The Battle of Jutland

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An historic photograph taken during the battle of Jutland in 1916

An historic photograph taken during the battle of Jutland in 1916

Courtesy www.gwpda.org

 

The Battle of Jutland is extremely well documented both on the web and in book form. It was the last great set-piece sea battle in which two fleets lined up to face each other for a fight which was meant to have a decisive outcome. When it took place, in 1916, it had been a long time since the British had had to fight such a sea battle - this tactic had worked for Nelson at Trafalgar - so, the thinking went, why shouldn't it be used to carry the day once again?

Two men are for ever linked with the Battle - Admiral Sir John Jellicoe who directed operations and Admiral Sir David Beatty who almost lost his ship that day and was to replace Jellicoe as Commander of the Grand British Fleet later in the same year.

The British have always claimed a tactical victory in the Battle of Jutland on the grounds that the Germans never again sent their entire fleet out. But the Germans had never really intended to take on the entire British Grand Fleet; their original plan was to lure British ships out into The Skagerrak and pick them off in small numbers over a period of time. But afterwards, the Germans too claimed victory. They reached their home ports before the British got back to theirs and sent their countrymen wild with delight as they reported a great German victory.

In less than 24 hours, the British had lost three battle cruisers, three cruisers, eight destroyers and over 6000 men.  The Germans lost one battleship, one battle cruiser, four cruisers and five destroyers with their casualties amounting to over 2500 men.

When they reached home, Jellicoe and Beatty issued a statement detailing all the British losses quite openly because they realised that the great margin of superiority held by the British Navy was still intact. Yet to this day, a feeling of disappointment persists, driving scholars and historians to visit and revisit the details of the Battle in an endless search for answers.

 

There is an authoritative account of the Battle of Jutland 

on the Imperial War Museum site at 

www.iwm.org.uk

For an unusual and interesting slant on the Battle and its aftermath, visit www.divernet.com/wrecks/jutland1000.htm

 

HMS Lion under fire during the battle of Jutland in 1916

HMS Lion under fire during the battle of Jutland in 1916

Courtesy www.gwpda.org

 

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  Last modified:
30/01/2005