The two battlecruisers of the Moltke
class were the successors of Germanys first battlecruiser, the Von der Tann
. While their predecessor was still in development and construction, plans for a enlarged version of this ship were made.
With a enlargement of about 3500 ts, a fifth gun turret, longer bow and enhanced armor were added to the two battlecruisers, giving them a much better protection than their British counterparts. While British battlecruisers of this time already had 30,5 cm guns, the Moltke
still had the 28cm guns of their predecessor (although a more modern version of this guns was used. Caused by the narrow stern, it was impossible to install two parallel rudders, therefor the rudder had to be enlarged and supported by an second auxiliary rudder mounted in front of it.
As both ships received a lot of battle damage, they proved to be very good protected ships, their main disadvantage was that caused by the low bow height their seagoing capabilities was not so good at all.
operated with the 1st Reconnaissance Group (Aufklärungsgeschwader) of the Hochseeflotte and took part in all major operations. Its fate is similar to those of most major German warships - it was scuttled in Scapa Flow.