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Thread: Jutland: WW1's Greatest Sea Battle

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    Default Jutland: WW1's Greatest Sea Battle

    On Saturday 21st May, Channel 4 television in the U.K. will be showing a new documentary entitled 'Jutland WW1's Greatest Sea Battle' at 8 p.m.. It claims that it will reveal the truth about the battle.

    It will be repeated one hour later on Channel4+1 (Freeview channel 13). It will also be repeated on Sunday 22nd May at 8 p.m., Monday 23rd May at 3.45 a.m. and on Friday 27th may at 2.55 a.m.. They also have an 'On Demand' service.

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    I wonder if this will be broadcast in the US

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    I will be very interested to see what 'new' evidence they have to show us the 'truth'. I have read many accounts of this battle, written from both sides, and I don't know what else there is to learn. But then I'm always open to new scholarly interpretation!

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    Advertising is spin, I hope for the best, but expect little! I hope I am wrong!

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    The trailer indicates that they have been studying the wrecks of the ships, Reg.

    I do not know whether it will be broadcast in the U.S.A., Hugh. If you can access Channel 4's 'On Demand' service, you will be able to watch it there. http://www.channel4.com/

    I suppose that it may make it onto Youtube eventually.

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    Channel 4 is region locked unfortunately.

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    Cheers for the pointer David. Record option set.

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    Yes thanks for this, will tape it.

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    Thanks for the Heads up Dave.
    One not to miss whatever the state of play.
    Rob.

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    Default You can stream Ch4, BBC, ITV, etc in the USA and escape region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjl View Post
    Channel 4 is region locked unfortunately.
    Just FYI, it's not hard in the USA to stream the on-demand streaming services of all the main UK channels, as well as the CBC in Canada and ABC in Australia.

    You need an iPad. Then you have to get a VPN app (I use Tunnelbear). You set the VPN to the country you want, then establish a new Apple user id and give an address in that country, like a hotel. That sends you to that country's App Store, where you download the channel's app and install it. After that one-time setup, you just switch on your VPN, pick your country, launch your channel and you're good to go.

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    ...or you could just have a short break in the UK while its sunny and warm-ish!

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    Our weather not reached Northumberland yet then Richard.
    Rob.

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    I know some of the people involved in making this (and the BBC programme that is going out on the 31st).

    It will be interesting to see what lines they finally decided to take in each of them

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    The US Naval War College will be posting a video on their site on May 31st of the war game they played a couple of weeks ago. They found in their archives the original game pieces and instructions from the 1920s and recreated them. At the museum site, you can see some of the tools used during the game.

    You can read about it here: https://www.usnwc.edu/About/News/May...d-wargame.aspx

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    Thanks for the heads up Ken.
    Rob.

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    Well, recorded it yesterday and watched it this evening after a hard days Napoleonic Naval warfare at Partizan.
    I thought that the start was interesting when they showed an official admiralty chart showing the positions of all ships during the battle which supposedly had not seen the light of day for nigh on 100 years, but later in the program were talking about it as if everybody was already aware of it. The program skipped large parts of the battle and not withstanding the new side scan sonar images of some of the wrecks, not all the wrecks as one had been lead to believe, I found that it did not add materially to my knowledge of the engagement and left me disappointed.

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    Photographic evidence being what it is, the German navy banned any cameras aboard their ships during the battle of Jutland. That included submarines.So, the only "pictures" you see are from the British side. Anything else is faked. In 1916 the camera had the newly invented 120 film and folding cameras with manual set shutters, Yet the sinking of the four english battle cruisers are beautifully captured at the moment of their destruction. No camera jiggling, no spoiled negatives, just perfect shots taken in broad daylight, without smoke, fog effects, or any movement from the camera from the most steady seaman photographer?. Really?

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    I too was disappointed. All that finding the 100 year old chart and the wreck positions to support it has done is to provide evidence that Beatty attempted to whitewash his actions.

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    Thanks for all the advanced warning chaps.
    When i watch it I will now do so with an open mind.
    It was very good to have your company yesterday Reg.
    Rob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naharaht View Post
    I too was disappointed. All that finding the 100 year old chart and the wreck positions to support it has done is to provide evidence that Beatty attempted to whitewash his actions.
    Which we already knew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Thanks for all the advanced warning chaps.
    When i watch it I will now do so with an open mind.
    It was very good to have your company yesterday Reg.
    Rob.
    Thanks Rob the feeling is reciprocal. I feel you will be dissapointed with the documentary as was I.
    There is a Dan Snow Jutland documentary coming soon on the BBC. One can but hope for something better from that.

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    Sunday 29th May BBC2 9pm Dan Snow on Jutland.
    Apologies to all but I found the last programme informative and interesting as I had no knowledge that Beatty whitewashed the outcome report. So the fact that it was bad practice on the British side that led to the loss of the two battlecruisers and bad.luck that Black Prince was lost. However it did prove just how much damage the German flagship took in comparison, some 26 hits to the British battlecruisers 2-3. Pity they didn't learn from their mistakes but then again Beatty doctored the report.

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    I agree wholeheartedly, it was a waste of programming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Maturin View Post
    Thanks Rob the feeling is reciprocal. I feel you will be dissapointed with the documentary as was I.
    There is a Dan Snow Jutland documentary coming soon on the BBC. One can but hope for something better from that.
    Cheers Reg.
    If it's Dan Snow we at least have a chance of a good documentary.
    Rob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
    However it did prove just how much damage the German flagship took in comparison, some 26 hits to the British battlecruisers 2-3. Pity they didn't learn from their mistakes but then again Beatty doctored the report.
    This bit hacked me off, as Innes was rather disingenuous here. The British BCs took rather more of a pounding than casual observers give them credit for. Lion for example - 17 hits including a magazine fire. True, if the "2-3" German shells entered a turret top it was bad news for a BC, but not because the ships were weak (it was mentioned early on in the documentary, Beatty saying "there's something wrong with our bloody ships today - he was wrong". And he was, it was the ammunition handling practices - and the highly reactive cordite propellant - that was the issue. The much vaunted German flagship was effectively sunk by two salvoes from Invincible which hit forward and caused extensive flooding,bringing her bow down and ultimately causing the loss of the ship. In an event echoing the loss of Bismarck in 1941 she was scuttled whilst in a sinking condition, her propellers clear of the water and her focsle submerged (Seydlitz was in a similar situation, she was fortunate that when mass exceeded buoyancy and she sank by the bow she was over a sand bar which caught her and allowed her to be saved). It is worth noting that Derrflinger's gunnery officer wrote after the battle that when she was hit on her aft turret and a massive propellant fore occurred in her barbettes (IIRC both turrets aft were hit - BC turrets of both sides tended to act as shell magnets that day) that, had she been using British propellant the ship would surely have blown up and he and hs shipmates would have been killed.

    It was also rather naughty to suggest that the same poor magazine handling practices used in the BC force were also used in the battle squadrons of the Grand Fleet. There is no evidence for this, in fact quite the reverse. And as far as "lessons learnt" were concerned, they were - orders reinstating full explosive handling practices in the BCs were in place days after the battle, whilst the relatively poor performance of British large calibre shells (which tended to detonate on impact with the target's armour rather than as they passed through) was identified and a programme put in place to develop more effective replacements - this leading to the introduction of the famous "Greenboy" shells of 1918 which were amongst the most effective large calibre armour piercing shells used by any battleship anywhere through to the end of the battleship era.

    All in all I was extremely disappointed, there was a great opportunity to dispel some of the inaccurate myths of Jutland and WW1 warship design, all sadly missed. I've been involved on the periphery of the Dan Snow programme coming this weekend, I've not seen the end result and I'm hoping that this one has taken heed. So I await the BBC's offering with baited breath.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Cheers Reg.
    If it's Dan Snow we at least have a chance of a good documentary.
    Rob.
    If they use half the material and other stuff I provided to the production team properly it will be

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    If they use half the material and other stuff I provided to the production team properly it will be
    Thank goodness for that Dave.
    I hope that I said the right thing.
    Rob.

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    I watched the programme Sunday evening, was somewhat dissapointed as it really said very little about Jutland but seemed to emphasise more on Beatty whitewashing his actions and Jellicoe having his ations justified, not what I was expecting.
    As others have said lets hope the next programme is a little better.

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    Doctoring reports was standard operating procedure at the time. Everybody tried to influence the report, but Beatty was in the perfect position to do so. The insular politics of the Royal Navy at that time meant that Admirals weren't picked by their merits. They were picked by their connections. Beatty was a damn the torpedos, don't bother me with details kind of guy. Jellicoe was a strictly by the book guy whose days were numbered after Churchill took over the admiralty. Beatty made quite a few mistakes during the battle. His first mistake was leaving behind four super dreadnoughts in his haste to meet with the enemy. He literally gave away his advantage. His next mistake, and he should have been reprimanded for it, was that he was supposed to keep Jellicoe informed. Instead, he didn't even tell Jellicoe where or which way the Germans were going. That was his main purpose, to be Jellicoe's eyes. Jellicoe isn't blameless either. The german admirals actions were, frankly, flawless and their actions saved their fleet that day. Unlike the germans, the brits really were not cooperating or even talking to each other very much. As a result, there was no real commitment by them to actually finish off the germans. Wether or not they were simply making their routine sweep of the north sea, or actually set out to find and destroy the german fleet from the beginning became moot once they ran into each other.

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    I wouldn't say the German commanders were flawless, collectively they showed a lack of awareness and failed to realise that their enemy was doing exactly what they had said they would do to bring about a fleet action. And the second battle turn away, directly back to where the enemy had been only a few minutes earlier, exposed the leading battleships and the battlecruisers to another bout of quite effective incoming fire that they didn't need to have faced. Where was the GF supposed to have magically disappeared to in those few minutes?

    The impression that we have of the British commanders being a bunch of tradition-bound duffers whilst their enemies were flawless geniuses draws from the same source as for the same impressions when comparing Allied and German commanders on land - historians working mostly in English have concentrated on the "easy targets" whilst giving their harder-to-research opponents something of a free ride.

    As to "no real commitment to finish off the Germans" - I guess if there hadn't Jellicoe wouldn't have pursued the HSF towards the Jade (but he did). Although in fact he had no need to "finish them off" since he knew the strategic context in which he was working, and what constituted "victory" in that sense. The more I read about the events of and surrounding May /June 1916 the more I see that Jellicoe was one of the few people that really, really "got" the strategic vision in the North Sea. He was also just about the only one who understood the immense difficulty in operating a fleet as big as the GF with the technological and environmental limits in which it operated (too may historians and writers see WW1 naval warfare in the same light as WW2 without appreciating the vastly different (and seriously inferior) command and control capabilities of the 1910s and 1920s) The Admiralty didn't get it. The British people didn't get it. Which I guess leads to one area where the Germans definitely did score over the British; better management of PR.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentop View Post
    Doctoring reports was standard operating procedure at the time.
    True, everyone from every nation was doing it (and it has been so throughout the ages and continues to be so). Of course the art is being good at it. Which Beatty wasn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    And the second battle turn away, directly back to where the enemy had been only a few minutes earlier, exposed the leading battleships and the battlecruisers to another bout of quite effective incoming fire that they didn't need to have faced. Where was the GF supposed to have magically disappeared to in those few minutes?

    The impression that we have of the British commanders being a bunch of tradition-bound duffers whilst their enemies were flawless geniuses draws from the same source as for the same impressions when comparing Allied and German commanders on land - historians working mostly in English have concentrated on the "easy targets" whilst giving their harder-to-research opponents something of a free ride.

    As to "no real commitment to finish off the Germans" - I guess if there hadn't Jellicoe wouldn't have pursued the HSF towards the Jade (but he did). Although in fact he had no need to "finish them off" since he knew the strategic context in which he was working, and what constituted "victory" in that sense. The more I read about the events of and surrounding May /June 1916 the more I see that Jellicoe was one of the few people that really, really "got" the strategic vision in the North Sea. He was also just about the only one who understood the immense difficulty in operating a fleet as big as the GF with the technological and environmental limits in which it operated (too may historians and writers see WW1 naval warfare in the same light as WW2 without appreciating the vastly different (and seriously inferior) command and control capabilities of the 1910s and 1920s) The Admiralty didn't get it. The British people didn't get it. Which I guess leads to one area where the Germans definitely did score over the British; better management of PR.
    I always felt that the second turn towards to GF served a couple of purposes. One was to get their torpedo boats close enough to the GF so that they could make Jellicoe turn away. Another problem was that it was still daylight and the germans needed the cover of night to be able to make a break for it. The second turn towards the GF bought them more time. You are correct that Jellicoe "got" the strategic vision. He obviously understood that you do not risk material if you have nothing to gain from it. I cannot help but think that Jellicoe felt that he was not getting the support he needed to pursue the germans. Beatty must have had Nelson's advice about getting as close as possible as fast as possible pounding in his ears when he closed with the germans instead of standing off and using their one big advantage against them. If I had Beatty running amok under my command, I would have been reluctant to engage in further action, too.

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    I concur mightily with our esteemed Mr Manley! I have often wondered what would have happened if the GF had got the battle it wanted, would the German High Seas Fleet have been neutralised? I think not. The German ships were well built and crewed, and would have broken off if things got bad in a firefight. As it was, they went to 'plan' and with luck and some good planning managed to extricate themselves from a probable losing position.
    Neither side scould see the period of long naval battle lines was over, its only with hindsight we can see with crystal clarity!

    ...assuming I am not just talking rubbish here!!!!

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    You're not talking rubbish. The controversies created by the battle of Jutland started immediately after the battle. I have read many different accounts from both sides of the channel. The earliest accounts are the most incorrect. Early reports were censored on both sides and were tainted with racial hatred of the Bosch (on the British side) and an almost NAZI like superiority by the Germans. During the 1920's and 30's you get the British squabbling over whether Beatty or Jellicoe made more mistakes. Character assassination and outright lies fired the polemics publicly in newspapers. It wasn't until 1932 that Jellicoe wrote a very telling article for the papers entitled, "Errors made in the battle of Jutland". He not only rakes Beatty over the coals, which he deserves, but he admits to his own mistakes. Beatty never, ever said that he did one thing wrong at Jutland. At least, I have never seen anything written by him involving a "mea culpa". Finally, over the years, the archives of both navies become available and things such as dispatch records between the ships involved on both sides and even the zeppelin messages that the British Admiralty intercepted and didn't bother to transmit to Admiral Jellicoe became available to naval historians.

    The best and most accurate account of the Battle of Jutland that I have read was written in 1966 by Arthur J. Marder entitled, "From Jutland to Scapa Flow, Jutland and after, vol III" He managed to actually get the British Admiralty to give him access to the records they showed nobody else. In his account, you will learn that Jellicoe's decision not to engage the main battle fleet at night (a crap shoot if there ever was one) was a tactical decision, not a strategic decision. His battle cruisers and torpedo boats were the weapons of choice at night (They could get in closer). His big battleships did not have the gear to fight successfully at night and he had to have time to regroup his fleet anyway for an attack the next morning. The British Admiralty knew exactly what the German High Seas Fleet was doing and where they were going, but they failed to tell Jellicoe. By the time Jellicoe found out, it was too late. The germans had escaped. The important thing Marder did was to end the divisive Beatty versus Jellicoe debate. Both Admirals did a lot more good during that battle than they did bad. Beatty, in his actions after the battle, attacked his boss, pulled strings and dirtied the water, including changing the after action reports to cover up his mistakes. His actions after he returned to port showed exactly what kind of man he was (your typically insufferable British naval officer). Beatty replaced Jellicoe. It had everything to do with his relation to Winston Churchill and nothing to do with Jutland. That's how naval officers advance in the British navy. Even now, Prince Andrew gets to do whatever pops into his head. He's like Beatty, his connections and money let him take whatever job he wants in the royal navy. If he really didn't want to fly rescue helicopters, he wouldn't be there. His grandpa is Prince Phillip, who is married to Queen Elizabeth II. When Phillip was 21 years old, he was 1st lieutenant of the HMS Wallace, probably the youngest second in command ever of a destroyer in the navy. Beatty didn't even have the minimum time in grade to be promoted from captain to admiral. When he was promoted, he was the youngest admiral in the navy and passed over the heads of every other captain. It still takes skills to be promoted. Prince Andrew and Beatty both are/were talented enough to be promoted. But they didn't need to be. Their connections would have carried them anyway in the British Navy.

    Again, you are not talking rubbish. Your strategic take definitely influenced Jellicoe. The more you dig into the history, the more you will be proven right.

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    10/10 for that except the Prince Andrew bit, he's not active in the RN and wouldn't be able to do anything along lines you suggest. He was a bloody good helicopter pilot though (a few of my work colleagues flew with him) and he saw combat in the Falklands Conflict (flying Exocet decoy, ASW and rescue missions).

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    Anyway, we have our first Jutland refight tomorrow at HMS Flying Fox. Up early for an 0830 start, and I have my dice rolling bowl (actually an ashtray) made from teak taken from the deck of Jellicoe's flagship ready and waiting

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    10/10 for that except the Prince Andrew bit, he's not active in the RN and wouldn't be able to do anything along lines you suggest. He was a bloody good helicopter pilot though (a few of my work colleagues flew with him) and he saw combat in the Falklands Conflict (flying Exocet decoy, ASW and rescue missions).
    Prince Andrew did what he wanted to when he was in the navy. He wanted the tough and dangerous missions. Usually, royals are protected by being placed in safe assignments so that they don't get hurt or die, thus upsetting the succession to the throne. His job now is probably a compromise to his family. Beatty actually turned down a command at sea and requested an assignment with the home fleet. He was told flat out NO, the admiralty will assign you where THEY need you. If the Admiralty had assigned Prince Andrew to missions in Afghanistan without his or royal approval, heads would have rolled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    10/10 for that except the Prince Andrew bit, he's not active in the RN and wouldn't be able to do anything along lines you suggest. He was a bloody good helicopter pilot though (a few of my work colleagues flew with him) and he saw combat in the Falklands Conflict (flying Exocet decoy, ASW and rescue missions).
    Prince Andrew did what he wanted to when he was in the navy. He wanted the tough and dangerous missions. Usually, royals are protected by being placed in safe assignments so that they don't get hurt or die, thus upsetting the succession to the throne. His job now is probably a compromise to his family. Beatty actually turned down a command at sea and requested an assignment with the home fleet. He was told flat out NO, the admiralty will assign you where THEY need you. If the Admiralty had assigned Prince Harry to missions in Afghanistan without his or royal approval, heads would have rolled.
    Last edited by Kentop; 05-29-2016 at 10:54.

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    Just watched the BBC offering, it was essentially a discussion of why the RN battlecruisers blew up, and using archaeological experimentation showed what we already knew, that it was lax safety procedures around the turrets and magazines that was at fault, and not the ship designs.
    A very good programme for correcting the misconceptions of the 20th century accounts.
    Not so interesting for wargamers, apart from allowing 'what ifs' refighting the battle if Beatty had not been so bothered about weight of shot and more about careful aiming!

    Worth watching though, and far better than channel 4's.

    I think they must have listened to Mr Manley, after all!

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentop View Post
    Prince Andrew did what he wanted to when he was in the navy. He wanted the tough and dangerous missions.
    Sorry, but thats just guff. He was in a unit that unexpectedly went to war. What would you have had him do? Not go with his comrades because it would be dangerous? In fact the Admiralty did want to keep him home but the Queen insisted that he should have no special treatment. Its a pity some of our other leaders don't have the same backbone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkybird View Post
    Just watched the BBC offering, it was essentially a discussion of why the RN battlecruisers blew up, and using archaeological experimentation showed what we already knew, that it was lax safety procedures around the turrets and magazines that was at fault, and not the ship designs.
    A very good programme for correcting the misconceptions of the 20th century accounts.
    Not so interesting for wargamers, apart from allowing 'what ifs' refighting the battle if Beatty had not been so bothered about weight of shot and more about careful aiming!

    Worth watching though, and far better than channel 4's.

    I think they must have listened to Mr Manley, after all!
    Much better than last week's although the usual "we can reveal" stuff that has been known for almost a hundred years :)

    Interesting though if you hadn't much in the way of prior knowledge, the last bit on the human effects of the blockade were interesting to me as its not something I've read on in detail before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Much better than last week's although the usual "we can reveal" stuff that has been known for almost a hundred years :)

    Interesting though if you hadn't much in the way of prior knowledge, the last bit on the human effects of the blockade were interesting to me as its not something I've read on in detail before.
    Yes, me too, quite disturbing! One of the nasty sides of war.
    My Grandad did mention that as a POW in Germany they lived on very little and returned home very malnourished. Like most of his war memories, though, he did not want to talk about it much. I didn't blame him for that!

  43. #43

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    The experimental demonstrations were interesting in the Dan Snow programme but as has already been said, there were no new conclusions.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Sorry, but thats just guff. He was in a unit that unexpectedly went to war. What would you have had him do? Not go with his comrades because it would be dangerous? In fact the Admiralty did want to keep him home but the Queen insisted that he should have no special treatment. Its a pity some of our other leaders don't have the same backbone
    Which proves my point. The Admiralty wanted to keep him safe but the Queen insisted. That means that the Queen and not the Admiralty decided where and how her prince should be assigned. I have nothing but respect for prince Andrew and, for that matter, the entire royal bunch who have served and are serving in the armed forces. The royals are bred to be true leaders. Nobody in England expects anything less from their monarchs. But don't pretend that their military assignments aren't foregone conclusions.

  45. #45

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    The point was the Admiralty were being prissy, had there been an operational reason for him not to go then fair enough, but not "because it would look bad". their military assignments aren't "foregone conclusions" of course, far from it.

  46. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkybird View Post
    I think they must have listened to Mr Manley, after all!
    LOL, I did just about write the script for them on the engineering side, and they picked a good deal of it up

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    Just watched the Dan Snow Jutland Documentary and as somebody else commented above there was nothing new. They did spend quite a lot of effort showing the effects of cordite explosions and poor shell handling practice and presented it as if it was new but we already knew all about that and the Admiralty had very quickly figured out the shell handling problems and taken measures to stop the bad practices. Also nothing was mentioned about the British shell quality which had a nasty habit of exploding on first contact and not like the German shells which managed to penetrate before exploding. Surely a major factor in Seydlitz taking 23 hits and staying afloat and Queen Mary taking only 7 before blowing up.

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Maturin View Post
    Surely a major factor in Seydlitz taking 23 hits and staying afloat and Queen Mary taking only 7 before blowing up.
    Not a factor at all since QM was lost to a shell that penetrated her turret top and caused a propellant flash that propagated into the magazine. German turrets were equally as vulnerable to these kind of hits with several of them hit and burned out (along with their crews, which typically numbered 70-80). The difference was their magazine doors, like those of the GF battleships, weren't left open.

    Shell penetration was not what we would expect to have seen in later years, fuses were unreliable and the shells would generally detonate just inside the structure that was penetrated. I recall there was only one shell hit that penetrated deeply, HMS Warrior I think, and that shell passed right through the ship without exploding. IIRC she was hit over 20 times (including 15 hits from 11" guns) and survived the battle, but foundered on her way back to Britain.

  49. #49
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    I look forward to watching my recording of the Documentary forearmed with your information gentlemen.
    Thanks.
    Rob.

  50. #50

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    For anyone who missed it, BBC2 is repeating it tonight (Tuesday 31st May) at 23.15 BST and it is available on BBC iPlayer.

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