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A History of Sea Power by Stevens and Westcott

Hipper commanded the First Battle Cruiser Squadron


_The

First Phase_

[Illustration: CRUISING FORMATION OF THE BRITISH BATTLE FLEET

(After diagram by Lieut.-Comdr. H. H. Frost, U.S.N., _U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Nov., 1919._)

Forces: 24 Dreadnought Battleships 3 Battle Cruisers 12 Light Cruisers 8 Armored Cruisers 51 Destroyers Note: One destroyer accompanied each armored cruiser.]

At 2 p. m. of the 31st of May, 1916, the British main fleet, under Admiral Jellicoe, was in Latitude 57 deg. 57' N., Longitude 3 deg. 45' E. (off the coast of Norway), holding a south-easterly course. It consisted of 24 battleships formed in a line of six divisions screened by destroyers and light cruisers, as indicated in the accompanying diagram. Sixteen miles ahead of the battle fleet was the First Cruiser Squadron under Rear Admiral Arbuthnot and the Second Cruiser Squadron under Rear Admiral Heath; these consisted of four armored cruisers each. They were spread out at intervals of six miles, with the _Hampshire_ six miles astern of the _Minotaur_ to serve as link ship for signals to and from the main fleet. Four miles ahead was the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron of three ships under Rear Admiral Hood. These were steaming in column, screened by four destroyers and two light cruisers (_Chester_ and _Canterbury_). The diagram on p. 388 shows the complete formation of the Battle Fleet

and Cruiser Squadrons, under Admiral Jellicoe's personal command. It is interesting as an example of the extreme complexity of fleet formation under modern conditions, especially when it is realized that the whole fleet was proceeding on its base course by zigzagging.

[Illustration: BEATTY'S CRUISING FORMATION, 2 P. M.

(After diagrams by Lieut.-Comdr. H. H. Frost, U.S.N., _U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Nov., 1919._)]

Seventy-seven miles to the southward Vice Admiral Beatty, commanding the scouting force, was heading on a northeasterly course. His force was spread out in scouting formation. The First Battle Cruiser Squadron of four ships, headed by the flagship _Lion_, was flanked three miles to the eastward by the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron of two ships, and five miles to the north by the Fifth Battle Squadron, consisting of four of the finest battleships in the fleet, 25-knot _Queen Elizabeths_, under Rear Admiral Evan-Thomas. Each of these squadrons had its screen of destroyers and light cruisers. Eight miles to the south the First, Second, and Third Light Cruiser Squadrons were spread out in line at five-mile intervals. The formation is made clear by the accompanying diagram.

At the same hour, 2 p. m., Vice Admiral Hipper, with the German scouting force, was heading north about 15 to 20 miles to the southeast of Beatty. Hipper commanded the First Battle Cruiser Squadron, consisting of the _Luetzow_ (flag), _Derflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke_, and _Van der Tann_, accompanied by a screening force of four or five light cruisers and about 15 destroyers. Fifty miles south of this advance force was the main body of the High Seas Fleet under Vice Admiral von Scheer. It consisted of three battle squadrons arranged apparently in one long column of 22 ships escorted by a screen of 62 destroyers, eight or ten light cruisers, and the one remaining armored cruiser in the German navy, the _Roon_.


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