Replacement Yorck class

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German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge)
Replacement Yorck (side view)
Class details
Ship type Large cruiser
( battle cruiser )
units 3
period of service not put into service
Sister ships
Replacement Yorck
Replacement Gneisenau
Replacement Scharnhorst
Technical specifications
Displacement Construction: 32,971 t
maximum: 37,400 t
length Waterline: 227.8 m
width 30.4 m
Draft 9.3 m
  • Belt: 100, 300, 120-30 mm
  • Deck: 30 - 90 mm including embankments
  • Barbettes: 300 mm
  • Towers: 250, 250, 150 mm
  • Front control station: 350 mm
  • Control station aft: 200 mm
  • Casemates: 150 mm
  • Citadel: 260 mm
  • Underwater protection: T-bulkhead 45 - 50 mm
Propulsion system
  • 2 or 4 sets of marine steam turbines
  • 24 coal-fired marine single
    -end boilers and 8 oil-fired marine double-ended boilers
  • 4 three-winged (Ø 4.2 m) screws
  • 90,000 PSw
Fuel supply
  • normal: 788 t coal and 295 t tar oil
  • maximum: 3937 t coal and 689 t tar oil
speed 27.3 kn
Driving range 5,500 nm at 14 kn
Planes 3
crew 1,227 men (war)

The replacement Yorck class was a class of three planned large cruisers of the German Imperial Navy , which could no longer be completed due to the defeat in World War I. They were slightly further developed versions of the previous Mackensen class and should originally belong to it.


All three ships of this class were ordered as part of the war building program of 1916 and were intended to replace the armored cruisers SMS Yorck , SMS Gneisenau and SMS Scharnhorst that were lost in the first months of the war . Initially, all three were to be designed according to the Mackensen class, after details of the British battle cruiser of the Admiral class ( HMS Hood ) under construction and the keel laying of the Renown class became known, the last three ships, starting with the replacement Yorck, were still to be built revised once and equipped with 38 cm guns to keep up with the increase in caliber on the enemy side. Originally, the installation of these weapons was already planned for the previous ships of the Mackensen class, due to feared size and weight problems as well as the doctrine that smaller guns on large cruisers than on battleships, the planning was initially postponed and should only be for the last three Ships of the class are implemented.


Essentially, the technical details of the ships corresponded to those of the Mackensen class, they were slightly enlarged in order to be able to carry the reinforced armament. There were major changes in the drive system: In the case of Ersatz Yorck and Ersatz Gneisenau , the four sets of turbines were each to receive Föttinger transformers , while for Scharnhorst, two sets of direct-acting turbines with additional decoupling marching turbines with gear drives were provided. The machines were planned to be as powerful as those of the Mackensen class with 90,000 hpw ; due to the greater displacement, the planned top speed dropped by 1.5 knots. It is also noteworthy that the replacement Yorck class was the first German capital ship class to get by with just one chimney. The number of underwater torpedo tubes has been reduced by two compared to the predecessor class and should therefore only comprise one bow torpedo tube and one torpedo tube each on port and starboard.


As with the Mackensen- class, none of the ships were completed. In the last years of the war, the priorities in shipbuilding had shifted in favor of lighter units (especially submarines, M and T boats), so that the construction of capital ships slowed down. By the end of the war only one unit was verifiably laid on the keel, but the construction was hardly carried out seriously (at least 26 months until completion) and came to a complete standstill in the last months of the war. According to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty , the large ships were no longer allowed to be completed. The unfinished hull was broken off on the slipway after the end of the war .


It is not known what names the ships would ultimately bear. German (and Austrian, too ) warships did not usually get their final names until they were launched, and none of the three units had been under construction up to or anywhere near this stage when the war ended. Repeatedly appearing names for the ships are to be classified as pure speculation. In the end, it even remains unclear whether, apart from the type ship Ersatz Yorck, the other two ships have actually been stacked - the shipyard occupancy plan for the Germania shipyard in Kiel from 1918 speaks against a keel-laying by Ersatz Gneisenau . In literature only the allocation of the keel laying numbers for the last two ships is known.


  • Siegfried Breyer: Battleships and battle cruisers 1905–1970 , JF Lehmanns Verlag Munich 1970.
  • Erich Gröner : The German warships 1815-1945. Vol. 1: Armored ships, ships of the line, battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, gunboats , Bonn Bernrad & Graefe 1998, ISBN 3-7637-4800-8
  • Erwin Strohbusch : German Navy. Warship building since 1848. 2nd improved edition. German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven 1984 ( Guide of the German Maritime Museum 8, ZDB -ID 551539-7 ).

Individual evidence

  1. Erich Gröner : The German warships 1815 - 1945. Vol. 1: Armored ships, battleships, battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, gunboats , Bonn Bernrad & Graefe 1998, ISBN 3-7637-4800-8 , p. 87

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