|Career (German Empire)||Kaiser|
|Namesake:||Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||February 1903|
|Launched:||14 May 1904|
|Fate:||Sunk accidentally by German mines, 4 November 1914|
|Class and type:||Roon class|
|Displacement:||9,533 tons (9,686 t) normal; 10,266 tons (10,431 t) full load|
|Length:||419 ft (128 m)|
|Beam:||66.33 ft (20.22 m)|
|Draught:||25.5 ft (7.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||19,000 hp (14,000 kW), three shafts|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h)|
Four 8.2 in (21 cm) (2 × 2) |
ten 5.9 in (15 cm) (10 × 1)
fourteen 3.45 in (8.8 cm) (14 × 1)
four 17.7 in (45 cm) torpedo tubes
6 in (15 cm) in belt|
7 in (18 cm) in turret faces
1.5 in (3.8 cm) - 2.5 in (6.4 cm) in deck
SMS Yorck[Note 1] was the second and final ship of the Roon-class of armored cruisers built for the German Imperial Navy. Yorck was named for Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg, a Prussian field marshal. She was laid down in February 1903 at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, and finished in November 1905, at the cost of 16,241,000 Marks.
The ship had a short career during the First World War. During the raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, the ship made a navigational error upon returning to the Jadebusen, and accidentally sailed into a German defensive minefield. The ship sank quickly with the loss of 336 of her crew.
"old wisdom, si vis pacem, para bellum—he who wants peace shall be prepared for war...may the guns and machines of the Yorck be operated only by men with iron hearts and an iron will, men who know no other order than to put their lives at risk when the might, the greatness and honour of the German people are being fought for."
From 1 October 1911 to 26 January 1912 Franz von Hipper, later commander-in-chief of the German navy, served as the ship's commanding officer. On 4 March 1913 Yorck accidentally collided with the torpedo boat S178 during a training exercise. Yorck suffered only minor damage but S178 sank within minutes taking 66 men down with her. Yorck and the battleship Oldenburg managed to rescue only 15 men.
Yorck was decommissioned and laid up in the reserve fleet in May 1913 with most of her crew transferring to the newly completed battlecruiser Seydlitz. On 12 August 1914 Yorck was recommissioned and assigned to III Scouting Group.
First World War
From 2 to 4 November 1914 Yorck lay in the Jade Estuary ready to sail in support of I and II Scouting Groups which were raiding Great Yarmouth on the English east coast. On 4 November Yorck weighed anchor and proceeded to Wilhelmshaven without receiving proper authorization. In heavy fog she passed a minefield marker buoy and struck two German mines. Yorck capsized and sank with the loss of 336 crew. Though hampered by the fog the coastal defense ship Hagen was able to rescue 381 men from the water.
In December 1914 Yorck's commanding officer was court-martialled and convicted of negligence and failure to follow orders. Yorck's wreck posed a substantial navigation hazard and was therefore partially cleared between 1929 and 1930. Further salvage operations were carried out in 1965 and 1982.
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- Rüger, Jan (2007). The Great Naval Game. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521875765.
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