With the construction of the first British battlecruisers of the Invincible
class, it got obvious that those ships would easily outperform the German Panzerkreuzer (or Große Kreuzer as they were officially called). With their main task being the center of the reconnaissance force, the Panzerkreuzer would have been without chance against British reconnaissance forces consisting of battlecruisers (as it was shown in the Battle of the Falklands).
As a reaction to the Invincible
, Germany built its first battlecruiser, the Von der Tann
. Being the first major warship with turbine engines, it was a major advance from the last Panzerkreuzer built, the Blücher
, during trials, the turbines were able to produce almost twice as much power as they were originally designed for.
Although having smaller guns than the British ship (28 cm compared to 30,5 cm) the Von der Tann
was much better protected than they, a design philosophy - smaller guns in favor of better protection - which was used in almost all ships build in this time and proved to be essential during the battle of Jutland
Von der Tann
and its successors looked all quite identical and all shared the same problem, caused by the low bow height, they took over much water at high speed or bad weather condition.
The ship was part of the 1st Reconnaissance group (1. Aufklärungsgruppe) and took part in most major operations.