Franz von Hipper
Overview
 
Franz Ritter von Hipper was an admiral
Admiral (Germany)
Admiral is a rank of the German Navy that first appeared in the 19th century and was expanded in the early 20th century as part of a build-up and mobilization in preparation for the First World War. The rank again saw a resurgence during the Second World War...

 in the German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 Imperial Navy
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

 (Kaiserliche Marine). Franz von Hipper joined the German Navy in 1881 as an officer cadet. He commanded several torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 units and served as watch officer aboard several warships, as well as Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern was the name of several Yachts used by the German Emperors between 1878 and 1918, named after their House of Hohenzollern.- SMY Hohenzollern I :...

. Hipper commanded several cruisers in the reconnaissance forces before being appointed commander of the I Scouting Group in October 1913.
Encyclopedia
Franz Ritter von Hipper was an admiral
Admiral (Germany)
Admiral is a rank of the German Navy that first appeared in the 19th century and was expanded in the early 20th century as part of a build-up and mobilization in preparation for the First World War. The rank again saw a resurgence during the Second World War...

 in the German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 Imperial Navy
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

 (Kaiserliche Marine). Franz von Hipper joined the German Navy in 1881 as an officer cadet. He commanded several torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 units and served as watch officer aboard several warships, as well as Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern was the name of several Yachts used by the German Emperors between 1878 and 1918, named after their House of Hohenzollern.- SMY Hohenzollern I :...

. Hipper commanded several cruisers in the reconnaissance forces before being appointed commander of the I Scouting Group in October 1913. He held this position until 1918, when he succeeded Admiral Reinhard Scheer
Reinhard Scheer
Reinhard Scheer was an Admiral in the German Kaiserliche Marine. Scheer joined the navy in 1879 as an officer cadet; he progressed through the ranks, commanding cruisers and battleships, as well as major staff positions on land. At the outbreak of World War I, Scheer was the commander of the II...

 as commander of the High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet
The High Seas Fleet was the battle fleet of the German Empire and saw action during World War I. The formation was created in February 1907, when the Home Fleet was renamed as the High Seas Fleet. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was the architect of the fleet; he envisioned a force powerful enough to...

.

He is most famous for commanding the German battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group
I Scouting Group
The I Scouting Group was a special reconnaissance unit within the German Kaiserliche Marine. The unit was famously commanded by Admiral Franz von Hipper during World War I. The I Scouting Group was one of the most active formations in the High Seas Fleet during the war; the unit took part in every...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, particularly at the Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only...

 on 31 May – 1 June 1916. During the war, Hipper led the German battlecruisers on several raids of the English coast, for which he was vilified in the English press as a "baby killer." His squadron clashed with the British battlecruiser squadron at the Battle of Dogger Bank
Battle of Dogger Bank (1915)
The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval battle fought near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea on 24 January 1915, during the First World War, between squadrons of the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet....

 in January 1915, where the armored cruiser was lost. At the Battle of Jutland, Hipper's flagship was sunk, though his ships succeeded in sinking three British battlecruisers.

After the end of the war in 1918, Franz von Hipper retired from the Imperial Navy with a full pension. He initially lived under an alias and moved frequently to avoid radical revolutionaries during the German Revolution of 1918–1919. After the revolution settled, he moved to Altona
Altona, Hamburg
Altona is the westernmost urban borough of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until 1937...

 outside Hamburg. Unlike his superior, Reinhard Scheer, he never published a memoirs of his service during the war. Hipper died on 25 May 1932. The Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

commemorated Hipper with the launching of the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

 in 1938.

Early life

Franz Hipper was born to Anton and Anna Hipper in Weilheim in Oberbayern
Weilheim in Oberbayern
Weilheim in Oberbayern is a town in Germany, the capital of the district Weilheim-Schongau in the south of Bavaria.Weilheim has an old city-wall, historic houses and a museum.-Sport:...

, some 40 miles (64.4 km) south of Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, on 13 September 1863. His father, a shop-keeper, died when Franz was three. When Franz turned five, he began his education at a Catholic grammar school in Munich. At the age of ten, Franz attended the Gymnasium in Munich. Hipper graduated from the Gymnasium in 1879 with an Obersekunda—the equivalent of a high school diploma.

After completing his education, Hipper signed up as a volunteer reserve officer (Einjährig-Freiwilliger), a one-year volunteer position in the German military
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

. After basic officer training in 1879, Hipper decided to join the navy. He went to Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

, where he took the Pressen, courses designed to prepare officers for the naval entrance examination, which he successfully passed. On 12 April 1881, at the age of 18, Franz Hipper became an officer of the Imperial German Navy
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

. Among the fellow cadets of the 1881 class was Wilhelm Souchon
Wilhelm Souchon
Wilhelm Anton Souchon was a German and Ottoman admiral in World War I who commanded the Kaiserliche Marine's Mediterranean squadron in the early days of the war...

, who went on to command the Mediterranean Division
Mediterranean Division
The Mediterranean Division was a division consisting of one battlecruiser , one light cruiser , and a yacht of the Kaiserliche Marine. It saw service in the First Balkan War, Second Balkan War, and First World War...

 at the outbreak of World War I.

Peace-time career

After Hipper joined the German Navy in 1881 as a probationary sea cadet, he served on the sail-frigate from April to September 1881. He was then transferred to the Naval Cadet School in Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

, which he attended from September 1881 to March 1882. Upon graduation, he attended the 6-week Basic Gunnery School on the training ship , from April to May 1882. Following gunnery training, Hipper was assigned to the training ship for sea training, which lasted from May to September 1882. He was then transferred to the steam corvette for a world cruise; this was begun on October 1882 and completed two years later in October 1884. Upon reaching Germany, Hipper returned to Kiel to attend Naval Officer School from November 1884 to April 1885. On 24 April, Hipper was assigned as a divisional drill officer; he was tasked with training recruits for the First Naval Battalion, based in Kiel. Hipper held this position for seven months.

In October 1885, Hipper went through the Executive Officer School in Kiel, which he completed on 16 December. On 4 January 1886, Hipper was assigned as a division officer for the Second Seaman's Artillery Division, Coastal Defense Artillery. He remained in this post until 3 March 1887, at which point he was assigned as the watch officer aboard Friedrich Carl. This began a three and a half year stint serving as watch officer aboard several ships, including the corvettes and , the armored frigate , and the aviso . Hipper attended the Torpedo Officer Course aboard the corvette from October 1890 to January 1891. He was then designated as a torpedo specialist; he returned to Friedrich der Grosse as a torpedo officer in October 1891. In April 1892, he went to join the crew of the newly-commissioned coastal defense ship , again as a torpedo officer. He served in this position only briefly, before being reassigned as the company commander of the Second Torpedo Unit, based in Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea.-History:...

, in October 1892. Hipper then took part in torpedo boat instruction from January to February 1893.

In 1894–95, Hipper served as the senior watch officer aboard the new battleship , under the command of Prince Heinrich. While aboard Wörth, Hipper was promoted to Senior Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 and awarded the Bavarian National Defense Service Medal on 29 August 1895. In September 1895, Hipper was assigned as the commanding officer of the Second Torpedo-boat Reserve Division. He held this position for 21 months, during which time he alternated command of four vessels of the active and reserve units in his division. In June 1897, Hipper participated in a 17-day Admiralty staff cruise aboard the aviso . After returning from the staff cruise, Hipper was promoted to serve as the commander of the Second Reserve Torpedo-boat Flotilla, a position in which he served for 15 months.
Hipper was transferred to the battleship on 1 October 1898, where he served as navigator. Hipper served for 11 months as navigator aboard the battleship before he was transferred to the Imperial yacht Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern
SMY Hohenzollern was the name of several Yachts used by the German Emperors between 1878 and 1918, named after their House of Hohenzollern.- SMY Hohenzollern I :...

 on 19 September 1899. While serving on the Imperial yacht, Hipper was present for the trip to England for Queen Victoria's funeral in 1901 and the cruise to America the following year. Hipper was awarded a number of medals during his service aboard Hohenzollern, including the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, the Bavarian Military Service Order, and the Order of St. Stanislaus—awarded by the Tsar Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 of Russia. Hipper was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

 on 16 June 1901.

After leaving the Imperial yacht, Hipper was assigned to command of the Second Torpedo Unit on 1 October 1902. He held the command until 30 September 1905. His flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 for the first six months of his command was the new cruiser ; he then transferred his flag to the large torpedo boat . While in this command, Hipper was awarded additional commendations, including the Prussian Distinguished Service Cross and the Prussian Royal Crown Order. He was promoted to the rank of Commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

 on 5 April. In January 1906, Hipper attended the 10-day Cruiser Gunnery School on the new armored cruiser . In April 1906, he participated in the Battleship Gunnery Course conducted aboard the battleship . On 20 April, Hipper was given command of the light cruiser , though his tenure as commander was short-lived. Leipzig departed for the East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 in September 1906, at which point Hipper was transferred to command the new armored cruiser
Armored cruiser
The armored cruiser was a type of warship of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like other types of cruiser, the armored cruiser was a long-range, independent warship, capable of defeating any ship apart from a battleship, and fast enough to outrun any battleships it encountered.The first...

 . Hipper assumed command of the ship on 30 September. Under Hipper's leadership, the crew of Friedrich Carl won the Kaiser's Prize for the best shooting in the fleet in 1907. Admiral Hugo von Pohl
Hugo von Pohl
Hugo von Pohl was a German admiral who during the First World War commanded the German High Seas Fleet from 1915 until shortly before his death from illness in 1916....

 stated in a subsequent report:

"He has brought the ship to a higher degree of combat effectiveness, and the ship has won the Kaiser Prize for good shooting. One of the best captains we have in the cruisers. A good example for his officers. Recommended for battleship command and for higher independent commands."

On 6 April 1907, Hipper was promoted to Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

. Nicholas II awarded Hipper another commendation, the Order of St. Andrew, that year during a meeting with Wilhelm II. During the ceremony, Hipper joined Wilhelm II as one of his "Imperial Captains." On 6 March 1908, Hipper took command of the new cruiser . He was tasked with conducting the shakedown cruise
Shakedown cruise
Shakedown cruise is a nautical term in which the performance of a ship is tested. Shakedown cruises are also used to familiarize the ship's crew with operation of the craft....

, after which the ship departed for the East Asia Squadron. Hipper again remained in Germany; he was given command of the First Torpedo boat Division, based in Kiel. Here he was responsible for training more than half of the torpedo boats in the entire German navy. Hipper held the position for three years, until he returned to fleet service.

On 1 October 1911, Hipper took command of the armored cruiser , along with the position as chief of staff for Rear Admiral Gustav von Bachmann, the Deputy Flag Officer, Reconnaissance Forces. In January 1912, Rear Admiral von Bachmann was promoted out of his position; on the 26th Hipper succeeded him as the deputy commander. The following day, he was promoted to Rear Admiral. After serving as the deputy commander for over a year and a half, Hipper again followed Admiral von Bachmann. Admiral von Bachmann was promoted to Chief of the Baltic Station and Hipper took over as the commanding officer of the I Scouting Group
I Scouting Group
The I Scouting Group was a special reconnaissance unit within the German Kaiserliche Marine. The unit was famously commanded by Admiral Franz von Hipper during World War I. The I Scouting Group was one of the most active formations in the High Seas Fleet during the war; the unit took part in every...

 on 1 October 1913. Erich Raeder
Erich Raeder
Erich Johann Albert Raeder was a naval leader in Germany before and during World War II. Raeder attained the highest possible naval rank—that of Großadmiral — in 1939, becoming the first person to hold that rank since Alfred von Tirpitz...

 was appointed as Hipper's deputy.

World War I

After World War I broke out in 1914 Hipper led his battlecruisers on several raids against the English coastal towns. The first such raid occurred on 2 November 1914. Hipper's force included the battlecruisers , , and , his flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

, and the large armored cruiser , along with four light cruisers. The flotilla arrived off Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, England. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, east of Norwich.It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the sea...

 at daybreak the following morning and bombarded the port
Raid on Yarmouth
The Raid on Yarmouth, which took place on 3 November 1914, was an attack by the German Navy on the British North Sea port and town of Great Yarmouth. Little damage was done to the town since shells only landed on the beach after German ships laying mines offshore were interrupted by British...

, while the light cruiser laid a minefield. The British submarine D5
HMS D5
HMS D5 was a British D class submarine built by Vickers, Barrow. D5 was laid down on 23 February 1910, launched on 28 August 1911 and was commissioned on 19 February 1911.-Sinking:...

 responded to the bombardment, but struck one of the mines laid by Stralsund and sank. Shortly thereafter, Hipper ordered his ships to turn back to German waters. On the way, a heavy fog covered the Heligoland Bight
Heligoland Bight
The Heligoland Bight, also known as Helgoland Bight, is a bay which forms the southern part of the German Bight, itself a bay of the North Sea, located at the mouth of the Elbe river...

, so the ships were ordered to halt until visibility improved and they could safely navigate the defensive minefields. The armored cruiser made a navigational error that led her into one of the German minefields. She struck two mines and quickly sank; only 127 men out of the crew of 629 were rescued.

A second operation followed on 15–16 December 1914; it targeted the towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby. By this time Hipper's squadron had been augmented by the new battlecruiser . Twelve hours after Hipper left the Jade, the High Seas Fleet, consisting of 14 dreadnought
Dreadnought
The dreadnought was the predominant type of 20th-century battleship. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's had such an impact when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built after her were referred to as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as pre-dreadnoughts...

s and 8 pre-dreadnought
Pre-dreadnought
Pre-dreadnought battleship is the general term for all of the types of sea-going battleships built between the mid-1890s and 1905. Pre-dreadnoughts replaced the ironclad warships of the 1870s and 1880s...

s and a screening force of 2 armored cruisers, 7 light cruisers, and 54 torpedo boats, departed to provide distant cover for the bombardment force. The Royal Navy had the capability to intercept and decode the German naval code, as a result of the capture of the light cruiser at the outbreak of the war. On 14 December, the British intercepted messages relating to the plan to bombard Scarborough. Vice Admiral Beatty's four battlecruisers, supported by six dreadnoughts and several cruisers and smaller vessels, were to ambush Hipper's battlecruisers.

The evening of the 15th, the main German fleet encountered the six British battleships; Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl
Friedrich von Ingenohl
Gustav Heinrich Ernst Friedrich von Ingenohl was a German admiral from Neuwied best known for his command of the German High Seas Fleet at the beginning of World War I....

, convinced he was faced by the entire British fleet, turned in retreat. Hipper was unaware of his superior's decision, and so pressed on with the bombardment. The three towns were shelled
Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby
The raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, which took place on 16 December 1914, was an attack by the Imperial German Navy on the British seaport towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, and Whitby. The attack resulted in 137 fatalities and 592 casualties, many of which were civilians...

 briefly before Hipper turned back to the planned rendezvous point. By this time, Beatty's battlecruisers were in position to block Hipper's chosen egress route, while other forces were en route to complete the encirclement. Errors in signaling aboard the British ships and bad weather, however, allowed Hipper to escape the trap without incident. As a result of the damage inflicted on these raids, the British propaganda effort vilified Hipper as a "baby killer."

Battle of Dogger Bank

In early January 1915, it became known to the German naval command that British ships were conducting reconnaissance in the Dogger Bank
Dogger Bank
Dogger Bank is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about off the east coast of England. It extends over approximately , with its dimensions being about long and up to broad. The water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres , about shallower than the surrounding sea. It is a...

 area. Admiral von Ingenohl was initially reluctant to attempt to destroy these forces, because the I Scouting Group was temporarily weakened while Von der Tann was in drydock for periodic maintenance. Rear Admiral Richard Eckermann, the Chief of Staff of the High Seas Fleet, insisted on the operation, and so Ingenohl relented and ordered Hipper to take his battlecruisers to the Dogger Bank. On 23 January, Hipper sortied, with Seydlitz in the lead, followed by Moltke, Derfflinger, and Blücher, along with four light cruisers and 19 torpedo boats.

Again, interception and decryption of German wireless signals played an important role. Although they were unaware of the exact plans, the cryptographers of Room 40 were able to deduce that Hipper would be conducting an operation in the Dogger Bank area. Vice Admiral Beatty was again tasked with intercepting and destroying Hipper's battlecruisers. At 08:14 on 24 January, the German cruiser spotted the light cruiser and several destroyers from the Harwich Force
Harwich Force
The Harwich Force was a squadron of the Royal Navy, formed during the First World War, that went on to play a significant role in the war.-History:...

, which had been attached to support Beatty's battlecruiser squadron. Hipper immediately turned his battlecruisers towards the gunfire, when, almost simultaneously, spotted a large amount of smoke to the northwest of her position. This was identified as a number of large British warships steaming towards Hipper's ships. Hipper later remarked:


"The presence of such a large force indicated the proximity of further sections of the British Fleet, especially as wireless intercepts revealed the approach of 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron ... They were also reported by Blücher at the rear of the German line, which had opened fire on a light cruiser and several destroyers coming up from astern ... The battlecruisers under my command found themselves, in view of the prevailing [East-North-East] wind, in the windward position and so in an unfavourable situation from the outset."


Hipper turned south to flee, but was limited to 23 knots (45.1 km/h), which was Blücher maximum speed at the time.Throughout the war, the German Navy suffered from a chronic shortage of high-quality coal. As a result, the ships' engines could not operate at maximum performance. For example, at the Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only...

, the battlecruiser , which had a maximum speed of 27.5 kn (15 m/s), was limited to 18 kn (9.8 m/s) for a significant length of time due to this problem. See: Philbin, pp. 56–57
The pursuing British battlecruisers were steaming at 27 knots (52.9 km/h), and quickly caught up to the German ships. As the rearmost ship in the German line, Blücher suffered the majority of the British gunfire for the early portion of the battle.

Seydlitz was struck in her forecastle
Forecastle
Forecastle refers to the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters...

 at 10:25, by a 13.5 in shell from Lion, but this hit did minor damage. At 10:40, Lion hit Seydlitz with a single 13.5 in (343 mm) shell, which holed the deck and penetrated the rear barbette. The shell itself failed to enter the barbette, but the explosion flashed into the working chamber and detonated the propellant charges inside. By this time, Blücher was severely damaged after having been pounded by heavy shells. The chase ended when there were several reports of U-boats ahead of the British ships; Beatty quickly ordered evasive maneuvers, which allowed the German ships to increase the distance to their pursuers. At this time, Lions last operational dynamo failed, which dropped her speed to 15 knots. Beatty, in the stricken Lion, ordered the remaining battlecruisers to "Engage the enemy's rear," but signal confusion caused the ships to solely target Blücher, allowing Moltke, Seydlitz, and Derfflinger to escape.

Blame for the loss of Blücher was not placed on Hipper, but on his superior Admiral von Ingenohl, who was removed from his post on 4 February. Also on the 4th, Hipper met with the Kaiser on an inspection of the fleet in Wilhelmshaven. That same day, Hipper was awarded the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

 by the Kaiser; on the 23rd he was presented with the Friedrich August Cross, First and Second Classes, by the Grand Duke of Oldenburg. Three days later, Hipper was informed that his hometown had named its main street Hipperstrasse (Hipper Street).

By March 1916, Hipper suffered from severe combat fatigue; he had held command of the fleet reconnaissance forces for some 20 months, and the strain of command was beginning to take its toll. He requested sick leave on 20 March, which was approved by Admiral Reinhard Scheer
Reinhard Scheer
Reinhard Scheer was an Admiral in the German Kaiserliche Marine. Scheer joined the navy in 1879 as an officer cadet; he progressed through the ranks, commanding cruisers and battleships, as well as major staff positions on land. At the outbreak of World War I, Scheer was the commander of the II...

—who had replaced von Pohl as fleet commander in January 1916— a week later on the 27th. Scheer, however, attempted to have Hipper retired instead of returning after the termination of sick leave; he contacted Henning von Holtzendorff
Henning von Holtzendorff
Henning von Holtzendorff was a German admiral during World War I who became famous for his Dec 1916 memo to Kaiser Wilhelm II about unrestricted submarine warfare against the United Kingdom...

, the Chief of the Admiralty Staff, who disagreed with Scheer. Holtzendorff thought that relieving Hipper at that point would "only damage the war leadership." Hipper had meanwhile left for a spa in Bad Nenndorf
Bad Nenndorf
Bad Nenndorf is a small town in the district of Schaumburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. Its population is 10,210 . It is situated approx. 12 km east of Stadthagen, and 25 km west of Hanover, at the southern edge of the North German Plain and the northern edge of the Deister ridge...

, where he spent five weeks. His deputy, Friedrich Bödicker
Friedrich Bödicker
Vice Admiral Friedrich Bödicker, was a flag officer of the Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War.-Biography:...

, assumed temporary command. Hipper returned to his post on 12 May 1916; he hoisted his flag aboard the newly commissioned battlecruiser .

Battle of Jutland

Admiral Scheer planned another operation to lure out a portion of the British fleet for 17 May, but damage to the battlecruiser sustained during the bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft
Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft
The Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft was a naval battle fought during the First World War between the German Empire and the British Empire in the North Sea....

 the previous month, coupled with condenser trouble on several of the battleships of III Battle Squadron caused the plan to be delayed, ultimately to 31 May. That morning, at 02:00 CET
Central European Time
Central European Time , used in most parts of the European Union, is a standard time that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time . The time offset from UTC can be written as +01:00...

, the I Scouting Group, which comprised the battlecruisers Lützow, Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke, and Von der Tann, five light cruisers, and 30 torpedo boats, left the Jade estuary. Scheer and the battle fleet followed an hour and a half later. The British navy's Room 40
Room 40
In the history of Cryptanalysis, Room 40 was the section in the Admiralty most identified with the British cryptoanalysis effort during the First World War.Room 40 was formed in October 1914, shortly after the start of the war...

 had intercepted and decrypted German radio traffic containing plans of the operation, and so sortied the Grand Fleet, totaling some 28 dreadnoughts and 9 battlecruisers the night before, in order to cut off and destroy the High Seas Fleet.

At 16:00, the British and German battlecruiser forces encountered each other and began a running gun fight south, back towards Scheer's battle fleet. During this portion of the battle, Hipper's ships destroyed the battlecruisers and . Upon reaching the High Seas Fleet, Vice Admiral David Beatty's
David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty
Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO was an admiral in the Royal Navy...

 battlecruisers turned back to the north to lure the Germans towards the rapidly approaching Grand Fleet, under the command of Admiral John Jellicoe
John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe
Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO was a British Royal Navy admiral who commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in World War I...

. During the run to the north, Hipper's ships continued to engage both Beatty's battlecruisers and the s of the 5th Battle Squadron.

At 19:24, the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron
3rd Battlecruiser Squadron (United Kingdom)
The 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron was a short-lived Royal Navy squadron of battlecruisers that saw service as part of the Grand Fleet during the First World War.-Creation:...

 had formed up with Beatty's remaining battlecruisers ahead of the German line. The leading British ships spotted Lützow and Derfflinger, and began firing on them. In the span of 8 minutes, the battlecruiser scored eight hits on Lützow; these hits were mainly concentrated in the ship's bow and were the primary cause of the flooding that would eventually cause her loss. In return, both Lützow and Derfflinger concentrated their fire on Invincible, and at 19:33, Lützows third salvo penetrated Invincibles center turret and ignited the magazine; the ship disappeared in a series of massive explosions.

By 19:30, the Grand Fleet had arrived on the scene, and was deployed into a position that would cross Scheer's "T"
Crossing the T
Crossing the T or Capping the T is a classic naval warfare tactic attempted from the late 19th to mid 20th century, in which a line of warships crossed in front of a line of enemy ships, allowing the crossing line to bring all their guns to bear while receiving fire from only the forward guns of...

 from the northeast. To extricate his fleet from this precarious position, Scheer ordered a 16-point
Compass Point
Compass Point may refer to:* Compass point, a direction on a traditional compass* Compass Point * Compass Point Shopping Centre, a shopping mall in Singapore* Compass Point Studios, a studio in Nassau, Bahamas...

 turn to the south-west. Lützow had lost speed and was unable to keep up, and so Hipper ordered his flagship to withdraw to the southwest. Shortly before 20:00, Kommodore Michelson, aboard the cruiser Rostock, dispatched the torpedo boats of I Half-Flotilla to assist Lützow. came alongside and took Hipper and his staff aboard, in order to transfer him to one of the other battlecruisers. At 19:55, Scheer decided to conduct another 16-point turn to launch an attack on the British fleet. This maneuver again put Scheer in a dangerous position; Jellicoe had turned his fleet south and again crossed Scheer's "T." A third 16-point turn followed, which was covered by a charge by Hipper's mauled battlecruisers—though as he was in the process of transferring from Lützow to G39, command of the squadron had temporarily fallen to Captain Hartog aboard Derfflinger. Hipper remarked,

"I had to find myself another flagship because I could no longer exercise command from one which was shot to pieces...A torpedo boat was called alongside and we changed under heavy fire...[I] drove my torpedoboat hoping to find an advantageous moment to board one of [the other battlecruisers]. These 1½ hours that I spent in a hail of shell and splinters aboard the torpedoboat I shall not be likely to forget."


By 22:15, Hipper was finally able to transfer to Moltke; he then ordered his ships to steam at 20 knots (39.2 km/h) to take up their station the head of the German line. Only Moltke and Seydlitz, however, were in condition to comply; Derfflinger and Von der Tann could make at most 18 knots, and so these ships lagged behind. An attack by British light cruisers caused the German formation to fall into disarray. In the confusion, Seydlitz lost sight of Moltke, and was no longer able to keep up with Moltkes 22 knots (43.1 km/h); Seydlitz detached herself to proceed to the Horns Reef lighthouse independently. Hipper's ships were to see no further combat during the return to German waters; at 03:55 Hipper reported to Scheer that Derfflinger and Von der Tann both had only two guns in operation, and that Seydlitz had been heavily damaged. Scheer replied that Hipper was to return to Wilhelmshaven while the fleet stood off Horns Reef
Horns Reef
Horns Rev is a shallow area in the eastern North Sea, about 15 km / 10 miles off the westernmost point of Denmark, Blåvands Huk...

.

For his conduct in the battle, Hipper received Germany's highest military honor, the Pour le Mérite
Pour le Mérite
The Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max , was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I....

; it was awarded by the Kaiser on 5 June. He was also awarded the Royal Bavarian Military Order of Max Joseph
Military Order of Max Joseph
The Military Order of Max Joseph was the highest purely military order of the Kingdom of Bavaria. It was founded on 1 January 1806 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, the first king of Bavaria...

, Commander's Cross. This award carried with it a promotion to the nobility and the title Ritter
Ritter
Ritter is a designation used as a title of nobility in German-speaking areas. Traditionally it denotes the second lowest rank within the nobility, standing above "Edler" and below "Freiherr"...

. He was presented with several other awards, including the Royal Saxon Order, the Order of Albrecht, and all three Hanseatic Cross
Hanseatic Cross
The Hanseatic Cross was a decoration of the three Hanseatic Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, who were member states of the German Empire during World War I...

es from Lübeck, Bremen, and Hamburg.

Command of the High Seas Fleet

The remainder of 1916 and through 1917 was largely uneventful for Hipper. He was placed in command of a detachment of the High Seas Fleet, composed of two battlecruisers, eleven battleships, four light cruisers, and twelve torpedo boats, sent to Denmark to retrieve a pair of stranded U-boats in November 1916. One was successfully returned to Germany, but the other had to be destroyed to prevent its capture. On the return to Germany, and were torpedoed by a British submarine. A year later, a brief skirmish
Second Battle of Heligoland Bight
The Second Battle of Heligoland Bight was a naval engagement during the First World War. On 17 November 1917, German minesweepers clearing a path through the British minefield in the Heligoland Bight near the coast of Germany were intercepted by two British light cruisers, and , performing...

 took place in the Helgoland Bight between British and German capital ships.

On 12 August 1918, Hipper was promoted to command of the High Seas Fleet, after Scheer had been promoted to the Chief of Naval Staff. He was concurrently promoted to Admiral; Hipper took provisional control of the fleet in a ceremony held on the old battleship the day before. However, the war was all but lost by the time Hipper took command of the fleet.

In October, Hipper and Scheer envisioned one last major fleet advance to attack the British Grand Fleet. Scheer intended to inflict as much damage as possible on the British navy, to achieve a better bargaining position for Germany regardless of the cost to the navy. During the planning stages, Hipper wrote "As to a battle for the honor of the fleet in this war, even if it were a death battle, it would be the foundation for a new German fleet...such a fleet would be out of the question in the event of a dishonorable peace." The plan involved two simultaneous attacks by light cruisers and destroyers, one on Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 and another on shipping in the Thames estuary
Thames Estuary
The Thames Mouth is the estuary in which the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea.It is not easy to define the limits of the estuary, although physically the head of Sea Reach, near Canvey Island on the Essex shore is probably the western boundary...

; the five battlecruisers were to support the Thames attack while the dreadnoughts remained off Flanders. After both strikes, the fleet was to concentrate off the Dutch coast, where it would meet the Grand Fleet in battle.
While the fleet was consolidating in Wilhelmshaven, however, war-weary sailors began deserting en masse. As Von der Tann and Derfflinger passed through the locks that separated Wilhelmshaven's inner harbor and roadstead, some 300 men from both ships climbed over the side and disappeared ashore. On 24 October 1918, the order was given to sail from Wilhelmshaven. Starting on the night of 29 October, sailors on several battleships mutinied
Wilhelmshaven mutiny
The Kiel mutiny was a major revolt by sailors of the German High Seas Fleet on 3 November 1918. The revolt triggered the German revolution which was to sweep aside the monarchy within a few days. It ultimately led to the end of the First World War and to the establishment of the Weimar Republic.-...

; three ships from the III Squadron refused to weigh anchors, and acts of sabotage were committed on board the battleships and . In the face of open rebellion, the order to sail was rescinded and the planned operation was abandoned. In an attempt to suppress the mutiny, the High Seas Fleet squadrons were dispersed. The situation had declined so significantly that on 9 November, Hipper personally took down his flag from the battleship and went ashore.

According to the terms of the Armistice, all five of Germany's battlecruisers and two of the three battle squadrons, along with a number of light cruisers and the most modern torpedo boats, were to be interned in Scapa Flow. The fleet was placed under the command of Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter
Ludwig von Reuter
Ludwig von Reuter was a German admiral during World War I, who commanded the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet when it was interned at Scapa Flow at the end of the war. On 21 June 1919 he ordered the scuttling of the fleet to prevent the British from seizing the ships.-Early life:Reuter was...

 and sent to meet the Allied fleet of some 370 vessels. Hipper watched from shore as the German fleet left for Scapa Flow on 21 November 1918. He later wrote,

My heart is breaking with this; my time as fleet commander has come to an inglorious end. The remaining questions of demobilization, disarmament, and the negotiations with the soldiers councils can be handled by my chief of staff; I have nothing more to do. I shall remain pro forma in command for a short time, otherwise, I am dead tired.

Less than two weeks later, on 2 December, Admiral Hipper submitted his request to be placed on the inactive list. He retired on 13 December with a full pension; at the age of 55, Hipper spent almost 37 years on active duty in the Imperial Navy. The German fleet in Scapa Flow, meanwhile, was scuttled by its crew
Scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow
The scuttling of the German fleet took place at the Royal Navy's base at Scapa Flow, in Scotland, after the end of the First World War. The High Seas Fleet had been interned there under the terms of the Armistice whilst negotiations took place over the fate of the ships...

 on 21 June 1919.

Post-war life

Following the German defeat in World War I, Hipper retired on 13 December 1918 from the navy and lived a quiet life; he received a full war pension. During the chaos of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, Hipper hid from radical revolutionaries by assuming a false name and moving frequently. He wrote a letter to Adolf von Trotha
Adolf von Trotha
Adolf von Trotha was a German admiral in the Kaiserliche Marine from Koblenz, Rhenish Prussia.-Family:...

, the new fleet commander, expressing his approval of the scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow
Scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow
The scuttling of the German fleet took place at the Royal Navy's base at Scapa Flow, in Scotland, after the end of the First World War. The High Seas Fleet had been interned there under the terms of the Armistice whilst negotiations took place over the fate of the ships...

 on 21 June 1919. After the revolution was over, Hipper moved to a house in Altona
Altona, Hamburg
Altona is the westernmost urban borough of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until 1937...

 near Hamburg.

Unlike his superior, Reinhard Scheer, Hipper never wrote a memoir of the war or his participation in the Imperial Navy. He briefly dabbled in conservative political movements in the 1920s but never committed to any. Franz von Hipper died on 25 May 1932; he was cremated and was buried in his hometown of Weilheim, according to his wishes. On hearing of Hipper's death, his old adversary David Beatty said, "I am very sorry. One would like to express one's regrets for the passing of a gallant officer and a great sailor." In 1938, the German navy, which had been expanded by the Nazi party, launched the new heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

in commemoration of its namesake.
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