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A History of Sea Power by Stevens and Westcott

Accompanied possibly by a corresponding shift of Hipper


The

shift of course taken by Beatty at four o'clock, accompanied possibly by a corresponding shift of Hipper, opened the range so far in a few minutes that fire slackened on both sides. Beatty then swung to port in order to close to effective range. At 4.15 twelve of his destroyers, acting on the general order to attack when conditions were favorable, dashed out toward the German line. At the same instant German destroyers, to the number of fifteen accompanied by the light cruiser _Regensburg_, advanced toward the British line, both forces maneuvering to get on the bows of the opposing battle cruisers. For this purpose the British flotilla was better placed because their battle cruisers were well ahead of the Germans. The German destroyers, therefore, concentrated their efforts on the battleship division, which turned away to avoid the torpedoes. In numbers the advantage lay with the Germans, and a fiercely contested action took place between the lines conducted with superb gallantry on both sides. The Germans succeeded in breaking up the British attack at a cost of two destroyers. Two of the British destroyers also were rendered unmanageable and sank later when the High Seas Fleet arrived on the scene.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF JUTLAND, FIRST PHASE

Action Between Battle Cruiser Forces.]

Meanwhile, at 4.26, just before the destroyers clashed, a salvo struck the _Queen Mary_, blew

up a magazine, and she disappeared with practically all on board. Thus the second of Beatty's battle cruisers was sent to the bottom with tragic suddenness.

At 4.38, Commodore Goodenough, commanding the Second Light Cruiser Squadron, who was scouting ahead of the battle cruisers, reported that the German battle fleet was in sight steering north, and gave its position. Beatty at once called in his destroyers and turned his ships in succession, sixteen points to starboard, ordering Evan-Thomas to turn similarly. Thus the capital ships turned right about on the opposite course, the battleships following the cruisers as before, and all heading for the main fleet which was then about fifty miles away to the north. Commodore Goodenough at this point used his initiative in commendable fashion. Without orders he kept on to the south to establish contact with the German battle fleet and hung on its flanks near enough to report its position to the commander in chief. He underwent a heavy fire, but handled his frail ships so skillfully as to escape serious loss. At the same time the constant maneuvering he was forced to perform or a defect in the British system of communication made his reports of bearing seriously inaccurate. Whatever the cause, this error created a difficulty for the commander in chief, who, fifty miles away, was trying to locate the enemy for attack by the Grand Fleet.

_The Second Phase_

The northward run of the British advance force and the German advance force, followed by their main fleet, was uneventful. The situation was at this stage exactly reversed. Beatty was endeavoring to lead the German forces into the guns of the Grand Fleet, while ostensibly he was attempting to escape from a superior force, much as Hipper had been doing with relation to Scheer during the first phase. Beatty's four remaining battle cruisers continued to engage the five German battle cruisers, at a range of 14,000 yards, assisted by the two leading ships of Evan-Thomas's Battle Squadron. The other two battleships engaged the head of the advancing German battle fleet at the extreme range of 19,000 yards as often as they could make out their enemy. The visibility grew worse and apparently neither side scored on the other.


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