The Battle of Jutland
31 May 1916
Vice Admiral David Beatty, Commanding Battlecruiser Fleet division of the British Grand Fleet at Jutland.
Knight Grand Cross of Bath, Order of Merit, Grand Cross of the Victorian Order, Distinguished Service Order, Privy Council
(17 January 1871 – 11 March 1936)
Beatty made mistakes during the battle but his aggressiveness in seeking out and engaging units of the German fleet contrasted with the caution of Grand Fleet C-in-C Sir John Jellicoe. He emerged from the battle with an enhanced reputation over Jellicoe and later took his position.
Partisans of both men have been dueling with letters to the Times, books, lectures and decades later with computer games, computer simulations and websites.
The Battle of Jutland in the North Sea was one of the few clashes between massive battle fleets comprised of steel warships in maritime history. Because the engagement took place near the Jutland Peninsular of Denmark, the British refer to it as the Battle of Jutland. However, to the Germans, it is known as the Battle of the Skagerrak, the body of water in which part of the battle was fought.
Beatty’s flagship at Jutland was the battlecruiser HMS Lion. She took a terrific pounding during the engagement. The above shows HMS Lion being hit by a German shell during the battle.
Historian Andrew Gordon, author of the magisterial work, The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command, wrote that farmers thirty miles inland could hear the rumbling of the massive naval cannons. Several naval historians and Royal Navy enthusiasts recommended this book to me a year ago and I devoured it. (Metaphorically speaking).
It is one of the best books on the Royal Navy I have ever read.
Map of Northern Denmark showing the Jutland Peninsular pointing North and to the left is the body of water known to the Germans as the Skagerrak.
The Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet with 150 ships, including twenty-eight battleships, faced-off against the German High Seas Fleet comprised of 100 ships, including sixteen battleships. The battle began in the late afternoon and continued into the night.