Thanks to Mr. D- W- for the piece below.
I have been reading a fair bit about Jutland of late –while working on a remote version game of a damaged German battlecruiser trying to get home on the night of 31st May/1st June 1916. In reading about it, it seems to have degenerated into two gangs of historians – one blaming Jellicoe for rigidity and timidity and the other blaming Beattie for ineptitude and foolhardiness. While there are mutual admissions that certain things were systematically wrong on the British side (lack of fire and ammunition storage security, initially incorrect info from the Admiralty, signalling problems) it all seems to be about the daytime battle and the virtues and vices of the two admirals’ performances. There seems to be the apocryphal elephant in the room that gets relatively little coverage namely: that the British fleet had done little or no training in night actions. Neither Jellicoe nor Beatty, with two years to train up their respective commands, had apparently even apparently considered the notion that they might be in contact with an enemy fleet at night - as if at dusk both sides would blow a bugle sounding the ‘Cease fire’ and sportingly begin again at dawn. What was to be done if the enemy were not to be so obliging never seemed to be considered. Basically, as far as the Admiralty were they had the biggest, strongest fleet in the world but only during daylight hours
The Germans, predictably, were from destroyers to battleships well trained in night operations with an elaborate colour lights flash display for identification*, they had a system where guns and searchlights worked as one and finally they had starshells whereas the British had none. Had the Germans on the night of May31st/1st June not bent all their efforts in getting to the Horns Reef before daybreak their destroyers and light cruisers could have wreaked havoc on the capital ships of the British Grand Fleet. The fact that the Royal Navy began intense training in night actions in July 1916 is presumably a tacit admission that a right bollock had been dropped somewhere. *The British had a simple two letter morse searchlight code which the Germans picked up on almost immediately it got dark and used thereafter, to their advantage, during the course of the night.