- Jutland, Battle of
(May 31–June 1, 1916) Only major encounter between the British and German fleets in World War I, fought in the Skagerrak, an arm of the North Sea off the coast of Jutland (Denmark).The battle came to an indecisive end, and both sides claimed victory. Germany destroyed and crippled more ships and men, but Britain retained control of the North Sea. The tactics of the British admiral John R. Jellicoe were criticized at the time, but his strategic victory left the German high-seas fleet ineffective for the rest of the war.
* * *▪ World War Ialso called Battle of the Skagerrak(May 31–June 1, 1916), the only major encounter between the British and German fleets in World War I, fought in the Skagerrak, an arm of the North Sea, about 60 miles (97 km) off the coast of Jutland (Denmark).British naval intelligence had alerted admirals John Jellicoe (Jellicoe, John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl, Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, Viscount Brocas of Southampton) and David Beatty (Beatty, David, 1st Earl Beatty, Viscount Borodale Of Wexford, Baron Beatty Of The North Sea And Of Brooksby) that Admiral Reinhard Scheer (Scheer, Reinhard) had left port with his German High Seas Fleet. Beatty, in command of a scouting force of battle cruisers, spotted a similar German force under Admiral Franz von Hipper and pursued it toward the main German fleet. At about 4 PM both sides opened fire. The British suffered heavy losses and turned back toward Jellicoe's main British fleet, with the Germans in pursuit. After 6 PM the main fleets encountered each other, and the battle raged again. In the dusk the British had the advantage, and Scheer soon turned away. But when the German fleet turned once more to head for home, it again ran directly into the British fleet, which had maneuvered in such a way that it lay between the German fleet and the German ports. At this second crisis, Scheer ordered his battle cruisers and torpedo boats to charge the British fleet and thereby cover a second retreat of his battleships. Jellicoe, arguably overestimating the danger of torpedo attacks, also turned away, and the battle thus came to an indecisive end. Both sides claimed a victory—Germany because it had destroyed or damaged many more ships, Britain because it retained control of the North Sea.
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