The greatest naval battle since Trafalgar took place on May 31st – June 1st, 1916 when Sir John Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet met the German High Seas Fleet for the first time and only time at Jutland.
- May 31 - The Battle of Jutland. - Battle Cruiser Fleet (1st and 2nd Squadrons) - H.M.SS. Lion (F.F. Adm. Beatty), Princess Royal (F. Adm. Brock), Tiger, Queen Mary, New Zealand (F. Adm. Pakenham) and Indefatigable - supported by 5th Battle Squadron - H.M.SS. Barham (F. Adm. Evan-Thomas), Warspite, Valiant and Malaya— in advance of Main Battle Fleet, by 2 p.m. in Lat. 56°47' N., Long. 4°40' E., in North Sea.
- 2.00 p.m. - Adm. Beatty turned N.E. to meet Adm. Jellicoe at appointed position, Lat. 57°45' N., Long. 4° 15' E.
- 2.20 p.m. - British light forces ahead of Battle Cruiser Fleet sighted German ships to E.S.E. Adm. Beatty turned S.S.E., course for Horn Reel, to intercept.
- 2.35 p.m. - Adm. Beatty altered to E. and N.E., towards heavy smoke visible E.N.E. Seaplane carrier Engadine sent up seaplane scout; first such reconnaissance in action.
- 3.31 p.m. - Adm. Beatty sighted German Battle Cruiser Squadron — H.I.M.SS. Lützow (F. Adm. Hipper), Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke, and Von der Tann - steering E.N.E. Battle Cruiser Fleet, on line of bearing, closed German Squadron from 23,000 yards on E.S.E. course at 25 knots ; 5th Battle Squadron, 10,000 yards astern, conformed.
- 3.48 p.m. - Both battle cruiser forces opened fire almost simultaneously at about 18,500 yards. Action on E.S.E. to S.S.E. course.
- 4.00 p.m. - Range about 16,000 yards.
- 4.06 p.m. - Indefatigable hit by salvo from Von der Tann: magazine exploded; ship sunk by another salvo.
- 4.08 p.m. - British 5th Battle Squadron in action at 19,000— 20,000 yards; German Light Cruiser Squadron driven off to eastward.
- 4.15 p.m. - Destroyer action; two German T.B.D.s sunk; Nestor and Nomad disabled; sunk later by German Battle Fleet.
- 4.26 p.m. - Queen Mary hit by salvo from Derfflinger; magazine exploded; ship sunk.
- 4.42 p.m. - Adm. Beatty (now in Lat. 56°33J' N., Long. 5°49' E.), sighted German High Sea Fleet, under Adm. Scheer (F.F. Friedrich der Orosse), led by 3rd (Konig) Squadron, steering northwards. British ships in succession turned 16 points to starboard; German battle cruisers followed suit, taking station ahead by High Sea Fleet. At time of this turn to northward, Adm. Beatty and Adm. Jellicoe with Main Battle Fleet were over 50 miles apart and closing at about 45 miles per hour.
- 4.45 p.m. Battle cruiser action renewed on northerly course, with Barham and Valiant supporting Battle Cruiser Fleet; Warspite and Malaya engaged at 19,000 yards German 1st and 3rd High Sea Squadrons.
- 5.00 p.m. - British Battle Cruiser Fleet outdistancing German ships on northerly run.
- 5.20 p.m. - German battle cruisers ordered “to give chase.”
- 5.35 p.m. - Adm. Beatty altered from N.N.E. to N.E. to conform to signalled course of British Main Fleet.
- 5.42 p.m. - British battle cruisers again in touch with German ships. Lion fired 15 salvoes during next 10 minutes.
- 6.00 p.m. - Adm. Beatty sighted Main Fleet. Adm. Jellicoe (F.F. Iron Duke) in Lat. 57 ° 11 N., Long. 5°39' E., his main force having maintained since 4 p.m. a “fleet speed” of 20 knots, on a course S.E. by S., with Battle Fleet in divisions line ahead disposed abeam to starboard.
- 6.02 p.m. - Fleet speed reduced to 18 knots; subsequently reduced to 14 knots to allow Battle Cruisers to pass ahead.
- 6.16 p.m.- Upon Adm. Beatty’ s report giving High Sea Fleet’s position, Adm. Jellicoe signalled Battle Fleet to form line of battle on port wing column ; course S.E. by E. At this point German battle cruisers sank Defence (F. Adm. Arbuthnot) and damaged Warrior, of Adm. Jellicoe’s advanced cruiser line, which shortly after 6.05 p.m. had crossed Zion’s bows from port to starboard in order to finish off Wiesbaden, one of German light cruisers under their fire. Disabled Warrior passed astern of 5th Battle Squadron (turning to port to form astern of 6th Division) just as Warspite's helm jammed; this mishap compelled latter to continue her turn, brought her under heavy fire, but enabled Warrior to draw clear. Hereabouts, the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron - Invincible (F. Adm. Hood), Inflexible and Indomitable— (detached by Adm. Jellicoe at 4 p.m. in support of Adm. Beatty), came up from the eastward, where with Canterbury and Chester it had engaged German light-cruiser screen in a sharp encounter in which T.B.D. Shark was sunk. Upon sighting Lion, Adm. Hood at 6.16 p.m. took station ahead of Battle Cruiser Fleet and engaged German battle cruisers at 8,600 yards. Soon after 6.30 p.m. Invincible, under repeated salvoes, notably from Derfflinger, blew up and sank; but Adm. Hood’s arrival in commanding position on bow of German Fleet caused latter to make large turn to starboard, his squadron being probably mistaken for British Battle Fleet.
- 6.31 p.m. - Iron Duke engaged leading ship of Konig Squadron at 12,000 yards; on starboard wing Marlborough (F. Adm. Burney) had already opened fire at 6.17 p.m. on ship of Kaiser class at 13,000 yards.
- 6.33 p.m. - Fleet speed increased to 17 knots. Action now joined, but impeded by mist and smoke. At head of German Battle Cruiser line Lützow hauled away badly damaged; Derfflinger ceased fire.
- 6.38 p.m. - British deployment completed.
- 6.45 p.m. - Lion once more leading Battle Cruiser Fleet at head of British battle line in following formation :
- 1st Div. King George V. (F. Adm. Jerram)
- 2nd Div. Orion .. .. (F. Adm. Leveson)
- 3rd Div. Iron Duke .. (F. Adm. Jellicoe)
- 4th Div. Benbow .. (F. Adm. Sturdee)
- 5th Div. Colossus .. (F. Adm. Gaunt)
- 6th Div. Marlborough . (F. Adm. Burney)
- 6.50 p.m. - British Fleet altered course to S., by divisions, to close German Fleet. Adm. Hipper left Lützow, which fell out on fire and with heavy list; not until about 9 p.m. was he able to transfer his flag to Moltke. Meanwhile Derfflinger led German battle cruisers.
- 6.54 p.m. - Marlborough torpedoed, but continued in action.
- 7.00 p.m. - Adm. Jellicoe ordered 2nd Battle Squadron to take station ahead of Iron Duke; 1st Battle Squadron to form astern. During next half-hour British ships held their targets under intermittent but effective fire, at ranges varying from 15,000 yards in van to 8,500 yards in rear. German Fleet turning westward.
- 7.05 p.m. - British line, after closing three points to starboard, turned away to avoid torpedo attack. German T.B.D. V48 sunk by gunfire.
- 7.15 p.m. - Adm. Scheer, drawing off his main force, ordered his already battered battle cruisers to “close the enemy.”
- 7.25 p.m. - Another German torpedo attack successfully dealt with by British light forces.
- 7.33 p.m. - British Fleet back on S. by W. course.
- 7.37 p.m. - German battle cruisers broke off action; Derfflinger on fire.
- 7.40 p.m. - Adm. Beatty reported German position to westward.
- 7.41 p.m. - German Fleet no longer in sight from Iron Duke; British Battle Fleet altered course, by divisions, three points more to starboard (i.e. to S.W.).
- 7.50 p.m. - German T.B.D. S35 sunk by British 12th Flotilla.
- 7.59 p.m. - British Fleet altered to W., by divisions, on sighting isolated German ships, which gradually turned away.
- 8.25 p.m. - British Battle Cruiser Fleet in effective touch with German ships for a few minutes.
- 8.30 p.m. - British Fleet, after turn by divisions to S.W., again in single line.
- 8.38 p.m. - Falmouth last British ship in touch with German Fleet.
- 9.00 p.m. - British Fleet, after altering by divisions to S., formed divisions in line ahead disposed abeam to port, with columns one mile apart; destroyers five miles astern of Battle Fleet.
- 9.32 p.m. - Mine-laying flotilla leader Abdiel laid minefield 15 miles from Vyl Light.
- 10.00 p.m. - Iron Duke in Lat. 56°22' N., Long. 5°47' E.; course S.; speed 17 knots. Fleet order from W. to E. now:
Battle Cruiser Fleet ;
- 2nd Battle Squadron;
- 4th Battle Squadron;
- 1st Battle Squadron ;
- 5th Battle Squadron ;
- 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron astern of
- 5th Battle Squadron ;
- 4th Light Cruiser Squadron ahead of Battle Fleet ; 11th, 4th, 12th, 9th, 10th, and 13th Flotillas from W. to E. astern of Battle Fleet.
- 10.04 p.m. - British flotillas, after dropping astern, repelled attack by Hamburg and Elbing.
- 10.20 p.m. - British 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron engaged ships of German 4th Scouting Group; German light cruiser Frauenlob sunk; British cruisers Southampton and Dublin damaged.
- 11.30 p.m. - British 4th Flotilla engaged German cruisers; Tipperary sunk; Broke damaged, rammed Sparrowhawk, which was later abandoned. German light cruisers Rostock and Elbing, on port wing of 1st High Sea Squadron, at this period attempted to cross line to starboard, in order to escape torpedo attack; Rostock torpedoed ; Elbing collided with battleship Posen; both cruisers later blown up.
- 12.00 p.m. (Midnight) -During this period remainder of 4th Flotilla twice engaged German battleships; Fortune and Ardent sunk German battleship Pommem sunk, probably in this action. At this stage also, probably, British cruiser Black Prince sunk by Thüringen and Ostfriesland, of 1st High Sea Squadron.
- 0.30 a.m. - British T.B.D. Turbulent rammed and sunk by German large vessel, which also damaged Petard by gunfire.
- 1.45 a.m. - German battle cruiser Lützow now abandoned; crew taken off by German T.B.D.s ; ship sunk by torpedo.
- 2.00 a.m. - British 12th Flotilla attacked German battleships at about 3,000 yards. Disabled Marlborough, unable to maintain fleet speed, sent back to base under escort; Adm. Burney’s flag transferred to Revenge.
- 2.35 a.m. - British T.B.D. Moresby, 13th Flotilla, attacked four Deutschland battleships.
- 2.47 a.m. - Dawn. British Fleet (battle cruisers in Lat. 55° N., Long. 6° E. (approximately), altered course to N., and formed single line ahead.
During successive phases of Jutland Battle Grand Fleet steamed following distances :
- 3.48 - 6.17 p.m. Battle Cruisers.. 64 miles
- 6.17 - 9.00 p.m. Battle Cruisers.. 57 miles
- 6.17 - 9.00 p.m. Battle Fleet .. 47 miles
- 9 p.m. - 2.00 a.m. Grand Fleet .. 85 miles
- June 1. - 3.44 a.m. - Battle Fleet altered course, by divisions, to westward, where Zeppelin reported.
- 3.50 a.m. - L11 which had been sent up with L13, L17, L22, and L24 about midnight to reconnoitre, sighted and fired at.
- 4.45 a.m. - Battle Fleet in Lat. 55°29' N.. Long. 6*02' E.
- 5.15 a.m. - Battle Cruiser Fleet joined Main Fleet in search for German ships reported by Dublin.
- 5.30 a.m. - Ostfriesland mined West of List.
- 5.48 a.m. - Battle Cruisers in Lat. 55°45/ N., Long. 6° 16' E., steering S.E., and later S.; at 18 knots.
- 6.00 a.m. - Battle Fleet altered course to S .E.; at 17 knots.
- 7.00 a.m. - Harwich Force, now at sea, ordered to screen Marlborough, which, later, was attacked and missed by U46.
- 7.15 a.m. - Battle Fleet again turned northward.
- 7.30 a.m. - Battle Cruisers turned N.E. and, later, to N.
- 8.00 a.m. - Warrior abandoned.
- 8.15 a.m. - Battle Fleet in Lat. 55*54' N., Long. 6*10' E., steering N. at 17 knots; at 8.52 Fleet turned S.W.
- 10.00 a.m. - Battle Cruisers again in sight, ahead of Battle Fleet, course altered to N. by W.
- Noon. - Battle Fleet in Lat. 56°20' N., Long. 6°25' E., returning to base. Adm. Scheer, in F.F. Friedrich der Grosse, arrived in Wilhelmshaven Roads at 1 p.m.; remainder of High Sea Fleet followed during the day. French first line at Verdun penetrated
- June 2. - Grand Fleet arrived at its bases, fuelled, and was reported ready for sea at four hours’ notice at 9.45 p.m.
- Disabled Marlborough reached Humber at 8 a.m. Warspite had returned independently to Rosyth. Broke reached Tyne. Acasta and Onslow were towed into port.
Bulk of damaged British ships repaired by first week in July; Chester completed July 29; Marlborough first week in August.
Adm. Scheer reported to Kaiser that High Sea Fleet would be out of dockyard hands by mid-August; but Seydlitz was not ready by that date, while Derfflinger took six months to repair. Seydlitz, Ostfriesland and Helgoland were repaired at Wilhelmshaven Grosser Kurfurst, Markgraf, and Moltke were sent to Hamburg ; Konig and Derfflinger went to Kiel.
Ships sunk in Jutland Battle :
British: Battle Cruisers— Queen Mary, Indefatigable and Invincible; Cruisers— Defence, Warrior and Black Prince; T.B.D.s— Ardent, Fortune, Nestor, Nomad, Shark, Sparrowhawk, Tipperary and Turbulent.
German: Battleship — Pommel; Battle Cruiser— Lützow; Light Cruisers— Elbing, Frauenlob, Rostock and Wiesbaden; T.B.D.s— S35, V4, V27, V29 and V48.
Casualties in Jutland battle :
British 6,014 674
German 2,400 400
Three Jutland V.C.s.:
Cmdr. E. B. S. Bingham (Nestor),
Cm dr. Loftus Jones (Sfiark),
Boy Jack Cornwall (Chester).