The development of German battlecruisers in the Hochseeflotte can be easily traced back to the last armored cruisers, the Blücher
. All battlecruiser evolved from this design, improving from class to class up to the Seydlitz, all showing a very similar outer appearance. The following three battlecruisers of the Derfflinger
class were a major change in which marked the step to modern battlecruisers. Although the previous ships proved to be very good protected, their diagonal mounted midship turrets were a clear sign of their origins at the beginning of the century.
class had all gun turrets mounted in the center line and were the only German battlecruisers with 30,5 cm guns, but the higher weight caused the reduction of only 8 guns. The armor scheme was quite similar to those of the previous battlecruisers and made them good protected ships. A modified bow design should improve the seagoing capabilities of this battlecruisers, but although there was an improvement, they were still very "wet" ships.
All ships were commissioned after the outbreak of World War I Derfflinger
took part in the Battle of Jutland, and were badly damaged when they were hit over twenty times each. Since Lützow
was damaged too badly, the ship had to be sunk after the battle, it was the biggest ship lost on by the Hochseeflotte. Hindenburg
was only commissioned in 1917 and did not see much action in the war. The two surviving ships shared the fate of most other Hochseeflotte ships - they ended at Scapa Flow.