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Jutland + 104 y, the afternoon that could have averted utter catastrophe

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I forgot, today is a terrible anniversary, the Battle of Jutland:

Had the Royal Navy managed to win here decisively (as 110 years before at Trafalgar), it might have ended WW1 before it spun utterly out of control across the next 18 months that wrecked the old order and ushered in a century of unprecedented horrors. As it was, it preserved the strategic situation of blockade, at the cost of a terrible battering.

While this, Verdun. Then, the Somme as the French pleaded desperately for relief. Then, collapse of Russia, Mutiny in France’s Army, ultimately collapse of Germany, The Ottoman Empire, and much more. 1939, round 2.

Lessons to ponder aplenty as we see Arab Spring attempted in the USA. END

6 Replies to “Jutland + 104 y, the afternoon that could have averted utter catastrophe

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    kairosfocus says:

    Jutland + 104 y, the afternoon that could have averted utter catastrophe

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    Ed George says:

    KF, thanks for this.

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    Seversky says:

    As we know, Churchill wrote of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, commander of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet, he was ‘the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon’. That was a huge responsibility for any man. Although the battle exposed flaws in the Royal Navy’s practices, tactics and technology, strategically Jellicoe really only needed to do two things, keep the Fleet in being and retain command of the seas, both of which he achieved. Even if he had won a decisive victory over the High Seas Fleet in open battle, which is undoubtedly what the Royal Navy most wanted, it is doubtful if it would have had any immediate effect on the course of the land battles.

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    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, first remember the long shadow of Nelson. The shock of massive loss of the High Seas Fleet with direct implication of a free hand for the Royal Navy to run the board as well as no hope to break the blockade, alone, could have been decisive. Indeed, the failure of that was itself damaging the other way. So, on that alone, I am by no means conceding that a High Seas Fleet decisive defeat would not have ended the war; the Kaiser et al were not insane (by utter contrast to Hitler). A peace deal on the circumstances of 1916 would have likely been much better all around than 1918. Where, if there was not a rapid concession, running the board would start with the Belgian coast then work up to Germany. Dardanelles II — breaking Turkey and opening a lifeline to Russia — would be possible as well as a knockout on the Adriatic coast for Austria-Hungary’s fleet. Remember, the Fleet in Being pinned much of the Grand Fleet to the North Sea. As it was, the vid leaves out the Horns Reef mixup, which properly managed would have led to a Day 2 engagement where the High Seas Fleet, with severe damage and blocked from its ports would have to fight through to get home. Decisive defeat was in fact very possible. Where, leaders of a shattered fleet would have been in no position to undertake a U-Boat campaign as was then resorted to. Of course, in 1918, mutiny of the sailors was a key part in the decision, mutiny as they viewed orders to sally forth against the Royal Navy with an American Squadron added as a death ride. KF

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    kairosfocus says:

    Following up, if 1 time message pads etc were used to communicate Rm 40 decrypts to Jellicoe (he had requested something) then high trust information would have been key. Hitting Horns Reef and finding Grand Fleet sitting there for T-crossing 3 would have likely forced abandoning the German Battle Cruisers and at least the pre-dreadnought squadron [already less Pommern]. Additional losses would have been likely and running for home around Denmark would have left the fleet base uncovered. Such a defeat would have been truly major. For that matter May 31 would have been better handled, Beatty’s error-prone performance notwithstanding. Knowing HS Fleet was lurking would make a difference on co-ordinating with the 5th Squadron of oil fuelled 15 inch fast battleships. KF

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