The Battle of
Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht, the Battle of
Skagerrak) was a naval battle fought by the British Royal Navy's Grand
Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, against the Imperial German
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet under Vice-Admiral
Reinhard Scheer during the
First World War. The battle unfolded in extensive manoeuvring and
three main engagements (the battlecruiser action, the fleet action and
the night action), from 31 May to 1 June 1916, off the
North Sea coast
Jutland Peninsula. It was the largest naval battle and
the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war.
Jutland was the
third fleet action between steel battleships, following the smaller
but more decisive battles of the Yellow Sea (1904) and Tsushima (1905)
during the Russo-Japanese War.
Jutland was the last major battle in
world history fought primarily by battleships.
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet intended to lure out, trap, and destroy a
portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German naval force was insufficient
to openly engage the entire British fleet. This formed part of a
larger strategy to break the British blockade of Germany and to allow
German naval vessels access to the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Great
Royal Navy pursued a strategy of engaging and destroying the
High Seas Fleet, thereby keeping German naval forces contained and
away from Britain and her shipping lanes.
The Germans planned to use Vice-Admiral Franz Hipper's fast scouting
group of five modern battlecruisers to lure Vice-Admiral Sir David
Beatty's battlecruiser squadrons into the path of the main German
fleet. They stationed submarines in advance across the likely routes
of the British ships. However, the British learned from signal
intercepts that a major fleet operation was likely, so on 30 May
Jellicoe sailed with the
Grand Fleet to rendezvous with Beatty,
passing over the locations of the German submarine picket lines while
they were unprepared. The German plan had been delayed, causing
further problems for their submarines, which had reached the limit of
their endurance at sea.
On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty encountered Hipper's battlecruiser
force long before the Germans had expected. In a running battle,
Hipper successfully drew the British vanguard into the path of the
High Seas Fleet. By the time Beatty sighted the larger force and
turned back towards the British main fleet, he had lost two
battlecruisers from a force of six battlecruisers and four powerful
battleships – though he had sped ahead of his battleships of 5th
Battle Squadron earlier in the day, effectively losing them as an
integral component for much of this opening action against the five
ships commanded by Hipper. Beatty's withdrawal at the sight of the
High Seas Fleet, which the British had not known were in the open sea,
would reverse the course of the battle by drawing the German fleet in
pursuit towards the British Grand Fleet. Between 18:30, when the sun
was lowering on the western horizon, back-lighting the German forces,
and nightfall at about 20:30, the two fleets – totalling 250 ships
between them – directly engaged twice.
Fourteen British and eleven German ships sank, with great loss of
life. After sunset, and throughout the night, Jellicoe manoeuvred to
cut the Germans off from their base, hoping to continue the battle the
next morning, but under the cover of darkness Scheer broke through the
British light forces forming the rearguard of the
Grand Fleet and
returned to port.
Both sides claimed victory. The British lost more ships and twice as
many sailors but succeeded in containing the German fleet. However,
the British press criticised the Grand Fleet's failure to force a
decisive outcome, while Scheer's plan of destroying a substantial
portion of the British fleet also failed. Finally, the British
strategy of denying Germany access to both the
United Kingdom and the
Atlantic did succeed, which was the British long-term goal. The
Germans' "fleet in being" continued to pose a threat, requiring the
British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but
the battle reinforced the German policy of avoiding all fleet-to-fleet
contact. At the end of 1916, after further unsuccessful attempts to
reduce the Royal Navy's numerical advantage, the German Navy accepted
that its surface ships had been successfully contained, subsequently
turning its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare
and the destruction of Allied and neutral shipping, which - along with
Zimmermann Telegram - by April 1917 triggered the
United States of
America's declaration of war on Germany.
Subsequent reviews commissioned by the
Royal Navy generated strong
disagreement between supporters of Jellicoe and Beatty concerning the
two admirals' performance in the battle. Debate over their performance
and the significance of the battle continues to this day.
1 Background and planning
1.1 German planning
1.2 British response
2 Naval tactics in 1916
2.1 Ship design
3 Order of battle
4.2 Run to the south
4.3 Run to the north
4.4 The fleets converge
5 Fleet action
5.2 Windy Corner
5.3 Crossing the T
6 Night action and German withdrawal
7.3 British self-critique
7.3.1 Shell performance
7.3.3 Ammunition handling
7.3.6 Fleet Standing Orders
8.1 Beatty's actions
9 Death toll
10 Selected honours
10.1 Pour le Mérite
10.2 Victoria Cross
11 Status of the survivors and wrecks
14 See also
18 Further reading
19 External links
Background and planning
With 16 dreadnought-type battleships, compared with the Royal Navy's
28, the German
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet stood little chance of winning a
head-to-head clash. The Germans therefore adopted a divide-and-conquer
strategy. They would stage raids into the
North Sea and bombard the
English coast, with the aim of luring out small British squadrons and
pickets, which could then be destroyed by superior forces or
In January 1916, Admiral von Pohl, commander of the German fleet, fell
ill. He was replaced by Scheer, who believed that the fleet had been
used too defensively, had better ships and men than the British, and
ought to take the war to them. According to Scheer, the German
naval strategy should be:
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.
Reinhard Scheer, German fleet commander
On 25 April 1916, a decision was made by the German admiralty to halt
indiscriminate attacks by submarine on merchant shipping. This
followed protests from neutral countries, notably the United States,
that their nationals had been the victims of attacks. Germany agreed
that future attacks would only take place in accord with
internationally agreed prize rules, which required an attacker to give
a warning and allow the crews of vessels time to escape, and not to
attack neutral vessels at all. Scheer believed that it would not be
possible to continue attacks on these terms, which took away the
advantage of secret approach by submarines and left them vulnerable to
even relatively small guns on the target ships. Instead, he set about
deploying the submarine fleet against military vessels.
It was hoped that, following a successful German submarine attack,
fast British escorts, such as destroyers, would be tied down by
anti-submarine operations. If the Germans could catch the British in
the expected locations, good prospects were thought to exist of at
least partially redressing the balance of forces between the fleets.
"After the British sortied in response to the raiding attack force",
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.
A plan was devised to station submarines offshore from British naval
bases, and then stage some action that would draw out the British
ships to the waiting submarines. The battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz
had been damaged in a previous engagement, but was due to be repaired
by mid May, so an operation was scheduled for 17 May 1916. At the
start of May, difficulties with condensers were discovered on ships of
the third battleship squadron, so the operation was put back to 23
May. Ten submarines—U-24, U-32, U-43, U-44, UC-47, U-51, U-52, U-63,
U-66, and U-70—were given orders first to patrol in the central
North Sea between 17 and 22 May, and then to take up waiting
positions. U-43 and U-44 were stationed in the Pentland Firth, which
Grand Fleet was likely to cross leaving Scapa Flow, while the
remainder proceeded to the Firth of Forth, awaiting battlecruisers
departing Rosyth. Each boat had an allocated area, within which it
could move around as necessary to avoid detection, but was instructed
to keep within it. During the initial
North Sea patrol the boats were
instructed to sail only north–south so that any enemy who chanced to
encounter one would believe it was departing or returning from
operations on the west coast (which required them to pass around the
north of Britain). Once at their final positions, the boats were under
strict orders to avoid premature detection that might give away the
operation. It was arranged that a coded signal would be transmitted to
alert the submarines exactly when the operation commenced: "Take into
account the enemy's forces may be putting to sea".
Additionally, UB-27 was sent out on 20 May with instructions to work
its way into the
Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth past May Island. U-46 was ordered to
patrol the coast of Sunderland, which had been chosen for the
diversionary attack, but because of engine problems it was unable to
leave port and U-47 was diverted to this task. On 13 May, U-72 was
sent to lay mines in the Firth of Forth; on the 23rd, U-74 departed to
lay mines in the Moray Firth; and on the 24th, U-75 was dispatched
similarly west of the
Orkney Islands. UB-21 and UB-22 were sent to
patrol the Humber, where (incorrect) reports had suggested the
presence of British warships. U-22, U-46 and U-67 were positioned
north of Terschelling to protect against intervention by British light
forces stationed at Harwich.
On 22 May 1916, it was discovered that Seydlitz was still not
watertight after repairs and would not now be ready until the 29th.
The ambush submarines were now on station and experiencing
difficulties of their own: visibility near the coast was frequently
poor due to fog, and sea conditions were either so calm the slightest
ripple, as from the periscope, could give away their position, or so
rough as to make it very hard to keep the vessel at a steady depth.
The British had become aware of unusual submarine activity, and had
begun counter patrols that forced the submarines out of position.
UB-27 passed Bell Rock on the night of 23 May on its way into the
Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth as planned, but was halted by engine trouble. After
repairs it continued to approach, following behind merchant vessels,
and reached Largo Bay on 25 May. There the boat became entangled in
nets that fouled one of the propellers, forcing it to abandon the
operation and return home. U-74 was detected by four armed trawlers on
27 May and sunk 25 mi (22 nmi; 40 km) south-east of
Peterhead. U-75 laid its mines off the
Orkney Islands, which, although
they played no part in the battle, were responsible later for sinking
the cruiser Hampshire carrying Lord Kitchener (head of the army) on a
mission to Russia on 5 June. U-72 was forced to abandon its mission
without laying any mines when an oil leak meant it was leaving a
visible surface trail astern.
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The throat of the Skagerrak, the strategic gateway to the Baltic and
North Atlantic, waters off Jutland, Norway and Sweden
The Germans maintained a fleet of Zeppelins that they used for aerial
reconnaissance and occasional bombing raids. The planned raid on
Sunderland intended to use Zeppelins to watch out for the British
fleet approaching from the north, which might otherwise surprise the
By 28 May, strong north-easterly winds meant that it would not be
possible to send out the Zeppelins, so the raid again had to be
postponed. The submarines could only stay on station until 1 June
before their supplies would be exhausted and they had to return, so a
decision had to be made quickly about the raid.
It was decided to use an alternative plan, abandoning the attack on
Sunderland but instead sending a patrol of battlecruisers to the
Skagerrak, where it was likely they would encounter merchant ships
carrying British cargo and British cruiser patrols. It was felt this
could be done without air support, because the action would now be
much closer to Germany, relying instead on cruiser and torpedo boat
patrols for reconnaissance.
Orders for the alternative plan were issued on 28 May, although it was
still hoped that last-minute improvements in the weather would allow
the original plan to go ahead. The German fleet assembled in the Jade
River and at
Wilhelmshaven and was instructed to raise steam and be
ready for action from midnight on 28 May.
Franz Hipper, commander of the German battlecruiser squadron
By 14:00 on 30 May, the wind was still too strong and the final
decision was made to use the alternative plan. The coded signal "31
May G.G.2490" was transmitted to the ships of the fleet to inform them
Skagerrak attack would start on 31 May. The pre-arranged signal to
the waiting submarines was transmitted throughout the day from the
E-Dienst radio station at Brugge, and the U-boat tender Arcona
anchored at Emden. Only two of the waiting submarines, U-66 and U-32,
received the order.
Unfortunately for the German plan, the British had obtained a copy of
the main German codebook 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 often be quickly deciphered, and the
Admiralty usually knew about German activities.
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 that provided "ample evidence that the
German fleet was stirring in the North Sea." Further signals were
intercepted, and although they were not decrypted it was clear that a
major operation was likely. At 11:00 on 30 May, Jellicoe was warned
that the German fleet seemed prepared to sail the following morning.
By 17:00, the
Admiralty had intercepted the signal from Scheer, "31
May G.G.2490", making it clear something significant was imminent.
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.
John Jellicoe, British fleet commander
Consequently, Admiral Jellicoe led the sixteen dreadnought battleships
of the 1st and 4th Battle Squadrons of the
Grand Fleet and three
battlecruisers of the 3rd
Battlecruiser Squadron eastwards out of
Scapa Flow at 22:30 on 30 May. He was to meet the 2nd Battle Squadron
of eight dreadnought battleships commanded by Vice-Admiral Martyn
Jerram coming from Cromarty. Hipper's raiding force did not leave the
Outer Jade Roads until 01:00 on 31 May, heading west of Heligoland
Island following a cleared channel through the minefields, heading
north at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). The main German fleet
of sixteen dreadnought battleships of 1st and 3rd Battle Squadrons
left the Jade at 02:30, being joined off Heligoland at 04:00 by the
six pre-dreadnoughts of the 2nd Battle Squadron coming from the Elbe
River. Beatty's faster force of six ships of the 1st and 2nd
Battlecruiser Squadrons plus the 5th Battle Squadron of four fast
battleships left the
Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth on the next day;
Jellicoe intended to rendezvous with him 90 mi (78 nmi;
140 km) west of the mouth of the
Skagerrak off the coast of
Jutland and wait for the Germans to appear or for their intentions to
become clear. The planned position would give him the widest range of
responses to likely German moves.
Naval tactics in 1916
The principle of concentration of force was fundamental to the fleet
tactics of this time (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 simplified the
passing of the signals necessary for command and control.
A fleet formed in several short columns could change its heading
faster than one formed in a single long column. Since most command
signals were made with flags or signal lamps 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. Wireless telegraphy was in use, though security (radio
direction finding), encryption, and the limitation of the radio sets
made their extensive use more problematic. Command and control of such
huge fleets remained difficult.
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 10 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.
However, before battle was joined the heavy units of the fleet would,
if possible, deploy into a single column. To form the battle line in
the correct orientation relative to the enemy, the commanding admiral
had 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 report this
information in sufficient time, and, if possible, to deny the enemy's
scouting forces the opportunity of obtaining the equivalent
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 Tōgō,
commander of the Japanese battleship fleet, had achieved this against
Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky's Russian battleships in 1905 at the
Battle of Tsushima, with devastating results. Jellicoe achieved
this twice in one hour against the
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet at Jutland, but on
both occasions, Scheer managed to turn away and disengage, thereby
avoiding a decisive action.
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 in (280 mm) or larger).
British battlecruisers sacrificed weight of armour for greater speed,
while their German counterparts were armed with lighter guns and
heavier armour. 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, fairly young ships could still be obsolete compared to
the newest ships, and fare badly in an engagement against them.
Admiral John Fisher, responsible for reconstruction of the British
fleet in the pre-war period, favoured large guns, oil fuel, and speed.
Admiral Tirpitz, responsible for the German fleet, favoured ship
survivability and chose to sacrifice some gun size for improved
armour. The German battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger had belt armour
equivalent in thickness—though not as comprehensive—to the British
battleship HMS 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. As they were designed only for sorties 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.
Order of battle
Main article: Order of battle at Jutland
Warships of the period were armed with guns firing projectiles of
varying weights, bearing high explosive warheads. The sum total of
weight of all the projectiles fired by all the ship's broadside guns
is referred to as "weight of broadside". At Jutland, the total of the
British ships' weight of broadside was 332,360 lb
(150,760 kg), while the German fleet's total was 134,216 lb
(60,879 kg). This does not take into consideration the
ability of some ships and their crews to fire more or less rapidly
than others, which would increase or decrease amount of fire that one
combatant was able to bring to bear on their opponent for any length
Grand Fleet was split into two sections. The dreadnought
Battle Fleet, with which he sailed, formed the main force and was
composed of 24 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"), eight light cruisers, four scout cruisers, 51
destroyers, and one destroyer-minelayer.
David Beatty, commander of the British battlecruiser fleet
Grand Fleet sailed without three of its battleships: Emperor of
India in refit at Invergordon, Queen Elizabeth dry-docked at Rosyth
Dreadnought in refit at Devonport. The brand new Royal Sovereign
was left behind; with only three weeks in service, her untrained crew
was judged unready for battle.
British reconnaissance was provided by the
Battlecruiser Fleet under
David Beatty: six battlecruisers, four fast Queen Elizabeth-class
battleships, 14 light cruisers and 27 destroyers. Air scouting was
provided by the attachment of the seaplane tender HMS Engadine,
one of the first aircraft carriers in history to participate in a
High Seas Fleet
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 16 battleships and six pre-dreadnought battleships
arranged in an identical manner to the British. With them were six
light cruisers and 31 torpedo-boats, (the latter being roughly
equivalent to a British destroyer).
The German scouting force, commanded by Franz Hipper, consisted of
five battlecruisers, five light cruisers and 30 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
All of the battleships and battlecruisers on both sides carried
torpedoes of various sizes, as did the lighter craft. The British
battleships carried three or four underwater torpedo tubes. The
battlecruisers carried from two to five. All were either 18-inch or
21-inch diameter. The German battleships carried five or six
underwater torpedo tubes in three sizes from 18 to 21 inch and the
battlecruisers carried four or five tubes.
The German battle fleet was hampered by the slow speed and relatively
poor armament of the six pre-dreadnoughts of II Squadron, which
limited maximum fleet speed to 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph),
compared to maximum British fleet speed of 21 knots (39 km/h;
24 mph). On the British side, the eight armoured cruisers
were deficient in both speed and armour protection. Both of these
obsolete squadrons were notably vulnerable to attacks by more modern
enemy ships.
The route of the British battlecruiser fleet took it through the
patrol sector allocated to U-32. After receiving the order to commence
the operation, the U-boat moved to a position 80 mi (70 nmi;
130 km) east of May Island at dawn on 31 May. At 03:40, it
sighted the cruisers HMS Galatea and Phaeton leaving the Forth at
18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). It launched one torpedo at the
leading cruiser at a range of 1,000 yd (910 m), but its
periscope jammed 'up', giving away the position of the submarine as it
manoeuvred to fire a second. The lead cruiser turned away to dodge the
torpedo, while the second turned towards the submarine, attempting to
ram. U-32 crash dived, and on raising its periscope at 04:10 saw two
battlecruisers (the 2nd
Battlecruiser Squadron) heading south-east.
They were too far away to attack, but Kapitänleutnant von Spiegel
reported the sighting of two battleships and two cruisers to
U-66 was also supposed to be patrolling off the
Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth but had
been forced north to a position 60 mi (52 nmi; 97 km)
off Peterhead by patrolling British vessels. This now brought it into
contact with the 2nd Battle Squadron, coming from the Moray Firth. At
05:00, it had to crash dive when the cruiser Duke of Edinburgh
appeared from the mist heading toward it. It was followed by another
cruiser, Boadicea, and eight battleships. U-66 got within 350 yd
(320 m) of the battleships preparing to fire, but was forced to
dive by an approaching destroyer and missed the opportunity. At 06:35,
it reported eight battleships and cruisers heading north.
The courses reported by both submarines were incorrect, because they
reflected one leg of a zigzag being used by British ships to avoid
submarines. Taken with a wireless intercept of more ships leaving
Scapa Flow earlier in the night, they created the impression in the
German High Command that the British fleet, whatever it was doing, was
split into separate sections moving apart, which was precisely as the
Germans wished to meet it.
Jellicoe's ships proceeded to their rendezvous undamaged and
undiscovered. However, he was now misled by an
report advising that the German main battle fleet was still in
port. 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
The German battlecruisers cleared the minefields surrounding the Amrum
swept channel by 09:00. They then proceeded north-west, passing
35 mi (30 nmi; 56 km) west of the Horn's Reef lightship
heading for the Little
Fisher Bank at the mouth of the Skagerrak. The
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet followed some 50 mi (43 nmi; 80 km)
behind. The battlecruisers were in line ahead, with the four cruisers
of the II scouting group plus supporting torpedo boats ranged in an
arc 8 mi (7.0 nmi; 13 km) ahead and to either side. The
IX torpedo boat flotilla formed close support immediately surrounding
the battlecruisers. The
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet similarly adopted a line-ahead
formation, with close screening by torpedo boats to either side and a
further screen of five cruisers surrounding the column 5–8 mi
(4.3–7.0 nmi; 8.0–12.9 km) away. The wind had finally
moderated so that Zeppelins could be used, and by 11:30 five had been
sent out: L14 to the Skagerrak, L23 240 mi (210 nmi;
390 km) east of Noss Head in the Pentland Firth, L21 120 mi
(100 nmi; 190 km) off Peterhead, L9 100 mi
(87 nmi; 160 km) off Sunderland, and L16 80 mi
(70 nmi; 130 km) east of Flamborough Head. Visibility,
however, was still bad, with clouds down to 1,000 ft
HMS Warspite and Malaya, seen from HMS Valiant at around
By around 14:00, Beatty's ships were proceeding eastward at roughly
the same latitude as Hipper's squadron, which was heading north. Had
the courses remained unchanged, Beatty would have passed between the
two German fleets, 40 mi (35 nmi; 64 km) south of the
battlecruisers and 20 mi (17 nmi; 32 km) north of the
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet at around 16:30, possibly trapping his ships just as
the German plan envisioned. His orders were to stop his scouting
patrol when he reached a point 260 mi (230 nmi; 420 km)
east of Britain and then turn north to meet Jellicoe, which he did at
this time. Beatty's ships were divided into three columns, with the
two battlecruiser squadrons leading in parallel lines 3 mi
(2.6 nmi; 4.8 km) apart. The 5th Battle Squadron was
stationed 5 mi (4.3 nmi; 8.0 km) to the north-west, on
the side furthest away from any expected enemy contact, while a screen
of cruisers and destroyers was spread south-east of the
battlecruisers. After the turn, the 5th Battle Squadron was now
leading the British ships in the westernmost column, and Beatty's
squadron was centre and rearmost, with the 2nd BCS to the west.
(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
(4) 16:25 hrs, Queen Mary explodes, nine survive.
(5) 16:45 hrs, Beatty's battlecruisers move out of range of
(6) 16:54 hrs, Evan-Thomas's battleships turn north behind
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 on the same mission (B109 and
B110). The first shots of the battle were fired at 14:28 when
HMS Galatea and Phaeton of the British 1st Light
opened on the German torpedo boats, which withdrew toward their
approaching light cruisers. At 14:36, the Germans scored the first hit
of the battle when SMS Elbing, of
Boedicker's Scouting Group II, hit her British counterpart Galatea at
Beatty began to move his battlecruisers and supporting forces
south-eastwards 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 aircraft did locate and
report some German light cruisers just before 15:30 and came under
anti-aircraft gunfire but attempts to relay reports from the aeroplane
Unfortunately for Beatty, his initial course changes at 14:32 were not
received by Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron (the distance
being too great to read his flags), because the battlecruiser
HMS Tiger—the last ship in his column—was no longer in a
position where she could relay signals by searchlight to Evan-Thomas,
as she had previously been ordered to do. Whereas before the north
turn, Tiger had been the closest ship to Evan-Thomas, she was now
further away than Beatty in 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 their initiative and keep station with the
flagship. 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 10 mi (8.7 nmi; 16 km) behind rather
than five. Beatty also had the 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
manage. 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.
With visibility favouring the Germans, Hipper's battlecruisers at
15:22, steaming approximately north-west, sighted Beatty's squadron at
a range of about 15 mi (13 nmi; 24 km), while Beatty's
forces did not identify Hipper's battlecruisers until 15:30. (position
1 on map). At 15:45, Hipper turned south-east to lead Beatty toward
Scheer, who was 46 mi (40 nmi; 74 km) south-east with
the main force of the High Seas Fleet.
Run to the south
Beatty's conduct during the next 15 minutes has received a great deal
of criticism, as his ships out-ranged and outnumbered the German
squadron, yet he held his fire for over 10 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.
At 15:48, with the opposing forces roughly parallel at 15,000 yd
(14,000 m), with the British to the south-west 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
Beatty's flagship Lion burning after being hit by a salvo from Lützow
HMS Indefatigable sinking after being struck by shells from the German
battlecruiser Von der Tann
Beatty had ordered his ships to engage in a line, one British ship
engaging with one German and his flagship HMS Lion doubling on
the German flagship SMS Lützow. However, due to another mistake
with signalling by flag, and possibly because Queen Mary and Tiger
were unable to see the German lead ship because of smoke, the
second German ship, Derfflinger, was left un-engaged and free to fire
without disruption. SMS Moltke drew fire from two of Beatty's
battlecruisers, but still fired with great accuracy during this time,
hitting Tiger 9 times 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
The first near-kill of the Run to the South occurred at 16:00, when a
30.5 cm (12.0 in) shell from Lützow wrecked the "Q" turret
amidships 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 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.
HMS Indefatigable was not so lucky; at 16:02, just 14 minutes
into the gunnery exchange, she was hit aft by three 28 cm
(11 in) shells from SMS 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
28 cm (11 in) shell 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. (position 3).
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, HMS Barham, caught up with Hipper and opened fire at
extreme range, scoring a 15 in (380 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.
At 16:25, the battlecruiser action intensified again when
HMS 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. (position 4). Commander von Hase, the first gunnery officer
aboard Derfflingler, noted:
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, followed by a much heavier explosion
amidships. Immediately afterwards, she blew up with a terrific
explosion, the masts collapsing inwards and the smoke hiding
HMS Queen Mary
HMS Queen Mary blowing up
During the Run to the South, from 15:48 to 16:54, the German
battlecruisers made an estimated total of forty-two 28 and
30.5 cm (11.0 and 12.0 in) hits on the British
battlecruisers (nine on Lion, six on Princess Royal, seven on Queen
Mary, 14 on Tiger, one on New Zealand, five on Indefatigable), and two
more on the battleship Barham, compared with only eleven 13.5 in
(340 mm) hits by the British battlecruisers (four on Lützow,
four on Seydlitz, two on Moltke, one on von der Tann), and six
15 in (380 mm) hits by the battleships (one on Seydlitz,
four on Moltke, one on von der Tann).
Shortly after 16:26, a salvo struck on or around HMS Princess
Royal, which was obscured by spray and smoke from shell bursts. A
signalman promptly leapt on to 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.) 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, HMS Southampton of Beatty's 2nd
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: 16 dreadnoughts with
six older battleships. This was the first news that Beatty and
Jellicoe had that Scheer and his battle fleet 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 HMS Petard. Though taking on water, Seydlitz maintained
speed. The destroyer HMS 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 – HMS 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.
Run to the north
As soon as he himself sighted the vanguard of Scheer's distant
battleship line 12 mi (10 nmi; 19 km) away, at 16:40,
Beatty turned his battlecruiser force 180°, heading north to draw the
Germans toward Jellicoe. (position 5). Beatty's withdrawal toward
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 battleships 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
Meanwhile, at 16:47, having received Goodenough's signal and knowing
that Beatty was now leading the German battle fleet 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
Admiralty so in London.
The difficulties of the 5th Battle Squadron were compounded when
Beatty gave 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
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.
However, the captain of the trailing ship (HMS Malaya) turned
early, mitigating the adverse results.
For the next hour, the 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. 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, but they
had rapidly received five more before he opened the range (four on
Lion, of which three were by Lützow, and one on Tiger by
Seydlitz). 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 HMS Barham and Valiant engaged) and
Scheer's leading battleships to the south-east (which
HMS Warspite and Malaya engaged). Three took hits: Barham
(four by Derfflinger), Warspite (two by Seydlitz), and Malaya (seven
by the German battleships). Only Valiant was unscathed.
The four battleships 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 in (380 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
(four on Lützow, three on Derfflinger, six on Seydlitz) and five on
battleships (although only one, on SMS Markgraf, did any serious
damage). (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
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. Rear-Admiral
Cruiser Squadron patrolled the van of Jellicoe's main
battleship force as it advanced steadily to the south-east.
At 17:33, the armoured cruiser HMS Black Prince of Arbuthnot's
squadron, on the far southwest flank of Jellicoe's force, came within
view of HMS Falmouth, which was about 5 mi (4.3 nmi;
8.0 km) ahead of Beatty with the 3rd Light
establishing the first visual link between the converging bodies of
the Grand Fleet. At 17:38, the scout cruiser HMS Chester,
screening Hood's oncoming battlecruisers, was intercepted by the van
of the German scouting forces under
Heavily outnumbered by Boedicker's four light cruisers, Chester was
pounded before being relieved by Hood's heavy units, which swung
westward for that purpose. Hood's flagship HMS Invincible
disabled the light cruiser SMS 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, Boedicker's
other ships turned 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 counter-attack, the
British destroyer HMS Shark was disabled, but continued to return
fire at numerous passing enemy ships for the next hour.
(1) 18:00 Scouting forces rejoin their 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
(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
toward 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 confused sighting
reports of varying accuracy and limited usefulness from light cruisers
and battleships on the starboard (southern) flank of his force.
Jellicoe was in a worrying position. He needed to know the location of
the German fleet to judge when and how to deploy his battleships from
their cruising formation (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 full 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.
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 north-west, 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, Arbuthnot's
flagship, the armoured cruiser HMS Defence, and her squadron-mate
HMS Warrior both charged across Beatty's bows, and Lion narrowly
avoided a collision with Warrior. Nearby, numerous British light
cruisers and destroyers on the south-western flank of the deploying
battleships were also crossing each other's 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".
Arbuthnot 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 battleship 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. Steaming at top speed in wide circles, Warspite appeared as
a juicy target to the German dreadnoughts and took 13 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. 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 on 1 June by Engadine, which towed the
sinking armoured cruiser 100 mi (87 nmi; 160 km) during
Invincible blowing up after being struck by shells from Lützow and
As Defence sank and Warspite circled, at about 18:19, Hipper moved
within range of Hood's 3rd
Battlecruiser Squadron, but was still also
within range of Beatty's ships. At first, visibility favoured the
British: HMS Indomitable hit Derfflinger three times and Seydlitz
once, while 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. 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 30.5 cm (12.0 in)
shell from the third salvo struck Invincible's Q-turret amidships,
detonating the magazines below and causing her to blow up and sink.
All but six of her crew of 1,032 officers and men, including
Rear-Admiral Hood, were killed. Of the remaining British
battlecruisers, only Princess Royal received heavy-calibre hits at
this time (two 30.5 cm (12.0 in) 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 torpedo boat
SMS G39, hoping to board one of the other battlecruisers later.
Crossing the T
By 18:30, the main battle fleet 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. Jellicoe's flagship Iron Duke quickly scored seven hits on
the lead German dreadnought, SMS König but in this brief
exchange, which lasted only minutes, as few as 10 of the Grand Fleet's
24 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. Realising he was heading into
a death trap, Scheer ordered his fleet to turn and disengage at 18:33.
Under a pall of smoke and mist, Scheer's forces succeeded in
disengaging by an expertly executed 180° turn in unison ("battle
about turn to starboard", German Gefechtskehrtwendung nach
Steuerbord), which was a well-practised emergency manoeuvre of the
High Seas Fleet. Scheer declared:
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.
Conscious of the risks to his capital ships posed by torpedoes,
Jellicoe did not chase directly but headed south, determined to keep
High Seas Fleet
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 HMS Marlborough was hit by a torpedo (probably from
the disabled Wiesbaden), which reduced her speed to 16 knots
(30 km/h; 18 mph). 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 manoeuvre 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.
Simultaneously, the disabled British destroyer
HMS Shark fought
desperately against a group of four German torpedo boats and disabled
V48 with gunfire, but was eventually torpedoed and sunk at 19:02 by
the German destroyer S54. Shark's Captain Loftus Jones won the
Victoria Cross for his heroism in continuing to fight against all
HMS Birmingham under fire
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
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,
Rear-Admiral Behncke's leading 3rd Squadron (SMS König,
Grosser Kurfürst, Markgraf, and Kaiser all being hit, along with
SMS Helgoland of the 1st Squadron), while on the British
side, only the battleship HMS Colossus was hit (twice, by
SMS Seydlitz but with little damage done).
At 19:17, for the second time in less than an hour, Scheer turned his
outnumbered and out-gunned 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. 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 torpedo boat G39 and was
unable to command his squadron for this attack. Therefore,
SMS Derfflinger, under Captain Hartog, led the already badly
damaged German battlecruisers directly into "the greatest
concentration of naval gunfire any fleet commander had ever faced", at
ranges down to 4 mi (3.5 nmi; 6.4 km).
In what became known as the "death ride", all the battlecruisers
except SMS Moltke were hit and further damaged, as 18 of the
British battleships fired at them simultaneously. Derfflinger
had two main gun turrets destroyed. The crews of Scouting Group I
suffered heavy casualties, 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. In this brief but
intense portion of the engagement, from about 19:05 to about 19:30,
the Germans sustained a total of 37 heavy hits while inflicting only
two; Derfflinger alone received 14.
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
torpedo boats, 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, attributed to a salvo from Iron Duke. British light
forces also sank V48, which had previously been disabled by HMS
Shark. 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
obsolete pre-dreadnoughts (the German 2nd Squadron). The British
received one heavy hit on Princess Royal but scored five more on
Seydlitz and three on other German ships. As twilight faded to
night and HMS King George V exchanged a few final shots with
SMS 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
Main article: Night action at the Battle of Jutland
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. He placed a screen of cruisers and destroyers 5 mi
(4.3 nmi; 8.0 km) behind his battle fleet to patrol the rear
as he headed south to guard Scheer's expected escape route. 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; the very few radio reports that
were sent to the British flagship were never received, possibly
because the Germans were jamming British frequencies. 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
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. Instead,
it was believed that the fighting was the result of night attacks by
German destroyers. The most powerful British ships of all (the
15-inch-guns of the 5th Battle Squadron) directly observed German
battleships crossing astern of them in action with British light
forces, at ranges of 3 mi (2.6 nmi; 4.8 km) or less,
and gunners on
HMS Malaya made ready to fire, but her captain
declined, deferring to the authority of
– 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 SMS Frauenlob, which went down at 22:23 with all hands
(320 officers and men).
From 23:20 to approximately 02:15, several British destroyer flotillas
launched torpedo attacks on the German battle fleet in a series of
violent and chaotic engagements at extremely short range (often under
0.5 mi (0.80 km)). At the cost of five destroyers sunk
and some others damaged, they managed to torpedo the light cruiser
SMS Rostock, which sank several hours later, and the
pre-dreadnought SMS Pommern, which blew up and sank with all
hands (839 officers and men) at 03:10 during the last wave of attacks
before dawn. Three of the British destroyers collided in the
chaos, and the German battleship SMS Nassau rammed the British
destroyer HMS 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
11 ft (3.4 m) hole in her side, reducing her maximum speed
to 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph), while the removed plating was
left lying on Spitfire's deck. Spitfire survived and made it back
to port. Another German cruiser, SMS Elbing, was
accidentally rammed by the dreadnought Posen and abandoned, sinking
early the next day. Of the British destroyers, HMS Tipperary,
Ardent, Fortune, Sparrowhawk and Turbulent were lost during the night
Just after midnight on 1 June, SMS Thüringen and other German
battleships sank HMS Black Prince of the ill-fated 1st Cruiser
Squadron, which had blundered into the German battle line. Deployed as
part of a screening force several miles ahead of the main force of the
Grand Fleet, Black Prince had lost contact in the darkness and took a
position near what she thought was the British line. The Germans soon
identified the new addition to its line and opened fire. Overwhelmed
by point-blank gunfire, Black Prince blew up, (857 officers and men
– all hands – were lost), as her squadron leader Defence had done
hours earlier. Lost in the darkness, the battlecruisers
SMS Moltke and Seydlitz had similar point-blank encounters with
the British battle line and were recognised, 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
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. At 02:15, the German torpedo boat 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 had been torpedoed by a
At 02:15, five British ships of the 13th
Captain James Uchtred Farie regrouped and headed south. At 02:25, they
sighted the rear of the German line. HMS 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 mi (1.7 nmi; 3.2 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 sharply to starboard to avoid it as it passed close to her bows.
Moresby rejoined Champion convinced she had scored a hit.
Finally, at 05:20, as Scheer's fleet was safely on its way home, the
battleship SMS Ostfriesland struck a British mine on her
starboard side, killing one man and wounding ten, but was able to make
port. Seydlitz, critically damaged and very nearly sinking,
barely survived the return voyage: after grounding and taking on even
more water on the evening of 1 June, she had to be assisted stern
first into port, where she dropped anchor at 07:30 on the morning of 2
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
High Seas Fleet during the night. One
message was transmitted to Jellicoe at 23:15 that accurately reported
the German fleet's course and speed as of 21:14. However, the
erroneous signal from earlier in the day that reported 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. By
the time Jellicoe finally learned of Scheer's whereabouts at 04:15,
the German fleet was too far away to catch and it was clear that the
battle could no longer be resumed.
At midday on 2 June, German authorities released a press statement
claiming a victory, including the destruction of a battleship, two
battlecruisers, two armoured cruisers, a light cruiser, a submarine
and several destroyers, for the loss of Pommern and Wiesbaden. News
that Lützow, Elbing and Rostock had been scuttled was withheld, on
the grounds this information would not be known to the enemy. The
victory of the
Skagerrak was celebrated in the press, children were
given a holiday and the nation celebrated. The Kaiser announced a new
chapter in world history. Post-war, the official German history hailed
the battle as a victory and it continued to be celebrated until after
World War II.
In Britain, the first official news came from German wireless
broadcasts. Ships began to arrive in port, their crews sending
messages to friends and relatives both of their survival and the loss
of some 6,000 others. Authorities considered suppressing the news, but
it had already spread widely. Some crews coming ashore found rumours
had already reported them dead to relatives, while others were jeered
for the defeat they had suffered. At 19:00 on 2 June, the
Admiralty released a statement based on information from Jellicoe
containing the bare news of losses on each side. The following day
British newspapers reported a German victory. The Daily Mirror
described the German Director of the Naval Department telling the
Reichstag: "The result of the fighting is a significant success for
our forces against a much stronger adversary". The British
population was shocked that the long anticipated battle had been a
victory for Germany. On 3 June, the
Admiralty issued a further
statement expanding on German losses, and another the following day
with exaggerated claims. However, on 7 June the German admission of
the losses of Lützow and Rostock started to redress the sense of the
battle as a loss. International perception of the battle began to
change towards a qualified British victory, the German attempt to
change the balance of power in the
North Sea having been repulsed. In
July, bad news from the Somme campaign swept concern over
the British consciousness.
SMS Seydlitz was heavily damaged in the battle, hit by twenty-one main
calibre shells, several secondary calibre and one torpedo. 98 men were
killed and 55 injured.
At Jutland, the Germans, with a 99-strong fleet, sank 115,000 long
tons (117,000 t) of British ships, while a 151-strong British
fleet sank 62,000 long tons (63,000 t) of German ships. The
British lost 6,094 seamen; the Germans 2,551. Several other ships were
badly damaged, such as Lion and Seydlitz.
As of the summer of 1916, the High Seas Fleet's strategy was to
whittle away the numerical advantage of the
Royal Navy by bringing its
full strength to bear against isolated squadrons of enemy capital
ships whilst declining to be drawn into a general fleet battle until
it had achieved something resembling parity in heavy ships. In
tactical terms, the
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet had clearly inflicted
significantly greater losses on the
Grand Fleet than it had suffered
Jutland and the Germans never had any intention of
attempting to hold the site of the battle, so some historians
support the German claim of victory at Jutland.
However, Scheer seems to have quickly realised that further battles
with a similar rate of attrition would exhaust the High Seas Fleet
long before it reduced the Grand Fleet. Further,
after the 19 August advance was nearly intercepted by the Grand Fleet,
he no longer believed that it would be possible to trap a single
Royal Navy warships without having the Grand Fleet
intervene before he could return to port. Therefore, the High Seas
Fleet abandoned its forays into the
North Sea and turned its attention
to the Baltic for most of 1917 whilst Scheer switched tactics against
Britain to unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic.
At a strategic level, the outcome has been the subject of a huge
amount of literature with no clear consensus. The battle was widely
viewed as indecisive in the immediate aftermath and this view remains
Despite numerical superiority, the British had been disappointed in
their hopes for a decisive victory comparable to
Trafalgar and the objective of the influential strategic doctrines of
Alfred Mahan. The
High Seas Fleet
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 repaired by October
and officially back in service by November. However, the Germans had
failed in their objective of destroying a substantial portion of the
British Fleet, and no progress had been made towards the goal of
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet to operate in the Atlantic Ocean.
Subsequently, 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; at the end of the battle
the British were in command of the area.
The German fleet would only sortie into the
North Sea thrice more,
with a raid on 19 August, one in October 1916 and another in April
1918. All three were unopposed by capital ships and quickly aborted as
neither side were prepared to take the risks of mines and submarines.
Apart from these three abortive operations the
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet –
unwilling to risk another encounter with the British fleet –
confined its activities to the
Baltic Sea for the remainder of the
war. Jellicoe issued an order prohibiting the
Grand Fleet from
steaming south of the line of
Horns Reef owing to the threat of mines
and U-boats. 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".
There is also significant support for viewing the battle as a German
tactical victory, due to the much higher losses sustained by the
British. The Germans declared a great victory immediately
afterwards, while the British by contrast had only reported short and
simple results. In response to public outrage, the First Lord of the
Arthur Balfour asked
Winston Churchill to write a second
report that was more positive and detailed.
A crew member of SMS Westfalen
At the end of the battle, the British had maintained their numerical
superiority and had 23 dreadnoughts ready and four battlecruisers
still able to fight, while the Germans had only 10 dreadnoughts.
One month after the battle, the
Grand Fleet was stronger than it had
been before sailing to Jutland. Warspite was dry docked at
Rosyth, returning to the fleet on 22 July, while Malaya was repaired
in the floating dock at Invergordon, returning to duty on 11 July.
Barham was docked for a month at Devonport before undergoing speed
trials and returning to Scapa on 8 July. Princess Royal stayed
initially at Rosyth but transferred to dry dock at Portsmouth before
returning to duty at Rosyth 21 July. Tiger was dry docked at Rosyth
and ready for service 2 July. Queen Elizabeth, Emperor of India and
HMAS Australia, which had been undergoing maintenance at the time
of the battle, returned to the fleet immediately, followed shortly
after by Resolution and Ramillies. Lion initially remained ready for
sea duty despite the damaged turret, then underwent a month's repairs
in July when Q turret was removed temporarily and replaced in
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. In this view, the most important
Jutland was the 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. Battleships
played a relatively minor role in World War II, in which the submarine
and aircraft carrier emerged as the dominant offensive weapons of
The official British
Admiralty examination of the Grand Fleet's
performance recognised two main problems:
British armour-piercing shells exploded outside the German armour
rather than penetrating and exploding within. As a result, some German
ships with only 8 in (20 cm)-thick armour survived hits from
15-inch (38 cm) projectiles. Had these shells penetrated the
armour and then exploded, German losses would probably have been far
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.
German armour-piercing shells were far more effective than the British
ones, which often failed to penetrate heavy armour. The issue
particularly concerned shells striking at oblique angles, which became
increasingly the case at long range. Germany had adopted
trinitrotoluene (TNT) as the explosive filler for artillery shells in
1902, while the
United Kingdom was still using a picric acid mixture
(Lyddite). The shock of impact of a shell against armour often
prematurely detonated Lyddite in advance of fuze function while TNT
detonation could be delayed until after the shell had penetrated and
the fuze had functioned in the vulnerable area behind the armour
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.
Beatty discovered the problem at a party aboard Lion a short time
after the battle, when 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. The question
of shell effectiveness had also been raised after the Battle of Dogger
Bank, but no action had been taken. Hipper later commented, "It
was nothing but the poor quality of their bursting charges which saved
us from disaster."
Admiral Dreyer, writing later about the battle, during which he had
been captain of the British flagship Iron Duke, estimated that
effective shells as later introduced would have led to the sinking of
six more German capital ships, based upon the actual number of hits
achieved in the battle. 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 that 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.
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. New shells were designed, but did not
arrive until April 1918, and were never used in action.
British battlecruisers were designed to chase and destroy enemy
cruisers from out of the range of those ships. They were not designed
to be ships of the line and exchange broadsides with the enemy. One
German and three British battlecruisers were sunk—but none were
destroyed by enemy shells penetrating the belt armour and detonating
the magazines. Each of the British battlecruisers was penetrated
through a turret roof and her magazines ignited by flash fires passing
through the turret and shell-handling rooms. Lützow sustained 24
hits and her flooding could not be contained. She was eventually sunk
by her escorts' torpedoes after most of her crew had been safely
removed (though six trapped stokers died when the ship was
scuttled). Derfflinger and Seydlitz sustained 22 hits each but
reached port (although in Seydlitz's case only just).
The disturbing feature of the battlecruiser action is the fact that
five German battle-cruisers 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, first, were the indifferent
armour protection of our battle-cruisers, particularly as regards
turret armour, and, second, deck plating and the disadvantage under
which our vessels laboured in regard to the light. Of this there can
be no question. But it is also undoubted that the gunnery of the
German battle-cruisers in the early stages was of a very high
— Sir John Jellicoe, Jellicoe's official despatch
Jellicoe and Beatty, as well as other senior officers, gave an
impression that the loss of the battlecruisers was caused by weak
armour, despite reports by two committees and earlier statements by
Jellicoe and other senior officers that
Cordite and its management
were to blame. This led to calls for armour to be increased, and an
additional 1 in (2.5 cm) was placed over the relatively thin
decks above magazines. To compensate for the increase in weight, ships
had to carry correspondingly 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. The design of the new
battlecruiser HMS Hood (which had started building at the time of
the battle) was altered to give her 5,000 long tons (5,100 t) of
British and German propellant charges differed in packaging, handling,
and chemistry. The British propellant was of two types, MK1 and MD.
The Mark 1 cordite had a formula of 37% nitrocellulose, 58%
nitroglycerine, and 5% petroleum jelly. It was a good propellant but
burned hot and caused an erosion problem in gun barrels. The petroleum
jelly served as both a lubricant and a stabiliser.
Cordite MD was
developed to reduce barrel wear, its formula being 65% nitrocellulose,
30% nitroglycerine, and 5% petroleum jelly. While cordite MD solved
the gun-barrel erosion issue, it did nothing to improve its storage
properties, which were poor.
Cordite was very sensitive to variations
of temperature, and acid propagation/cordite deterioration would take
place at a very rapid rate.
Cordite MD also shed micro-dust particles
of nitrocellulose and iron pyrite. While cordite propellant was
manageable, it required a vigilant gunnery officer, strict cordite lot
control, and frequent testing of the cordite lots in the ships'
British cordite propellant (when uncased and exposed in the silk bag)
tended to burn violently, causing uncontrollable "flash fires" when
ignited by nearby shell hits. In 1945, a test was conducted by the
Bureau of Ordnance (Bulletin of Ordnance Information, No.245,
pp. 54–60) testing the sensitivity of cordite to
then-current U.S. Naval propellant powders against a measurable and
repeatable flash source. It found that cordite would ignite at
530 mm/22" from the flash, the current U.S. powder at
120 mm, /5", and the U.S. flashless powder at 25 mm./1"/
This meant that about 75 times the propellant would immediately ignite
when exposed to flash, as compared to the U.S. powder. British ships
had inadequate protection against these flash fires. German propellant
(RP C/12, handled in brass cartridge cases) was less vulnerable and
less volatile in composition. German propellants were not that
different in composition from cordite—with one major exception:
centralite. This was symmetrical Diethyl Diphenyl Urea, which served
as a stabiliser that was superior to the petroleum jelly used in
British practice. It stored better and burned but did not explode.
Stored and used in brass cases, it proved much less sensitive to
flash. RP C/12 was composed of 64.13% nitrocellulose, 29.77%
nitroglycerine, 5.75% centralite, 0.25% magnesium oxide and 0.10%
Royal Navy Battle
Cruiser Fleet had also emphasised speed in
ammunition handling over established safety protocol. In practice
drills, cordite could not be supplied to the guns rapidly enough
through the hoists and hatches. To bring up the propellant in good
time to load for the next broadside, many safety doors were kept open
that should have been shut to safeguard against flash fires. Bags of
cordite were also stocked and kept locally, creating a total breakdown
of safety design features. 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. 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%, for fear of running out of ammunition. When this exceeded the
capacity of the ships' magazines, cordite was stored in insecure
The British cordite charges were stored two silk bags to a metal
cylindrical container, with a 16-oz gunpowder igniter charge, which
was covered with a thick paper wad, four charges being used on each
projectile. The gun crews were removing the charges from their
containers and removing the paper covering over the gunpowder igniter
charges. The effect of having eight loads at the ready was to have 4
short tons (3,600 kg) of exposed explosive, with each charge
leaking small amounts of gunpowder from the igniter bags. In effect,
the gun crews had laid an explosive train from the turret to the
magazines, and one shell hit to a battlecruiser turret was enough to
end a ship.
A diving expedition during the summer of 2003 provided corroboration
of this practice. It 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. The wreck of the Queen
Mary revealed cordite containers stacked in the working chamber of the
X turret instead of the magazine.
There was a further difference in the propellant itself. While the
German 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
The memoirs of Alexander Grant, Gunner on Lion, suggest that some
British officers were aware of the dangers of careless handling of
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
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.
On 5 June 1916, the First Lord of the
Admiralty advised Cabinet
Members that the three battlecruisers had been lost due to unsafe
On 22 November 1916, following detailed interviews of the survivors of
the destroyed battlecruisers, the Third Sea Lord, Rear Admiral Tudor,
issued a report detailing the stacking of charges by the gun crews in
the handling rooms to speed up loading of the guns.
After the battle, the B.C.F. Gunnery Committee issued a report (at the
command of Admiral David Beatty) advocating immediate changes in flash
protection and charge handling. It reported, among other things, that:
Some vent plates in magazines allowed flash into the magazines and
should be retro-fitted to a new standard.
Bulkheads in HMS Lion's magazine showed buckling from fire under
pressure (overpressure) – despite being flooded and therefore
supported by water pressure – and must be made stronger.
Doors opening inward to magazines were an extreme danger.
Current designs of turrets could not eliminate flash from shell bursts
in the turret from reaching the handling rooms.
Ignition pads must not be attached to charges but instead be placed
just before ramming.
Better methods must be found for safe storage of ready charges than
the current method.
Some method for rapidly drowning charges already in the handling path
must be devised.
Handling scuttles (special flash-proof fittings for moving propellant
charges through ship's bulkheads), designed to handle overpressure,
must be fitted.
United States Navy in 1939 had quantities of
Cordite N, a Canadian
propellant that was much improved, yet its
Bureau of Ordnance objected
strongly to its use onboard U.S. warships, considering it unsuitable
as a naval propellant due to its inclusion of nitroglycerin.
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 made on the German fleet. Because of its demonstrated
advantages, it was installed on ships progressively as the war went
on, had been fitted to a majority of British capital ships by May,
1916, and had been installed on the main guns of all but two of the
Grand Fleet's capital ships. The
Royal Navy used centralised
fire-control systems on their capital ships, directed from a point
high up on the ship where the fall of shells could best be seen,
utilising a director sight for both training and elevating the guns.
In contrast, 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 even this
innovation. German range-finding equipment was generally superior to
the British 9 ft (2.7 m) FT24, as its operators were trained
to a higher standard due to the complexity of the Zeiss 3 m
(9.8 ft) range finders. Their stereoscopic design meant that in
certain conditions they could range on a target enshrouded by
smoke. The German equipment was not superior in range to the
British Barr & Stroud 15 ft (4.6 m) rangefinder found in
the newest British capital ships, and, unlike the British range
finders, the German range takers had to be replaced as often as every
thirty minutes, as their eyesight became impaired, affecting the
ranges provided to their gunnery equipment.
The results of the battle confirmed the value of firing guns by
centralised director. The battle prompted the
Royal Navy to install
director firing systems in cruisers and destroyers, where it had not
thus far been used, and for secondary armament on battleships.
German ships were considered to have been quicker in determining the
correct range to targets, thus obtaining 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
It was determined that 9-foot (2.7 m) range finders of the sort
issued to most British ships were not adequate at long range and did
not perform as well as the 15-foot (4.6 m) range finders on some
of the most modern ships. In 1917, range finders of base lengths of 25
and 30 ft (7.6 and 9.1 m) were introduced on the battleships
to improve accuracy.
Throughout the battle, British ships experienced difficulties with
communications, whereas the Germans did not suffer such problems. The
British preferred signalling using 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.
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
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.
A number of opportunities to attack enemy ships by torpedo had
presented themselves but had 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.
To add some flexibility when deploying for attack, 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. 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
At the time, Jellicoe was criticised for his caution and for allowing
Scheer to escape. Beatty, in particular, was convinced that
Jellicoe had missed a tremendous opportunity to annihilate the High
Seas Fleet 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 south-east, and so keep out of range of the torpedoes.
Supporters of Jellicoe, including the historian Cyril Falls, pointed
to the folly of risking defeat in battle when one already has command
of the sea. Jellicoe himself, in a letter to the Admiralty
seventeen months before the battle, said that he intended to turn his
fleet away from any mass torpedo attack (that being the universally
accepted proper tactical response to such attacks, practised by all
the major navies of the world). He said that, in the event of a
fleet engagement in which the enemy turned away, he would assume they
intended to draw him over mines or submarines, and he would decline to
be so drawn. The
Admiralty approved this plan and expressed full
confidence in Jellicoe at the time (October 1914).
The stakes were high, the pressure on Jellicoe immense, and his
caution certainly understandable. His judgement might have been that
even 90% odds in favour were not good enough to bet the British
Empire. The former First Lord of the
Winston Churchill said
of the battle that Jellicoe "was the only man on either side who could
have lost the war in an afternoon."
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.
On the other hand, some of Jellicoe's supporters condemned the actions
of Beatty for the British failure to achieve a complete victory.
Although Beatty was undeniably brave, his mismanagement of the initial
encounter with Hipper's squadron and the
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet cost
considerable advantage in the first hours of the battle. His most
glaring failure was in not providing Jellicoe with periodic
information on the position, course, and speed of the High Seas
Fleet. 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 10 against Hipper's five. Though
Beatty's larger 13.5 in (340 mm) guns out-ranged Hipper's 11
and 12 in (280 and 300 mm) guns by thousands of yards,
Beatty held his fire for 10 minutes and closed the German squadron
until within range of the Germans' superior gunnery, under lighting
conditions that favoured the Germans. Most of the British losses
in tonnage occurred in Beatty's force.
See also: Damage to major ships at the Battle of Jutland
See also: List of ships sunk at the Battle of Jutland
The total loss of life was 9,823 men, of which the British losses were
6,784 and German losses were 3,039. Counted among the British
losses are 2 members of the Royal Australian Navy, and 1 member of the
Royal Canadian Navy. 6 Australian nationals serving in the Royal Navy
were also killed.
113,300 tons sunk:
Battlecruisers Indefatigable, Queen Mary, Invincible
Armoured cruisers Black Prince, Warrior, Defence
Flotilla leaders Tipperary
Destroyers Shark, Sparrowhawk, Turbulent, Ardent, Fortune, Nomad,
62,300 tons sunk:
Light cruisers Frauenlob, Elbing, Rostock, Wiesbaden
Destroyers (Heavy torpedo-boats) V48, S35, V27, V4, V29
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
Kingdom of Prussia and
consequently the German Empire's highest military order until the end
of the First World War.
Pour le Mérite
Franz Hipper (SMS Lützow)
Reinhard Scheer (SMS Friedrich der Grosse)
The Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham (HMS Nestor)
John Travers Cornwell (HMS Chester)
Francis John William Harvey
Francis John William Harvey (HMS Lion)
Loftus William Jones
Loftus William Jones (HMS Shark)
Status of the survivors and wrecks
HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship that saw action at
Jutland, is preserved in Belfast, Northern Ireland
In the years following the battle the wrecks were slowly discovered.
Invincible was found by the
Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Oakley in
1919. After the Second World War some of the wrecks seem to have
been commercially salvaged. For instance, the Hydrographic Office
SMS Lützow (No.32344) shows that salvage operations were
taking place on the wreck in 1960.
During 2000–2016 a series of diving and marine survey expeditions
involving veteran shipwreck historian and archaeologist Innes
McCartney has located all of the wrecks sunk in the battle. It was
discovered that over 60% of them had suffered from metal theft.
In 2003 McCartney led a detailed survey of the wrecks for the Channel
4 documentary "Clash of the Dreadnoughts". The film examined the
last minutes of the lost ships and revealed for the first time how
both 'P' and 'Q' turrets of Invincible had been blasted out of the
ship and tossed into the sea before she broke in half. This was
followed by the
Channel 4 documentary "Jutland: WWI's Greatest Sea
Battle", broadcast in May 2016, which showed how several of the
major losses at
Jutland had actually occurred and just how accurate
the "Harper Record" actually was.
On the 90th anniversary of the battle, in 2006, the UK Ministry of
Defence belatedly announced that the 14 British vessels lost in the
battle were being designated as protected places under the Protection
of Military Remains Act 1986. This legislation only affects British
ships and citizens and in practical terms offers no real protection
from non-British salvors of the wreck sites. In May 2016 a number
of British newspapers named the Dutch salvage company "Friendship
Offshore" as one of the main salvors of the
Jutland wrecks in recent
years and depicted leaked photographs revealing the extent of their
activities on the wreck of HMS Queen Mary.
The last surviving veteran of the battle, Henry Allingham, a British
RAF (originally RNAS) airman, died on 18 July 2009, aged 113, by which
time he was the oldest documented man in the world and one of the last
surviving veterans of the whole war. Also among the combatants
was the then 20-year-old Prince Albert, second in the line to the
British throne, who would reign as King
George VI of the United
Kingdom from 1936 until his death in 1952. He served as a junior
officer in the Royal Navy.
In 2013, one ship from the battle survives and is still afloat, the
light cruiser HMS Caroline. Decommissioned in 2011, she is docked
Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Reserve depot in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Battle of
Jutland was annually celebrated as a great victory by
the right wing in Weimar Germany. This victory was used to repress the
memory of the German navy's initiation of the German Revolution of
1918–1919, as well as the memory of the defeat in
World War I
World War I in
general. (The celebrations of the
Battle of Tannenberg
Battle of Tannenberg played a
similar role.) This is especially true for the city of Wilhelmshaven,
where wreath-laying ceremonies and torch-lit parades were performed
until the end of the 1960s. In 1916 Contreadmiral Friedrich von
Kühlwetter (1865-1931) wrote a detailed analysis of the battle and
published it in a book under the title "Skagerrak" (first anonymously
published), which was reprinted in large numbers until after WWII and
had a huge influence in keeping the battle in public memory amongst
Germans as it was not tainted by the ideology of the Third Reich.
Kühlwetter built the School for Naval Officers at Mürwik near
Flensburg where he is still remembered.
In May 2016, the 100th Anniversary commemoration of the Battle of
Jutland was held. On 29 May, a commemorative service was held at St
Mary's Church, Wimbledon, where the ensign from HMS Inflexible is on
permanent display. On 31 May, the main service was held at St Magnus
Cathedral in Orkney, attended by the British Prime Minister, David
Cameron, and the German President, Joachim Gauck, along with Princess
Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
Wrath of the Seas (Die versunkene Flotte, D 1926, director Manfred
Noa, assistant director Graham Hewett)
World War I
World War I portal
List of the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions
Sea War Museum Jutland
^ In this article the terms "torpedo boat" (sometimes "torpedo-boat")
and "destroyer" are used interchangeably to refer to the same class of
vessels in the German Navy.
^ a b c d Nasmith, p. 261
^ "The Battle of Jutland". History Learning Site. Retrieved
^ Jeremy Black, "Jutland's Place in History," Naval History (June
2016) 30#3 pp 16-21.
^ "Distant Victory: The Battle of
Jutland and the Allied Triumph in
the First World War, page XCIV". Praeger Security International. July
2006. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
^ Campbell, Analysis pp. 274
^ "Distant Victory: The Battle of
Jutland and the Allied Triumph in
the First World War, page XCV". Praeger Security International. July
2006. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
^ Protasio, John. (2011). The Day the World was Shocked: The Lusitania
Disaster and Its Influence on the Course of
World War I
World War I pp.200–201,
Casemate Publications (US) ISBN 978-1-935149-45-3
^ Tarrant p.49
^ Tarrant p. 55
^ Campbell, p. 2
^ Tarrant p. 56-57
^ Tarrant pp. 57–58
^ Tarrant pp. 58–60
^ Tarrant p. 61
^ Tarrant pp. 62, 60, 65
^ Stille, Mark. British
Dreadnought vs. German Dreadnought: Jutland
1916. 2010. Osprey Publishing.[Page 56]
^ Tarrant pp. 63–64
^ Tarrant p. 64
^ a b c d http://www.gwpda.org/naval/nr191401.htm
^ Sutherland, Cramwell, p. 13
^ Forczyk pp. 58–62
^ a b 'Castles of Steel' p. 666
^ Marder III p. 168
^ Tarrant p.65
^ Jellicoe, Joe, The Grand Fleet, 1914–1916, London, Cassell, 1919
^ Massie, p. 576
^ a b Campbell. Analysis. p. 26.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 16–19.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 22.
^ Tarrant pp. 65–66
^ Tarrant pp. 66–67
^ Tarrant p. 67
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 28–29.
^ Marder III pp. 41–42
^ Tarrant pp. 69–70
^ Tarrant pp. 70–71
^ a b "21 June 1916 – Paul to Ted". familyletters.co.uk. 2016-06-01.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 31.
^ a b Campbell. Analysis. p. 35.
^ 'Marder' III p. 55
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 32.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 34–35.
^ Brooks pp. 234–237
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 38–39.
^ Brooks p. 239
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 39–41.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 64–66.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 60–61.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 49.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 62–64.
^ Bennett, p. 187
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 78, 94.
^ Massie. Castles. p. 596.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 50–56.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 52.
^ a b Campbell. Analysis. p. 54.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 58–59.
^ Massie, pp. 600–601
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 96–97.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 135.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 124–125, 145.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 100.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 126–133.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 134–145.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 59.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 118.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 111.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 111–115.
^ a b Campbell. Analysis. pp. 120–121.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 612–613.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 115.
^ Massie, p. 614
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 153, 179.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 259.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 319.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 185–187.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 183.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 159.
^ a b Massie. Castles. p. 621.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 187–188.
^ Massie. Castles. p. 622.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 167.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 624–625.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 162.
^ a b c Campbell. Analysis. p. 246.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 218.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 200–201.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 197.
^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 627–628.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 205.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 220.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 211–216.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 629–630.
^ Campbell. Analysis. pp. 252–254.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 272.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 635–636.
^ Massie, p.637
^ a b Massie, p.645
^ Marder pp. 140–145
^ Massie. Castles. p. 647.
^ Marder p. 146
^ Marder p. 159
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 645–646.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 639–640.
^ a b Massie. Castles. pp. 642–645, pp. 647–648.
^ Marder p. 142
^ Massie. Castles. p. 643.
^ Campbell. Analysis. p. 290.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 651–652.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 650–651.
^ a b Tarrant, German Perspective p245 (claimed), p222 (Arms and
Armour paperback edition, 1997)
^ Tarrant. German Perspective. p. 259.
^ German Perspective. pp. 260–261.
^ Massie. Castles. p. 6342.
^ Marder pp. 148–151
^ Tarrant pp. 274–276
^ Steel & Hart pp. 418–420
Daily Mirror Headlines: The Battle of Jutland, Published
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^ Steele & Hart pp. 421–422
^ Sutherland & Canwell (2007). The Battle of Jutland. Pen &
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^ Massie, Castles, p. 684
^ Marder III p. 206 citing Captain Persius, Berliner Tageblatt, 18
^ Moretz, pp. 8
^ Rasor, pp. 75
^ a b Massie. Castles. p. 665.
^ Campbell p. 335
^ Kennedy. The Rise and Fall. p. 257.
^ McBride, William Leon (2000). Technological change and the United
States Navy, 1865–1945. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
^ Polmar, Norman (2006).
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^ Marder III p. 170
^ Brown, pp. 151–152
^ 'Castles' p. 61.
^ a b 'Castles' p. 668
^ a b Marder III p. 171
^ 'Castles' p. 671 citing Marder Vol. III p. 81
^ Marder p. 169
^ Marder III, p. 215
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 666–667.
^ Gary Staff (2014). German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their
Design, Construction and Operations. Seaforth Publishing. p. 278.
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^ Massie. Castles. p. 666.
^ Battle of
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Parliament by Command of His Majesty, His Majesty's Stationary Office,
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^ Marder III p. 219
^ a b c Tony DiGiulian. "Naval Propellants – A Brief Overview".
navweaps.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
^ a b c "Battle of Jutland, Memoir – World War 1 Naval Combat".
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^ Campbell, pp. 371–372
^ Lambert. "Bloody Ships": 36.
^ British Battlecruisers 1914–18, Lawrence Burr, Tony Bryan pp.
^ British Battlecruisers 1914–18, Lawrence Burr, Tony Bryan p. 43
^ "German Ammunition, Guns and Mountings Definitions". Archived from
the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
^ Memoir of Gunnery Officer Alexander Grant
^ marder III p. 174
^ a b British Battlecruisers 1914–18, Lawrence Burr, Tony Bryan p.
^ Advance Report of B.C.F. Gunnery Committee
^ Brooks p. 224
^ Brooks, pp. 221–222
^ Brooks, p. 223
^ Marder III pp. 213–214
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^ Marder p. 215
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^ Marder III pp. 176–178
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^ Marder III p. 226
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^ Massie, p. 670
^ a b Massie. Castles. p. 675.
^ Massie, p. 632
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^ Massie. Castles. p. 674.
^ Massie. Castles. pp. 589–590.
^ Brewers Dictionary of 20th Century Phrase and Fable
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Commonwealth Casualties" (Access: 24 February 2012).
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Jutland.
WW1 Centenary News - Battle of Jutland
Jutland Centenary Initiative
Jutland Commemoration Exhibition
Interactive Map of
Jutland Sailors[dead link]
Beatty's official report
Jellicoe's official despatch
Jellicoe, extract from The Grand Fleet, published 1919
World War I
World War I Naval Combat – Despatches
High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet in the World War, published 1920
Henry Allingham Last known survivor of the Battle of Jutland
Jutland Casualties Listed by Ship
Some Original Documents from the British Admiralty, [[Room 40,
regarding the Battle of Jutland]: Photocopies from The National
Archives, Kew, Richmond, UK.
by Rudyard Kipling Retrieved 2009-10-31.
by Alexander Grant, a gunner aboard HMS Lion
North Sea diary, 1914–1918, by Stephen King-Hall, a junior officer
on the light cruiser HMS Southampton
by Paul Berryman, a junior officer on HMS Malaya
by Moritz von Egidy, captain of SMS Seydlitz
by Richard Foerster, gunnery officer on Seydlitz
by Georg von Hase, gunnery officer on Derfflinger
(Note: Due to the time difference, entries in some of the German
accounts are one hour ahead of the times in this article.)
World War I
Sinai and Palestine
Asian and Pacific
German New Guinea and Samoa
North Atlantic U-boat campaign
Indian, Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans
Más a Tierra
Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa (1880–1914)
Russo-Japanese War (1905)
First Moroccan (Tangier) Crisis (1905–06)
Agadir Crisis (1911)
Italo-Turkish War (1911–12)
French conquest of Morocco
French conquest of Morocco (1911–12)
First Balkan War
First Balkan War (1912–13)
Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War (1913)
Anti-Serb riots in Sarajevo
Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of Cer
First Battle of the Marne
Siege of Tsingtao
Battle of Tannenberg
Battle of Galicia
Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Battle of Kolubara
Battle of Sarikamish
Race to the Sea
First Battle of Ypres
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Second Battle of Ypres
Battle of Gallipoli
Second Battle of Artois
Battles of the Isonzo
Second Battle of Champagne
Siege of Kut
Battle of Loos
Battle of Verdun
Lake Naroch Offensive
Battle of Asiago
Battle of Jutland
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Romani
Battle of Transylvania
Capture of Baghdad
First Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Arras
Second Battle of the Aisne
Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
Battle of Mărășești
Battle of Caporetto
Southern Palestine Offensive
Battle of Cambrai
Armistice of Erzincan
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Second Battle of the Marne
Battle of Baku
Hundred Days Offensive
Battle of Megiddo
Third Transjordan attack
Battle of Vittorio Veneto
Battle of Aleppo
Armistice of Salonica
Armistice of Mudros
Armistice of Villa Giusti
Armistice with Germany
Mexican Revolution (1910–20)
Somaliland Campaign (1910–20)
Libyan resistance movement (1911–43)
Maritz Rebellion (1914–15)
Zaian War (1914–21)
Indo-German Conspiracy (1914–19)
Senussi Campaign (1915–16)
Volta-Bani War (1915–17)
Easter Rising (1916)
Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition
Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition (1916)
Kaocen Revolt (1916–17)
Central Asian Revolt (1916-17)
Russian Revolution (1917)
Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War (1918)
Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War (1917–21)
Ukrainian–Soviet War (1917–21)
Armenian–Azerbaijani War (1918–20)
Georgian–Armenian War (1918)
German Revolution (1918–19)
Revolutions and interventions in Hungary (1918–20)
Hungarian–Romanian War (1918–19)
Greater Poland Uprising (1918–19)
Estonian War of Independence
Estonian War of Independence (1918–20)
Latvian War of Independence
Latvian War of Independence (1918–20)
Lithuanian Wars of Independence
Lithuanian Wars of Independence (1918–20)
Third Anglo-Afghan War
Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919)
Egyptian Revolution (1919)
Polish–Ukrainian War (1918–19)
Polish–Soviet War (1919–21)
Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence (1919–21)
Turkish War of Independence
Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)
Turkish–Armenian War (1920)
Iraqi revolt (1920)
Polish–Lithuanian War (1920)
Vlora War (1920)
Franco-Syrian War (1920)
Soviet–Georgian War (1921)
Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War (1922–23)
Schlieffen Plan (German)
Plan XVII (French)
Last surviving veterans
1918 flu pandemic
Destruction of Kalisz
Rape of Belgium
German occupation of Belgium
German occupation of Luxembourg
German occupation of northeastern France
Pontic Greek genocide
Blockade of Germany
German prisoners of war in the United States
Partition of the Ottoman Empire
Agreement of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Paris Peace Conference
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of London
Treaty of Neuilly
Treaty of St. Germain
Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Versailles
League of Nations
World War I
World War I memorials
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