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  • Jutland 1916

    Dear All,

    I was thinking about some dives I made well over 20 years ago on the German wrecks at Scapa Flow and wondered, not for the first time, how the course of the war would have been altered (if at all) by a decisive British victory at Jutland which would have meant many of the Kaisers ships would never have made it to Scapa to be scuttled by their crews.

    So, short and to the point - would a British victory have shortened the war, made no difference or what? There must be more than a few naval experts on the forum who could offer a well thought out reply. Was Churchill right in his opinion of Jellicoe when he said that he was the only man, on either side, who could have lost the war in an afternoon?

    For that matter, would a decisive German victory have proved Churchill right?
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
    Dear All,

    I was thinking about some dives I made well over 20 years ago on the German wrecks at Scapa Flow and wondered, not for the first time, how the course of the war would have been altered (if at all) by a decisive British victory at Jutland which would have meant many of the Kaisers ships would never have made it to Scapa to be scuttled by their crews.

    So, short and to the point - would a British victory have shortened the war, made no difference or what? There must be more than a few naval experts on the forum who could offer a well thought out reply. Was Churchill right in his opinion of Jellicoe when he said that he was the only man, on either side, who could have lost the war in an afternoon?

    For that matter, would a decisive German victory have proved Churchill right?
    If you ask me..(you do.....)....no difference at all. It was all decided on land.

    Fred
    Saving MacArthur - a book series - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ies_rw_dp_labf
    River Wide, Ocean Deep - Operation Sealion - https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1

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    • #3
      Originally posted by leandros View Post
      If you ask me..(you do.....)....no difference at all. It was all decided on land.

      Fred
      You don't think the Blockade had a major impact then?

      It was basically a British strategic victory so I'm not sure that it being a tactical one as well would have made much difference.
      Cymru am Byth

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      • #4
        Originally posted by leandros View Post
        If you ask me..(you do.....)....no difference at all. It was all decided on land.

        Fred
        Spoil sport! Humour me. The effect on Britain's civilian morale would have been massive if it resulted in a loss for our fleet..... as for the German people and its armed forces?
        HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

        "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not an expert by any means, but my two cents:

          German fleet defeated, inflicts damage on British: Temporary impact on Germans. Bolsters British morale.

          German fleet defeated, crushing defeat: Moderate impact on Germans. Bolsters British morale a good deal.

          British fleet defeated, inflicts damage on Germans: Temporary positive impact on Germans. British morale takes a serious hit, ground operations in France likely scaled back to reduce losses until morale eases.


          British fleet defeated, crushing defeat: Moderate impact on Germans. British morale badly hurt-the Royal Navy is a victor is an insitition. Minimizing battle losses will be a mainstay operational imperative for ground forces until a significant victory can be secured to offset the blow.
          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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          • #6
            Possible moral boost but assuming some German heavies manage to escape the RN will still have to maintain the navy at the level it was in real life.
            Materially a complete British victory may have even helped the Germans. With their fleet destroyed they wouldn't have had to maintain it and could have used the rescources saved on the Western Front.
            "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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            • #7
              Possible moral boost but assuming some German heavies manage to escape the RN will still have to maintain the navy at the level it was in real life.
              Materially a complete British victory may have even helped the Germans. With their fleet destroyed they wouldn't have had to maintain it and could have used the rescources saved on the Western Front.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

              Comment


              • #8
                A decent morale boost in Britain and a significant hit in Germany. Maybe there'd be an early reintroduction of USW?
                Diadochi Rising Wargame:
                King Pairisades I of the Bosporan Kingdom

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                  ..................

                  ..........................Materially a complete British victory may have even helped the Germans. With their fleet destroyed they wouldn't have had to maintain it and could have used the rescources saved on the Western Front.


                  That's a sound point but would German pride mean that scarce resources re-directed to building up the fleet again?

                  I am sure there'd be invasion scares and lobbying by Admirals.
                  Cymru am Byth

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                    Possible moral boost but assuming some German heavies manage to escape the RN will still have to maintain the navy at the level it was in real life.
                    Materially a complete British victory may have even helped the Germans. With their fleet destroyed they wouldn't have had to maintain it and could have used the rescources saved on the Western Front.
                    Good point about the Germans being able to divert material to the Western Front - not to mention they would probably have diverted sailors into German equivalents of the British Marine Divisions (now there is a force about which more should be known.)

                    Draw a cigar from the quartermaster and go to the top of the class.
                    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anacreon View Post
                      A decent morale boost in Britain and a significant hit in Germany. Maybe there'd be an early reintroduction of USW?
                      Almost a racing certainty in my opinion which might well have resulted in an earlier entry into the war of the USA.

                      Now there's a thought.
                      HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                      "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kevinmeath View Post
                        That's a sound point but would German pride mean that scarce resources re-directed to building up the fleet again?

                        I am sure there'd be invasion scares and lobbying by Admirals.
                        It takes time and a lot of rescources to build a battleship. In 1916 Germany had neither so wouldn't be able to replace any losses. As it was I don't think any German battleships that were not already at the design stage were completed after the start of the war.
                        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                          Possible moral boost but assuming some German heavies manage to escape the RN will still have to maintain the navy at the level it was in real life.
                          Materially a complete British victory may have even helped the Germans. With their fleet destroyed they wouldn't have had to maintain it and could have used the rescources saved on the Western Front.
                          Good point. I hadn't considered that.
                          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
                            Almost a racing certainty in my opinion which might well have resulted in an earlier entry into the war of the USA.

                            Now there's a thought.
                            I doubt that the war would have ended differently or earlier. One should never underestimate morale but i don't think it would have led to mutinies in the Reichswehr while the British boost of morale would have died one month later in the bulletstorm of the Somme Offensive.

                            Greatest impact could indeed have been an earlier USW and US entry into war...
                            One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
                              Almost a racing certainty in my opinion which might well have resulted in an earlier entry into the war of the USA.

                              Now there's a thought.

                              Why would it? The US entered very unwillingly at best, and in any case our military couldn't hsave done any more than it did historically.
                              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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