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Battle of Jutland
Part of World War I
The Battle of Jutland, 1916
Date 31 May 1916 – 1 June 1916
Location North Sea, near Denmark
Result Tactically inconclusive; British dominance of the North Sea maintained
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Kaiserliche Marine Jack
Sir John Jellicoe
Sir David Beatty
Reinhard Scheer
Franz Hipper
28 battleships
9 battlecruisers
8 armoured cruisers
26 light cruisers
78 destroyers
1 minelayer
1 seaplane carrier
16 battleships
5 battlecruisers
6 pre-dreadnoughts
11 light cruisers
61 torpedo-boats
Casualties and losses
6,094 killed
510 wounded
177 captured

3 battlecruisers
3 armoured cruisers
8 destroyers
(113,300 tons sunk)[1]
2,551 killed
507 wounded

1 pre-dreadnought
1 battlecruiser
4 light cruisers
5 torpedo-boats
(62,300 tons sunk)[1]

The Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht; Danish: Søslaget ved Jylland / Søslaget om Skagerrak); informally known by participants as Der Tag (The Day)[2], was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. It was the third major fleet action between steel battleships, following the battles of the Yellow Sea, and Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War.

It was fought on 31 May – 1 June 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. The combatants were the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer, and the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The German fleet's intention was to lure out, trap and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German numbers were insufficient to engage the entire British fleet at one time. This formed part of a larger strategy to break the British blockade of Germany and to allow German mercantile shipping to operate. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy pursued a strategy to engage and destroy the High Seas Fleet, or keep the German force contained and away from Britain's own shipping lanes.

The Germans' plan was to use Vice-Admiral Franz Hipper's fast scouting group of five modern battlecruisers to lure Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty's battlecruiser squadrons through a submarine picket line and into the path of the main German fleet. However, the British had learned from signal intercepts that a major fleet operation was likely, and on 30 May Jellicoe sailed with the Grand Fleet to rendezvous with Beatty, passing over the intended locations of the German submarine picket lines before the U-boats had reached their positions.

On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty encountered Hipper's battlecruiser force long before the Germans had expected, which eliminated any submarine influence. In a running battle, Hipper successfully drew the British vanguard into the path of the High Seas Fleet. By the time Beatty withdrew towards the British main fleet, he had lost two battlecruisers from a total force of ten ships, against five commanded by Hipper. However, the German fleet in pursuit of Beatty was drawn towards the main British fleet. Between 18:30 hrs, when the sun was lowering on the western horizon backlighting the German forces, and nightfall at about 20:30, the two huge fleets — totalling 250 ships between them — were twice heavily engaged.

Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk, with great loss of life. After sunset, and throughout the night, Jellicoe manoeuvred to cut the Germans off from their base, in hopes of continuing the battle next morning. But, under cover of darkness, Scheer crossed the wake of the British fleet and returned to port.

Both sides claimed victory. The British lost more ships and twice as many sailors, and the British press criticised the Grand Fleet's failure to force a decisive outcome. But Scheer's plan of destroying a substantial portion of the British fleet also failed. The Germans continued to pose a threat that required the British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but the battle confirmed the German policy of avoiding all fleet-to-fleet contact, and they never again contested control of the high seas. Instead, the German Navy turned its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare and the destruction of Allied and Neutral shipping. Subsequent reviews commissioned by the Royal Navy generated strong disagreement between supporters of Jellicoe and Beatty, and the two admirals' performance in the battle, and this debate continues today.



German planning

With 16 dreadnought class battleships, compared with the Royal Navy's 28, the German High Seas Fleet stood little chance of winning a head-to-head clash. The Germans therefore adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy: staging raids into the North Sea and bombarding the English coast. The aim was to lure out small British squadrons and pickets, which could then be destroyed by superior forces or submarines. According to Scheer, the German naval strategy was:

to damage the English Fleet by offensive raids against the naval forces engaged in watching and blockading the German Bight, as well as by mine-laying on the British coast and submarine attack, whenever possible. After an equality of strength had been realised as a result of these operations, and all our forces had been made ready and concentrated, an attempt was to be made with our fleet to seek battle under circumstances unfavourable to the enemy.

In May 1916, the plan was to station a large number of U-boats close to British bases, and to lure Beatty's battlecruiser squadrons by sending a fast battlecruiser force under Hipper to raid the British coast at Sunderland. If all went well, "after the British sortied in response to the raiding attack force", its squadrons would be weakened by the submarine ambush, and the Royal Navy's centuries-old instincts for aggressive action could be exploited to draw its weakened units towards the main German fleet under Scheer. The hope was that Scheer would thus be able to ambush a section of the British fleet and destroy it.

It was also hoped that, following a successful German submarine attack, fast British escorts, such as destroyers, would be tied down by anti-submarine operations. The German plan thus had several strands, and if the Germans could catch the British in the expected locations, there were thought to be good prospects of at least partially redressing the balance of forces between the fleets.

Unfortunately for the German plan, the British had obtained a copy of the main German code book from the light cruiser SMS Magdeburg, which had been boarded by the Russian navy after the ship ran aground in Russian territorial waters in 1914. German naval radio communications could therefore usually be quickly deciphered, and the British Admiralty usually knew about German activities.

The throat of the Skagerrak, the strategic gateway to the Baltic and North Atlantic, waters off Jutland and Norway

British response

The British Admiralty's Room 40 maintained direction finding and interception of German naval signals. It had intercepted and decrypted a German signal on 28 May ordering all ships to be ready for sea on the 30th. Further signals were intercepted and although they were not decrypted it was clear that a major operation was likely.

Not knowing the Germans' objective, Jellicoe and his staff decided to position the fleet to head off any attempt by the Germans to enter the North Atlantic, or the Baltic through the Skagerrak, by taking up a position off Norway where they could possibly cut off any German raid into the shipping lanes of the Atlantic, or prevent the Germans from heading into the Baltic. A position further west was unnecessary as that area of the North Sea could be patrolled by air using blimps and scouting aircraft.

Consequently, Admiral Jellicoe led the Grand Fleet of twenty-four battleships and three battlecruisers eastwards out of Scapa Flow before Hipper's raiding force left the Jade Estuary on 30 May and the German High Seas Fleet could follow. Beatty's faster force of six battlecruisers and four battleships left the Firth of Forth on the next day, and Jellicoe's intention was to rendezvous 90 miles (170 km) west of the mouth of Skagerrak off the coast of Jutland and wait for the Germans or for their intentions to become clear. The planned position gave him the widest range of responses to likely German intentions.

The Admirals

Naval tactics in 1916

The principle of concentration of force was fundamental to the fleet tactics of this period (as in earlier periods). Tactical doctrine called for a fleet approaching battle to be in a compact formation of parallel columns, allowing relatively easy manoeuvring, and giving shortened sight lines within the formation, which made easier the passing of the signals necessary for command and control.

It was a fundamental advantage of such a formation that a fleet formed in several short columns could change its heading faster than one formed in a single long column. Since command signals in this era were limited to visible means — made with flags or shuttered searchlights between ships — the flagship was usually placed at the head of the centre column so that its signals might be more easily seen by the many ships of the formation.

Poor visibility sometimes meant that a ship might be able to recognise only the signals of its nearest neighbour or neighbours in the fleet. In these circumstances it was necessary for signals to be repeated by each vessel for an admiral's orders to be communicated to the whole formation. This problem was aggravated by the fact that the coal-fired ships of this era generated a great deal of funnel smoke, which was often the main factor interfering with visibility.

Thus it might take a very long time for a signal from the flagship to be relayed to the entire formation. It was usually necessary for a signal to be confirmed by each ship before it could be relayed to other ships, and an order for a fleet movement would have to be received and acknowledged by every ship before it could be executed. In a large single-column formation a signal could take ten minutes or more to be passed from one end of the line to the other, whereas in a formation of parallel columns, visibility across the diagonals was often better (and always shorter) than in a single long column, and the diagonals gave signal "redundancy", increasing the probability that a message would be quickly seen and correctly interpreted.

The British Grand Fleet steaming in parallel columns at the outbreak of war in 1914

However, before battle was joined the heavy units of the fleet would, if possible, deploy into a single column. In order to form the battle-line in the correct orientation relative to the enemy, the commanding admiral needed to know the enemy fleet's distance, bearing, heading and speed. It was the task of the scouting forces, consisting primarily of battlecruisers and cruisers, to find the enemy and to report this information in sufficient time, and, if possible, to deny the enemy's scouting forces the opportunity of obtaining the equivalent information.

Ideally the battle-line would cross the intended path of the enemy column so that the maximum number of guns could be brought to bear, while the enemy could fire only with the forward guns of the leading ships, a manoeuvre known as "crossing the T". Admiral Togo, commander of the Japanese battleship fleet had achieved this against Admiral Rozhestvensky's Russian battleships in 1905 at the Battle of Tsushima, with devastating results. Jellicoe was to achieve this twice in one hour against the High Seas Fleet at Jutland, but on both occasions Scheer managed to turn away and disengage, thereby avoiding the destruction of his fleet.

Ship design

Within the existing technological limits a trade-off had to be made between the weight and size of guns, the weight of armour protecting the ship, and the maximum speed. Battleships sacrificed speed for armour and heavy naval guns (11-inch (279 mm) or larger). British battlecruisers sacrificed weight of armour for greater speed, while their German counterparts were armed with lighter guns. These weight savings allowed them to escape danger or catch other ships. Generally, the larger guns mounted on British ships allowed an engagement at greater range. In theory a lightly armoured ship could stay out of range of a slower opponent while still scoring hits. The fast pace of development in the pre-war years meant that every few years a new generation of ships rendered its predecessors obsolete. Thus relatively young ships could still be obsolete, and fare badly in an engagement.[3]

Admiral Fisher, responsible for reconstruction of the British fleet in the pre-war period, favoured large guns and speed. Admiral Tirpitz, responsible for the German fleet, favoured unsinkable ships and chose to sacrifice some gun size for improved armour. The German battlecruiser Derfflinger had belt armour equivalent in thickness—though not in terms of comprehensiveness—to the British battleship Iron Duke, significantly better than on the British battlecruisers such as Tiger. German ships had better internal subdivision and had fewer doors and other weak points in their bulkheads, but with the disadvantage that space for crew was greatly reduced.[3] As they were only designed for cruises in the North Sea they did not need to be as habitable as the British vessels and their crews could live in barracks ashore when in harbour.[4]

Order of battle

British German
Dreadnought Battleships 28 16
Pre-Dreadnoughts 0 6
Battlecruisers 9 5
Armoured Cruisers 8 0
Light Cruisers 26 11
Destroyers 78 61

Jellicoe's Grand Fleet was split into two sections. The dreadnought Battle Fleet with which he sailed formed the main force and was composed of twenty-four battleships and three battlecruisers. The battleships were formed into three squadrons of eight ships, further subdivided into divisions of four, each led by a flag officer. Accompanying them were eight armoured cruisers (classified by the Royal Navy since 1913 as "cruisers"), twelve light cruisers, fifty-one destroyers, and a minelayer.[citation needed]

British reconnaissance was provided by the Battlecruiser Fleet under David Beatty: six battlecruisers, four fast battleships of the Queen Elizabeth class, fourteen light cruisers and twenty-seven destroyers. Air scouting was provided for by the attachment of the seaplane tender HMS Engadine, one of the first aircraft carriers in history to participate in a naval engagement.[5]

The German High Seas Fleet under Scheer was also split into a main force and a separate reconnaissance force. Scheer's main battle fleet was composed of sixteen battleships and six pre-dreadnought battleships arranged in an identical manner to the British. With them were six light cruisers and thirty-one torpedo-boats.[citation needed]

The German scouting force, commanded by Franz Hipper, consisted of five battlecruisers, five light cruisers and thirty torpedo-boats. The Germans had no equivalent to Engadine, and no heavier-than-air aircraft to operate with the fleet, but had the Imperial German Naval Airship Service's force of rigid airships available to patrol the North Sea.[citation needed]

The British capital ships carried a larger number of guns and a correspondingly larger weight of broadside than their German counterparts; 332,360 pounds (150,756 kg) as compared to 134,216 pounds (60,879 kg).[6] Most of the battleships and battlecruisers on both sides also carried torpedoes of various sizes, as did the lighter craft.[5]

The German battle fleet was hampered by the slow speed and relatively poor armament of the six pre-dreadnoughts of II Squadron.[7] On the British side, the eight armoured cruisers were deficient in both speed and armour protection.[8] Both of these obsolete squadrons were notably vulnerable to attacks by more modern enemy ships.[citation needed]

Battlecruiser action

(1) 15:22 hrs, Hipper sights Beatty.
(2) 15:48 hrs, First shots fired by Hipper's squadron.
(3) 16:00 hrs-16:05 hrs, Indefatigable explodes, leaving two survivors.
(4) 16:25 hrs, Queen Mary explodes, nine survive.
(5) 16:45 hrs, Beatty's battlecruisers move out of range of Hipper.
(6) 16:54 hrs, Evan-Thomas' battleships turn north behind Beatty.

Prelude to big guns

The German U-boats waiting to ambush British ships proved ineffective; they sank no ships, nor did they provide any useful information as scouts. Jellicoe's ships proceeded to their rendezvous undamaged and undiscovered. However, he was misled by an Admiralty intelligence report, advising that the German main battlefleet was still in port.[9] The Director of Operations Division, Rear Admiral Thomas Jackson had asked the intelligence division, Room 40, for the current location of German call sign DK, used by Admiral Scheer. They had replied that it was currently transmitting from Wilhelmshaven. It was known to the intelligence staff that Scheer deliberately used a different call sign when at sea, but no one asked for this information or explained the reason behind the query, to locate the German fleet.[10]

At 14:20 on 31 May, despite heavy haze and scuds of fog giving poor visibility, scouts from Beatty's force reported enemy ships to the south-east; the British light units, investigating a neutral Danish steamer (N J Fjord) which was stopped between the two fleets, had found two German destroyers engaged in the same mission (B109 and B110). The first shots of the battle were fired at 14:28 when Galatea and Phaeton of the British 1st Light Cruiser Squadron opened on the German destroyers, which withdrew toward their own approaching light cruisers. At 14:36 the Germans scored the first hit of the battle when Elbing, of Rear-Admiral Friedrich Bödicker's Scouting Group II, hit her British counterpart Galatea at extreme range.[11]

Meanwhile Beatty began to move his battlecruisers and supporting forces southeastwards and then east to cut the German ships off from their base, and ordered Engadine to launch a seaplane to try to get more information about the size and location of the German forces. This was the first time in history that a carrier-based aeroplane was used for reconnaissance in naval combat. Engadine's plane did locate and report some German light cruisers just before 15:30, and received antiaircraft gunfire, but attempts to relay the plane's reports failed.[12]

Unfortunately for Beatty his initial course changes at 14:32 were not received by Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron (it being too far away to read his flags), because the Tiger failed to repeat his flag signals by searchlight—which Beatty had specifically ordered Tiger to do. The ships had only shortly before, at 14:15 turned in a northerly direction from their previous easterly course, intending to meet the Grand Fleet as previously arranged. Whereas before that turn Tiger had been the closest ship to Evan-Thomas, she was now further away than Beatty on Lion. Matters were aggravated because Evan-Thomas had not been briefed regarding standing orders within Beatty's Squadron, as his squadron normally operated with the Grand Fleet. Fleet ships were expected to obey movement orders precisely and not deviate from them. Beatty's standing instructions expected his officers to use initiative and keep position with the flagship.[13] As a result, the four Queen Elizabeth class battleships, which were the fastest and most heavily-armed in the world at that time, remained on the previous course for several minutes, ending up ten miles (16 km) behind rather than five, where Beatty had originally placed him.[14] Beatty also had opportunity during the previous hours to concentrate his forces, and no reason not to do so, whereas he steamed ahead at full speed faster than the battleships could catch up. Dividing the force had serious consequences for the British, costing them what would have been an overwhelming advantage in ships and firepower during the first half-hour of the coming battle.[12]

With visibility favouring the Germans, at 15:22 Hipper's battlecruisers, steaming approximately northwest, sighted Beatty's squadron at a range of about 15 miles (28 km), while Beatty's forces did not identify Hipper's battlecruisers until 15:30. (position 1 on map). At 15:45 Hipper turned southeast to lead Beatty towards Scheer, who was 46 miles (85 km) southeast with the main force of the High Seas Fleet.[15]

The Run to the South

Beatty's conduct during the next quarter of an hour has received a great deal of criticism, as his ships out-ranged and outnumbered the German squadron, yet he held his fire for over ten minutes with the German ships in range. He also failed to use the time available to rearrange his battlecruisers into a fighting formation, with the result that they were still manoeuvring when the battle started.[16]

At 15:48, with the opposing forces roughly parallel at 15,000 nautical-yards (14 km), with the British to the southwest of the Germans (i.e. on the right side), Hipper opened fire, followed by the British ships as their guns came to bear upon targets (position 2). Thus began the opening phase of the battlecruiser action, known as the "Run to the South", in which the British chased the Germans, and Hipper intentionally led Beatty toward Scheer. During the first minutes of the ensuing battle, all the British ships except Princess Royal fired far over their German opponents, due to adverse visibility conditions, before finally getting the range. Only Lion and Princess Royal had settled into formation, so the other four ships were hampered in aiming by their own turning. Beatty was to windward of Hipper, and therefore funnel and gun smoke from his own ships tended to obscure his targets, while Hipper's smoke blew clear. Also, the eastern sky was overcast and the grey German ships were indistinct and difficult to range.[17]

Beatty had ordered his ships to engage in a line, one British ship engaging with one German and his flagship Lion doubling on the German flagship Lützow. However, due to another mistake with signalling by flag, and possibly that Queen Mary and Tiger were unable to see the German lead ship because of smoke,[18] the second German ship, Derfflinger, was left unengaged and free to fire without disruption. Moltke drew fire from two of Beatty's battlecruisers, but still fired with deadly accuracy during this time, putting 9 shells into Tiger in the first 12 minutes. The Germans drew first blood. Aided by superior visibility, Hipper's five battlecruisers quickly registered hits on three of the six British battlecruisers. Seven minutes passed before the British managed to score their first hit.[19]

The first near-kill of the Run to the South occurred at 16:00, when a 305 mm (12-inch) salvo from Lützow wrecked the midships "Q" turret on Beatty's flagship Lion. Dozens of crewmen were instantly killed, but far larger destruction was averted when the mortally wounded turret commander, Major Francis Harvey of the Royal Marines, promptly ordered the magazine doors shut and the magazine flooded. This prevented a massive magazine explosion at 16:28, when a flash fire ignited ready cordite charges beneath the turret and killed everyone in the chambers outside "Q" magazine. Lion was saved.[20] Indefatigable was not so lucky; at 16:02, just 14 minutes into the slugging match, she was smashed aft by three 280 mm (11-inch) shells from Von der Tann, causing damage sufficient to knock her out of line and detonating "X" magazine aft. Soon after, despite the near-maximum range, Von der Tann put another 280 mm (11-inch) salvo on Indefatigable's "A" turret forward. The plunging shells probably pierced the thin upper armour and seconds later Indefatigable was ripped apart by another magazine explosion, sinking immediately with her crew of 1,019 officers and men, leaving only two survivors.[21] (position 3).

HMS Indefatigable sinking after being struck by shells from the German battlecruiser Von der Tann
HMS Queen Mary blowing up

Hipper's position deteriorated somewhat by 16:15 as the 5th Battle Squadron finally came into range, so that he had to contend with gunfire from the four battleships astern as well as Beatty's five remaining battlecruisers to starboard. But he knew his baiting mission was close to completion as his force was rapidly closing with Scheer's main body. At 16:08, the lead battleship of the 5th Battle Squadron, Barham, caught up with Hipper and opened fire at extreme range, scoring a 15-inch (381 mm) hit on von der Tann within 60 seconds. Still, it was 16:15 before all the battleships of the 5th were able to fully engage at long range.[22]

At 16:25 the battlecruiser action intensified again when Queen Mary was hit by what may have been a combined salvo from Derfflinger and Seydlitz; she disintegrated when both forward magazines exploded, sinking with all but nine of her 1,275 man crew lost.[23] (position 4). Commander von Hase, the first gunnery officer aboard Derfflingler, noted that:

The enemy was shooting superbly. Twice the Derfflinger came under their infernal hail and each time she was hit. But the Queen Mary was having a bad time; engaged by the Seydlitz as well as the Derfflinger, she met her doom at 1626. A vivid red flame shot up from her forepart; then came an explosion forward which was followed by a much heavier explosion amidships. Immediately afterwards she blew up with a terrific explosion, the masts collapsing inwards and the smoke hiding everything.[24]

During the Run to the South, from 15:48 to 16:54, the German battlecruisers made an estimated total of 42 280 mm (11-inch) and 305 mm (12-inch) hits on the British battlecruisers (9 on Lion, 6 on Princess Royal, 7 on Queen Mary, 14 on Tiger, one on New Zealand, 5 on Indefatigable), and two more on the battleship Barham, compared with only 11 13.5-inch (343 mm) hits by the British battlecruisers (4 on Lützow, 4 on Seydlitz, two on Moltke, one on von der Tann), and 5 15-inch (381 mm) hits by the battleships (one on Seydlitz, 4 on Moltke, one on von der Tann).[25]

Beatty's flagship Lion burning after being hit by a salvo from Lützow

Two points to port

Shortly after, a salvo struck on or around Princess Royal, which was obscured by spray and smoke from shell bursts. A signalman promptly leapt onto the bridge of Lion and announced "Princess Royal's blown up, Sir." Beatty famously turned to his flag captain, saying "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today." (In popular legend, Beatty also immediately ordered his ships to "turn two points to port", i.e. two points nearer the enemy, but there is no official record of any such command or course change.)[26] Princess Royal, as it turned out, was still afloat after the spray cleared.

At 16:30, Scheer's leading battleships sighted the distant battlecruiser action; soon after, Southampton of Beatty's 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron led by Commodore William Goodenough sighted the main body of Scheer's High Seas Fleet, dodging numerous heavy-calibre salvos to report in detail the German strength: sixteen dreadnoughts with six older battleships. This was the first news that Beatty and Jellicoe had that Scheer and his battlefleet were even at sea. Simultaneously an all-out destroyer action raged in the space between the opposing battlecruiser forces, as British and German destroyers fought with each other and attempted to torpedo the larger enemy ships. Each side fired many torpedoes, but both battlecruiser forces turned away from the attacks and all escaped harm except Seydlitz, which was hit forward at 16:57 by a torpedo fired by the British destroyer Petard. Though taking on water, Seydlitz maintained speed. The destroyer Nestor, under the command of Captain Barry Bingham, led the British attacks. The British disabled the German torpedo-boat V27, which the Germans soon abandoned and sank, and Petard then torpedoed and sank V29, her second score of the day. S35 and V26 rescued the crews of their sunken sister ships. But Nestor and another British destroyer, Nomad, were immobilised by shell hits, and were later sunk by Scheer's passing dreadnoughts. Bingham was rescued, and won the Victoria Cross for his leadership in the destroyer action.[27]

The Run to the North

As soon as he himself sighted the vanguard of Scheer's distant battleship line 12 miles (22 km) away, at 16:40, Beatty turned his battlecruiser force 180 degrees, heading north to draw the Germans towards Jellicoe.[28] (position 5). Beatty's withdrawal towards Jellicoe is called the "Run to the North", in which the tables turned and the Germans chased the British. Because Beatty once again failed to signal his intentions adequately, the super-dreadnoughts of the 5th Battle Squadron (which were too far behind to read his flags) found themselves passing the battlecruisers on an opposing course and heading directly toward the approaching main body of the High Seas Fleet. At 16:48, at extreme range, Scheer's leading battleships opened fire.[29]

Meanwhile, at 16:47, having received Goodenough's signal and knowing that Beatty was now leading the German battlefleet north to him, Jellicoe signalled to his own forces that the fleet action they had waited so long for was finally imminent; at 16:51, by radio, he so informed the Admiralty in London.[30]

The difficulties of the 5th Battle Squadron were compounded when Beatty repeated the order to Evan-Thomas to "turn in succession" (rather than "turn together") at 16:48 as the battleships passed him. Evan-Thomas acknowledged the signal, but Lieutenant-Commander Ralph Seymour, Beatty's flag lieutenant, aggravated the situation when he did not haul down the flags (to execute the signal) for some minutes. At 16.55, when the 5BS had moved within range of the enemy battleships, Evan Thomas issued his own flag command warning his squadron to expect sudden manoeuvres and to follow his lead, before starting to turn on his own initiative. The order to turn in succession would have resulted in all four ships turning in the same patch of sea as they reached it one by one, giving the High Seas Fleet repeated opportunity with ample time to find the proper range. In the event, the captain of the trailing ship (Malaya) turned early, mitigating the adverse results.[29][31]

For the next hour, the heavily-armed and armoured 5th Battle Squadron acted as Beatty's rearguard, drawing fire from all the German ships within range, while by 17:10 Beatty had deliberately eased his own squadron out of range of Hipper's now-superior battlecruiser force to give his damaged ships a respite from the accurate and deadly fire of his foes.[32] Since visibility and firepower now favoured the Germans, there was no incentive for Beatty to risk further battlecruiser losses when his own gunnery could not be effective: illustrating the imbalance, Beatty's battlecruisers did not score any hits on the Germans in this phase until 17:45,[33] but they had rapidly received five more before he opened the range (4 on Lion, of which 3 were by Lützow, and one on Tiger by Seydlitz).[34] Now the only targets the Germans could reach, the ships of the 5th Battle Squadron received simultaneous fire from Hipper's battlecruisers to the east (which Barham and Valiant engaged), and from Scheer's leading battleships to the southeast (which Warspite and Malaya engaged).[35] Three took hits: Barham (4 by Derfflinger), Warspite (2 by Seydlitz), and Malaya (7 by the German battleships). Only Valiant was unscathed.[36]

The four super-dreadnoughts were far better suited to take this sort of pounding than the battlecruisers, and none were lost, though Malaya suffered heavy damage, an ammunition fire, and heavy crew casualties. At the same time, the 15-inch (381 mm) fire of the four British ships was accurate and effective. As the two British squadrons headed north at top speed, eagerly chased by the entire German fleet, the 5th Battle Squadron scored 13 hits on the enemy battlecruisers (4 on Lützow, 3 on Derfflinger, 6 on Seydlitz) and 5 on battleships (though only one, on Markgraf, did any serious damage).[37](position 6).

The fleets converge

Jellicoe was now aware that full fleet engagement was nearing, but had insufficient information on the position and course of the Germans. To assist Beatty, early in the battle at about 16:05, Jellicoe had ordered Rear-Admiral Horace Hood's 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron to speed ahead to find and support Beatty's force, and Hood was now racing SSE well in advance of Jellicoe's northern force.[38] Rear-Admiral Arbuthnot's 1st Cruiser Squadron patrolled the van of Jellicoe's main battleship force as it advanced steadily to the southeast.

At 17:33 the armoured cruiser Black Prince of Arbuthnot's squadron, on the far southwest flank of Jellicoe's force, came within view of Falmouth, which was about 5 miles (9 km) ahead of Beatty with the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron, establishing the first visual link between the converging bodies of the Grand Fleet.[39] At 17:38 the signals cruiser Chester, screening Hood's oncoming battlecruisers, was intercepted by the van of the German scouting forces under Rear-Admiral Bödicker.[40]

Heavily outnumbered by Bödicker's four light cruisers, Chester was pounded before being relieved by Hood's heavy units, which swung westward for that purpose. Hood's flagship Invincible disabled the light cruiser Wiesbaden shortly after 17:56. Wiesbaden became a sitting target for most of the British fleet during the next hour, but remained afloat and fired some torpedoes at the passing enemy battleships from long range. Meanwhile Bödicker's other ships fled toward Hipper and Scheer in the mistaken belief that Hood was leading a larger force of British capital ships from the north and east. A chaotic destroyer action in mist and smoke ensued as German torpedo-boats attempted to blunt the arrival of this new formation, but Hood's battlecruisers dodged all the torpedoes fired at them. In this action, after leading a torpedo counterattack, the British destroyer Shark was disabled, but continued to return fire at numerous passing enemy ships for the next hour.[41]

The fleet action


(1) 18.00 Battlecruisers rejoin respective fleets
(2) 18.15 British fleet deploys into battle line
(3) 18.30 German fleet under fire turns away
(4) 19.00 German fleet turns back
(5) 19.15 German fleet turns away for second time
(6) 20.00
(7) 21.00 Nightfall: Jellicoe assumes night cruising formation

In the meantime Beatty and Evan-Thomas had resumed their engagement with Hipper's battlecruisers, this time with the visual conditions to their advantage. With several of his ships damaged, Hipper turned back towards Scheer at around 18:00, just as Beatty's flagship Lion was finally sighted from Jellicoe's flagship Iron Duke. Jellicoe twice demanded the latest position of the German battlefleet from Beatty, who could not see the German battleships and failed to respond to the question until 18:14. Meanwhile Jellicoe received confusing sighting reports of varying accuracy and limited usefulness from light cruisers and battleships on the starboard (southern) flank of his force.[42]

Jellicoe was in a worrying position, needing to know the location of the German fleet in order to judge when and how to deploy his battleships from their cruising formation (in six columns of four ships each) into a single battle-line. The deployment could be on either the westernmost or the easternmost column, and had to be carried out before the Germans arrived; but early deployment could mean losing any chance of a decisive encounter. Deploying to the west would bring his fleet closer to Scheer, gaining valuable time as dusk approached, but the Germans might arrive before the manoeuvre was complete. Deploying to the east would take the force away from Scheer, but Jellicoe's ships might be able to cross the "T", and visibility would strongly favour British gunnery—Scheer's forces would be silhouetted against the setting sun to the west, while the Grand Fleet would be indistinct against the dark skies to the north and east, and would be hidden by reflection of the low sunlight off intervening haze and smoke. Deployment would take twenty irreplaceable minutes, and the fleets were closing at speed. In one of the most critical and difficult tactical command decisions of the entire war, Jellicoe ordered deployment to the east at 18:15.[42][43]

Windy Corner

Meanwhile Hipper had rejoined Scheer, and the combined High Seas Fleet was heading north, directly toward Jellicoe. Scheer had no indication that Jellicoe was at sea, let alone that he was bearing down from the northwest, and was distracted by the intervention of Hood's ships to his north and east. Beatty's four surviving battlecruisers were now crossing the van of the British dreadnoughts to join Hood's three battlecruisers; at this time Rear-Admiral Arbuthnot's flagship Defence and the Warrior both charged across Beatty's bows, and Lion narrowly avoided a collision with Warrior.[44] Nearby, numerous British light cruisers and destroyers on the southwestern flank of the deploying battleships were also crossing each others' courses in attempts to reach their proper stations, often barely escaping collisions, and under fire from some of the approaching German ships. This period of peril and heavy traffic attending the merger and deployment of the British forces later became known as "Windy Corner".[45]

Arbuthnot's armoured cruisers had no real place in the coming clash between modern dreadnoughts, but he was attracted by the drifting hull of the crippled Wiesbaden. With Warrior, Defence closed in for the kill, only to blunder right into the gun sights of Hipper's and Scheer's oncoming capital ships. Defence was deluged by heavy-calibre gunfire from many German battleships, which detonated her magazines in a spectacular explosion viewed by most of the deploying Grand Fleet; she sank with all hands (903 officers and men). Warrior was also hit badly but was spared destruction by a mishap to the nearby super-dreadnought Warspite. Warspite had her steering gear overheat and jam under heavy load at high speed as the 5th Battle Squadron made a turn to the north at 18:19.[46] Steaming at top speed in wide circles, Warspite appeared as a juicy target to the German dreadnoughts and took thirteen hits, inadvertently drawing fire from the hapless Warrior. Warspite was brought back under control and survived the onslaught, but was badly damaged, had to reduce speed, and withdrew northward; later (at 21:07), she was ordered back to port by Evan-Thomas.[47] Warspite went on to a long and illustrious career, serving also in World War II. Warrior on the other hand, was abandoned and sank the next day after her crew was taken off at 08:25 1 June by Engadine, which towed the sinking armoured cruiser 100 miles (160 km) during the night.[48]

As Defence sank and Warspite circled, at about 18:19, Hipper moved within range of Rear-Admiral Hood's 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron, but was still also within range of Beatty's ships. At first, visibility favoured the British: Indomitable hit Derfflinger three times and Seydlitz once,[49] while the Lützow quickly took 10 hits from Lion, Inflexible and Invincible, including two below-waterline hits forward by Invincible that would ultimately doom Hipper's flagship.[50] But at 18:30 Invincible abruptly appeared as a clear target before Lützow and Derfflinger. The two German ships then fired three salvoes each at Invincible, and sank her in 90 seconds. A 305 mm (12-inch) shell from the third salvo struck Invincible's midships Q-turret, flash detonated the magazines below, and the ship blew up and split in two, killing all but six of her crew of 1,032 officers and men, including Rear-Admiral Hood.[51] Of the remaining British battlecruisers, only Princess Royal received heavy-calibre hits at this time [two 305 mm (12-inch) by the battleship Markgraf]. Lützow, flooding forward and unable to communicate by radio, was now out of action and began to attempt to withdraw; therefore Hipper left his flagship and transferred to the destroyer G39, hoping to board one of the other battlecruisers later.

Crossing the T

By 18:30 the main battlefleet action was joined for the first time, with Jellicoe effectively "crossing Scheer's T". The officers on the lead German battleships, and Scheer himself, were taken completely by surprise when they emerged from drifting clouds of smoky mist to suddenly find themselves facing the massed firepower of the entire Grand Fleet main battle line, which they did not know was even at sea.[52] Jellicoe's flagship Iron Duke quickly scored seven hits on the lead German dreadnought, König,[53] but in this brief exchange, which lasted only minutes, as few as ten of the Grand Fleet's twenty-four dreadnoughts actually opened fire. The Germans were hampered by poor visibility, in addition to being in an unfavourable tactical position, just as Jellicoe had intended. Realizing he was heading into a death trap, Scheer ordered his fleet to turn and flee at 18:33. Under a pall of smoke and mist, Scheer's forces succeeded in disengaging by an expertly executed 180-degree turn in unison ("battle about turn to starboard"), which was a well-practiced emergency manoeuvre of the High Seas Fleet.[54]

It was now obvious that we were confronted by a large portion of the English fleet. The entire arc stretching from north to east was a sea of fire. The flash from the muzzles of the guns was seen distinctly through the mist and smoke on the horizon, although the ships themselves were not distinguishable.
Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer , [52]

Conscious of the risks to his capital ships posed by torpedoes, Jellicoe did not chase directly but headed south, determined to keep the High Seas Fleet west of him. Starting at 18:40, battleships at the rear of Jellicoe's line were in fact sighting and avoiding torpedoes, and at 18:54 Marlborough was hit by a torpedo (probably from the disabled Wiesbaden) which reduced her speed to 16 knots (19 km/h).[55] Meanwhile, Scheer, knowing that it was not yet dark enough to escape and that his fleet would suffer terribly in a stern chase, doubled back to the east at 18:55. In his memoirs he wrote, "the manœuvre would be bound to surprise the enemy, to upset his plans for the rest of the day, and if the blow fell heavily it would facilitate the breaking loose at night." But the turn to the east took his ships, again, directly towards Jellicoe's fully-deployed battle line.[56]

Simultaneously, the disabled British destroyer Shark fought desperately against a group of four enemy destroyers and disabled the V48 with gunfire, but was finally torpedoed and sunk at 19:02 by the German destroyer S54. Shark's Captain Loftus Jones won the Victoria Cross for his heroism in fighting his ship against all odds.[57]


Commodore Goodenough's 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron dodged the fire of German battleships for a second time to re-establish contact with the High Seas Fleet shortly after 19:00. By 19:15, Jellicoe had crossed Scheer's "T" again. This time his arc of fire was tighter and deadlier, causing severe damage to the German battleships, particularly Rear-Admiral Behncke's leading 3rd Squadron (König, Grosser Kurfürst, Markgraf, and Kaiser all being hit, along with Helgoland of the 1st Squadron),[58] while on the British side only the Colossus was hit (twice by Seydlitz, with little damage done).[59]

At 19:17, for the second time in less than an hour, Scheer turned his outnumbered and outgunned fleet to the west using the "battle about turn" (German Gefechtskehrtwendung), but this time it was executed only with difficulty as the High Seas Fleet's lead squadrons began to lose formation under concentrated gunfire.[60] To deter a British chase, Scheer ordered a major torpedo attack by his destroyers and a potentially sacrificial charge by Scouting Group I's four remaining battlecruisers. Hipper was still aboard the destroyer G39 and was unable to command his squadron for this attack.[61] Therefore Derfflinger, under Captain Hartog, led the already heavily-damaged German battlecruisers directly into "the greatest concentration of naval gunfire any fleet commander had ever faced", at ranges down to 4 miles (7 km).[62] In what became known as the "death ride", all the battlecruisers except Moltke were hit and further damaged, as 18 of the British battleships fired at them simultaneously.[58][63] Derfflinger had two main gun turrets destroyed, with most of their crews killed, but survived the pounding and veered away with the other battlecruisers once Scheer was out of trouble and the German destroyers were moving in to attack.[62] In this brief but intense portion of the engagement, from about 19:05 to about 19:30, the Germans sustained a total of thirty-seven heavy hits while inflicting only two, Derfflinger alone receiving fourteen.[58][64]

While his battlecruisers drew the fire of the British fleet, Scheer slipped away, laying smoke screens. Meanwhile, from about 19:16 to about 19:40, the British battleships were also engaging Scheer's destroyers, which executed several waves of torpedo attacks to cover his withdrawal. Jellicoe's ships turned away from the attacks and successfully evaded all 31 of the torpedoes launched at them—though in several cases, only just barely—and sank the German destroyer S35. British light forces also sank V48, which had previously been disabled by Shark.[65][66] This action, and the turn away, cost the British critical time and range in the last hour of daylight, as Scheer intended, allowing him to get his heavy ships out of immediate danger.

The last major exchanges between capital ships in this battle took place just after sunset, from about 20:19 to about 20:35, as the surviving British battlecruisers caught up with their German counterparts, which were briefly relieved by Rear-Admiral Mauve's obsolete pre-dreadnoughts (the German 2nd Squadron).[67] The British received one heavy hit on Princess Royal but scored five more on Seydlitz and three on other German ships.[68] As twilight faded to night and King George V exchanged a few final shots with Westfalen, neither side could have imagined that the only encounter between British and German dreadnoughts in the entire war was already concluded.

Night action and German withdrawal

At 21:00, Jellicoe, conscious of the Grand Fleet's deficiencies in night-fighting, decided to try to avoid a major engagement until early dawn.[69] He placed a screen of cruisers and destroyers five miles (8 km) behind his battle fleet to patrol the rear as he headed south to guard Scheer's expected escape route.[70] In reality Scheer opted to cross Jellicoe's wake and escape via Horns Reef. Luckily for Scheer, most of the light forces in Jellicoe's rearguard failed to report the seven separate encounters with the German fleet during the night;[71][72] the very few radio reports that were sent to the British flagship were never received, possibly because the Germans were jamming British frequencies.[73] Many of the destroyers failed to make the most of their opportunities to attack discovered ships, despite Jellicoe's expectations that the destroyer forces would, if necessary, be able to block the path of the German fleet.[74] Jellicoe and his commanders did not understand that the furious gunfire and explosions to the north (seen and heard for hours by all the British battleships) indicated that the German heavy ships were breaking through the screen astern of the British fleet.[71] Instead, it was believed that the fighting was the result of night attacks by German destroyers.[75] The most powerful British ships of all (the 15-inch-gunned 5th Battle Squadron) directly observed German battleships crossing astern of them in action with British light forces, at ranges of 3 miles (5 km) or less, and gunners on the HMS Malaya made ready to fire, but her captain declined,[76] deferring to the authority of Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas—and neither commander reported the sightings to Jellicoe, assuming that he could see for himself and that revealing the fleet's position by radio signals or gunfire was unwise.

While the nature of Scheer's escape, and Jellicoe's inaction, indicate the overall German superiority in night-fighting, the results of the night action were no more clear-cut than were those of the battle as a whole. In the first of many surprise encounters by darkened ships at point-blank range, Southampton, Commodore Goodenough's flagship which had scouted so proficiently, was heavily damaged in action with a German Scouting Group composed of light cruisers, but managed to torpedo the Frauenlob which went down at 22:23 with all hands (320 officers and men).[77]

From 23:20 to approximately 02:15, several British destroyer flotillas launched torpedo attacks on the German battlefleet in a series of violent and chaotic engagements at extremely short range (often under 0.5 miles (1 km)).[78] At the cost of five destroyers sunk and some others damaged, they managed to torpedo the light cruiser Rostock, which sank several hours later, and the pre-dreadnought Pommern, which blew up and sank with all hands (844 officers and men) during the last wave of attacks before dawn.[78] Three of the British destroyers collided in the chaos, and the German battleship Nassau rammed the British destroyer Spitfire, blowing away most of the British ship's superstructure merely with the muzzle blast of its big guns, which could not be aimed low enough to hit the ship. Nassau was left with a 3.3 m (11 ft) hole in her side reducing her maximum speed to 15 knots (28 km/h), while the removed plating was left lying on Spitfire's deck.[79] Spitfire survived and made it back to port.[80] Another German cruiser, Elbing, was accidentally rammed by the dreadnought Posen and abandoned, sinking early the next day. Of the British destroyers, Tipperary, Ardent, Fortune, Sparrowhawk and Turbulent were lost during the night fighting.

Just after midnight on 1 June, the Thüringen and other German battleships sank the Black Prince of the ill-fated 1st Cruiser Squadron, which had blundered into the German battle line. The Black Prince was overwhelmed by point-blank gunfire, and blew up with all hands (857 officers and men) as her squadron leader Defence had done hours earlier.[81] Lost in the darkness, German battlecruisers Moltke and Seydlitz had similar point-blank encounters with the British battle line and were recognized, but were spared the fate of Black Prince when the captains of the British ships, again, declined to open fire, reluctant to reveal their fleet's position.[82] At 01:45 the sinking battlecruiser Lützow, fatally damaged by Invincible during the main action, was torpedoed by the destroyer G38 on orders of Lützow's Captain Viktor von Harder after the surviving crew of 1,150 transferred to destroyers that came alongside.[83] At 02:15 the German destroyer V4 suddenly had its bow blown off; V2 and V6 came alongside and took off the remaining crew and the V2 then sank the hulk. Since there was no enemy nearby it was assumed that she had hit a mine or a had been torpedoed by a submarine.[84]

At 02:15 five British ships of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla under Captain James Uchtred Farie regrouped and headed south. At 02:25 they sighted the rear of the German line. Marksman inquired of the leader Champion as to whether he thought they were British or German ships. Answering that he thought they were German, Farie then veered off to the east and away from the German line. All but Moresby in the rear followed, as through the gloom she sighted what she thought were four pre-dreadnought battleships 2 miles (4 km) away. She hoisted a flag signal indicating that the enemy was to the west and then closed to firing range, letting off a torpedo set for high-running at 02:37 then veering off to rejoin her flotilla. The four pre-dreadnought battleships were in fact two pre-dreadnoughts, Schleswig-Holstein and Schlesien, and the battlecruisers Von der Tann and Derfflinger. Von der Tann sighted the torpedo and was forced to steer hard a starboard to avoid it as it passed close to her bows. Moresby rejoined Champion convinced she had scored a hit.[84]

Finally, at 5:20, as Scheer's fleet was safely on its way home, the German battleship Ostfriesland struck a British mine on her starboard side, killing one man and wounding ten, but was able to make port.[85] Seydlitz, critically damaged and very nearly sinking, barely survived the return voyage and after grounding and taking on even more water in the evening of 1 June, had to be assisted in to port stern first, where she dropped anchor at 07:30 on the morning of 2 June.[86]

The Germans were helped in their escape by the failure of the British admiralty in London to pass on seven critical radio intercepts obtained by naval intelligence indicating the true position, course and intentions of the High Seas Fleet during the night.[87] One message was transmitted to Jellicoe which he received at 23:15 reporting accurately the German fleets course and speed as of 21:14. However the erroneous signal from earlier in the day reporting the German fleet still in port, and an intelligence signal received at 22.45 giving another unlikely position for the German fleet had reduced his confidence in intelligence reports. Had the other messages been forwarded, which confirmed the information received at 23:15, or had British ships reported accurately sightings and engagements with German destroyers, cruisers and battleships, then Jellicoe could have altered course to intercept Scheer at the Horns Reef. The unsent intercepted messages had been duly filed by the junior officer left on duty that night who failed to appreciate their significance.[88] By the time Jellicoe finally learned of Scheer's whereabouts at 04:15, Scheer was too far away to catch and it was clear that the battle could no longer be resumed.

The outcome


On 3 June , the Daily Mirror reported the German Director of the Naval Department had told the Reichstag: "The result of the fighting is a significant success for our forces against a much stronger adversary"[89] as part of their communique to the press, the British Admiralty had said "...The British ships on which the brunt of the fighting fell were the battlecruiser fleet and some cruisers and light cruisers, supported by four fast battleships. Among these the losses were heavy.""[89]


SMS Seydlitz was heavily damaged in the battle, hit by twenty-one heavy shells and one torpedo. 98 men were killed and 55 injured
A crew member of SMS Westfalen

At Jutland, the Germans, with a 99-strong fleet, sank 115,000 tons of British ships, while a 151-strong British fleet sank 62,000 tons of German ships. The British lost 6,094 seamen, the Germans 2,551. Several other ships were badly damaged, such as Lion and Seydlitz. On the other hand, the British fleet remained in control of the North Sea at the end of the battle.

At a strategic level the outcome has been the subject of a huge literature, with no clear consensus. In the immediate aftermath, the view of the battle as indecisive was widely held, and remains influential.

Despite numerical superiority, the British had been disappointed in their hopes for a decisive victory comparable to Trafalgar, and the central objective of the influential strategic doctrines of Alfred Mahan. The High Seas Fleet survived as a fleet in being. Most of its losses were made good within a month — even Seydlitz, the most badly damaged ship to survive the battle, was fully repaired by October and officially back in service by November. The Germans had failed in their objective of destroying a substantial portion of the British Fleet. No progress had been made towards the goal of allowing the High Seas Fleet to operate in the Atlantic Ocean.

Subsequently, however, there has been considerable support for the view of Jutland as a strategic victory for the British. While the British had not destroyed the German fleet, and had lost more ships than their enemy, the Germans had retreated to harbour and at the end of the battle the British were in command of the area, notwithstanding their losses. The German fleet would only sortie twice more, on 18 August and in October 1916. Apart from these two (abortive) operations the High Seas Fleet – unwilling to risk another encounter with the British fleet – remained inactive for the duration of the war. Jutland thus ended the German challenge to British naval supremacy. A German naval expert, writing publicly about Jutland in November 1918 commented, "Our Fleet losses were severe. On 1 June 1916 it was clear to every thinking person that this battle must, and would be, the last one".[90]

At the end of the battle the British had maintained their numerical superiority, and had twenty-three dreadnoughts ready and four battlecruisers still able to fight, while the Germans had ten.[91] The damaged dreadnoughts Warspite and Malaya went in for repairs, Queen Elizabeth and Emperor of India joined the fleet, and Resolution and Ramillies shortly after that. Princess Royal and Tiger in dockyard were replaced by Australia. One month after the battle the Grand Fleet was therefore stronger than it had been before sailing to Jutland.[91]

A third view, presented in a number of recent evaluations, is that Jutland, the last major fleet action between battleships, illustrated the irrelevance of battleship fleets following the development of the submarine, mine and torpedo.[92] In this view, the most important consequence of Jutland was the subsequent decision of the Germans to engage in unrestricted submarine warfare. Although large numbers of battleships were constructed in the decades between the wars, it has been argued that this outcome reflected the social dominance, among naval decision-makers, of battleship advocates who constrained technological choices to fit traditional paradigms of fleet action.[93] In the event, battleships played a relatively minor role in World War II, in which the aircraft carrier emerged as the dominant offensive weapon of naval warfare.[94]

British self critiques

The official British Admiralty examination of the Grand Fleet's performance recognised two main problems:

  • Their armour-piercing shells exploded outside the German armour rather than penetrating and exploding within. As a result some German ships with only 200 mm (8 inches) armour survived hits from 15-inch (381 mm) shells. Had these shells penetrated through the armour and then exploded, German losses would probably have been far greater.
  • Communication between ships and the British commander-in-chief were comparatively poor. For most of the battle Jellicoe had no idea where the German ships were, even though British ships were in contact. They failed to report enemy positions, contrary to the Grand Fleet's Battle Plan. Some of the most important signalling was carried out solely by flag instead of wireless or using redundant methods to ensure communications— a questionable procedure given the mixture of haze and smoke that obscured the battlefield, and a foreshadowing of similar failures by habit-bound and conservatively-minded professional officers of rank to take advantage of new technology in World War II.

Shell performance

German armour-piercing shells were far more effective than the British shells, which often failed to penetrate heavy armour.[95] The issue particularly concerned shells striking at an oblique angle, which became increasingly the case at long range.[96]

The issue of poorly performing shells had been known to Jellicoe, who as third sea lord from 1908 to 1910 had ordered new shells to be designed. However, the matter had not been followed through after his posting to sea and new shells had never been thoroughly tested.[97] Beatty discovered the problem at a party aboard Lion a short time after the battle, where a Swedish Naval officer was present. He had recently visited Berlin, where the German navy had scoffed at how British shells had broken up on their ships armour.[98] The question of shell effectiveness had also been raised after the Battle of Dogger Bank, but no action had been taken.[99] Hipper later commented, 'it was nothing but the poor quality of their bursting charges which saved us from disaster'.[100]

Admiral Dreyer, writing later about the battle where he had been captain of the flagship, Iron Duke, estimated that effective shells as later introduced would have led to the sinking of 6 more German capital ships, based upon the actual number of hits achieved in the battle.[101] The system of testing shells, which remained in use up to 1944, meant that statistically a batch of shells of which 70% were faulty stood an even chance of being accepted. Indeed, even shells which had failed this relatively mild test had still been issued to ships. Analysis of the test results afterwards by the ordnance board suggested the likelihood that 30-70% of shells would not have passed the standard penetration test specified by the admiralty.[102]

Efforts to replace the shells were initially resisted by the admiralty and action was not taken until Jellicoe became first sea lord in December 1916. As an initial response the worst of the existing shells were withdrawn from ships in early 1917 and replaced from reserve supplies.[103] New shells were designed, but did not arrive until April 1918, and were never used in action.[98]

Battlecruiser losses

The British battlecruisers were designed to chase down and destroy enemy cruisers from a range at which cruisers could not effectively reply. They were not designed to be Ships of the Line and exchange broadsides with the enemy. Although one German and three British battlecruisers were sunk, none of them were destroyed by enemy shells penetrating the belt armour and detonating the magazines. Each of the British battlecruisers were penetrated through her turret roof and her magazines ignited by flash fires passing through the turret and shell handling rooms.[104] Lützow sustained 24 hits, and her flooding could not be contained. She was eventually sunk by her escorts' torpedoes after her crew had been safely removed. Derfflinger and Seydlitz sustained 22 hits each but made it to port (though Seydlitz just barely).[105]

The disturbing feature of the battlecruiser action is the fact that five German battlecruisers engaging six British vessels of this class, supported after the first twenty minutes, although at great range, by the fire of four battleships of the "Queen Elizabeth" class, were yet able to sink 'Queen Mary' and 'Indefatigable' … The facts which contributed to the British losses were, first, the indifferent armour protection of our battlecruisers, particularly as regards turret armour and deck plating, and, second, the disadvantage under which our vessels laboured in regard to the light.
Sir John Jellicoe, Jellicoe's official despatch

An impression was formed by Jellicoe, Beatty and other senior officers that the cause of the ships' loss had been their relatively weak armour. This led to calls for armour to be increased and an additional one inch (25 mm) was placed over the relatively thin decks above magazines. To compensate the increase in weight ships had to carry equivalently less fuel, water and other supplies. Whether or not thin deck armour was a potential weakness of British ships, the battle provided no evidence that it was the case. At least amongst the surviving ships, no enemy shell was found to have penetrated deck armour anywhere.[106] The design of a new battlecruiser HMS Hood, which had just started building at the time of the battle, was altered to give her 5000 tons of additional armour.[107]

Shell handling procedures

British and German propellant charges differed in packaging, handling, and chemistry. British cordite propellant (handled in exposed silk bags) tended to burn violently, causing uncontrollable "flash fires" when ignited by nearby shell hits. German propellant (RP C/12, handled in brass cartridge cases) was less vulnerable and less volatile in composition.[108] British ships had inadequate protection against these flash fires. The Royal Navy also emphasized speed in ammunition handling over established safety protocol. By staging charges in the chambers between the gun turret and magazine, the Royal Navy enhanced their rate of fire but left their ships vulnerable to chain reaction ammunition fires and magazine explosions.[109]

During the summer of 2003 a diving expedition examined the wrecks of Invincible, Queen Mary, Defence, and Lützow to investigate the cause of the British ships' tendency to suffer from internal explosions. From this evidence, a major part of the blame may be laid on lax handling of the cordite propellant for the shells of the main guns. This, in turn, was a product of contemporary British naval doctrine, which emphasized a rapid rate of fire.

In practice-drills, emphasizing speed of firing, the cordite could not be supplied to the guns rapidly enough through the hoists and hatches. In order to bring up the propellant in good time for the next broadside to be loaded, many safety doors which should have been kept shut to safeguard against flash fires were opened. Bags of cordite were also stocked and kept locally, creating a total breakdown of safety design features. This 'bad safety habit' carried over into real battle practices.

Furthermore, the doctrine of a high rate of fire also led to the decision in 1913 to increase the supply of shells and cordite held on the British ships by 50 per cent, for fear of running out of ammunition. When this exceeded the capacity of the ships' magazines, cordite was stored in insecure places[110].

There was a further difference in the propellant itself. While RP C/12 burned when exposed to fire, it did not explode, as opposed to cordite. RP C/12 was extensively studied by the British and, after World War I, would form the basis of the later Cordite SC.[111]

The memoirs of Alexander Grant, Gunner on Lion, suggest that some British officers were aware of the dangers of careless handling of cordite:

"With the introduction of cordite to replace powder for firing guns, regulations regarding the necessary precautions for handling explosives became unconsciously considerably relaxed, even I regret to say, to a dangerous degree throughout the Service. The gradual lapse in the regulations on board ship seemed to be due to two factors. First, cordite is a much safer explosive to handle than gun-powder. Second, but more important, the altered construction of the magazines on board led to a feeling of false security … The iron or steel deck, the disappearance of the wood lining, the electric lights fitted inside, the steel doors, open because there was now no chute for passing cartridges out; all this gave officers and men a comparative easiness of mind regarding the precautions necessary with explosive material".[112]

Grant had already introduced measures onboard Lion to limit the number of cartridges kept outside the magazine and to ensure doors were kept closed, probably contributing to her survival.[113]

After the battle the Admiralty produced a report critical of the cordite-handling practices. By this time Jellicoe had been promoted to First Sea Lord, and Beatty to command of the Grand Fleet. The report, which indirectly placed part of the blame for the disaster on the fleet's officers, was not widely distributed and effectively suppressed from public scrutiny.[citation needed]


British gunnery control systems, based on Dreyer tables were well in advance of the German ones, as demonstrated by the proportion of main calibre hits under manœuvre and were fitted to the majority of British capital ships by May, 1916.[114] The Royal Navy used centralised fire control systems on their capital ships, directed from a point high up on the ship where fall of shells could best be seen, utilising a director sight for both training and elevating the guns. This had been installed on ships progressively as the war went on because of its demonstrated advantages, and was installed on the main guns of all but two of the Grand Fleet's capital ships. The German battlecruisers controlled the fire of turrets using a training-only director which also did not fire the guns at once. The rest of the German capital ships were without this innovation. German range finding equipment was generally superior to the British 9-foot (2.7 m) FT24, as its operators were trained to a higher standard due to the complexity of the Zeiss 3-metre rangefinders. Their stereoscopic design meant that in certain conditions they could range on a target enshrouded by smoke.[115] The German equipment was not superior in range to the British Barr & Stroud 15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinder found in the newest British capital ships, and unlike the British rangefinders, the German rangetakers had to be replaced as often as every thirty minutes as their eyesight became impaired, affecting the ranges provided to their gunnery equipment.[116]

The results of the battle confirmed the value of centralised director firing of guns. The Royal Navy was prompted to install director firing systems to cruisers and destroyers where it had not thus far been used, and to secondary armament on battleships.[117]

German ships were perceived to have been quicker in determining the correct range of enemy ships and thus obtained an early advantage. The British used a 'bracket system', whereby a salvo was fired at the best guess range and depending where it landed the range was progressively corrected up or down until successive shots were landing in front of and behind the enemy. The Germans used a 'ladder system' whereby an initial volley of three shots at different ranges was used, with the centre shot at the best guess range. The ladder system allowed the gunners to get ranging information from the three shots more quickly than the bracket system, which required waiting between shots to see how the last had landed. British ships adopted the German system.[118]

It was determined that 9-foot (2.7 m) rangefinders of the sort issued to most British ships were not adequate at long range and did not perform as well as the 15-foot (4.5 m) rangefinders on some of the most modern ships. During 1917 rangefinders of base lengths of 25- and 30-feet (7.5 m and 9.0 m) were introduced on the battleships to improve accuracy.[119]


Throughout the battle British ships experienced difficulties with communications, whereas the Germans did not suffer such problems. The British preferred signalling by ship to ship flag and lamp signals, avoiding wireless, whereas the Germans used wireless successfully. One conclusion drawn was that flag signals were not a satisfactory way to control the fleet. Experience using lamps, particularly at night when issuing challenges to other ships, demonstrated this was an excellent way to advertise your precise location to an enemy, inviting a reply by gunfire. Recognition signals by lamp once seen could also easily be copied in future engagements.[120]

British ships both failed to report engagements with the enemy, but also in the case of cruisers and destroyers failed to actively seek out the enemy. A culture had arisen within the fleet of not acting without orders, which could prove fatal when any circumstances prevented orders being sent or received. Commanders failed to engage the enemy because they believed other more senior officers must also be aware of the enemy nearby, and would have given orders to act if this was expected. Wireless, the most direct way to pass messages across the fleet (although it was being jammed by German ships) was avoided either for perceived reasons of not giving away the presence of ships, or for fear of cluttering up the airwaves with unnecessary reports.[121]

Fleet Standing Orders

Naval operations were governed by standing orders issued to all the ships. These attempted to set out what ships should do in all circumstances, particularly in situations where ships would have to react without referring to higher authority, or when communications failed. A number of changes were introduced as a result of experience gained in the battle.

A new signal was introduced instructing squadron commanders to act independently as they thought best while still supporting the main fleet, particularly for use when circumstances would make it difficult to send detailed orders. The description stressed that this was not intended to be the only time commanders might take independent action, but was intended to make plain times when they definitely should. Similarly, instructions on what to do if the fleet was instructed to take evasive action against torpedoes were amended. Commanders were given discretion that if their part of the fleet was not under immediate attack, they should continue engaging the enemy rather than turning away with the rest of the fleet. In this battle, when the fleet turned away from Scheer's destroyer attack covering his retreat, not all the British ships had been affected, and could have continued to engage the enemy more closely.[122]

A number of opportunities to attack enemy ship by torpedo had presented themselves but been missed. All ships, not just the destroyers armed principally with torpedoes but also battleships, were reminded that they carried torpedoes intended to be used whenever an opportunity arose. Destroyers were instructed to close the enemy fleet to fire torpedoes as soon as engagements between the main ships on either side would keep enemy guns busy directed at larger targets. Destroyers should also be ready to immediately engage enemy destroyers if they should launch an attack, endeavouring to disrupt their chances of launching torpedoes and keep them away from the main fleet.[123]

A new signal was provided for deploying the fleet to the centre, rather than as previously only either to left or right of the standard closed-up formation for travelling, to add some flexibility when deploying for attack. The fast and powerful 5th Battle Squadron was moved to the front of the cruising formation so it would have the option of deploying left or right depending upon the enemy position. In the event of engagements at night, although the fleet still preferred to avoid night fighting, a destroyer and cruiser squadron would be specifically detailed to seek out the enemy and launch destroyer attacks.[124]


At the time, Jellicoe was criticised for his caution and for allowing Scheer to escape.[125] Beatty, in particular, was convinced that Jellicoe had missed a tremendous opportunity to annihilate the High Seas Fleet.[126], and win what would amount to another Trafalgar. Jellicoe was promoted away from active command to become First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy, while Beatty replaced him as commander of the Grand Fleet.

The controversy raged within the navy and in public for about a decade after the war. Criticism focused on Jellicoe's decision at 19:15. Scheer had ordered his cruisers and destroyers forward in a torpedo attack to cover the turning away of his battleships. Jellicoe chose to turn to the southeast, and so keep out of range of the torpedoes. If, instead, he had turned to the west, could his ships have dodged the torpedoes and destroyed the German fleet?[125] Supporters of Jellicoe, including the historian Cyril Falls, pointed to the potential folly of risking defeat in battle when you already have command of the sea.[127] Jellicoe himself, in a letter to the Admiralty months before the battle, had stated that he intended to turn his fleet away from any mass torpedo attack (that being the universally accepted proper tactical response to such attacks, practiced by all the major navies of the world[127]), and that in the event of a fleet engagement in which the enemy turned away he would assume that the intention was to draw him over mines or submarines and that he would decline to be so drawn. The Admiralty approved this plan and expressed full confidence in Jellicoe at the time (Oct. 1914).[128]

The stakes were high, the pressure on Jellicoe immense, and his caution certainly understandable. His judgment might have been that even 90% odds in favour were not good enough to bet the British Empire. The former First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill said of the battle that Jellicoe "was the only man on either side who could have lost the war in an afternoon."[129]

The criticism of Jellicoe also fails to sufficiently credit Scheer, who was determined to preserve his fleet by avoiding the full British battle line, and who showed great skill in effecting his escape.[130]

Beatty's actions

On the other hand, some of Jellicoe's supporters condemned the actions of Beatty for the British failure to achieve a complete victory.[131] Although Beatty was undeniably brave, his mismanagement of the initial encounter with Hipper's squadron and the High Seas Fleet cost considerable advantage in the first hours of the battle.[132] His most glaring failure was in not providing Jellicoe with periodic information on the position, course and speed of the High Seas Fleet.[133] Beatty, aboard the battlecruiser Lion, left behind the four fast battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron — the most powerful warships in the world at the time — engaging with six ships when better control would have given him ten against Hipper's five. Though Beatty's larger 13.5 inch (343 mm) guns outranged Hipper's 11 inch (280 mm) and 12 inch (305 mm) guns by thousands of meters, Beatty held his fire for 10 minutes and closed the enemy squadron until within range of the Germans' superior gunnery, under lighting conditions that favoured the Germans.[134] Most of the British losses in tonnage occurred in Beatty's force.




Selected honours

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British Empire armed forces. The Ordre pour le Mérite was the Kingdom of Prussia and consequently the German Empire's highest military order until the end of the First World War.

Pour le Mérite

Victoria Cross

Status of the survivors and wrecks

On the 90th anniversary of the battle, in 2006, the Ministry of Defence announced that the 14 British vessels lost in the battle were being designated as protected places under the Protection of Military Remains Act. The last surviving veteran of the battle, Henry Allingham, a British RAF (originally RNAS) airman, died on 18 July 2009.[135] One ship survives and is still in commission as a Royal Naval Reserve depot in Belfast, Northern Ireland: the light cruiser HMS Caroline.

Citations and notes

  1. ^ a b Nasmith, p. 261
  2. ^ The Western Front Association - Whys and Wherefores of Jutland
  3. ^ a b 'Castles of Steel' p. 666
  4. ^ Marder III p.168
  5. ^ a b Campbell. Analysis. pp. 26. 
  6. ^ Tarrant. German Perspective. pp. 65. 
  7. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 16–19. 
  8. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 22. 
  9. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 28–29. 
  10. ^ Marder III p.41-42
  11. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 31. 
  12. ^ a b Campbell. Analysis. pp. 35. 
  13. ^ 'Marder' III p.55
  14. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 32. 
  15. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 34–35. 
  16. ^ Brooks p. 234-237
  17. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 38–39. 
  18. ^ Brooks p. 239
  19. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 39–41. 
  20. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 64–66. 
  21. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 60–61. 
  22. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 49. 
  23. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 62–64. 
  24. ^ Bennett, p187
  25. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 78, 94. 
  26. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 596. 
  27. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 50–56. 
  28. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 52. 
  29. ^ a b Campbell. Analysis. pp. 54. 
  30. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 58–59. 
  31. ^ Massie, pp. 600-601
  32. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 96–97. 
  33. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 135. 
  34. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 124–125, p. 145. 
  35. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 100. 
  36. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 126–133. 
  37. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 134–145. 
  38. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 59. 
  39. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 118. 
  40. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 111. 
  41. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 111–115. 
  42. ^ a b Campbell. Analysis. pp. 120–121. 
  43. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 612–613. 
  44. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 115. 
  45. ^ Massie, p. 614
  46. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 153, p. 179. 
  47. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 259. 
  48. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 319. 
  49. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 185–187. 
  50. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 183. 
  51. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 159. 
  52. ^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 621. 
  53. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 187–188. 
  54. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 622. 
  55. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 167. 
  56. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 624–625. 
  57. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 162. 
  58. ^ a b c Campbell. Analysis. pp. 246. 
  59. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 218. 
  60. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 200–201. 
  61. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 197. 
  62. ^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 627–628. 
  63. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 205. 
  64. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 220. 
  65. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 211–216. 
  66. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 629–630. 
  67. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 252–254. 
  68. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 272. 
  69. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 635–636. 
  70. ^ Massie, p.637
  71. ^ a b Massie, p.645
  72. ^ Marder p.140-145
  73. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 647. 
  74. ^ Marder p.146
  75. ^ Marder p. 159
  76. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 645–646. 
  77. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 639–640. 
  78. ^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 642–645, pp. 647–648. 
  79. ^ Marder p. 142
  80. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 643. 
  81. ^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 290. 
  82. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 651–652. 
  83. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 650–651. 
  84. ^ a b Tarrant. German Perspective. pp. 245. 
  85. ^ Tarrant. German Perspective. pp. 259. 
  86. ^ German Perspective. pp. 260–261. 
  87. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 6342. 
  88. ^ Marder p.148-151
  89. ^ a b "Daily Mirror Headlines: The Battle of Jutland, Published 3 June 1916". BBC - History. 
  90. ^ Marder III p.206 citing Captain Persius, Berliner Tageblatt, 18 November 1918
  91. ^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 665. 
  92. ^ Kennedy. The Rise and Fall. pp. 257. 
  93. ^ McBride, William Leon (2000). Technological change and the United States Navy, 1865-1945. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6486-0. 
  94. ^ Polmar, Norman (2006). Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume 1: 1909-1945. Washington: Potomac Books. ISBN 1-57488-663-0. 
  95. ^ Campbell, pp. 386-387
  96. ^ Marder III p.170
  97. ^ 'Castles' p.61.
  98. ^ a b 'Castles' p. 668
  99. ^ Marder III p.171
  100. ^ 'Castles' p. 671 citing Marder Vol. III p.81
  101. ^ Marder p. 169
  102. ^ Marder III p. 171
  103. ^ Marder III, p.215
  104. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 666–667. 
  105. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 666. 
  106. ^ Marder III p.218
  107. ^ Marder III p. 219
  108. ^ Campbell, pp. 377-378
  109. ^ Campbell, pp. 371-372
  110. ^ Lambert. Bloody Ships. pp. 36. 
  111. ^ "German Ammunition, Guns and Mountings Definitions". Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  112. ^ Memoir of Gunnery Officer Alexander Grant
  113. ^ marder III p.174
  114. ^ Brooks p.224
  115. ^ Brooks, pp. 221-222
  116. ^ Brooks, p. 223
  117. ^ Marder III p.213-214
  118. ^ Marder III p.166, 214
  119. ^ Marder p. 215
  120. ^ Marder III p.175-176
  121. ^ Marder III p.176-178
  122. ^ MarderIII p.222
  123. ^ Marder III p.224-225
  124. ^ Marder III p.226
  125. ^ a b Massie, p. 631
  126. ^ Massie, p. 670
  127. ^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 675. 
  128. ^ Massie, p. 632
  129. ^ Massie. Castles. p. 681. 
  130. ^ Massie. Castles. p. 672. 
  131. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 670, 679. 
  132. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 673–674. 
  133. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 674. 
  134. ^ Massie. Castles. pp. 589–590. 
  135. ^ "Britain's oldest veteran recalls WWI". BBC News. 26 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 


  • Bennett, Geoffrey (2005). Naval Battles of the First World War. London: Pen & Sword Military Classics. ISBN 1-84415-300-2. 
  • Brooks, John (2005). Dreadnought Gunnery at the Battle of Jutland: The Question of Fire Control. London: Frank Cass Publishers. ISBN 0714657026. 
  • Campbell, John (1998). Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting. Lyons Press. ISBN 1-55821-759-2. 
  • English, Major J.A. (1979). "The Trafalgar Syndrome: Jutland and the Indecisiveness of Naval Warfare". Naval War College Review XXXII (3). 
  • Kennedy, Paul M. (1983). The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-35094-4. 
  • Lambert, Nicholas A (January 1998). ""Our Bloody Ships" or "Our Bloody System"? Jutland and the Loss of the Battle Cruisers, 1916". The Journal of Military History 61: 29–55. doi:10.2307/120394. 
  • Marder, Arthur J. (1966). Volume III: Jutland and after, May 1916 – December 1916. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow. Oxford University Press. 
  • Massie, Robert K. (2003). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. Random House. ISBN 0345408780. 
  • Massie, Robert K. (1991). Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the coming of the great war. Random House. ISBN 0394528336. 
  • Morison, Samuel E. Leyte, June 1944; History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. 1956. Little & Brown.
  • Nasmith, Col.George (1919). Canada's Sons and Great Britain during the World War. Introduction by Gen. Sir Arthur W. Currie. Thomas Allen Publishings, Toronto. 
  • O'Connell, Robert J. (1993). Sacred vessels: the cult of the battleship and the rise of the U. S. Navy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195080068. 
  • Tarrant, V.E.. Jutland: The German Perspective — A New View of the Great Battle. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 

Further reading

  • Bacon, Reginald (1925). The Jutland Scandal. London. 
  • Butler, Daniel Allen (2006). Distant Victory: The Battle of Jutland and the Allied Triumph in the First World War. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0275990737. 
  • Corbett, Julian (2003). Volume III: Naval Operations. Official History of the War (Reprint). London: Longmans & Co.. ISBN 1843424916. 
  • H.W. Fawcett & G.W.W. Hooper, RN (editors), The fighting at Jutland (abridged edition); the personal experiences of forty-five officers and men of the British Fleet London: MacMillan & Co, 1921
  • George, S.C. (1981). Jutland to Junkyard. Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing. ISBN 0-86228-029-X. 
  • Gordon, Andrew (1996). The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command. London: John Murray. 
  • Groos, Fregattenkäpitan Otto (1925) (in German). Der Krieg in der Nordsee. Der Krieg zur See: 1914–1918. Bänd V. Berlin: Mittler & Sons. 
  • Hough, Richard (1975). Dreadnought, A history of the Modern Battleship. Macmillan Publishers. 
  • Legg, Stuart (1966). Jutland, an Eye-Witness Account of a Great Battle. New York City: The John Day Company. 
  • London, Charles (2000). Jutland 1916, Clash of the diDreadnoughts. Campaign #72. Osprey Publishing. 
  • Marder, Arthur J.. Volume II: The War Years to the eve of Jutland, 1914–1916. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow. Oxford University Press. 
  • Roberts, John Arthur (2003). Battlecruisers. ShipShape. London: Caxton Editions. ISBN 1840675306. 
  • Steel, Nigel; Hart, Peter (2004). Jutland 1916: Death in the Grey Wastes. London: Cassell. ISBN 0304358924. 

External links

Notable accounts

Note that due to the time zone difference, the times in some of the German accounts are two hours ahead of the times in this article.

Coordinates: 56°42′N 5°52′E / 56.7°N 5.867°E / 56.7; 5.867


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