Back to Chapter 5_13

Fog prevented a win at Jutland 1916

- What was the cause? -

Excerpt from Book: “Climate Change & Naval War”

WWI warms up Spitsbergen? (5-13) 

The last and biggest ever sea battle took place between the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet in the North Sea about 75 nautical miles (nm) off the Danish coast of Jutland from 31 May 1916, 15:30pm until dawn the next morning. 250 bigger fully armed naval vessel took part,  of which 25 were lost together with 10’000 sailors. Neither party won, neither lost. That needn’t to be happen.  Both fleet commander should have know that operating a huge armada in this waters at this time of the year would severely reduce the visibility. The failure to understand this factor did cost one party the victory, presumably the British. Had the Grand Fleet avoided an engagement immediately after arrival at the scene, but been positioning itself off Horn Reef, latest at dawn the next morning (1st June), it is difficult to see how the German High Sea Fleet could have escaped a devastating blow (London, p.88), as it had a numerical superiority by 20%, and a tactical superior position as soon as the High Sea Fleet would have tried to return back home. 

The operational strain reported the commander of the Grand Fleet, Admiral John Jellicoe to the Admiralty with the most remarkable one-sentence summary of Jutland: “The whole situation was difficult to grasps, as I had no real idea of what was going on and we could hardly see anything except flashes of guns, shells falling, ships blowing up and an occasional glimpse of an enemy vessel”. Jellicoe was never asked whether he would have engaged his fleet in the same manner again if he had foreseen this situation. As any responsible commander would defiantly have denied, the aspect is worth to be analyzed to see what went wrong, and who should take the blame. The naval personnel in charge, or the advising meteorologists?  

Chapter: 5_13

Book Page: 278a

File: 799

Image: 2010/