-class of 1902 followed the Prinz Adalbert
-class and incoroporated several slight improvements. The most notale distinction was the fourth funnel, but the the overall design could be traced back to the Fürst Bismarck
and Victoria Louise
-class. The ships were designed to serve at one of Germany's many foreign ports. The two ships of the class, Roon
were ordered as Ersatz Kaiser
and Ersatz Deutschland
, replacing the two old casemate ironclads of the previous century.
was laid down in 1902, launched in 1903 and completed in 1906. She served as flagship of the First Scouting Group until being replaced by the battlecruiser Moltke
Second (and last) ship of the class, SMS Yorck
. She was laid down in 1902, lauched in 1903 and comissioned in 1905, before her sister ship and namesake of the class. She became part of the I. Scouting group as well and became the flagship of this fleet in 1911 und Admiral Franz von Hipper. In 1913, during a training exercise off Helgoland, the torpedo boat SMS S 178
fell out of formation and attempted to cross Yorck
, but a wave tossed the boat onto the cruiser and the torpedo boat sunk with heavy losses of life. The same xear, Yorck was decomissioned and most of her crew transferred over to the new battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz.
With the outbreak of the First World War, SMS Yorck
was recomissioned into the III. Scouting group (together with her sister Roon). After participating in the bombardment of British cities in 1914 and returning home in thick fog, Yorck
made a navigational error and hit a German mine. She sunk with heavy losses, but the numbers of victims vary from source to source, ranging from 235 to 500 of her crew of 629.
By 1910, the cranes and masts of Roon
had been rebuilt to be similar to her sister Yorck
. After having been replaced by the battlecruiser Moltke
in 1912, Roon
moved to the reserve fleet. After the outbreak of the war, she was reactivated into the III. Scouting Group. After particiapting in a few opening battle, Roon
was deactivated and disarmed in 1916 to serve as a barracks- and training ship. Later in the war plans were made to convert her into a seaplane carrier
, but those plans never materialized.
Any help and source material is always welcome.