battlecruisers HMS Queen Mary and Invincible. Derfflinger was seriously damaged in the action and was out of service for repairs for several months afterward.

SMS Derfingger Design

Derfflinger was 210.4 m (690 ft 3 in) long overall, with a beam of 29 m (95 ft 2 in) and a draft of 9.2 m (30 ft 2 in). She displaced 26,600 t (26,200 long tons) normally and up to 31,200 t (30,700 long tons) at full load.[2] The ship had a crew of 44 officers and 1,068 enlisted men.[3] In early August 1915, a derrick was mounted amidships, and tests with Hansa-Brandenburg W seaplanes were conducted.

Derfflinger was propelled by two pairs of high- and low-pressure steam turbines that drove four screw propellers, with steam provided by fourteen coal-burning water-tube boilers ducted into two funnels. Her engines were rated to produce 63,000 metric horsepower (62,000 shp) for a top speed of 26.5 knots (49.1 km/h; 30.5 mph). She could steam for 5,600 nautical miles (10,400 km; 6,400 mi) at a cruising speed of 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)

SMS Derflingger Aerial View

Mounting a main battery of eight 30.5 cm (12 in) guns, Derfflinger was the largest and most powerful German battlecruiser at the time.

The ship's secondary battery consisted of twelve 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns in single casemates in the superstructure, six per broadside.

For defence against torpedo boats, she carried eight 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/45 guns in individual pivot mounts on the superstructure, four of which were removed in 1916. An additional four 8.8 cm flak guns were installed amidships. Four 50 cm (19.7 in) submerged torpedo tubes were carried; one was located in the bow, two on the broadside, and one in the stern.


Derfflinger was protected by an armour belt that was 300 mm (11.8 in) thick in the central part of the ship where it protected the ammunition magazines and propulsion machinery spaces.

Her deck was 30 to 80 mm (1.2 to 3.1 in) thick, with the thicker armour sloping down at the sides to connect to the lower edge of the belt. Her main battery turrets had 270 mm (10.6 in) thick faces.

Her secondary casemates received 150 mm (5.9 in) of armor protection. The forward conning tower, where the ship's commander controlled the vessel, had 300 mm walls.

SMS Kolberg

SMS Kolberg was a light cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) during the First World War, the lead ship of her class. She had three sister ships, SMS Mainz, Cöln, and Augsburg. She was built by the Schichau-Werke; her hull was laid down in early 1908 and she was launched later that year, in November. She was commissioned into the High Seas Fleet in June 1910.

She was armed with a main battery of twelve 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns and had a top speed of 25.5 kn (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph).

Kolberg saw action in several engagements with the British during the war, including the raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914 and the Battle of Dogger Bank the following month. She also saw action against the Russians on two occasions, during the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915 and Operation Albion in November 1917.

After the end of the war, she was ceded to France as a war prize and renamed Colmar. She served only briefly in the French Navy, including a deployment to Asia in 1924. She was stricken in 1927 and broken up two years later.


Kolberg was 130.50 meters (428 ft 2 in) long overall and had a beam of 14 m (45 ft 11 in) and a draft of 5.58 m (18 ft 4 in) forward. She displaced 4,362 metric tons (4,293 long tons) normally and up to 4,915 t (4,837 long tons; 5,418 short tons) at full load.

Her propulsion system consisted of two sets of Melms & Pfenniger steam turbines driving four 2.25-meter (7 ft 5 in) propellers. They were designed to give 19,000 metric horsepower (13,974 kW; 18,740 shp). These were powered by fifteen coal-fired Marine water-tube boilers. These gave the ship a top speed of 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph). Kolberg carried 970 t (950 long tons; 1,070 short tons) of coal that gave her a range of approximately 3,250 nautical miles (6,020 km; 3,740 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph). Kolberg had a crew of eighteen officers and 349 enlisted men.


The ship was armed with a main battery of twelve 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK L/45 guns in single pedestal mounts. Two were placed side by side forward on the forecastle, eight were located amidships, four on either side, and two were side by side aft.

These were replaced in 1916–1917 with six 15 cm SK L/45 guns. She also carried four 5.2 cm (2 in) SK L/55 anti-aircraft guns, though these were replaced with a pair of two 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/45 anti-aircraft guns in 1918.

She was also equipped with a pair of 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull. Two deck-mounted 50 cm (19.7 in) torpedo tube launchers were added in 1918. She could also carry 100 mines.


The conning tower had 100 mm (3.9 in) thick sides, and the deck was covered with up to 40 mm (1.6 in) thick armour plate. The main battery guns were fitted with gun shields that were 50 mm (2 in) thick.


The German High Seas Fleet failed to engage with the inferior numbers of the British Squadrons at Dogger Bank. Following these events it was decided that future operations would involve the whole of the British Grand Fleet.

The Kaiser reprimanded his admirals for failing to capitalise on the opportunity to engage with the British fleet.

The raid had an enormous effect upon British public opinion and became a rallying cry against Germany for an attack upon civilians and criticism of the Royal Navy for failing to prevent it.

The attack became part of a British propaganda campaign; 'Remember Scarborough' was used on army recruitment posters and editorials in neutral America condemned it; "This is not warfare, this is murder".

Remember Scarborough Enlist Now
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Remember Scarborough

© 2020 Ben Nolan (graphicsandmedia.co.uk)

Bombardment Remember Scarborough