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The Battle of Jutland

By: Jamie Bain, Emma Bailey, Matt Dong, Haidy Hammad

The Battle of Jutland Information

The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle fought by the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet against the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. Personnels from the Canadian and Australian navies also participated in the battle. The British Fleet had 151 ships while the German Fleet had 99 ships. Both fleets expected to only face a small enemy fleet, and were surprised when the battle turned into a full-scale battleship clash. The immediate results were indecisive and both sides claimed victory.

The Battle of Jutland: Who

It was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the war. It was only the third-ever fleet action between steel battleships, following the smaller but more decisive battles of the Yellow Sea (1904) and Tsushima (1905) during the Russo-Japanese War. The German High Seas Fleet was commanded by Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer The British Grand Fleet was commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. Both fleets sent a smaller scouting fleet ahead of their main dreadnoughts, commanded by Beatty(British) and Hipper(German).

The Battle of Jutland:Initial Preparations

Germany needed to break the British blockade, which was straining their economy. The new commander of the High Seas Fleet von Scheer pursued an aggressive policy against the British fleet by attacking small British squadrons with their entire fleet before going for a full-scale battle. He hoped to even the numbers between the fleets and was confident that it would work, not knowing that his codes were broken and intercepted. He would send a fleet of 40 ships led by Hipper to lure Beatty's fleet into a trap, and destroy it before Jellicoe's fleet in Scotland can arrive in time. He also sent submarines to ambush and torpedo the British battle fleet near Scapa Flow Beatty fell for the trap but Jellicoe,having broken German codes, immediately sent his fleet to follow Beatty.

Battle of Jutland: Time & Location

The advance guards of the two fleets, led by Beatty and Hipper, sighted each other at 2:20 pm on May 31st, 1916. The battle lasted until the next day, when the Germans returned to Wilhelmshaven First shots were exchanged at 3:48 pm. The site of the battle is on the North Sea near the Jutland pennisula in Denmark. The British fleet departed form the ports of Scapa Flow, Cromarty and Rosyth while the German fleet left port in Wilhelmshaven.

Battle of Jutland: Course of the Battle

Beatty's fleet followed Hipper and was lured into a trap when von Scheer's dreadnought fleet arrived. Beatty suffered heavy losses, including two battlecruisers: Indefatigable and Queen Mary. Jellicoe's fleet arrived at 18:30 and managed to "cross the T", allowing his fleet to fire broadside while the Germans could only respond with their front turrets Three minutes later, von Scheer realised that his fleet was outnumbered and outgunned, so he ordered a retreat Jellicoe managed to cross the T again, but the Germans responded with a mass torpedo attack. Jellicoe managed to turn his ships away from the torpedos but lost time in pursuing the Germans. The German fleet managed to withdraw from the battle in relatively good order and returned to Wilhelmshaven the following day.


Battle of Jutland:Result


In the short term, it was a German victory as they destroyed 14 British ships vs. their 11 ships lost. They also lost 2500 sailors compared to the British 6000. However, the Germans failed to break the British blockade and many of their losses were irreplacible. The British quickly repaired and replaced the losses and continued to enjoy naval superiority in the North Sea. The Germans was forced to resume unrestricted submarine warfare, in a desperate attempt to "counter blockade" Britain. This decision eventually resulted the US to join the war. The German High Seas Fleet feared another full scale confrontation with the British Grand Fleet, and stayed in port for the rest of the war. The unrestricted submarine warfare policy failed to cripple Britain and the effects of the British blockade eventually destroyed the German economy.

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