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Battle of Jutland Island - History

Battle of Jutland Island - History


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HMS Warspite and Malaya, seen from HMS Valiant at around 14:00 hrs


This battle, in the North Sea, was the only naval battle of the war in which the main German and British fleets engaged each other. Previously and subsequently, the naval war was a series skirmishes with German raiders and submarines. The British were successful in blockading the Germans, while the Germans were successful in blocking aid to the Russians and sinking a large number of British merchant vessels with submarines. The battle itself was a tactical victory for the Germans, who sunk twice as much tonnage as the British. The results did not change the strategic situation, however, and the Germans resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare that ultimately resulted in the US intervention.


The Battle of Jutland Island was the only major naval fleet battle of World War I and the last major naval battle that battleships were the main capital ship.

The British Navy with its 28 battleships compared to the 16 that the Germans had maintain an overwhelming advantage over the Germans, so an all out battle between the two navies was never an option for the German Navy. Instead the German naval strategy was to try to obtain a tactical advantage by surprising smaller number of British ships which they could defeat in limited engagements. The Germans also relied on their submarines which they felt could surprise British battleships and thus even the odds.

The German plan was to send out a group of battlecruiser to attack British shipping and thus to draw out a part of the British fleet. The British who had obtained a copy of the German code book were aware of the plans and moved to counter it. On May 30, 1916 the British moved a fleet of 16 battleships and 3 battlecruisers from England to a point off the coast of Norway. They were joined by an additional fleet squadron of 8 battleships that were already at sea.

The German fleet sortied early in the morning of the May 31st.

As the battle shaped up the British had a clear advantage:


British
German
Dreadnought
battleships
2816
Pre-dreadnoughts06
Battlecruisers95
Armoured cruisers80
Light cruisers2611
Destroyers7961
Seaplane carrier10

In throw power the advantage was clear the combined British force could fire a total broadside of 332,360 lbs compared to the German 132,116. The German hoped that their ships which they thought better designed and with better training could carry the day

As the battle began the German with the German battle cruisers engage the vanguard of the British fleet maneuvering them so that they found themselves engaged with the main german fleet. The Germans had the upper hand in that encounter. The British however, managed to turn the table when they drew the German fleet to follow the British warships Northward right into the path of the Main British fleet. The Germans had not been aware that the Main Fleet was there and the suddenly found themselves in the middle of what may have been the largest gun encounter in history. The Germans successfully disengaged before the British could do too much damage. The British tried to cut off the German fleet from its base, but the Germans managed to slip through their lines.

To this day historians argue about who won the battle. The general consensus was the battle was a draw. It was a tactical victory for the Germans who sunk more ships 15 British ships with combined tonnage of 113,300 as opposed to the British who sunk 12 ships with a total tonnage of 62,300. The British lost 6,748 sailors and the Germans 3,039. Despite this fact strategically it was a partial victory for the British. The German navy could not sustain the losses it had suffered being much smaller, and when faced with the main British fleet the Germans were forced to withdraw. On the hand the British navy, massed with overwhelming force was unable to destroy the German navy. After the battle the Germans decided to return to all out submarine warfare, a decision that led to the American intervention in the war.


With the Allied blockade increasingly taking a toll on the German war effort, the Kaiserliche Marine began devising plans to bring the Royal Navy to battle. Outnumbered in battleships and battlecruisers, the commander of the High Seas Fleet, Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, hoped to lure part of the British fleet to its doom with the goal of evening the numbers for a larger engagement at a later date. To accomplish this, Scheer intended to have Vice Admiral Franz Hipper's scouting force of battlecruisers raid the English coast to draw out Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty's Battlecruiser Fleet.

Hipper would then retire, leading the pursuing Beatty towards the High Seas Fleet which would destroy the British ships. To support the operation, submarines would be deployed to weaken Beatty's forces while also watching Admiral Sir John Jellicoe's main Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. Unknown to Scheer, the British codebreakers at Room 40 had broken the German naval codes and were aware that a major operation was in the offing. Unaware of Scheer's intentions, Jellicoe sortied with 24 battleships and three battlecruisers on May 30, 1916, and took up a blocking position ninety miles west of Jutland.


Contents

The first combat losses of battlecruisers occurred during World War I, as a result of the Battle of Jutland between the Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy on 31 May 1916. The three British ships—Invincible, Indefatigable, and Queen Mary—were all sunk by magazine explosions, with heavy loss of life. [4] SMS Lützow had been hit several times below the waterline by British shells during the battle and took on a lot of water after the battle. Later that night, Lützow had so much water aboard that she threatened to capsize the crew was ordered to abandon ship and a German destroyer finished her off with two torpedoes. [5] The next combat losses were a quarter century later during World War II, when the British intercepted a German force attempting to break out into the Atlantic to attack supply convoys. Shortly after the Battle of the Denmark Strait began on 24 May 1941, a shell from the German battleship Bismarck hit Hood, causing its magazine to explode with massive loss of life. Six months later, the battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse attempted to intercept Japanese troop convoys approaching the Malay Peninsula. They were spotted by Japanese aircraft en route and sunk by torpedo bombers on 10 December. [6]

Several battlecruisers survived World War I only to be scuttled in its aftermath. The five German battlecruisers that survived World War I—Von der Tann, Moltke, Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Hindenburg—were interned at Scapa Flow pending the signing of a peace treaty between Germany and the Allies. The commander of the German ships in Scapa, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, thought the British were going to seize the ships immediately after the expiration of the Armistice, and preemptively ordered the ships be scuttled on the morning of 21 June 1919 to keep them out of British hands. [7] The Royal Australian Navy scuttled Australia in 1924 to comply with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. [8]

Half a dozen of the surviving battlecruisers (including three under construction) were converted into aircraft carriers during the 1920s. All three of the Courageous-class battlecruisers were converted. Courageous ' s aircraft were hunting for submarines shortly after the beginning of World War II when she was sunk by the German submarine U-29 on 17 September 1939. The following year, Glorious was returning to Britain when she was sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the North Sea on 8 June 1940. [9] A clause in the Washington Naval Treaty allowed two ships per signatory to be converted to aircraft carriers, and the United States Navy chose to convert two of its Lexington-class battlecruisers during the 1920s because of their high speed. Lexington was hit by two bombs and two torpedoes during the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. They only moderately damaged the ship, but, more importantly, they cracked some of her avgas storage tanks. Fumes from these tanks later caught fire and could not be put out the crew was forced to abandon ship and Lexington was torpedoed and sunk by an American destroyer. [10] Saratoga survived the war, but was considered obsolete so she was used as a target for nuclear weapon tests during Operation Crossroads. The ship survived the first test with little damage, but was sunk by the second test on 25 July 1946. [11] The Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi was another battlecruiser converted into a carrier because of the Washington Naval Treaty. She was struck by three bombs during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942 that caused serious fires that forced the crew to abandon ship early that night. By the following morning, it was clear that the ship could not be repaired, and so was torpedoed and sunk. [12]

The four Japanese Kongō-class battlecruisers were reconstructed as fast battleships during the 1930s. On 13 November 1942, during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Hiei stumbled across American cruisers and destroyers at point-blank range. The ship was badly damaged in the encounter and had to be towed by her sister ship Kirishima. Both were spotted by American aircraft the following morning and Kirishima was forced to cast off her tow because of repeated aerial attacks. Hiei ' s captain ordered her crew to abandon ship after further damage and scuttled Hiei in the early evening of 14 November. [13] On the night of 14/15 November during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Kirishima returned to Ironbottom Sound, but encountered the American battleships South Dakota and Washington. While failing to detect Washington, Kirishima engaged South Dakota with some effect. Washington opened fire a few minutes later at short range and badly damaged Kirishima, knocking out her aft turrets, jamming her rudder, and hitting the ship below the waterline. The flooding proved to be uncontrollable and Kirishima capsized three and a half hours later. [14] Returning to Japan after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Kongō was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine Sealion II on 21 November 1944. [15] Haruna was based at Kure, Japan when the naval base was attacked by British and American carrier aircraft on 24 and 28 July 1945. The ship was only lightly damaged by a single bomb hit on 24 July, but was hit a dozen more times on 28 July and sank at her pier. She was refloated after the war and scrapped in early 1946. [16]

The listed battlecruisers are grouped according to causes of the sinking. Within groups, they are listed in chronological order of sinking.


The Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland is considered to be the only major naval battle of World War One. Jutland witnessed the British Navy losing more men and ships but the verdict of the Battle of Jutland was that the German Navy lost and was never in a position again to put to sea during the war. Admiral John Jellicoe’s tactics were criticised by some, but after the battle the British Navy remained a powerful fighting force whereas the German High Seas fleet was not.

Why was the battle fought? It was generally believed that Britain had naval supremacy not only in Europe but also throughout the world. One of the major clashes involving Germany and Britain before the outbreak of war in August 1914, was what was described as the naval race between the two nations. The British public had grown to believe that Britain could not be challenged when its navy was concerned. The song “Rule Britannia” was very much in this mould as the song starts “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, Britain never, never, never shall be slaves.” A strong British navy was expected by the public, as was the inevitable naval victory.

The 1912 Naval review at Spithead
from a contemporary postcard

At the start of the war, Britain was involved in two minor naval clashes – Heligoland and Dogger Bank. A full-scale naval clash between Germany and Britain had not occurred. Germany’s fleet was smaller than Britain’s but both fleets benefited from the development in 1906 of the Dreadnought. Overnight, all warships were redundant in terms of what they could do relative to the Dreadnought. The new design was quickly latched onto by the Germans and a naval race began.

HMS Belleraphon – a dreadnought

Two fleets with such power could inflict great damage on the other. One argument that has been put forward for the lack of naval activity at the start of the war is that both fleets basically avoided a major clash for fear that it would be decisive and leave their respective nation’s vulnerable to attack.

The British Navy in the North Sea was based in Rosyth, Cromarty and Scapa Flow. Here it could protect the central and northern areas of the North Sea and stop the German High Seas Fleet from getting into the Atlantic where it could cause huge problems for Britain’s merchant fleet. The British believed that the Germans would not try to rush the English Channel and face the might of the British Navy based in Portsmouth and Plymouth. Therefore, it was reckoned that the German Navy could only operate in the North Sea.

The British had by 1916 put up an effective blockade of Germany. Germany’s northern coastline was very small and any blockade was easy to enforce. Up to 1916, the German High Seas Fleet had been commanded by Admiral von Poul. He was considered to be too passive in his approach to what the German Navy could do. In 1916, von Poul was replaced by the far more aggressive Admiral Reinhardt von Scheer. He decided that the blockade had gone too far and was causing too much damage to Germany.

Scheer wanted to lure out of their respective naval bases parts of the British fleet and using a combination of submarines and surface boats attack and destroy them. On the night of the 24th and 25th of April 1916, the German Navy attacked the coastal towns of Lowestoft and Yarmouth. The idea was that the British fleet would respond to this.

In May, Scheer ordered Admiral von Hipper to sea with 40 ships to move along the Danish coast. The news of this movement reached Admiral Jellicoe in Rosyth. He saw this movement of such a large force as a provocative move and ordered the Grand Fleet to put to sea. The Battle of Jutland started on May 31st 1916.

Finding where the enemy’s fleet was proved a reasonably difficult task. Spotter reconnaissance planes were far too unreliable to cover the distance required over the North Sea. Therefore, fast cruisers were sent out by both fleets to discover where the other was. When both did find the other there was a brief exchange of fire but both had done their task – hunting down the enemy.

Now that the British had found the Germans, Jellicoe was joined by the fleet based at Scapa Flow led by Sir David Beatty. Fifty-two ships joined the Grand Fleet. Jellicoe and Beatty faced a fleet of forty German ships led by Admiral Hipper. They opened fire at one another at a distance of about ten miles. Though they were a smaller force, the initial advantage lay with the Germans who were helped with their visibility by the lay of the sun.

Just after 16.00, the British battle cruiser “Indefatigable” was destroyed by the Germans. One thousand men lost their lives when a magazine exploded. Nearly thirty minutes later, “Queen Mary” was sunk in just ninety seconds.

The position of the British became more difficult when Hipper was joined by Scheer’s High Seas Fleet. Jellicoe’s force was about fifteen miles from Beatty’s force when the actual battle started. As the two British fleets converged, the British suffered a third major loss when the “Invincible” was sunk shortly after 18.30.

When the two fleets did join, they represented an awesome force and Hipper ordered the German fleet to sail north. Jellicoe interpreted this move as an attempt to lure the British fleet into either a submarine trap or a German mine field – or both. Therefore, he did not follow the retiring German fleet. Jellicoe decided to sail his fleet south to cut off the Germans when they tried to sail for home.

Both fleets clashed again as the Germans sailed for port. The German ship “Lutzow” was sunk. “Seydlitz” and “Derfflinger” were badly damaged.

The Germans claimed that Jutland was a victory for them as they had sunk more capital ships than the British. Jellicoe claimed that the victory belonged to the British as his fleet was still a sea worthy entity whereas the German High Seas fleet was not. The British did lose more ships (14 ships and over 6,000 lives) than the Germans (9 ships and over 2,500 casualties). But the German fleet was never again to be in a position to put to sea and challenge the British Navy in the North Sea.


Battle of Jutland Island - History

Executive Summary

This essay draws on Maurer’s talk at our history institute for teachers on America’s Entry into World War I, hosted and cosponsored by the First Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton, IL, April 9-10, 2016.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the largest sea fight of the First World War, a clash between the main fleets of Germany and Great Britain that took place on the afternoon and evening of 31 May 1916 off the coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. The Battle of Jutland was a trial of strength between a rising challenger, with aspirations to world power, and the reigning superpower, accustomed to thinking itself the indispensible leader of the international system. To whom did the future belong—the rising power or the keeper of the system? A single day of combat between the steel giants making up the British Grand Fleet and German High Sea Fleet might decide (or so it was thought) the vital question of world power or decline for these competing empires.

The Battle of Jutland formed an episode in a longer naval arms race between Britain and Germany that stretched back almost twenty years. At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany’s rulers made a conscious strategic choice to challenge Britain as a sea power. They looked upon the building of a battle fleet as part of a strategy to establish a post-British international order, marked by the passing of Britain’s commanding position on the maritime commons and the emergence of a German super-state on the world stage. Both countries went to great expense in building up their battle fleets before the war. In this naval arms race, Britain kept ahead of Germany in the construction of large surface warships. The Battle of Jutland’s outcome was largely predetermined by Britain winning this prewar naval arms race.

The day of battle itself, when these great fleets clashed, would disappoint the high expectations held by the leaders and peoples on both sides of the North Sea. While the battle did not lack in high drama, the day’s ending did not result in one side or the other winning a clear-cut victory. What Jutland did demonstrate was the lethality of modern naval warfare: in a single day of combat, the two fleets together lost 25 warships sunk and over 8,500 men killed. Those losses would have been even greater had it not been for, at critical moments in the battle, both the British and German fleet commanders taking actions to avoid risking the destruction of their battleships, turning away from the enemy rather than pressing the attack. The admirals took decisive actions during the battle’s course that precluded a decisive action. Instead of a single-day showdown to determine naval mastery, the fleets limped back home to lick their wounds after having inflicted appalling damage on the enemy. This ambiguous result would not stop both governments from claiming the trophy of victory. The day of battle had come and gone, but the cruel war at sea to command the maritime commons would continue on without respite until the conflict’s end more than two years later.

While Jutland did not end the naval stalemate in the North Sea, it did produce important strategic consequences. One consequence of Jutland was to convince Germany’s naval and military leaders that the German battle fleet stood little chance of success in wresting command of the maritime commons from Britain. Instead, Germany’s rulers sought to win by executing an all-out submarine offensive against the world’s merchant shipping that sustained the British and Allied war effort. This decision for unrestricted submarine warfare would prove fateful and self-defeating because it provoked the United States’ entry into the war against Germany. Jutland, then, by swaying Germany’s leaders toward a submarine offensive, paved the way for their own country’s eventual defeat in the Great War and the rise of the United States as a naval and military great power.

What can we learn from this battle fought a hundred years ago? One conclusion is that the outcome of the prewar arms race provided a good indicator of which country—the rising peer competitor or the reigning superpower—would prevail in the struggle for naval mastery. The baneful consequences of arms races and security dilemmas should not be allowed to conceal the strategic value of military superiority. The leading power will no longer lead if it falls behind in an arms race to a rising challenger. Any future Battle of Jutland, fought in the aerospace, cyber, and maritime commons, will play out against a high-stakes strategic backdrop of rising and declining great powers. The United States, to prevail in that contest, must prepare not only for the day of battle but for the day after.

Professor John H. Maurer is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Program on National Security, sits on the Board of Editors for FPRI’s journal, Orbis, and serves as the Alfred Thayer Mahan Professor of Grand Strategy in the Strategy and Policy Department at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.


Battle of Jutland Part I: Opposing fleets

Admirals: Admiral Sir John Jellicoe commanded the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet. Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty commanded the British Battle Cruiser Fleet. Admiral Reinhard Scheer commanded the German High Seas Fleet. Vice Admiral Franz Hipper commanded the German Battle Cruiser Squadron.

The opposing fleets comprised battleships, battle cruisers, light cruisers and destroyers. The British Grand Fleet alone deployed heavy or armoured cruisers. The Germans considered such ships to be inadequately gunned and armoured for a fleet action. The fate of Admiral Arbuthnot’s cruiser squadron at Jutland seems to have borne out the German view.

Admiral Reinhard Scheer Commander in Chief of the German High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916

The British Grand Fleet had two seaplane carriers one of which was present at the Battle of Jutland.

In addition support was provided by submarines.

In the Royal Navy the class of ship originally termed ‘torpedo boat destroyer’ by the Great War had been abbreviated to ‘destroyer’. The German navy did not have an equivalent term. The smaller German vessels were referred to as ‘torpedo boats’, whether they were what the Royal Navy would have classed as torpedo boats or destroyers. Smaller vessels in the Imperial German Navy were given an initial and a number as with Royal Navy submarines.

The larger ships were armed with secondary armaments in addition to their main gun armament. The secondary armament was primarily intended to combat attacks by light cruiser and destroyers. Virtually all the ships at Jutland were armed with torpedo tubes.

The ships at the Battle of Jutland were powered by coal with the exception of the four Queen Elizabeth battleships and the modern classes of British destroyer powered by oil. Speeds of around 25 knots were achievable by the battle cruisers, newer light cruisers and destroyers. The Dreadnought battleships on each side had an effective maximum speed of around 20 knots, other than the Queen Elizabeths which could reach 24 knots.

Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet at anchor in the Firth of Forth in 1916: photographed from Royal Navy Airship R9

Scheer significantly reduced the battle speed of his fleet by including the pre-Dreadnoughts of the 2 nd Battle Squadron, which effectively reduced his maximum battle speed to around 17 knots.

The wide use of coal by dozens of ships manoeuvring at high speed in the battle area generated considerable quantities of black smoke making it difficult to identify opposing ships and to direct shooting. On the other hand smoke screens were twice used by the German Fleet during the Battle of Jutland to break away from the British.

Destroyers generating a smoke screen at sea. On two occasions during the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 German destroyers set up a smoke screen to conceal from the British that the German battle line was turning away to escape from the British battleships’ shellfire

At Jutland visibility was further hampered by the changes of weather bringing localised mist and squalls and the onset of darkness early in the battle.

British Light Cruiser lying off Scapa Flow 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

All ships were fitted with wireless radio. Messages by wireless were encoded and sent using Morse code. Wireless was in its infancy and had only been recently introduced in the two navies. There was limited experience in its use. It was susceptible to atmospheric interference and could be relatively easily jammed. Several key wireless messages were not received during the Battle of Jutland.

Limited experience and training in the use of wireless as a signal medium led to confusion and ambiguity in the wording of messages.

Flag, semaphore and lamp signals were used between ships in visual touch.

First World War breech loading quick firing guns were capable of firing substantial distances. The larger guns were capable of firing up to several miles. Gun control was by sight.

The British Battleships and Battle Cruisers were equipped with a central gun control unit situated high up on the superstructure, as were the more modern Cruisers and Light Cruisers. This unit could control the fire of the main armament for co-ordinated broadsides or leave fire control to individual turrets while providing information on ranges and direction. The German Imperial navy did not have centralised fire control units leaving fire control to the turret commanders subject to control by the ship’s captain. Equipment for assessing range and direction were provided in the turrets.

British Battle Cruisers HMS Lion, Princess Royal and New Zealand. These ships all fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet

The Royal Navy Grand Fleet Order of Battle on 31 st May 1916:

Ship details: The details against each ship are: year of first commissioning-displacement in tons-main armament-fastest speed in knots-crew complement. Figures are in some instances approximate. Records of top speeds for some ships are unreliable as a ship might produce higher or lower speeds in actual trials as against the design speed.

British Battle Cruiser HMS Lion. Lion fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty’s flagship: picture by Lionel Wyllie

Battle Cruiser Fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty:

1 st Battle Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear­-Admiral O. de B. Brock:

HMS Lion 1912-26,270 tons-8X13.5 inch guns-28 kts-1,092

HMS Princess Royal 1912-26,270 tons-8X13.5 inch guns-28 kts-985

HMS Queen Mary 1912-26,770 tons-8X13.5 inch guns-28 kts-1,185

HMS Tiger 1914-28,430 tons-8X13.5 inch guns-28 kts-1,185

British Battle Cruiser HMS Princess Royal. Princess Royal fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear¬-Admiral O. de B. Brock’s 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet

2 nd Battle Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear‑Admiral W. C. Pakenham:

HMS New Zealand 1912-18,500 tons-8X12 inch guns-25 kts- 853

HMS Indefatigable 1911-18,500 tons-8X12 inch guns-25 kts- 853

5th Battle Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Rear‑Admiral H. Evan‑Thomas:

HMS Barham 1915-27,500 tons-8X15 inch guns-24 knts-1,000

HMS Valiant 1916-27,500 tons-8X15 inch guns-24 knts-1,000

HMS Warspite 1915-27,500 tons-8X15 inch guns-24 knts-1,000

HMS Malaya 1916-27,500 tons-8X15 inch guns-24 knts-1,000

British Battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Malaya in the Firth of Forth. Both ships fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas’s 5th Battle Squadron: picture by Lionel Wyllie

1 st Light Cruiser Squadron commanded by Commodore E. S. Alexander‑Sinclair:

HMS Galatea 1914-3,500 tons-3X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-318

HMS Phaeton 1914-3,500 tons-3X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-318

HMS Inconstant 1914-3,500 tons-3X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-318

Galley Crew British Light Cruiser HMS Nottingham. Nottingham fought at Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916 in 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron

HMS Cordelia 1914-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-325

2 nd Light Cruiser Squadron commanded by Commodore W. E. Goodenough:

HMS Southampton 1912-5,400 tons-8X6 inch guns-25 knts-430

HMS Birmingham 1913-5,400 tons-9X6 inch guns-25 knts-433

HMS Nottingham 1913-5,400 tons-9X6 inch guns-25 knts-433

HMS Dublin 1912-5,400 tons-8X6 inch guns-25 knts-430

British Light Cruiser HMS Yarmouth. Yarmouth fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron: picture by Arthur Burgess

3 rd Light Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear‑Admiral T. D. W. Napier:

HMS Falmouth 1910-5,250 tons-8X6 inch guns-25 knts-433

HMS Yarmouth 1911-5,250 tons-8X6 inch guns-25 knts-433

HMS Birkenhead 1915-5,235 tons-10X5.5 inch guns-25 knts-452

British Light Cruiser HMS Gloucester. Gloucester fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron

HMS Gloucester 1900-4,800 tons-2X6 inch & 10X4 inch guns-25 knts-411

HMS Chester 1915-5,185 tons-10X5.5 inch guns-25 knts-402

1st Destroyer Flotilla:

HMS Fearless (light cruiser flotilla leader) 1912-3,440 tons-8X4 inch guns-25 knts-325

HMS Acheron 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-29 knts-70

HMS Ariel 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-29 knts-70

HMS Attack 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-29 knts-70

HMS Hydra 1912-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-30 knts-70

HMS Badger 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-30 knts-70

HMS Goshawk 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-30 knts-70

HMS Defender 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-28 knts-70

HMS Lizard 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-27 knts-70

HMS Lapwing 1911-990 tons-2X4 inch guns-27 knts-70

British destroyer in 1916: picture by Arthur Burgess

13th Destroyer Flotilla:

HMS Champion (light cruiser flotilla leader) 1915-3,759 tons-4X6 inch guns-28 knts-324

HMS Nestor 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Nomad 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Narborough 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Obdurate 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Petard 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

British Destroyer HMS Nerissa. Nerissa fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 13th Flotilla

HMS Pelican 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Nerissa 1914-890 tons-3X4 inch guns-35 knts-79

HMS Onslow 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Moresby 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Nicator 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

9 th & 10 th Destroyer Flotillas:

HMS Lydiard 1914-1003 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-102

HMS Liberty 1913-970 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-77

HMS Landrail 1914-983 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-77

HMS Laurel 1913-970 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-77

HMS Moorsom 1913-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Morris 1913-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Turbulent 1916-1098 tons-5X4 inch guns-32 knts-102

HMS Termagent 1916-1098 tons-5X4 inch guns-32 knts-102

HMS Engadine (Seaplane Carrier) 1911-1676 tons-2X4 inch guns-21.5 knts-4 Short 184 Seaplanes-250

British Grand Fleet at sea. The Grand Fleet was the principal component of Admiral Jellicoe’s force at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

Grand Fleet:

British Battleship HMS King George V. King George V fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2nd Battle Squadron

2 nd Battle Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Vice‑Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram:

HMS King George V 1912-23,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-830

HMS Ajax 1913-23,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-830

HMS Centurion 1913-23,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-830

HMS Erin 1914-22,780 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-1,130

HMS Orion 1912-22,200 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-810

HMS Monarch 1912-22,200 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-810

British Battleship HMS Monarch. Monarch fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2nd Battle Squadron

HMS Conqueror 1912-22,200 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-810

HMS Thunderer 1912-22,200 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-810

British Battleship HMS Centurion. Centurion fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2nd Battle Squadron

British 4th Battle Squadron at sea: The squadron was led by Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship HMS Iron Duke at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

4 th Battle Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Vice‑Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee:

HMS Iron Duke (Fleet Flagship) 1914-25,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-1,000

British Battleship HMS Iron Duke. Iron Duke fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee’s 4th Battle Squadron as Admiral Jellicoe’s Fleet Flagship

HMS Royal Oak 1916-28,000 tons-8X15 inch guns-23 knts-990

HMS Superb 1909-18,800 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-780

British Battleship HMS Benbow. Benbow fought at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

HMS Canada 1915-28,600 tons-10X14 inch guns-23 knts-1,176

HMS Benbow 1914-25,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-1,000

HMS Bellerophon 1909-18,800 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-780

HMS Temeraire 1909-18,800 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-780

HMS Vanguard 1908-19,560 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-820

British Battleship HMS Revenge. Revenge fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1st Battle Squadron: picture by Lionel Wyllie

1 st Battle Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Vice‑Admiral Sir Cecil Burney:

British Battleship HMS Marlborough. Marlborough fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1st Battle Squadron. The ship was severely damaged

HMS Marlborough 1914-25,000 tons-10X13.5 inch guns-21 knts-1,000

HMS Revenge 1916-28,000 tons-8X15 inch guns-23 knts-990

HMS Hercules 1911-20,225 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-845

HMS Agincourt 1914-27,500 tons-14X12 inch guns-22 knts-1,000

HMS Colossus 1911-20,225 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-831

British Battleship HMS Canada. Canada fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee’s 4th Battle Squadron

HMS Collingwood 1908-19,560 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-820

HMS Neptune 1909-19,680 tons-10X12 inch guns-22 knts-820

HMS St Vincent 1909-19,560 tons-10X12 inch guns-21 knts-820

Attached ships:

HMS Boadicea (light cruiser) 1908-3,300 tons-10X4 inch guns-25 knts-317

HMS Blanche (light cruiser) 1909-3,350 tons-8X4 inch guns-25 knts-314

HMS Bellona (light cruiser) 1909-3,300 tons-10X4 inch guns-25 knts-317

HMS Active (light cruiser) 1912-3,440 tons-10X4 inch guns-25 knts-325

HMS Oak (destroyer) 1912-765 tons-2X4 inch guns-32 knts-70

HMS Abdiel (minelayer) 1687 tons-3X4 inch guns & 70 mines-34 knts-110

British Battle Cruiser HMS Invincible. Invincible was Rear-Admiral Hood’s flagship in the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Invincible blew up after being struck by a number of shells

3 rd Battle Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear‑Admiral Hon. H. L. A. Hood:

HMS Invincible 1908-17,250 tons-8X12 inch guns-28 knts-1,031

HMS Inflexible 1908-17,250 tons-8X12 inch guns-28knts-1,000

HMS Indomitable 1908-18,000 tons-8X12 inch guns–25 knts-1,000

British Heavy Cruiser HMS Defence. Defence was sunk with heavy loss of life at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot

1 st Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear‑Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot:

HMS Defence 1907-14,600 tons-4X9.2 inch & 10X7.5 inch guns-23 knts-755

HMS Warrior 1905-13,550 tons-6X9.2 inch & 4X7.5 inch guns-23 knts-704

HMS Duke of Edinburgh 1904-13,550 tons-6X9.2 inch & 10X6 inch guns-22.5 knts-704

HMS Black Prince 1904-13,550 tons-6X9.2 inch & 10X6 inch guns-22.5 knts-704

2 nd Cruiser Squadron:

HMS Minotaur 1906-14,600 tons-4X9.2 inch & 6X6 inch guns-23 knts-755

HMS Hampshire 1903-10,850 tons-4X7.5 inch & 10X6 inch guns-22 knts-653

HMS Cochrane 1905-13,550 tons-6X9.2 inch & 4X7.5 inch guns-23 knts-704

HMS Shannon 1906-14,600 tons-4X9.2 inch & 10X7.5 inch guns-23 knts-755

British Light Cruiser HMS Calliope. Calliope fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron

4 th Light Cruiser Squadron:

HMS Calliope 1914-3,759 tons-4X6 inch guns-28 knts-324

HMS Caroline 1914-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28 knts-325

HMS Constance 1915-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-323

HMS Royalist 1915-3,500 tons-3X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-318

HMS Comus 1914-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-325

HMS Canterbury 1914-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-323

British Light Cruiser HMS Canterbury. Canterbury fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Canterbury’s navigating officer Lieutenant Cuthbert Coppinger was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. See ‘Coppinger of Jutland’

British Light Cruiser HMS Caroline. Caroline fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Caroline is the sole British ship to have survived from Jutland and is on display in Belfast

12 th Destroyer Flotilla:

HMS Faulknor 1913-1694 tons-2X4.7 inch & 2X4 inch guns-32 knts-205

HMS Marksman 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Obedient 1916-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Maenad 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Opal1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

British Destroyer HMS Mary Rose. Mary Rose fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 12th Flotilla

HMS Mary Rose 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Marvel 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Menace 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Nessus 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Narwhal 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Mindful 1915-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Onslaught 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Munster 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Nonsuch 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Noble1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Mischief 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

British Destroyer HMS Spitfire. Spitfire fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla. She took part in torpedo attacks on the German battleship line

11 th Destroyer Flotilla:

HMS Castor (light cruiser flotilla leader) 1916-3,750 tons-4X6 inch guns-28.5 knts-323

HMS Kempenfelt (light cruiser) 1915-1700 tons-4X4 inch guns-34 knts-104

HMS Ossory 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Mystic 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Moon 1914-890 tons-3X4 inch guns-35 knts-79

British Flotilla Leader HMS Broke. Broke fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as a destroyer flotilla leader. She was severely damaged during the night-time torpedo attack on the German battleship line

HMS Morning Star 1914-890 tons-3X4 inch guns-35 knts-79

HMS Magic 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Mounsey 1914-890 tons-3X4 inch guns-35 knts-79

HMS Mandate 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Marne 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Minion1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Manners 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Michael 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Mons 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

British Destroyer HMS Achates. Achates fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla. She took part in one of the night-time torpedo attacks on the German battleship line

HMS Martial 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Milbrook 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

4 th Destroyer Flotilla:

HMS Tipperary (class flotilla leader) 1914-2000 tons-6X4 inch guns-31 knts-197

HMS Broke (class flotilla leader) 1914-2000 tons-6X4 inch guns-31 knts-197

HMS Achates 1912-982 tons-3X4 inch guns-30 knts-76

HMS Porpoise 1913-934 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

British Destroyer HMS Shark. Shark was sunk at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 her captain Commander Loftus Jones winning a posthumous Victoria Cross

HMS Spitfire 1913-935 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Unity 1913-954 tons-3X4 inch guns-31 knts-76

HMS Garland 1913-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Ambuscade 1913-935 tons-3X4 inch guns-30 knts-76

HMS Ardent 1912-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Sparrowhawk 1915-1075 tons-3X4 inch guns-36 knts-90

HMS Contest 1912-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Shark 1915-1075 tons-3X4 inch guns-36 knts-90

British Destroyer HMS Ardent. Ardent fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla. She took part in one of the night-time torpedo attacks on the German Battleship line and was lost with most of her crew

HMS Acasta 1912-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Ophelia 1914-1024 tons-3X4 inch guns-34 knts-80

HMS Christopher 1913-938 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Owl 1913-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

HMS Hardy 1912-898 tons-3X4 inch guns-32 knts-76

HMS Midge 1913-936 tons-3X4 inch guns-29 knts-76

Submarines: E55, E26 and D1

German Imperial High Seas Fleet at sea as at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

German Imperial Navy High Seas Fleet Order of Battle on 31 st May 1916:

3 rd Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Rear-Admiral Behncke

5 th Division

SMS König 1913-25,390 tons-10X12 inch guns-21.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,315 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Grosser Kurfürst 1913-25,390 tons-10X12 inch guns-21.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,315 across the class for Jutland)

German Battleship SMS Grosser Kurfürst. Grosser Kurfürst fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 5th Division of Rear-Admiral Behncke’s 3rd Squadron: picture by Claus Bergen

SMS Kronprinz 1913-25,390 tons-10X12 inch guns-21.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,315 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Markgraf 1913-25,390 tons-10X12 inch guns-21.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,315 across the class for Jutland)

6 th Division

SMS Kaiser 1912-24,330 tons-10X12 inch guns-20 knts-1,088 (increased to between 1,249 and 1,278 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Kaiserin 1913-24,330 tons-10X12 inch guns-20 knts-1,088 (increased to between 1,249 and 1,278 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Prinzregent Luitpold 1913-24,330 tons-10X12 inch guns-20 knts-1,088 (increased to between 1,249 and 1,278 across the class for Jutland)

German Battleship SMS Friedrick der Grosse Admiral Scheer’s Fleet Flagship at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

1 st Squadron (Battleships) commanded by Vice-Admiral Schmidt

1 st Division

SMS Friedrick der Grosse (Fleet Flagship) 1913-24,330 tons-10X12 inch guns-20 knts-1,088 (increased to between 1,249 and 1,278 across the class for Jutland)

German Battleship SMS Ostfriesland. Ostfriesland fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in the 1st Division of Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1st Battle Squadron

SMS Ostfriesland 1911-22,440 tons-12X12 inch guns-20.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,390 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Thüringen 1911-22,440 tons-12X12 inch guns-20.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,390 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Helgoland 1911-22,440 tons-12X12 inch guns-20.5 knts-1,113 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,390 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Oldenburg 1912-22,440 tons-12X12 inch guns-20.5 knts-1,100 (increased to between 1,284 and 1,390 across the class for Jutland)

German Battleships of the Nassau Class forming the 2nd Division of Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1st Battle Squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

2 nd Division

SMS Posen 1910-18,570 tons-12X11 inch guns-20 knts-1,008 (increased to between 1,124 and 1,139 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Rheinland 1910-18,570 tons-12X11 inch guns-20 knts-1,008 (increased to between 1,124 and 1,139 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Nassau 1910-18,570 tons-12X11 inch guns-20 knts-1,008 (increased to between 1,124 and 1,139 across the class for Jutland)

SMS Westfalen 1910-18,570 tons-12X11 inch guns-20 knts-1,008 (increased to between 1,124 and 1,139 across the class for Jutland)

Second Squadron of the German High Seas Fleet comprising pre-Dreadnought Battleships commanded by Rear-Admiral Mauve at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

2 nd Squadron (Pre-Dreadnought Battleships) commanded by Rear-Admiral Mauve

3 rd Division

SMS Deutschland 1904-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-19 knts-729 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

German pre-Dreadnought battleship SMS Deutschland squadron flagship of Admiral Mauve’s Second Squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

SMS Hessen 1903-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-18 knts-743 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

SMS Pommern 1905-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-19 knts-729 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

German Battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein firing the opening shots of the Second World War in 1939 at Danzig. Schleswig-Holstein fought at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916: picture by Claus Bergen

4 th Division

SMS Hannover 1905-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-19 knts-729 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

SMS Schlesien 1906-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-19 knts-729 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

SMS Schleswig-Holstein 1906-13,200 tons-4X11 inch guns-19 knts-729 (additional crew for Jutland not known)

German pre-Dreadnought Battleships SMS Schlesien and SMS Schleswig-Holstein of Admiral Mauve’s Second Squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

1 st Scouting Group (Battle Cruisers) commanded by Vice-Admiral Hipper

SMS Lützow (Flagship) 1916-26,180 tons-8X12 inch guns-26.4 knts-1,112 (increased to 1,391 for Jutland)

SMS Derfflinger 1914-26,180 tons-8X12 inch guns-26.4 knts-1,112 (increased to 1,391 for Jutland)

German Battle Cruiser SMS Seydlitz. Seydlitz fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice-Admiral Hipper’s 1st Scouting Group

SMS Seydlitz 1913-24,594 tons-10X11 inch guns-26.5 knts-1,068 (increased to 1,425 for Jutland)

SMS Moltke 1912-22,616 tons-10X11 inch guns-25 knts-1,053 (increased to 1,355 for Jutland)

SMS von der Tann 1911-19,064 tons-8X11 inch guns-27 knts-910 (increased to 1,174 for Jutland)

2 nd Scouting Group (Light Cruisers) commanded by Rear-Admiral Boedicker

SMS Frankfurt 1915-5120 tons-8X5.9 inch guns-28 knts-474

SMS Wiesbaden 1915-5120 tons-8X5.9 inch guns-28 knts-474

SMS Pillau 1914-4350 tons-8X5.9 inch guns-28 knts-372

SMS Elbing 1914-4350 tons-8X5.9 inch guns-28 knts-372

German battle cruiser by G. Schulz

4 th Scouting Group (Light Cruisers) commanded by Commodore von Reuter

SMS Stettin 1907-3550 tons-10X4.1 inch guns-23 knts-350

SMS München 1904-3250 tons-10X4.1 inch guns-22 knts-303

SMS Hamburg 1903-3250 tons-10X4.1 inch guns-22 knts-303

SMS Frauenlob 1903-3250 tons-10X4.1 inch guns-22 knts-303

SMS Stuttgart 1906-3550 tons-10X4.1 inch guns-23 knts-350

German Light Cruiser SMS Rostock. Rostock was the ‘First Leader’ of Torpedo Boats at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 and was sunk in the battle

Destroyer (Grosse Torpedoboote) Flotillas:

SMS Rostock (First Leader of Torpedo Boats) 1914-4800 tons-12X4.1 inch guns-29 knts-373

1 st Flotilla

(1 st Half Flotilla)

SMS G39 (Leader) 1915-1051 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34 knts-87

SMS G40 1915-1051 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34 knts-87

SMS G38 1915-1051 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34 knts-87

SMS S32 1913-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

German Torpedo Boat (Destroyer) 1916. Torpedo Boats of this type fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

3 rd Flotilla

SMS S53 (Leader) 1915-1074 tons-3X3.5 inch guns-34 knts-85

(5 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V71 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS V73 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS G88 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-33.5 knts-85

(6 th Half Flotilla)

SMS S54 1915-1074 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS V48 1915-1106 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34.5 knts-87

SMS G42 1915-971 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-33.5 knts-87

5 th Flotilla

SMS G11 (Leader) 1912-573 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-74

German 1913 class torpedo boat (destroyer)

(9 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V2 1911-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS V4 1911-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS V6 1913-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS V1 1911-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS V3 1913-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

(10 th Half Flotilla)

SMS G8 1911-573 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS V5 1911-697 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS G7 1911-573 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS G9 1912-573 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

SMS G10 1912-573 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-74

German Torpedo Boat SMS S50 of 12th Half Flotilla 6th Flotilla moving at speed to execute a torpedo attack at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

7 th Flotilla

SMS S24 (Leader) 1913-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

(13 th Half Flotilla)

SMS S15 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS S17 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS S20 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS S16 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS S18 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

(14 th Half Flotilla)

SMS S19 1912-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS S23 1913-695 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32.5 knts-74

SMS V189 1911-783 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-84

SMS V186 1910-783 tons-2X3.45 inch guns-32 knts-84

SMS Regensburg Light Cruiser (Second Leader of Torpedo Boats) 1914-4900 tons-7X5.9 inch guns-27 knts-364

German Destroyer SMS B98. B98 was the 2nd Flotilla Leader at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

2 nd Flotilla

SMS B98 (Leader) 1915-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

(3 rd Half Flotilla)

SMS G101 1914-1734 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-104

SMS G102 1914-1734 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-104

SMS B112 1915-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

SMS B97 1914-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

(4 th Half Flotilla)

SMS B109 1915-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

SMS B110 1915-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

SMS B111 1915-1843 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-36.5 knts-114

SMS G103 1914-1734 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-104

SMS G104 1914-1734 tons-4X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-104

German Torpedo Boat SMS V44 in action at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as part of the German 6th Flotilla: picture by Willy Stoewer. SMS V44 has been discovered beached in Portsmouth harbour

6 th Flotilla

SMS G41 (Leader) 1915-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-87

(11 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V44 1915-1106 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34.5 knts-87

SMS G87 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-33.5 knts-85

SMS G86 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-33.5 knts-85

(12 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V69 1915-1188 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS V45 1915-1106 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34.5 knts-87

SMS V46 1915-1106 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34.5 knts-87

SMS S50 1915-1074 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS G37 1914-1051 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-34 knts-87

Two German Torpedo Boats involved in sinking HMS Mary Rose and Strongbow on 17th October 1917 in Scapa Flow November 1918

9 th Flotilla

V28 (Leader) 1914-975 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

(17 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V27 1914-975 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS V26 1914-975 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS S36 1914-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS S51 1915-1074 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

SMS S52 1915-1074 tons-3X4.1 inch guns-34 knts-85

German sailors on SMS Frederick der Grosse in Scapa Flow after the Armistice in November 1918. This ship fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as Admiral Scheer’s Flagship

(18 th Half Flotilla)

SMS V30 1914-975 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS S34 1914-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS S33 1914-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS V29 1914-975 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

SMS S35 1914-971 tons-3X3.45 inch guns-33.5 knts-83

U46, U67, U21, U22, U52, U24, U70, U32, U51, U63, U66, U47, U44, U43.

German U Boat at sea in the First World War: picture by Claus Bergen

L9, L14, L16, L21, L23, L11, L17, L22, L24, L13, L30.

German Naval Airship flying over SMS Seydlitz

Manning differences between the British and German Fleets:

A major role of the Royal Navy was to protect Britain’s world-wide empire. Royal Navy ships were designed, manned and equipped to support their crews at sea for months and to operate from any port in Britain or abroad.

The German Imperial Navy came into existence after 1890 with a more limited primary role of defeating the Royal Navy in the North Sea or the Imperial Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea. Most of the German naval bases were clustered in the short area of Germany’s North Sea coast Wilhelmshaven on the Jade River, Bremerhaven on the Weser River, Cuxhaven on the Elbe River and Emden. At the eastern Baltic Sea end of the Kiel Canal lay the port of Kiel. In each port an extensive range of fleet support facilities was built.

1st and 2nd Battleship Squadrons of the German High Seas Fleet in Kiel Harbour 1916

During the First World War the German capital ships operated primarily in the North and Baltic Seas, often away from port for no more than two nights (other than the voyage of the battle cruiser SMS Goeben through the Mediterranean to Turkey in 1914).

Operations elsewhere in the world were left to the ships considered inadequately gunned and armoured for the German High Seas Fleet for example SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Pacific in 1914 (see the Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands).

The highly effective German light cruisers operated everywhere in the World.

The decisive battle with the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet was expected to take place in the North Sea with the German High Seas Fleet at sea for a matter of a few days. In the event the German High Seas Fleet left harbour for the Battle of Jutland on 30 th May and returned on 1 st June 1916, two nights at sea.

British 1st Battle Squadron at sea: ‘HMS Revenge, Resolution, Royal Oak, Royal Sovereign and Ramillies. The Squadron fought at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916

Design of German capital ships reflected this strategic expectation. There was no long-term accommodation on board ship. Crews lived in barracks in the base ports. Feeding, logistics and administration were conducted ashore. Mess decks, kitchens, stores and administrative offices were not required on the scale of a Royal Navy capital ship, enabling the space to be used for operational purposes and for compartments to be smaller, making the ships less vulnerable.

Administrative personnel such as cooks, storemen and pay staff were not required on board in the numbers necessary for a British capital ship and were replaced by operational sailors (engine room, armaments, sailing and communications staff).

View of next in line battleship in heavy sea taken from HMS Barham

Whenever German capital ships left harbour with the expectation of action the crews were augmented by up to 25%, perfectly feasible for a short voyage, thereby ensuring that every operational department was fully manned and had supernumeraries to replace casualties.

The Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet did not have these advantages. Its ships devoted large areas to the accommodation, feeding and support of their crews, carried out by substantial non-combatant staffs.

In the manning of all Royal Navy ships a balance had to be struck between the personnel allocated to each department and the number of sailors that could be accommodated on the ship. Inevitably few departments were manned to an ideal level.

There was no general provision in the Royal Navy for supernumeraries to augment a ship’s crew for specific operations. In any case with the Grand Fleet’s move to Scapa Flow at the outset of the First World War there were no facilities on Orkney to provide such support.

Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

A further burden on the Royal Navy in the North Sea and the Channel inhibiting gunnery and fleet training was the obligation to cover the constant army traffic to France (no soldier was lost to enemy action while crossing the Channel) and to protect the English coast against German raids, involving a rigorous regime of patrolling throughout the North Sea up to the German coast (enforcing the blockade of Germany was the responsibility of special squadrons).

British destroyers patrolling in the North Sea in 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

In contrast German ships emerged from their bases only to conduct manoeuvres, training and gunnery practice on the Baltic Sea ranges, to which a considerable amount of time was devoted, or for specific operations.

Comparison of crew sizes between HMS Tiger and SMS Derfflinger:

The British HMS Tiger and the German SMS Derfflinger were comparable battle cruisers, similar in size and armaments. Tiger was commissioned in 1914 and Derfflinger in 1913.

Tiger’s crew was 1,121. Of these around 10% were administrative staff dealing with the crew’s long term needs, so that around 1,010 members of the crew were operational rather than administrative.

British Battle Cruiser HMS Tiger. Tiger fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear¬-Admiral O. de B. Brock’s 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet

Derfflinger’s standard crew was 1,112, almost the same as Tiger’s, but of these probably only 5% were administrative, with the balance of such staff on shore, so that Derfflinger’s standard operational crew was around 1,056. Derfflinger’s crew was augmented for the Jutland operation by a further 279 officers and sailors, all operational, an operational crew of 1,335 against Tiger’s operational crew of 1,010, giving Derfflinger a 32% advantage in size of operational crew over Tiger.

All the German post-Dreadnought capital ships sailed with a comparable advantage, although not as great as 32% in most cases, over the Royal Navy capital ships.

German Battle Cruiser SMS Derfflinger. Derfflinger fought at the Battle of Jutland in Vice-Admiral Franz Hipper’s 1st Scouting Group

It is not clear whether the German 2 nd Squadron, comprising pre-Dreadnought Battleships, sailed with an augmented crew.

This chart sets out the crew numbers for the battle cruisers in Beatty’s and Hipper’s forces.

Battle Cruiser Crews:

Ship Crew
British
HMS Lion 1,092
HMS PrincessRoyal 985
HMS Queen Mary 1,185
HMS Tiger 1,185
HMS New Zealand 853
HMS Indefatigable 853
Total: 6,153
Average per ship 1,025
German Augmented Jutland Crew
SMS Lützow 1,112 1,391
SMS Derfflinger 1,112 1,391
SMS Seydlitz 1,068 1,425
SMS Moltke 1,053 1,355
SMS von der Tann 910 1,174
Totals: 5,255 6,753
Average per ship 1,051 1,350

Battleship HMS Barham 1916 A and B Turrets bridge mast and gunnery control centre. Barham fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 as Flagship of Vice Admiral Evan-Thomas’s 5th Battle Squadron in Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet

The average crew on the British ships was marginally smaller than the standard German crew and comprised a greater proportion of administrative personnel.

With their augmented crews the five German battle cruisers carried 600 more crew than the six British battle cruisers, a 10% advantage overall. The advantage in average individual ship terms became 32% in favour of the German ships with the augmented crews, again with a smaller proportion of administrative personnel.

The operational effect of this superiority was significant. There were more sailors to move ammunition, fight fires and replace casualties at the guns increasing rates of fire, ensuring safety procedures were not bypassed and remedying damage.

Capital Ships:

All the British Capital Ships that fought at Jutland were completed in 1908 or after and were a maximum of 6 years old at the outbreak of war (compare this with World War Two in which many of the Royal Navy’s non-aircraft carrier capital ships were World War One vintage or at least 20 years old on the outbreak of war).

Royal Navy Capital Ships:

The benchmark for capital ships of all nations was the British battleship HMS Dreadnought completed in 1906. In the period up to and during the First World War battle ships were categorised as ‘Pre-Dreadnought’ or ‘Dreadnought’, such was the influence of this ground-breaking ship.

HMS Dreadnought, the benchmark British Battleship built in 1906

The Invincible class battle cruisers were completed in 1908. While powerful carrying eight 12 inch guns and fast at 25 ½ knots these ships were under armoured, a failing that proved fatal to Invincible at Jutland. The three ships in the class Invincible (sunk) Inflexible and Indomitable fought at Jutland as part of Rear‑Admiral Hon. H. L. A. Hood’s 3 rd Battle Cruiser Squadron.

British Battleship HMS Superb. Superb fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee’s 4th Battle Squadron

The Bellerophon class battleships were completed in 1909 with ten 12 inch guns. The class was virtually a repeat of the revolutionary Dreadnought design. All three ships in the class Bellerophon, Superb and Temeraire fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee’s 4 th Battle Squadron.

The St Vincent class battleships were completed in 1910. The class followed the Bellerophon design and carried ten 12 inch guns. All three ships in the class St Vincent, Collingwood and Vanguard fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1 st Battle Squadron.

British Battleship HMS Collingwood in Rosyth. Collingwood fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1st Battle Squadron. Prince Albert later King George VI was a member of her crew under the name ‘Mr Johnson’

HMS Neptune battleship was completed in 1911. The layout in Neptune was designed to overcome the limited eight gun broadside of Dreadnought, the Bellerophons and the St Vincents. Several foreign ships could fire ten and twelve gun broadsides. Neptune’s ten 12 inch guns were in a turret layout that permitted ten gun broadsides but was not entirely satisfactory. Neptune fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1 st Battle Squadron.

The Colossus class battleships were completed in 1911. These ships with ten 12 inch guns followed the ‘We want eight and we won’t wait’ public outcry of 1909 over the suspected German ship building programme. These two ships have been described as half-sisters of Neptune with minor changes to that design. Both ships in the class Colossus and Hercules fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1 st Battle Squadron.

British Battle Cruiser HMS Indefatigable. Indefatigable fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear Admiral W. C. Pakenham 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron. Indefatigable blew up and sank early in the battle

The Indefatigable class battle cruisers were completed between 1911 and 1913 with eight 12 inch guns. These ships were intended to be battle cruiser versions of Neptune but were instead near repeats of the inadequate Invincible design with fatal consequences at Jutland for Indefatigable. Two of the three ships in the class Indefatigable (sunk) and New Zealand fought at Jutland in Rear‑Admiral W. C. Pakenham’s 2 nd Battle Cruiser Squadron, part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet. The third ship HMAS Australia was in ‘dockyard hands’ at the time of Jutland due to a collision in fog with HMS New Zealand.

Orion class battleships in the North Sea: HMS Monarch, Thunderer and Conqueror, the photograph taken from HMS Orion. All four ships fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2nd Battle Squadron

The Orion class battleships were completed in 1912 as part of the 1909 programme demanded by public clamour. These ships carried ten 13.5 inch guns in turrets placed in the centreline with super firing pairs of turrets forward and aft and one amidships. These were powerful ships. All four ships in the class Orion, Conqueror, Monarch and Thunderer fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2 nd Battle Squadron.

HMS Lion in the North Sea: Lion was Admiral Beatty’s flagship at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916

The Lion class battle cruisers completed in 1912 were the battle cruiser equivalents of the Orions. Conway’s describes these ships and their half-sisters Queen Mary and Tiger as having grave weaknesses. The primary inadequacy was the armour which provided protection only against 11 inch shells and only in places. Lord Fisher was a keen exponent of the battle cruiser believing that protection could be provided by the speed of the ships. Both ships Lion and Princess Royal fought at Jutland in Rear­-Admiral O. de B. Brock’s 1 st Battle Cruiser Squadron, part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet.

The King George V class battleships were completed in 1912 and 1913. These ships were improved ‘Orions’ with ten 13.5 inch guns in the same layout. Three of the four ships in this class King George V, Centurion and Ajax fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2 nd Battle Squadron. The fourth ship Audacious was sunk by mines in 1914.

British Battleship HMS Ajax. Ajax fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram’s 2nd Battle Squadron

HMS Queen Mary battle cruiser completed in 1913 as the battle cruiser equivalent of the King George Vs was effectively a half-sister to the Lion battle cruisers. Queen Mary fought at Jutland in Rear­-Admiral O. de B. Brock’s 1 st Battle Cruiser Squadron, part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet. Inadequacies in the protection afforded the turrets caused her to explode and sink when hit several times by Derfflinger at Jutland.

The Iron Duke class battleships completed in 1914 were similar to the King George Vs but longer, wider and deeper, with a fire control facility in the heavy tripod foremast from construction while most ships had them added. Three of the four ships in the class Iron Duke (Admiral Jellicoe’s Fleet Flagship), Marlborough (flagship to the 1 st Battle Squadron) and Benbow (flagship to the 4 th Battle Squadron) fought at Jutland . The fourth ship of the class Emperor of India did not fight at Jutland being ‘in dockyard hands’.

HMS Tiger battle cruiser completed in 1914 was a sister ship to Queen Mary with eight 13.5 inch guns. Her turrets were re-arranged to give a pair of super firing turrets forward and two aft and she was given a stronger secondary armament of 6 inch guns. Tiger lacked adequate armour for a fleet battle as with the other battle cruisers. Tiger fought at Jutland in Rear­-Admiral O. de B. Brock’s 1 st Battle Cruiser Squadron, part of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet.

British Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship HMS Warspite under construction in Plymouth in October 1914. Warspite fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear Admiral H. Evan Thomas’s 5th Battle Squadron

The Queen Elizabeth class battleships were completed in 1915 and 1916. These ships were given eight of the new 15 inch guns with greater hitting power and range in pairs of super firing turrets forward and aft. To achieve speeds of 24 to 25 knots the ships were fuelled solely by oil. To ensure supply of fuel the British Government bought shares in Iranian oil companies. The construction of these fast battleships made battle cruisers redundant. Four of the five ships in the class fought at Jutland in Rear‑Admiral H. Evan‑Thomas’s 5 th Battle Squadron: Barham, Valiant, Malaya and Warspite. Queen Elizabeth was ‘in dockyard hands’.

British Battleship HMS Revenge with British Battle Cruiser HMS Lion in the background. Both ships fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

The Revenge class battleships completed in 1916 and 1917 were cheaper versions of the Queen Elizabeths having the 15 inch guns but being coal and oil driven. Two of the five Revenge class ships fought at Jutland: Revenge in the 1 st Battle Squadron and Royal Oak in the 4 th Battle Squadron.

British Battleship HMS Agincourt. Originally destined for the Turkish Navy Agincourt was seized for the Royal Navy and fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1st Battle Squadron

HMS Erin and Agincourt: these ships completed in 1914 were built for Turkey and seized for the Royal Navy. Erin (ten 13.5 inch guns) was based on the King George V design. Agincourt was a unique design originally for the Brazilian Navy. She was heavily gunned with fourteen 12 inch guns but she was lightly armoured. Both ships fought at Jutland Erin in the 2 nd Battle Squadron and Agincourt in the 1 st Battle Squadron.

HMS Canada battleship completed in 1915 for the Chilean Navy with ten 14 inch guns was bought for the Royal Navy. Canada fought at Jutland in Vice‑Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee’s 4 th Battle Squadron.

German Imperial Navy Capital Ships:

Kaiser Wilhelm II was determined to have a navy that could rival and outfight Britain’s Royal Navy. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz oversaw the development of the German Imperial Navy after becoming Secretary of State for the German Reichsmarineamt in 1897.

The section of the German Imperial Navy intended to face the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet was the High Seas Fleet based in the complex of naval bases on Germany’s North Sea Coast.

The German capital ships in the High Seas Fleet at Jutland came from these ship classes:

The Braunschweig class of five pre-Dreadnought battleships with four 11 inch guns of which SMS Hessen completed in 1903 fought at Jutland in Rear-Admiral Mauve’s 3 rd Battle Squadron.

German Battleship SMS Deutschland. Deutschland fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Admiral Mauve’s 2nd Squadron of pre-Dreadnought battleships

The Deutschland class of pre-Dreadnought battleships completed between 1904 and 1906 with four 11 inch guns and all of whose five ships fought at Jutland in Rear-Admiral Mauve’s 3 rd Battle Squadron: Deutschland, Hannover, Pommern (sunk), Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein.

German pre-Dreadnought SMS Pommern. Pommern was sunk with no survivors at the Battle of Jutland in the early hours of 1st June 1916 by a torpedo fired from the British 12th Destroyer Flotilla

The Nassau class of battleships Germany’s first Dreadnoughts were completed in 1910. The six 11 inch double gun turrets were arranged with two on each beam that reduced the broadside to only eight guns. They carried characteristic ‘goose-neck’ cranes. All four ships of the class fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1 st Battle Squadron: Nassau, Westfalen, Rheinland and Posen.

German Battleship SMS Helgoland. Helgoland fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1st Battle Squadron

The Helgoland class of battleships was completed in 1911 and 1912 and were considered a considerable improvement on the Nassau design having twelve 12 inch guns while repeating the turret layout. All four ships of the class fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1 st Battle Squadron: Helgoland, Ostfriesland, Thüringen and Oldenburg.

German Battleship SMS Ostfriesland. Ostfriesland fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice-Admiral Schmidt’s 1st Battle Squadron

SMS Von Der Tann battle cruiser was completed in 1911 with eight 11 inch guns in single turrets forward and aft and two centrally placed. Conways describes Von Der Tann as a considerably better fighting ship than any of the six British battle cruisers. Von Der Tann fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Hipper’s 1 st Scouting Group.

The Moltke class of battle cruiser completed in 1912 was an improved larger version of Von Der Tann carrying ten 11 inch guns in a single turret forward, two amidships and two super firing turrets aft. Of the class Moltke fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Hipper’s 1 st Scouting Group while Goeben was in the Mediterranean.

German Battleship SMS Kaiser. Kaiser fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear-Admiral Behncke’s 3rd Battle Squadron

The Kaiser class of battleships was completed in 1912 and 1913. This class was of a radical new design having a forward turret, two turrets amidships and a pair of super-firing turrets (one firing over the other) aft with ten 12 inch guns producing a 10 gun broadside. Of the five ships in the class four fought at Jutland: Friedrich Der Grosse as Admiral Scheer’s Fleet Flagship and Kaiser, Kaiserin and Prinzregent Luitpold in Rear-Admiral Behncke’s 3 rd Battle Squadron.

SMS Seydlitz battle cruiser completed in 1913 was an enlarged version of Moltke with ten 11 inch guns in the same arrangement. Seydlitz fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Hipper’s 1 st Scouting Group.

The König class of battleships was completed in 1914 and 1915, essentially improved Kaisers with ten 12 inch guns in two super firing turrets forward and two aft and a single turret amidships. All four ships of the class fought at Jutland in Rear-Admiral Behncke’s 3 rd Battle Squadron: König, Grosser Kurfürst, Markgraf and Kronprinz.

German Battleship SMS König. König fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Rear-Admiral Behncke’s 3rd Battle Squadron

The Derfflinger class of battle cruiser completed in 1914 and 1916 followed a different much improved design from the previous battle cruisers. Eight 12 inch guns were mounted in pairs of super firing turrets forward and aft. Both ships of the class Derfflinger and Lützow (sunk) fought at Jutland in Vice-Admiral Hipper’s 1 st Scouting Group, Lützow as Hipper’s Flagship.

Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in the Firth of Forth

Capital Ships at Jutland

British Battleship HMS Vanguard. Vanguard fought at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916 in the 4th Battle Squadron commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee

Coaling a Royal Navy warship

Battleship HMS Neptune 1916. Neptune fought at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 in Vice Admiral Burney’s First Battle Squadron

The Kiel Canal was built between 1895 and 1897 to connect the German naval bases and the Baltic Sea. The canal was of critical importance to the German Imperial Navy in permitting ease of access to the Baltic where the navy’s training grounds were situated. Between 1907 and 1914 the canal was widened and deeper locks added to permit the passage of the German Imperial Navy’s larger post-Dreadnought battleships. Until the widening took place the limited access of the canal influenced the size of Germany’s new ships, giving rise to a class of battleship that was too small to be of great use in the First World War.

Kiel Canal, a German light cruiser SMS Dresden passing through before the First World War. Dresden fought at Coronel and the Falkland Islands being finally cornered and scuttled in 1915

Gunnery Training:

The Kiel Canal gave German ships quick access to the naval training areas in the Baltic Sea, in which great emphasis was placed on gunnery. In every action the British were impressed by the accuracy of German shooting.

Gunnery training for the Grand Fleet was conducted in the unreliable sea conditions north of Orkney with the constant threat from German U boats.

British Battleships at target practice in 1916: picture by Lionel Wyllie

Beatty’s battle cruiser force based in the Firth of Forth had no access to a sea range for gunnery practice on its main armament. It was a standing criticism of the British battle cruisers that their gunnery was not as good as the German. The 5 th Battle Squadron came under Beatty’s command in May 1916 replacing Hood’s 3 rd Battle Cruiser Squadron while Hood’s ships conducted much needed gunnery training at Scapa Flow.

Destroyers and Torpedo Boats:

Two naval weapons developed at the end of the eighteenth century, the mine and the torpedo, were considered a major threat to capital ships.

New small boats were built to fire torpedoes. Ships to counter these ‘torpedo boats’ were labelled ‘torpedo boat destroyers’, quickly elided in the Royal Navy to just ‘destroyers’.

Kaiser Wilhelm II inspecting the Imperial German High Seas Fleet before the First World War: picture by Willie Stoewer

In the Royal Navy and other navies the destroyer became a class of small ship with a wide range of duties, including the role of the original torpedo boats. Destroyers were given a powerful if small gun armament.

The Germans did not formally adopt the title ‘destroyer’ in the First World War. The ships remained ‘torpedo boats’.

The roles of British destroyers and German torpedo boats in the Fleet Action at Jutland were identical. Flotillas of these ships led by light cruisers provided the capital ships with cover against submarine attack or attack by the opposing destroyers/torpedo boats. When the opportunity arose the destroyer/torpedo boat flotillas launched torpedo attacks against the opposing capital ship line. Such attacks took place at various stages during the Battle of Jutland. The most striking example is the attack of the Royal Navy’s 12 th Destroyer Flotilla on the German Fleet at dawn on 1 st June 1916 leading to the loss of the German battleship SMS Pommern.

British destroyer firing a torpedo during range firing in 1915

An important role for the German torpedo boat flotillas which they performed twice during the Battle of Jutland was to generate a smoke screen to mask the withdrawal by turning away of the German battleship line.

The difference between the destroyers/torpedo boats of the two sides was that many of the German torpedo boats were smaller and less well gun armed than the British destroyers, placing them at a disadvantage (the effect of this difference was graphically illustrated in the Texel Action on 17 th October 1914).

German sailors preparing a mine for launching on a minelayer

By May 1916 minefields had been laid by British and German ships at various important positions in the North Sea to restrict activity by the opposing fleets.

British Battleship HMS Audacious sinking after striking German mines in October 1914: picture by Lionel Wyllie

Of particular concern were the techniques of releasing mines into the path of pursuing ships and the tactical laying of mines on the course of ships on the move.

One of the mines laid by the Royal Navy minelayer HMS Abdiel sent by Jellicoe to lay mines in the path of the withdrawing German Fleet early on the morning of 1 st June 1916 caused severe damage to the German battleship SMS Ostfriesland.

British Minelayers laying a minefield in the First World War

With the temporary abandonment of unrestricted U Boat warfare in the Atlantic Admiral Scheer had available to him a large proportion of the U Boat force to support the German High Seas Fleet in the Jutland Foray. Submarine ambushes were put in place outside all the Royal Navy’s main bases to await the British ships putting to sea. None were torpedoed.

German U Boat at sea in the First World War

The British submarines were equally unsuccessful. E55, E26 and D1 were ordered to attack the German Fleet south of the Horn Reefs as it withdrew to harbour after the Battle of Jutland. The orders to the British submarines were to remain deep until 2 nd June. This order was not altered to address the change in the situation and the German Fleet passed over the submarines in safety.

There was no place for the submarines in the battle itself being too slow underwater to keep up with the surface ships. Nevertheless there was a number of unjustified ‘submarine scares’ during the fighting.

Air Reconnaissance:

Jellicoe’s Seaplane ship was left behind and took no part in the Battle of Jutland. A seaplane from Beatty’s Seaplane Ship HMS Engadine provided him with confirmation that the German battle cruisers were present at the outset of the battle. No further use was made of the seaplanes during the battle.

Scheer was given invaluable information by German airships during the battle. The difficulty was that airships could only fly in near wind free conditions. None of the aircraft could assist at night.

German seaplane carrier launching aircraft in the First World War

The previous battle of the First World War is Gallipoli IV

The next battle of the First World War is the Battle of Jutland Part II


Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty

David Beatty was a charismatic and dashing leader. He joined the Royal Navy in 1884 and his confidence and abilities ensured he quickly rose up the ranks. He was appointed rear admiral at the comparatively young age of 38 and was a favourite of Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who made him his Naval Secretary in 1911. Beatty became commander of the Battlecruiser Fleet (BCF) in 1914, leading it through the early engagements of the war at Heligoland Bight and the Dogger Bank.

On 30 May 1916, British naval intelligence warned that German Admiral Reinhard Scheer was planning an operation in the North Sea the following day. The British fleet, led by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, was ordered to sea by the Admiralty. Beatty's force formed the vanguard and came into contact with the German battlecruisers, led by Vice Admiral Franz Hipper, at just before 4 pm on 31 May. Both sides opened fire, with mixed results. The British had more firepower but they suffered from poor visibility, while the Germans were more accurate in their firing. Beatty's battlecruisers sustained more direct hits than their German counterparts, leading him to exclaim, "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today".

Two early losses were HMS Queen Mary and HMS Indefatigable, which were sunk at around 4 pm. Beatty's flagship, HMS Lion, also suffered extensive damage from frequent hits. When the German High Seas Fleet arrived in support of Hipper, Beatty realised he was outnumbered and ordered his force to turn away. The Germans pursued him and he led them straight into the path of Jellicoe and the entire British Grand Fleet. His battlecruisers now joined with the rest of the fleet as the battle continued to rage. They caused damage to several of Hipper's battlecruisers, including SMS Seydlitz and SMS Lützow. Beatty's role in the battle now came to a close and he took no real part in the night fighting that followed, as the Germans turned for home.

It was a frustrating encounter for Beatty, who never managed to gain an advantage over the Germans. His independent nature led to a difficult working relationship with his commander, Jellicoe, which caused problems at Jutland. Confusion, poor visibility and a lack of communication within the British fleet all contributed to the disappointing outcome of the battle. After Jutland, Jellicoe was given a non-operational role and Beatty stepped in to replace him in command of the Grand Fleet. In 1919, he became First Sea Lord, a position he held until 1927. After he retired, his health steadily declined and he died in London in 1936.


Jutland: the battle that won the First World War

The British press declared it a disastrous defeat, and the public despaired. But, argues Nick Hewitt, the battle of Jutland, fought in the North Sea in May 1916, ensured that Germany would never prevail in the First World War.

This competition is now closed

Published: May 27, 2021 at 7:05 am

Between the hazy late afternoon of 31 May 1916 and the grey dawn of 1 June, more than 100,000 British and German seamen aboard 250 warships fought a brutal naval engagement. They were battling for control of the North Sea, global oceanic trade and, ultimately, victory in the First World War. For the British it became known as the battle of Jutland. For the Germans it was the Skagerrak. By the end, 25 ships had been sunk, almost one in 10 of those sailors was dead, and Europe’s fate had been decided.

For both sides, this battle was a new experience. The British had been the undisputed masters of the seas since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, more than 100 years earlier. However, the last time the Royal Navy had fought a sea battle against an enemy fleet, it had entered the fray with wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon. The service now went to war in armoured, steel ships, powered by steam engines and armed with breech-loading rifled guns in revolving turrets. Uninterrupted peace in western Europe had arguably led to complacency, failure of imagination and tactical stagnation. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy was still the most powerful navy in the world.

The Kaiserliche Marine, or Imperial German Navy, had existed only since Germany unified from a multitude of kingdoms and principalities into a single, Prussian-dominated state in 1871. The German kaiser, Wilhelm II, was determined to make Germany a world power, and in 1897 he had appointed Rear (later Grand) Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz as secretary of state of the Reichsmarineamt, or Imperial Navy Office. Tirpitz was a compelling advocate of the need for a larger navy, and within a year he had persuaded the German parliament to pass the first of a series of naval bills calling for the construction of 19 battleships and 50 cruisers. The British responded in kind, and an expensive arms race between the two powers followed, vociferously supported on both sides of the North Sea by popular nationalist lobbying.

In 1906, the British reset the arms race. Under the dynamic leadership of the visionary First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John ‘Jackie’ Fisher, they emphatically replied to the German challenge by launching the revolutionary battleship HMS Dreadnought – faster, and with better armour and more heavy guns than anything else afloat. At the same time Fisher developed a new type of ship, the battlecruiser, with heavy guns but light armour to allow exceptional speed, intended to outgun enemy cruisers but able to use its speed to escape enemy battleships. At a stroke, the existing British and German battle fleets were rendered out of date. It was a gamble, but it stemmed from absolute confidence that Britain could outbuild Germany, which was trying to maintain the largest army in Europe at the same time.

The battle of Jutland: quick facts

What? Jutland, the biggest naval battle of the First World War, was fought between the British and German fleets in the North Sea about 75 miles from the Danish coast.

Why? The Germans hoped to reduce the numerical superiority of the Royal Navy by ambushing an isolated detachment. The British had broken the German code and sailed in full strength to meet them.

When? Most of the fighting occurred on 31 May 1916. The German fleet was worsted and escaped that night, arriving in the safety of their own minefields after dawn on 1 June.

Who? It was close to being the largest naval battle ever fought. The British, under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, had 151 warships, German Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer had around 93.

British firepower

A new and even costlier arms race followed, with both sides building ‘dreadnoughts’, as the new battleships became known. But the British had judged correctly. Between 1905 and 1914 Germany’s defence budget increased by a staggering 142 per cent, but when Britain declared war on 4 August 1914, the British had 28 dreadnoughts and nine battlecruisers. The Germans had only 16 dreadnoughts and five battlecruisers. The battle of Jutland was essentially decided two years before the first shots had been fired.

The British war plan was to concentrate the Royal Navy’s most modern warships into a Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, in the Orkney Islands, from where it could maintain a close watch on the North Sea and blockade German trade. The blockade stopped vital imports of food and raw materials, including nitrates from South America, essential for producing both fertilisers and explosives. The German Hochseeflotte (High Seas Fleet) was essentially under house arrest, able to patrol the North Sea but unable to make a meaningful impact on the war.

The status quo favoured Britain, which really did not have to take any action at all to be assured of gradually starving its enemy, leaving the French, its continental ally, to fight the land campaign against a progressively more demoralised and weaker foe. The onus was on the Germans to defeat the far bigger Grand Fleet, unlock the door to global trade, and change the outcome of the war.

The first two years of the war at sea were characterised by confrontations that were little more than skirmishes, in the North Sea and further afield, with the Royal Navy rounding up and destroying Germany’s small overseas naval forces. The German fleet was constrained by the kaiser’s unwillingness to risk his expensive battleships.

But in January 1916, a new, more energetic officer took command of the High Seas Fleet: Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, who persuaded the kaiser to approve a more aggressive strategy. Scheer proposed a plan to give the Germans their holy grail: Kräfteausgleich – equalisation of forces, the numerical parity that was an essential prerequisite for victory. Vice Admiral Franz von Hipper’s battlecruisers were to threaten British trade convoys to neutral Norway, hoping to provoke a response. Scheer assumed that the British would respond in force, but he also assumed that the British battlecruiser force, under Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty, would reach his chosen battlefield before the Grand Fleet because the former was based in Rosyth on the Firth of Forth – closer than the Orkney Islands. Scheer was gambling that he could destroy Beatty’s squadrons, which had been reinforced by the Royal Navy’s four newest and most powerful dreadnoughts, giving him Kräfteausgleich by the time the Grand Fleet, under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, arrived.

Famous outburst

Scheer’s plan failed. Beatty and Hipper met at the Jutland Bank off the Danish coast late in the afternoon of 31 May, and Hipper dutifully turned to lead his adversary south on to Scheer’s guns. Early signs were good for the Germans: errors in signalling and gunnery by the British gave their foe a tactical advantage. Two British battlecruisers, HMS Queen Mary and HMS Indefatigable, blew up and sank, thanks in part to poor ammunition-handling procedures. Queen Mary’s dramatic loss provoked Beatty’s famous outburst: “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!” But as soon as Beatty sighted the main German fleet he reversed course, pulling the Germans back to Jellicoe’s far more powerful Grand Fleet. When Scheer saw his enemy at sea at full strength, he realised that his only chance for victory had passed. Though half an hour of bitter fighting saw his ships sink another British battlecruiser, Invincible, and three large but obsolete armoured cruisers, he was forced to withdraw into the mist and head for home. The British were poorly prepared for night fighting and, though the battle continued with a series of vicious skirmishes in the dark, the High Seas Fleet returned safely.

The Germans got home first, and newspapers announced a German victory. On 5 June, Kaiser Wilhelm travelled to Wilhelmshaven to proclaim that: “The English were beaten. The spell of Trafalgar has been broken. You have started a new chapter in world history.” The Grand Fleet made for home, burying its dead on the way. The British public had been conditioned for a century to expect another Trafalgar, ending with their enemy’s fleet scattered, sunk or captured, and they were bewildered and bitterly disappointed when that didn’t happen.

The Admiralty exacerbated the situation, issuing a communiqué that was achingly honest about British losses and suspiciously vague about German ones. It came out on 3 June, after rumours had already begun to spread like wildfire from the dockyards, and after publication of the German account had – unbelievably – been permitted. The communiqué began: “On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 31, a naval engagement took place off the coast of Jutland. The British ships on which the brunt of the fighting fell were the Battle Cruiser Fleet and some cruisers and light cruisers, supported by four fast battleships. Among these the losses were heavy.”

British newspapers were quick to declare the battle a disaster, and the Grand Fleet’s men met a very different welcome to that received by their German counterparts. Midshipman Henry Fancourt of the battlecruiser Princess Royal remembered going ashore in Rosyth and meeting people who asked: “What’s the navy been doing?”

It’s undoubtedly true that the British lost more ships, and many more men: 6,094 dead, compared with 2,551 Germans. But to declare the battle a defeat based on a simple comparison of losses was to oversimplify what was a complicated, subtle strategic situation. Jutland was a clumsily fought and costly battle, followed by a public-relations disaster, but it was a clear win for Britain. Jellicoe was not Nelson, and Jutland was certainly not Trafalgar. But in 1916 Britain did not need Trafalgar. Jellicoe, described by Churchill as “the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon”, knew exactly what was required – and delivered it. Nelson may well have won a more dramatic and convincing victory, but Jellicoe still delivered a victory. More perceptive observers, such as the London newspaper The Globe, agreed: “Will the shouting flag-waving [German] people get any more of the copper, rubber and cotton their government so sorely needs? Not by a pound. Will meat and butter be cheaper in Berlin? Not by a pfennig. There is one test, and only one, of victory. Who held the field of battle at the end of the fight?”

Flight from the field

Across the North Sea, informed Germans were in no doubt about the implications of the flight of the High Seas Fleet from the ‘field’. Georg von Hase fought at Jutland aboard the battlecruiser Derfflinger and wrote afterwards that: “The English fleet… by its mere continued existence had so far… fulfilled its allotted task.” Admiral Scheer agreed, writing in a confidential report submitted on 4 July that: “The disadvantages of our military-geographical position, and the enemy’s great material superiority, cannot be compensated [for] by our fleet to the extent where we shall be able to overcome the blockade.”

The Grand Fleet was a knife permanently held to Germany’s throat, pushing steadily against the national jugular, and nothing that happened at Jutland changed this situation. The Grand Fleet was ready for action again the next day, as strong as before, and it soon increased in size thanks to a steady flow of new and refitted ships joining the fleet. The Imperial German Navy needed to take the initiative again, but many German ships took months to repair and, even when the High Sea Fleet was again battle-ready, the Germans were so badly shaken by the weight of the British response that they never staged another serious challenge. German naval building, unable to compete before the war, could not hope to do so now.

The British blockade continued unabated, eventually leading to a 50 per cent reduction in German food supplies and terrible privations for German civilians. Some areas came close to famine thanks to an unfair and inefficient rationing system: a British intelligence report on the Strasbourg region in July 1917 grimly noted that “their children are dying like flies and coal production is 30 per cent down”. After February 1917, the Germans tried to use submarines (U-boats) to starve the British into submission. At the peak of their attacks in April 1917, U-boats sank an average of 13 ships per day at one point in early 1918, Britain was reduced to reserves equivalent to just two weeks’ food. But in the end submarine attacks on neutral ships helped bring the US into the war on the side of the Allies, hastening Germany’s defeat.

The blockade continued its remorseless erosion of the German will to fight. Many Germans became hungry, war-weary and open to communist anti-war propaganda, sparking a revolution that began on 29–30 October 1918. The uprising began, appropriately enough, among the demoralised sailors of the High Seas Fleet, who mutinied when ordered to carry out one final operation. On 21 November 1918 they steamed their ships to surrender and internment at Scapa Flow, and on 21 June 1919 the ships were scuttled in an act of defiance against their British jailers. It was the end of the kaiser’s dream of global power.

The long-term, strategic consequences of Jutland were complex and hard to explain to a British public steeped in Trafalgar lore. The debate, focused on the respective roles played by Jellicoe and Beatty, raged well into the interwar period, and still raises the hackles of historians today. It hinged on the question of whether overwhelming victory had eluded the British as a result of Jellicoe’s alleged caution, inflexibility and lack of initiative, or Beatty’s alleged impetuosity, vanity and glory-seeking.

Both admirals, to their credit, stayed largely aloof (at least publicly) from this poisonous internecine conflict, which was fought mainly through the sometimes vitriolic outpourings of their friends and supporters. Beatty’s wife was more outspoken, writing to a family friend on 10 July 1916 that: “There seems to be very little to say except to curse Jellicoe for not going at them as the B.Cs [battle cruisers] did… I hear he was frightened to death in case he might lose a B. ship. I think the real truth he was in a deadly funk.”

There is no question that, for the Royal Navy in general and the Grand Fleet in particular, what became known as ‘The Jutland Controversy’ soon overwhelmed objective consideration of the battle, with both sides broadly accepting the myth of defeat to reinforce the case against their rivals. Perhaps inevitably, defeat slowly became the popular perception and, as decades passed, the battle was largely discarded as one of the First World War’s key symbols, engulfed by a torrent of literature, poetry and art, drawing almost exclusively from the tragedy, sacrifice and ultimate triumph of the trench war on the western front.

Rejection of the battle in Britain was perhaps encouraged by its public celebration in Germany, where the ‘victory’ of the Skagerrak was used to offset the ‘shame’ of the 1918 naval mutiny and as the foundation of a new naval tradition. Skagerraktag (Skagerrak Day) was observed in Germany until the end of the Second World War and, when German re-armament gathered pace in the 1930s, the ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Scheer, cruiser Admiral Hipper and a number of destroyers were named after their Jutland heroes. In Britain, Jutland gradually began to be dismissed as a mere appendage to the arms race story: an inconsequential stalemate that failed to justify Britain’s huge investment in dreadnoughts before 1914.

A reappraisal of Jutland is long overdue. It is surely high time that this extraordinary encounter, arguably the greatest naval battle in history and simultaneously a triumph and a tragedy on an epic scale, was placed back at the heart of the lexicon of the First World War. It is, quite simply, the forgotten battle – the clash by which the Royal Navy won the war.

Nick Hewitt is head of heritage development at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. His books include The Kaiser’s Pirates (Pen and Sword, 2014)


Battle of Jutland

During World War I, the Battle of Jutland was one of the largest naval battles in history. In this pitched battle, the Royal Navy engaged the German Navy leading to massive casualties and ship losses on both sides. Although the Royal Navy suffered greater immediate losses, its Grand Fleet remained battle-ready. Damage to several heavy vessels of the German High Seas Fleet would have prevented them from doing the same, and the German Navy never again challenged Britain's, resorting instead to covert submarine warfare.


Posted On June 25, 2018 15:56:43

When you think “Marines,” your mind conjures up images of fighting on the Pacific Islands of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. Or perhaps you immediately think of the Battle of Fallujah. Well, did you know that the Marines also train for arctic warfare? In fact, during the Cold War, portions of the 2nd Marine Division were designated for deployment to Norway.

The Marines planned to send a Marine Expeditionary Brigade to Norway. This brigade consisted of three battalions of infantry in a regiment, a battalion of artillery, plus company-sized units of M1 Abrams tanks, LAV-25 light armored vehicles, and 1970s-vintage AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, two squadrons of AV-8B Harriers, three of F/A-18 Hornets, seven helicopter squadrons, and a squadron of electronic warfare planes.

U.S. Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conduct the Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise, the culminating event of Artic Edge, at Fort Greely, Alaska, on March 14, 2018. Arctic Edge 2018 is a biennial, large-scale, joint training exercise that prepares and tests the U.S. military’s capabilities in Arctic environments. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bethanie Ryan)

That deployment is making a comeback, but this time, F-35B Lightnings will replace the Hornets and Harriers. To get ready for that deployment, Marines are training for Arctic combat in places like Alaska. This is very beneficial, especially since the Marines may need some time to get familiar with the newly purchased M27.

The Marines had used the M16, M4, and M249 in Arctic conditions over the years. The M27, however, hasn’t time yet to iron out all the kinks — in fact, there was a recent hiccup with the M27 when it used Army-supplied ammo. While the Marines do have a round of their own, sometimes, in theater, you have to take what you can get.

U.S. Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conduct the Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise, the culminating event of Artic Edge, at Fort Greely, Alaska, on March 14, 2018. Arctic Edge 2018 is a biennial, large-scale, joint training exercise that prepares and tests the U.S. military’s capabilities in Arctic environments. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bethanie Ryan)

The good news was that the ammo problems were discovered during testing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Better to find out your rifle has issues during exercises than during a firefight. Now, Marines in extremely cold conditions will get a chance to see if the M27 holds up.


Watch the video: Die Schlacht von Austerlitz 1805 (May 2022).