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On This Day… The Battle Of Jutland

Written by: George Chittenden : 24 May 2019

It was on this day, 31st May back in 1916 when one of the largest surface battles in naval history began, the Battle of Jutland. It was the only major battle of the Great War that was fought at sea, and it was so significant that it actually changed the course of the war. The German High Seas Fleet planned to devastate the Royal Navy by launching an ambush on the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea. Luckily for the British their codebreakers were able to warn the Royal Navy who took action.

The Germans planned to sink the British Battlecruiser Force and then their Grand Fleet one after another, but with warning the British launched both fleets earlier than planned. The Battle that followed lasted thirty-six hours and involved 250 ships and around 100,000 men. The Royal Navy lost fourteen ships and over 6,000 men but were still ready for more the very next day. Germany lost eleven ships and over 2,500 men. Despite the fact that the British lost more ships and men than the Germans, in some ways they were victorious. Jutland in many ways had no winner, as both sides failed to achieve their objectives, however the British secured their dominance over essential shipping lanes, which allowed them to implement the blockade that would contribute to Germany’s eventual defeat in 1918.

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