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  • Jutland, victor or vanquished?

    Hi all and Happy New Year.
    Please forgive me if this has been "done" already.
    I performed a search and nothing came up but with my IT skills that don't mean diddly-squat.

    My question is this:

    In your learned opinion who won the Battle of Jutland?
    The Germans reasonably claimed victory because the actual score of ships sunk was heavily in their favour,FACT.
    The British reasonably claimed victory because the HSF never sallied again.FACT.
    There never was a more apt qoute than: "The prisoner has assaulted his jailer but is now back in custody."
    If put in a land or air context the battle would have been decided on who was left in control of the field/airspace.Can this be applied to the North Sea?
    I tend to think that the battle proper was indeed won by the Germans but ultimately lost strategically,are there any folk out there who would like to counter that view?
    Cheers,all the best,Tony.
    Last edited by flash; 31 Dec 12, 10:25. Reason: mispelling

  • #2
    Originally posted by flash View Post
    Hi all and Happy New Year.
    Please forgive me if this has been "done" already.
    I performed a search and nothing came up but with my IT skills that don't mean diddly-squat.

    My question is this:

    In your learned opinion who won the Battle of Jutland?
    The Germans reasonably claimed victory because the actual score of ships sunk was heavily in their favour,FACT.
    The British reasonably claimed victory because the HSF never sallied again.FACT.
    There never was a more apt qoute than: "The prisoner has assaulted his jailer but is now back in custody."
    If put in a land or air context the battle would have been decided on who was left in control of the field/airspace.Can this be applied to the North Sea?
    I tend to think that the battle proper was indeed won by the Germans but ultimately lost strategically,are there any folk out there who would like to counter that view?
    Cheers,all the best,Tony.
    If could be said that if anyone "lost" the Battle of Jutland, it was Jellicoe's career and reputation. That notwithstanding, the British won. Counting ships lost (like counting casualties on land) proves very little in that regard. The British began the battle as the dominant naval power and when the battle was over, the Royal Navy still ruled the waves.

    Comment


    • #3
      The British won. Just because you take heavier casualties in a battle does not mean you lose it and ultimately the victory as you said stooped the HSF from sailing. And also remember that it was the Germans that retreated into the harbour leaving the British in control of the area.

      Comment


      • #4
        At a tactical level one could argue that the Germans secured a small victory. Certainly the British public were aghast that the High Seas Fleet had not been taken apart in detail. But if one looks at the aims of the respective fleets the Germans had failed to achieve their objective of destroying a significant part of the Grand Fleet whilst the British had succeeded in bottling up the Germans without enduring significant losses on their part. Indeed in if one examines the balance in the North Sea immediately after Jutland the scales weighed even more heavily in favour of the British than it had beforehand!

        Not directly related to the question posed in the OP but worth reading nonetheless - The Battle of the Skagerrak (Jutland) by Commander Georg von Hase First Gunnery Officer of the Derfflinger.
        Signing out.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
          If could be said that if anyone "lost" the Battle of Jutland, it was Jellicoe's career and reputation. That notwithstanding, the British won. Counting ships lost (like counting casualties on land) proves very little in that regard. The British began the battle as the dominant naval power and when the battle was over, the Royal Navy still ruled the waves.
          It's arguable that it was Beatty that lost the battle, despite his dashing image ,and even though he was later to succeed Jellicoe. It was Beatty's misuse of his Battle Cruisers-charging the main body of the German High Seas Fleet- that caused the bulk of the losses on the British side.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

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          • #6
            Naval battles are somewhat different to land battles in that it is difficult to hold any piece of sea, unlike land it is impossible to entrench or otherwise fortify. With regard to the Battle of Jutland/Skagerrak, tactically the Germans won: the numbers prove that. Strategically, they never came close and no amount of accounting skulduggery will change the important fact: the German navy was still bottled up in the Baltic. More importantly, they didn't feel up to having another crack at breaking out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Tactically. the Germans won. As well as the Queen Mary, the Indefatigable and the Invincible which simply blew up as well as the armoured cruisers Defence and Black Prince. The British lost a lot more, especially the crucial saving of David Beatty's flagship Lion, by orders of Major Harvey to flood the magazine because of the detonation which was nearing completion in the magazines of the Lion. {Reference: Castles of Steel, Robert Massie}

              Really nice memoirs of Georg von Häse, an exceptionally brave officer in a time when his entire fleet could have been blown to pieces. The photos of the Derfflinger show that this ship took on the best the Royal Navy had to offer.
              Last edited by Nickuru; 01 Jan 13, 00:30. Reason: addition
              When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
              Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
              "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes the High Seas Fleet won the battle tactical victory, But now lets look at some other things here.

                First at the end of the battle the German's put back to port, They abandoned the field and left it the Royal Navy. They failed to press their advantage in the victory.

                Next of the three battlecruisers that went down, two of them were considered second line units by this time. The armoured cruisers that were lost, well the Royal Navy was better off with out them. Fact is even after Justland the British commoneced scrapping armoured cruisers. The class was well obsolete.

                Another fact is that the battlecruisers should not have been on the line. They weren't designed for that. They should have reported turned away and well avoided the main battle. They were used out of doctrine.

                Next fact is, Not one British Dreadnaught type ship was lost. So she still held the numbers advantage.

                The British were quicker to make up her loses. They somply were able to keep a higher percentage of strength at sea then the High Seas Fleet could. The Germans weren't able to repair as rapidly from the battle as the British.

                The Germans did not attempt a large breakout again after Jutland.

                The British were able to continue her naval blockade of Germany.

                So in the end, the strategic victory belonged to the Royal Navy

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would recommend this book...it is a great work on this very subject

                  Masie, R. K. (2003). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. New York: Ballantine Books.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cowboy31a View Post
                    First at the end of the battle the German's put back to port, They abandoned the field and left it the Royal Navy. They failed to press their advantage in the victory.
                    They never really had an advantage. If the AAR of the Derfflinger's gunnery officer is correct the HSF was lucky to make it back to port with its dreadnoughts intact.

                    Another fact is that the battlecruisers should not have been on the line. They weren't designed for that. They should have reported turned away and well avoided the main battle. They were used out of doctrine.
                    Hmmmm, this might apply to the Germans who used their battle-cruisers as bait in the opening phase of the battle and as potential sacrificial lambs at the end in order to save the HSF battleships but it certainly doesn't apply to the British.

                    Apologies for nit-picking. Other than these points I agree with the bulk of the post I snipped these two sections from.
                    Signing out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would agree that it was a British strategic victory looking at it in hindsight, but at the time I would call it a draw. The German intent was not met because of an operational security failure, the British knew they were coming and the Germans didnt know the entire Grand Fleet was coming to meet them. Therefore I look at it as the Germans never had a chance to do anything really significant and what they did accomplish was more or less best case scenario given the circumstances. Now, had the original plan worked and the HSF successfully engaged only a portion of the Grand Fleet... That would have drastically changed the game I think.
                      "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                      -Omar Bradley
                      "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                      -Anonymous US Army logistician

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Historically speaking, both sides won and both sides lost. Neither side properly utilized what it had, and neither side really understood the new era of naval warfare.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                          I would agree that it was a British strategic victory looking at it in hindsight, but at the time I would call it a draw. The German intent was not met because of an operational security failure, the British knew they were coming and the Germans didnt know the entire Grand Fleet was coming to meet them. Therefore I look at it as the Germans never had a chance to do anything really significant and what they did accomplish was more or less best case scenario given the circumstances. Now, had the original plan worked and the HSF successfully engaged only a portion of the Grand Fleet... That would have drastically changed the game I think.
                          Intelligence really is everything in war isn't it.
                          Signing out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                            Intelligence really is everything in war isn't it.
                            It certainly is and the British military has been exceptional at that aspect of warfare for quite a while.
                            "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                            -Omar Bradley
                            "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                            -Anonymous US Army logistician

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jellicoe didn't know that the High seas fleet in its entirety was at sea.
                              Admiralty int civilians knew but a RN officer misinterpreted the position of Scheers callsign (DK) as still in the Jade when in fact Scheer was in the habit of transferring that callsign to shore when he sailed.
                              Jellicoe and the RN had failed to train their crews in night warfare and had no effective means of gun directing at night. The Briish searchlights had to warm up before coming on line and warm down (glow) after switching off.
                              Jellicoe went to rather extreme measures to avoid a night engagement.Basically when a RN ship came across a German ship that night it challenged and was duly hammered. The RN underwent a miserable catalogue of failures throughout the night,losing many ships and men almost in an amateur fashion.
                              All this not withstanding I would agree that the final balance was still in the RNs favour.

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