Although looking different to their predecessors, the two armored cruisers of the Roon
class were very similar to the Prinz Adalbert
class. With the same armament, same armor protection scheme their only improvement was speed - to increase their top speed, a larger engine system and a fourth funnel had to be added.
Unlike other armored cruisers, they were used for normal fleet operations during World War I. York
was lost early in the war. On 04.11.1914 it run into a own mine field and sunk with a great loss of life (336 crew members). The wreck was partly broken down in 1929/30, 1965 and 1982.