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Forum LockedBattle of Jutland and its effects

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    Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 19:09

"They have assualted their jailer but are still in gaol." That was one observers opinion of that battle. The kasier had a different, view, he said that the "myth of trafalger was shattered".

 

So who was right? I would say both, the blockade continued, but the RN had been pounded, three of its capital ships had been destroyed (Indefatiguable, Invincible and Queen Mary) and two had been damaged to an extent that they could no longer take part in the battle (Lion and Warspite), while German capital ships (except for Lutzow which weas scuttled when she could not negotiate a sand bar) were able to fight on despite horrible damage.

 
So what was the result of the last major battleship engagement in history?
 
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HaloChanter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 20:37
See, I never understand the view that, although the German's gave the Royal Navy a thrashing - they must have won.
 
The German navy attempted to break the blockade, but they didn't. The Royal Navy took a beating, but contained the German threat and its throttling blockade was the major instrument in guarateeing the peace settlement of 1918.
 
In 1914, on the outbreak of war, the Admirality outlined its plan for the war. These were two-fold: to defend the main arteries of Britain's trade and maintain a long-distance blockade of Germany "in order to strangle the whole national life of the enemy" from its businesses and banks to its ability to supply its army and navy and even its people.
Furthermore, the plan stipulated that the Grand Fleet (the Royal Navy's main squadron... formerly the Home Fleet/Channel fleet) would only fight if its German counterpart tried to break the blockade.
 
The British could afford to do this. The Grand Fleet alone had twenty-one Dreadnoughts while Tirpitz (the German Admiral) had only thirteen. Furthermore, Britain had nine Battle-cruisers against Germany's five.
 
When the action opened at 2.20pm, May 31st, 1916, almost immediately defects in the British ships seemed obvious, "something seems to be wrong with our bloody ships today", noted Admiral David Beatty. Indeed the problems have since been infamous, yet despite this, and the signalling/scouting problems ("what am I to think when I get the telegram and in three hours' time meet the whole German Fleet well out at sea?" was Beatty's response when earlier in the day he was told that the entire German fleet was at anchor.), the British fleet fought admirably well, almost equally as well as the Germans.
 
In material terms, the German Navy certainly came off better. One Battle-cruiser had been sunk and another so badly damaged that it had to eventually be beached, one pre-drednought, four light-cruisers and five destroyers, and roughly 2,500 men in all.
The British however lost three battle-cruisers, four light-cruisers, eight destroyers, and about 6,000 men.
 
But victories are often phyrric, often costly. And this was a cost the Royal Navy was easily able to sustain. Britain suffered twice the damage of her enemy, but had almost twice the numbers, and the handicap of poorly-functioning ships on the day. So even materially it was a close-run thing.
 
The battle, the day, and the war at sea undoubtedly belonged to Britain. It was the German High Seas Fleet that, at 6.38pm, signalled to retire and return to port. It had left earlier that day to break Britain's deathly blockade, and it returned that evening having failed to do so. Britain had contained the threat and remained supreme and unbeaten.
 
When the High Seas Fleet ventured out again on August 16th, word reached Admiral Scheer that Britain's Grand Fleet had put out to meet it. He quickly signalled the fleet back to port. Britain was, as she always had been, victorious at sea.
 
As a result, by 1917 Germany was suffering more than any other of the Great combatants on the Western Front. The Royal Naval blockade was biting beyond limits. Consumption of major foods, such as fish and eggs, were halved, as was sugar, and others such as potatoes, butter and vegetables declined tremendously. Food had become so scarce and short that the winter of 1916/17 had become known as the "Turnip Winter". German starvation and blockade had a knock-on-effect to the other Central Powers, where the largest city of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna, had seen wages halved twice by 1917, being too inaqequate to buy two loaves of bread. Female mortality rates had risen to 30.4% in both countries, the main cause being diseases springing from malnutrition. It is no coincidence that the new Emperor, Karl I, secretly sued for peace upon his accession.

For the British fighting in France, however, it wasn't so drastic. British supremacy at sea ensured that Britain maintained peacetime levels of food imports, well in to 1917. While Germans fed on turnips, Britons often enjoyed chocolate, home-grown produce, meat and vegetables.
 
Jutland was a British victory, as the First World War was a German defeat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 21:38
'Tactically' perhaps the Germans scored more 'points'.  However, they failed to follow up and exploit any theoretical advantage they may have gained by it, they didn't attempt another major 'sortie' against the British until it was 'too late' and in the meantime the Allies gained the advantage of 'control' of the seas, except for what disruption the U-boats and raiders could manage.  In other words, the German High Seas Fleet failed to achieve any 'offensive' objective (arguably its existence deterred the Allies from landings in the Baltic).  It is difficult to convincingly argue that Jutland was decisive in itself in either direction, since the Germans were no less able to contest British 'control' after the battle than they were before the battle - they simply decided not to do so again until late in the war.

Edited by deadkenny - 15-Oct-2007 at 21:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 21:56
Great points guys, I view Jutland as an unimportant naval engagement in view of the big picture.  The british could afford those losses, the germans couldn't.  Reminds me of the punic wars, rome being britain and carthage germany.  One thing I never understood is why the German navy did not risk it, what did they have to lose?  Their entire fleet ended up being sunk in scapa flow by their own hands.  The only reason I can think of is the Kaiser didn't want to risk his fleet being destoryed or he expected to remain on the throne in case of defeat and his navy to remain untouched as well.  That and perhaps the admirals reluctance to fight. 
 
Sure would have helped them in the next war if they had gone for bust, anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 23:26
Two points, many of the naval 'experts' of the era had been believers in Mahan's 'fleet in being' concepts.  This meant that both sides were reluctant to 'risk everything' in a decisive naval clash.  Of course the status quo favoured the British, so it was the Germans that needed to take the bigger risks (being as they were also outnumbered).  As mentioned in my previous post, there was some concern also that the loss of the German navy would leave the Baltic coast open to possible landings, which would then tie down German troops to defend against (remember, airpower was a negligible factor at that time).

The other point is that the Germans did in fact decide to 'go for broke' with their fleet at the end of the war.  However, by that time the odds were stacked even heavier against the Germans, with the US on the Allies side.  It was viewed (justifiably to some extent) by the German crews as being practically a 'suicide mission'.  There was rebellion in the ranks and bottom line is that fleet didn't sail for their 'last hurrah' mission.  So, they went out with a 'whimper' rather than a 'bang', being scuttled as part of the agreement to end the war.


Edited by deadkenny - 15-Oct-2007 at 23:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 10:45
Winning a battle, at land or at sea or in the air, is not determined by who loses the most men or material. It is determined by who remains in control of the field, and who gains their strategic objective.
 
On both counts the Royal Navy won at Jutland. Moreover, it was the German fleet that was forced to retreat, and when you look in detail at the losses, the Germans began well but the battle turned more and more in the Royal Navy's favour as the day went on.
 
The wikipedia article is pretty accurate, and these clips are illuminating:
Quote
Realizing he was heading into a trap, Scheer ordered his fleet to turn and flee at 18:33. Under a pall of smoke and mist Scheer's forces succeeded in disengaging.
Quote
Scheer knew that it was not yet dark enough to escape and his fleet would suffer terribly in a stern chase, so at 18:55 he doubled back to the east
Quote
In this portion of the engagement the Germans sustained thirty-seven heavy hits while inflicting only two, Derfflinger alone receiving fourteen. Nonetheless Scheer slipped away as sunset (at 20:24) approached.
 
If anyone wants some naval consolation for Germany, they have to make do with Coronel, an undisputed German victory, if of more symbolic than practical importance.

 
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Edited by gcle2003 - 16-Oct-2007 at 10:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 10:56
Jellico, overall commander of Britain's naval forces, said in the early stages of the war, "I could lose this war in a single afternoon". The man had a point. The British navy had the key task of blockading Germany so that attrition could eventually wreack its havoc on the German ability to produce enough for the war effort. If Jellico followed too aggressive a policy and lost too many ships, the ability of the British navy to perform this task would be compromised. This then would translate into superior performance by the German army where it mattered: on the frontlines.
 
Jutland demonstrated that the prized dreadnaught fleet was not quite as tough as the British (or the other European powers who had constructued those ships) would have liked to believe. But the minor advantage Germany gained in net losses did not translate into any advantage for Germany in the war where it would have a decisive impact, or even a significant impact.


Edited by Constantine XI - 16-Oct-2007 at 11:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 11:03

Gcle2003, I would say what decides a battle is who achieved their objectives. The German objectives was to destroy or damage the RN's Battlecruisers and they did a first rate job of that, the RN's was to destroy the High Seas Fleet, which the obviously failed. I would say the battle was a German victory in the sence that they mostly achieved their objectives, and gave the RN a good licking in the bargain. For the RN it has to count as a faileur, they had the Germans trapped, twice! Yet they still got away. Jutland did not alter the strategic situation that much.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 13:10
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe the British strategical objective was to keep the blockade; the German to break it. That is the thing that matters.

Edited by Styrbiorn - 16-Oct-2007 at 13:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 17:07

The German aim at Jutland was to destroy or cripple the Battlecruiser fleet under Admiral Beatty. That they achieved. The British aim was to destroy the High Seas Fleet, at that they failed.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 17:23
The battle of Jutland was a trap within a trap within a trap. 
 
After the battle, Admiral Jellicoe wired the Admiralty that his ships can sortie again the next day.  The German Navy needed weeks at dry dock before they could sortie again. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 18:24
i would rate it as Kursk, tactical german victory but strategical failure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 18:47
Jutland was the last chance to break the blockade and control the seas. Already they were defeated in Falklands. Germans won the dual but lost the battle. If Beatty was in command something interesting might have happened but Jellicoe was there instead.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 19:52
Move to All Battles since I can't do it...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 20:30
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Jutland was the last chance to break the blockade and control the seas. Already they were defeated in Falklands. Germans won the dual but lost the battle. If Beatty was in command something interesting might have happened but Jellicoe was there instead.
 
The German navy's strategy in the war is to somehow destroy a portion of the Royal Navy, through mines, subs, and surface attack, and even the numerical odds.  If these conditions are not met, the German Navy will never offer battle against the entire RN fleet. 
 
The battle of Jutland was one such plan to lure the RN battlecruiser squadron and Evan-Thomas Super Dreadnaught squadron south and destroy it by using its own battlecruiser fleet.  The only problem was that the RN was reading the German Navy's mail and set a trap to lure the entire German Navy north and destroy it. 
 
The RN lost more ships (Battlecruisers) because of plunging shells and lack of anti-flash protection on its magazine.  The German Navy would have suffered the same fate but they have learned there lesson in the battle of dogger bank about anti-flash protection.
 
From a tactical point of view, the RN won.  It crossed the German T twice.  Its only mistake was it let it escaped. 
 
At best it was a draw.  Both sides failed to do what it intended to do. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HaloChanter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 22:00
Quote Both sides failed to do what it intended to do.
 
- But no, it didn't. As stated in the Admirality report at the beginning of the war, the Royal Navy's aim was to contain the German Fleet and maintain the blockade. It achieved both.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 22:27
Originally posted by HaloChanter HaloChanter wrote:

Quote Both sides failed to do what it intended to do.
 
- But no, it didn't. As stated in the Admirality report at the beginning of the war, the Royal Navy's aim was to contain the German Fleet and maintain the blockade. It achieved both.
 
Yes it did.  You are talking about the main strategic aim for the RN for the entire war.  I'm talking about why the RN and German Fleet sortied on Jutland.
 
The RN have always wanted to meet the German Fleet in a set piece battle (ala Tsushima and Trafalgar).  The German Fleet have always refused to do so for obvious reasons (numerical inferiority).  This intelligence coupe was a godsend.  For at last the entire German Fleet will be at sea and be engaged in a set piece battle. 
 
The German fleet on the other hand wanted to defeat a pprtion of the RN, away from the main fleet, to even the odds, and then challenge the RN to a set peice battle.  Admiral Beatty's BC squadron were a prime canditated because was not base at Scapa Flow.
 
The Jutland plant was influence by the Battle of Dogger Bank.  German BC bombarding the British coast were chased by the RN BC squadron southward with the lost of an armored cruiser.  The German navy wanted a repeat of this action, only this time, it would lead the RN BC squadron southward to the waiting German Fleet.  Unfortunately, the RN intercepted this plan and laid out another trap. 
 
So Jutland happened in several phases
 
1.)  The race south - RN BC squadron chasing after the German BC squadron.  German BC squadron leading the RN BC squadron to the waiting German fleet.
2.)  The race north - German Fleet chasing after RN BC squadron northward towards the waiting RN fleet.
3.)  The escape - The German fleet turned south west and escaped behind the RN through the night. 


Edited by IDonT - 16-Oct-2007 at 22:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 02:18
Again, pretty difficult to make an argument for one side or the other really 'winning' this.  It was more like both sides avoided losing it.  The Germans were still capable of sorties after this one, they just chose not to risk it.  So the Germans failed to alter the status quo, the British failed to end the 'threat' posed by the German High Seas Fleet.  It all sounds pretty 'inconclusive' to me, in terms of this one battle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 14:27
 
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

Gcle2003, I would say what decides a battle is who achieved their objectives.

That's what I said
Originally posted by me me wrote:

It is determined by who remains in control of the field, and who gains their strategic objective.
 
When one participant challenges another, makes some early gains, then sees the balance swinging the other way, and so runs away, how can they possibly claim to have 'won' the battle?
 
In some ways it's a bit like Waterloo, with Germany playing Napoleon's role. After Waterloo[1], Napoleon's army could get nowhere: after Jutland, Germany's fleet couldn't.
 
Neither Waterloo nor Jutlans was of course a victory in the Nelsonian tradition, with the annihilation of the enemy. But in a boxing ring, if only one fighter is standing there at the end, who wins?
 
[1] I don't want to get sidetracked into arguing which of the Allies was most responsible for the victory: the point is that Napoleon lost.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 19:49
Now my knowledge of the battle is limited, but I would disagree with that analogy.  The germans made a strategic withdrawl, as stated they still had the strength to come out and fight simply choosing not to.  The claim for the germans "winning" is the higher casualties inflicted on the royal navy.  But I still view it as a draw, tactically anyway.  Strategically I might call it a draw or british victory in that one of the british goals was to continue the blockade.  That they achieved, while taking the german navy out of commission was not achieved.
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