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A History of Sea Power by Stevens and Westcott

20 the light cruiser Galatea v


Thus

the stage was set and the characters disposed for the great naval drama of that day.

[Illustration: TYPE OF GERMAN BATTLE CRUISER: THE DERFFLINGER

From Jane, _Fighting Ships, 1918_

Normal displacement, 26,600 to 28,000 tons.

Length (waterline), 689 to 700 feet. Beam, 95 to 96 feet. Mean draught, 27-1/2 feet.

Guns: Some (4.7 inch?) anti-aircraft 8--1.2 inch, 50 cal. (A5) 2 machine 14--5.9 inch, 50 cal. in M. & H. Torpedo tubes (21.7 inch): but only 2 or 4 submerged (broadside) 12--5.9 inch, 50 cal. in D. 1 submerged (bow) (1.2 or less--3.4 inch, 22 pdr. ?)]

At 2.20 the light cruiser _Galatea_ (v. diagram), which lay farthest to the east of Beatty's force, reported two German light cruisers engaged in boarding a neutral steamer. Beatty thereupon changed course toward Horn Reef Lightship in order to cut them off from their base, his light cruisers of the first and third divisions spreading out as a screen to the eastward. It would be interesting to know why, at this point, he did not draw in his battleships and thus concentrate his force, for when he did establish contact with the Germans, Evan-Thomas's squadron was too far away for effective support. Ten minutes

later Hipper got word of British light cruisers and destroyers sighted to the westward and, changing course to northwest, he headed for them at high speed. At 2.45 Beatty sent out a seaplane from the _Engadine_ to ascertain the enemy's position. This is the first instance in naval history of a fleet scouting by means of aircraft. The airplane came close enough to the enemy to draw the fire of four light cruisers, and returning reported their position. Meanwhile the _Galatea_ had reported heavy smoke "as from a fleet."

At the first report from the _Galatea_, which had been intercepted on the flagship, _Iron Duke_, Jellicoe ordered full speed, and despatched ahead the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron, under Hood, to cut off the escape of the Germans to the Skagerrak, as Beatty was then heading to cut them off from their bases to the south. Admiral Scheer, also, on getting report of the English cruisers, quickened the speed of his main fleet.

At 3.30 Beatty and Hipper discovered each other's battle cruiser forces. Hipper turned about and headed on a southerly course to lead the British toward the advancing main fleet. Beatty also turned, forming his battle cruisers on a line of bearing to clear the smoke, and the two forces approached each other on converging courses as indicated in the diagram.

At this point it is worth while to compare the two battle cruiser forces:[1]

BRITISH GERMAN Displace- Displace- Name Armor ment Guns Name Armor ment Guns Queen Mary 9" 26,350 8 13.5" Luetzow 13" 26,180 8 12" Lion 9" 26,350 8 13.5" Derfflinger 13" 26,180 8 12" Tiger 9" 28,500 8 13.5" Seydlitz 11" 24,610 10 11" Princess Royal 9" 28,350 8 13.5" Moltke 11" 22,640 10 11" Indefatigable 8" 18,800 8 12" VonderTann 10" 19,100 11" New Zealand 8" 18,800 8 12" ------- ------- 145,150 118,710

[Footnote 1: Table from Lieut. Comdr. H. H. Frost, U. S. N., _U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings_, Nov., 1919, p. 850.]


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