Who Won the Battle of Jutland: Part 3 of 3
Patrick Harris -In this part, I give you my impression of the battle of Jutland; which is that the British lost it. The British had grown to comfortable in their sense of global superiority. The tactical German victory at Jutland actually backfired on the Germans. After the battle they were too scared of the still numerically superior British forces to ever come out of harbour again.
The way the Germans planned it, they would send out 5 battlecruisers under Hipper to draw out of harbour a small part of the British Grand Fleet, which would then be destroyed be the the ENTIRE German High Seas Fleet (over 100 warships...including some old pre-dreadnoughts) under Scheer. But, like most things in the First World War, it didn't happen this way. Royal Naval Intelligence had already detected that the High Seas Fleet would soon leave harbour, so the ENTIRE Grand Fleet (151 warships) went out.
The first part of the battle was little more than a game of blind cat and mouse between both sides. Finally the German advance force under Hipper was spotted by the British advance force of battlecruisers under Sir David Beatty. Beatty engaged at close range, neglecting to use the superior range of his guns. He lost Indefatigable and Queen Mary to better trained, and better handled, purposeful German ships. Beatty wanted to get rid of these Germans fast, so he turned towards the main force of the the Grand Fleet under Sir John Jellicoe just as the full German High Seas Fleet came into view.
As soon as Scheer saw the ENTIRE Grand Fleet, he knew that if he continued the battle, he would lose. He immediately started to execute a 180 degree turn of the High Seas Fleet, fleeing through the night. Scheer resorted to sending in torpedo boats to deter pursuit; Jellicoe turned away from these boats. The night of May 31st was a living hell; shells and other projectiles flying through the air. Both sides suffered loses that night. Scheer was driving round the back of the British fleet to get the heck out of there, something Jellicoe didn't see until the morning when all that could be seen of the Germans was a bunch of burning wrecks.
The British came off the worst in this battle. They lost three battlecruisers as well as 11 other ships, while the Germans lost 1 battlecrusier, 1 pre-dreadnought and 9 other ships. The Germans were forbade from ever going back out to sea, lest they lose more of their precious warships. This was the only major fleet action of the war.