100 Years Ago Today…Jutland

It’s been 100 years since one of the most decisive naval battles of the 20th century. The Battle of Jutland took place between May 31st to June 1st 1916. The battle has been viewed by historians as a tactical defeat but a vital strategic victory for the British that helped contain the German surface fleet in port for the rest of the war.

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5 responses to “100 Years Ago Today…Jutland

  1. Jellicoe never put a foot wrong at Jutland. He was the only man who could lose the war in an afternoon, and he knew it. The only reason for controversy was the public expectation of a second Trafalgar. But sinking the High Seas Fleet would have made no material difference to the war. My great uncle was in the battle, incidentally – forward TS on the Orion. I’ve recounted the story over on my blog.

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    • There was no chance of losing war in an afternoon, even if the RN losses were triple that it suffered. The UK still had a formidable battleship building industry to replace any losses, eg 4 Hood class were laid down but only 1 completed. The blockade would have continued ( RN found it could only use AMC for the role) and the RN would have still had superiority in battleships. Plus the French could have supplied a squadron for the Grand Fleet, like the US did later.

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      • Jellicoe and the Admiralty worried about suffering a Trafalgar-scale defeat. This was where the phrase ‘lose the war in an afternoon’ came from – it was a period term. The blockade needed Grand Fleet backing to prevent the Germans breaking it, and the loss or even temporary withdrawal of enough dreadnoughts to give the High Seas Fleet a material superiority was the scenario the British feared. Their ship building industry was good but it still took 16 months to build Repulse, for instance, and that with preordered guns (6 because they were to hand and an extra 2 could not be manufactured in time). The Germans could have exploited a sea victory far more quickly. This was what British planners feared.

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