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A History of Sea Power by Stevens and Westcott

Jellicoe then formed line of battle


Beatty dashed across the front of the approaching battle fleet he sighted Hood's Third Battle Cruiser Squadron ahead of him and signaled him to take station ahead. Accordingly Hood countermarched and led Beatty's line in the _Invincible_. Evan-Thomas was by this time so far in the rear of the speedier battle cruisers that he was unable to follow with Beatty, and in order to avoid confusion with the oncoming battle fleet he turned left 90 deg. in order to form astern of the Sixth Battle Division, by this move, however, leaving Beatty's cruisers unsupported. Meanwhile the armored cruisers of Arbuthnot were already under fire from Hipper's squadron and suffering severely. At 6.16 the _Defense_, the flagship of the squadron, blew up; the _Warrior_ was badly disabled, and the _Black Prince_ was so crippled as to be sunk during the night action. As Evan-Thomas made his turn, one of his battleships, the _Warspite_, was struck by a shell that jammed her steering gear in such a way as to send her head on toward the Germans. She served to shield the _Warrior_ from destruction, but suffered thirty hits from heavy projectiles before she was brought under control and taken out of action.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF JUTLAND, MAY 31, 1916

2nd and 3rd phases]

Between six and 6.15 Jellicoe received bearings from Vice Admiral Burney (of the Sixth Battle Division), Evan-Thomas, and Beatty which

enabled him for the first time to plot accurately the position of the German battle fleet. This information revealed the fact that previous plotting based on bearings coming from Goodenough and others was seriously wrong. The Germans were twelve miles to the west of where they were supposed to be. Jellicoe then formed line of battle, not on the starboard wing, which was nearest the head of the German advance, but on the port wing, which was farthest away, and speed was reduced to 14 knots in order to enable the battle cruisers to take station at the head of the line. Indeed some of the ships in the rear or sixth division had to stop their engines to avoid collision during deployment. By this time the ships of the sixth division began to come under the shells of the German battle fleet and they returned the fire. By half past six all sixteen of the German dreadnoughts were firing at the British lines, the slow predreadnoughts being so far to the rear as to be unable to take part. The battleship fire, however, neither at this point nor later showed the extraordinary accuracy displayed by the battle cruisers at the beginning, but this may possibly be attributed to the gathering mistiness that hung over the sea, darkened by the low-lying smoke from the host of ships.

As soon as Scheer realized that he had not only run right into the arms of the Grand Fleet, but lay in the worst tactical position imaginable with an overwhelming force concentrated on the head of his line, he turned away to escape. The battle cruisers (at 6.30) swung away sharply from east to south, the ships turning in succession. Meanwhile the torpedo flotillas tried to cover the turn by a gallant attack on the British battle line. At the same time smoke screens also were laid to cover the retirement. The _Invincible_, Hood's flagship, which was leading the British line, was at this juncture struck by a shell that penetrated her armor and exploded a magazine. The ship instantly broke in two and went to the bottom, and only four officers and two men were saved. Almost at the same instant the German battle cruiser _Luetzow_, Hipper's flagship, was so badly disabled by shells and torpedo that she fell out of line helpless. Hipper managed, however, to board a destroyer and two hours later succeeded in shifting his flag to the _Moltke_.

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