Tuesday 31 May 2016
Jutland: 100 years ago today
One hundred years ago today the Royal Navy and the German High Seas Fleet met in battle in the grey wastes of the North Sea. By the time the fighting had ended 25 ships had been sunk (14 British and 11 German) and some 10,003 seamen had been killed, wounded or captured (6,945 for the British and 3,058 for the Germans).
The German navy had, according to theAmerican press of the time, "Assaulted its jailer but was still in jail". The Royal Navy had not destroyed the Germans in a second Trafalgar but it ensured that the High Seas Fleet would never again try to force a conclusion in the North Sea and so instead they would look to the submarine to challenge Great Britain's command of the oceans.
It was the first and last great clash of the battle fleets before the aircraft carrier came to dominate naval warfare.
For my own part the battle has fascinated me for some thirty years and using the Avalon Hill game of Jutland enabled me to refight the operation on numerous occasions. Regular readers of the blog will no doubt remember my grandiose plans for the centenery - none of which will be realised - but unfortunately life has gotten in the way and so my ideas have been drastically scaled back.
I will extend my best wishes though to all that are taking part in anything Jutland related to commemorate the battle - for my own part I will make my rather more modest plans accordingly - and I feel sure that, whatever has been undertaken to mark the event that the participants will not forget the bravery and sacrifice of all that took part, from both sides, on that fateful day.