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
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.