The War at Sea 1916 - The Battle of Jutland

From the early 1916, Germany made an intensive effort to reduce the size of the British fleet, employing submarines, airships, and mines. Plans were devised to lure part of the Grand Fleet into an open-seas confrontation, surrounding and destroying the British ships before reinforcements could arrive.

May 30: The German High Seas Fleet put to sea led by 40 fast vessels and later the main fleet of 59 ships. However the Grand Fleet overheard German radio transmissions and so was forewarned of the plan.

Within hours several fierce battles ensued causing significant losses to both sides. The British lost three battle cruisers, three cruisers, and eight destroyers; and sustained nearly 7,000 casualties. The Germans lost one old battleship, one battle cruiser, four light cruisers, and five destroyers; casualties were just over 3,000.

The Battle of Jutland marked the end of an epoch in naval warfare. It was the last great fleet action in which the opponents slugged it out within eyesight of one another. A drawn battle tactically, it did not change the strategic situation, other than to convince the Germans that they had no chance of defeating the Grand Fleet. In the main, German naval effort was now concentrated on submarine activities. Tremendous toll was taken on Allied shipping: 300,000 tons per month by December.

I had always to remember that I could have lost the war in an afternoon.