Planning for the Prinz Heinrich
started immediately after the planning of its predecessor, the Fürst Bismarck
, was completed. Although being very close to the previous design, the slightly smaller Prinz Heinrich
could be summarized as following: Half of the armor and half of the main guns - the result was a ship which battle capabilities had to be questioned. Another effect was that the reduction of guns and armor also caused a reduction of construction costs. The only improvement to the Fürst Bismarck
was a small speed improvement due to more powerful engines.
Like most other German armored cruisers, the Prinz Heinrich
was reactivated at the outbreak of World War I but did not see much combat action. Used as a auxiliary ship in the second half of the war it was scrapped in 1920.