HMS Hercules - reserve

May 31, 1916 - The German fleet commanded by Admiral Reinhard Scheer attempted to destroy the British fleets of John Jellicoe and David Beatty, but failed. Of the total 274 ships and 70,000 seamen engaged in the battle, the British lost 14 ships and 6000 killed, the Germans lost 11 ships and 2500 killed. The German fleet returned to port at Wilhelmshaven, and the focus of German naval strategy shifted to the submarine.

Phase 1 - Run to the South by Beatty's Battle Cruiser Fleet, parallel with Hipper's First Scouting Group, shots exchanged for 1 hour. British lost Indefatigable and Queen Mary. The 4 Queen Elizabeth battleships in the 5th Battle Squadron of Evan-Thomas finally came within range and began firing 15-in guns at Hipper

Phase 2 - Run to the North by Beatty after surprise encounter with Scheer's main fleet. Hipper also turned north. British 15-in guns hit the Seydlitz and caused Scheer's fleet to fall into disarray.

Phase 3 - Jellicoe lined to port and crossed Scheer's T who was heading northeast; British guns made 27 hits on German ships in 10 minutes, but German guns sank the Defence and the Warrior at the end of Jellico's line. British lost 3rd battle cruiser Invincible when its turret exploded. Scheer realized he was out-gunned, and executed a 180-degree turn with the order "battle turn-away" (Gefechtskehrtwendung), causing his fleet do disappear in 4 minutes.

Phase 4 - Scheer turned north and again south, a blunder that brought the German fleet again within sight of the British fleet that opened fire. Scheer ordered another "battle turn-away" and covered his retreat with a destroyer torpedo attack. Scheer's retreat was covered by Hipper's damaged cruisers and lighter ships in a "deathride."

Phase 5 - During the night, Jellicoe turned his fleet south to intercept Scheer, sank the Lutzow and Pommern, but the British lost the cruiser Black Prince. German wireless jamming hindered Jellicoe's communication, and the German fleet crossed behind Jellicoe to the safety of Horn's Reef by 3 am. The night action also involved light forces, destroyers, torpedo attacks.



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