The Battle of Jutland, Part II

The second phase of the Battle of Jutland was dominated by Jellicoe's resolve to renew the action and Scheer’s determined and successful efforts to escape. By Geoffrey Bennett.

Jellicoe’s battleships opened fire on Scheer’s battlefleet at 1823 on May 31st, 1916. Hurriedly the Germans turned to the west to escape from the trap into which they had fallen; by 1845 they were out of range, but they were far from safe; the Grand Fleet had deployed on a course that was taking it between the High Seas Fleet and its base.

Unfortunately, Jellicoe did not immediately realize that Scheer had altered away; not until 1855 did he turn the British battlefleet south in pursuit.

Moreover, only one of his four light cruiser squadrons performed their prime duty; only Goodenough in the Southampton pressed on to sight Scheer again and, at 1904, to signal that the German battlefleet had turned back to east-south-east, when Jellicoe knew that, if he held his course, he must again cross the enemy’s T.

In thus risking a second encounter with the greatly superior Grand Fleet, Scheer claimed that he intended to attack the centre of Jellicoe’s line, hoping to disorganize it and so to facilitate his own escape.

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