Battle of the Skagerrak

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Battle of the Skagerrak
Explosion of the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary
Explosion of the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary
date May 31 to June 1, 1916
place off Jutland , North Sea
output draw
consequences Reinforcement of submarine warfare ; Decline in the strategic importance of capital ships
Parties to the conflict

United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag) United Kingdom

German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire


United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag) John Jellicoe David Beatty
United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag)

German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) Reinhard Scheer Franz Hipper
German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge)

Troop strength
28 battleships
9 battle cruisers
8 armored cruisers
26 light cruisers
78 destroyers
1 aircraft mothership
16 battleships
5 battle cruisers
6 old ships of the line
11 small cruisers
61 torpedo boats

6,094 dead
3 battle cruisers
3 armored cruisers
8 destroyers
sunk with 115,025 tons
(equivalent to 116,871 t )

2,551 dead
1 old ship of the line
1 large cruiser
4 small cruiser
5 torpedo boats
sunk with 61,180 t

The naval battle off the Skagerrak was the largest naval battle of the First World War between the German deep-sea fleet and the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy from May 31, 1916 to June 1, 1916 in the waters off Jutland . It is referred to in English as the Battle of Jutland (German: Battle of Jutland ) and was the largest naval battle between capital ships , which was mainly fought in daylight.

The German fleet was planning an advance against merchant shipping on the south coast of Norway in order to track down individual British units such as the battle cruiser squadron . The Skagerrak enabled an alternative route of retreat into the Baltic Sea. The British intelligence service had read the German orders and then planned to lock the German fleet between the Grand Fleet and the battlecruiser squadron. On the afternoon of May 31, the battle cruiser squadrons met. The fight shifted to the south until it came together with the German main association. The British squadron then turned north to the British main force. Between 7:30 p.m. and dark at 9:30 p.m., the two fleets fought each other with a total of around 250 ships. Under cover of darkness, the German fleet managed to break through the British formation and then march back to the home ports.

The outcome of the battle has to be judged differently: The British suffered significantly higher losses in human life and ships, although they led stronger forces into the battle. The success of the German side, however, was de facto only to have reached a draw. In addition, the battle did not change the strategic starting position, which made it possible for the Royal Navy to maintain the naval blockade until the end of the war, since the German deep sea fleet no longer dared a decisive battle .

The fleets

Grand Fleet Deep sea fleet
Battleships 28 16
Battle cruiser 9 5
Armored cruiser 8th -
Older ships of the line - 6th
Small cruisers 26th 11
Smaller vehicles
(destroyers, torpedo boats, etc.)
80 * 61
Heavy artillery (caliber) 48 × 38.1 cm
10 × 35.6 cm
142 × 34.3 cm
144 × 30.5 cm
36 × 23.4 cm
144 × 30.5 cm
100 × 28.0 cm
Guns (all calibers) 1850 1194
fired projectiles 4598 Severity
not specified
3597 heavy
9252 light
hits scored 100 heavy
42 light
120 heavy
107 light
Hit rate (only SA) 2.17% 3.33%
Torpedo tubes 382 × 53.3 cm,
75 × 45.7 cm
362 × 50 cm
107 × 45 cm
* 77 destroyers, 1 seaplane mother ship, 1 mine-layer, 1 tender
In addition, 10 German naval airships were used for reconnaissance

German deep sea fleet

The German fleet chief was Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer , the leader of the battle cruiser was Vice Admiral Franz von Hipper . 16 battleships , five battle cruisers , six obsolete pre-dreadnoughts , eleven small cruisers and 61 torpedo boats were involved. It should be noted, however, that the German torpedo boats almost reached the size of the British destroyers.

British Grand Fleet

A division of the Grand Fleet's 2nd Battleship Squadron : King George V followed by Thunderer , Monarch and Conqueror

The British fleet chief was Admiral Sir John Jellicoe , who had 99 mostly heavy units in his unit. The battle cruiser's squadron chief was Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty , who commanded 52 units. A total of 28 battleships, nine battle cruisers, eight armored cruisers , 26  light cruisers and 80 other British ships were involved.

Important factors

The Grand Fleet was about 8: 5 superior. The British ships were also generally equipped with larger calibers , which also had a greater effective range . The German guns had a higher muzzle velocity , which increased the stability of the projectile trajectory and the impact energy in the target. The good visibility in the late afternoon enabled the British ships to exploit their range advantage and to extend the combat range up to 14 kilometers. At that time, effective fire control required that one could observe one's own shell impacts in order to correct the alignment of one's own guns accordingly. The British fired complete volleys, watched the impacts and then corrected the shooting range by a standard value of 400 yards and fired again. It could take some time before you could shoot with cover (bracket system). The Germans used only three shots, each at a different range. Their sighting in was correspondingly faster (ladder system).

Another advantage would have been the German naval airships . Admiral Beatty said after the battle: "The enemy still has the monopoly of the best aerial reconnaissance in good weather, in which a zeppelin can do as much as five or six cruisers." start, while on May 31st the airships used did not get closer than 30 nautical miles to the fleets.

The command of the German deep-sea fleet relied on the generally only moderate visibility - about 7 kilometers - on the North Sea and equipped the ships, which were built with British units at the same time, with somewhat smaller, less long-range guns, in favor of a higher rate of fire and full-fledged artillery . The deep sea fleet compensated for this disadvantage with more powerful shells , better range finders , better armor and better other protective devices. Consequently, the German hit rate of 3.3% was significantly higher than the British one with 2.2%. In the case of the British, it was an added complication that their grenades had a lower penetration power. They tended to detonate as soon as they hit the armor instead of penetrating it first. In other cases they managed to penetrate the German armor, but due to their weaker construction they were so damaged that they no longer detonated. Therefore, although they could cause leaks, they could not endanger the entire ship through fires and subsequent explosions.

Planning by the German fleet chief

German fleet chief Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer

Until January 1916, in accordance with its operational orders, the German deep sea fleet behaved defensively according to its inferiority. Individual attempts against the British coast by bombarding coastal cities remained largely unsuccessful. When Vice Admiral Scheer replaced the sick Admiral Hugo von Pohl as fleet chief in January 1916 , he obtained approval from the German Kaiser Wilhelm II for more offensive naval warfare.

The plan envisaged provoking individual parts of the British fleet by attacking the coastal cities by battle cruisers and destroying them with the outnumbered high seas fleet waiting in a pick-up position . This should be supported by submarines and mines in front of the British bases. After a balance of forces achieved in this way, a naval battle was to be brought about between the main forces of the Grand Fleet and the deep-sea fleet .

The already prepared naval advance against the British coast was canceled due to bad weather, however, as no aerial reconnaissance by zeppelins could be carried out. Instead, the German fleet chief decided to set up a commercial war enterprise off the Norwegian coast to lure the British from their bases.

British assessment of the situation

In contrast to the German Empire , Great Britain was absolutely dependent on its fleet to protect its sea routes and could therefore have lost everything in the event of a defeat. It was also known that it was German tactics to work with submarines and mines on the routes of retreat. Persecution of withdrawing German forces was therefore ruled out.



The meeting of the parts of the fleet

Since the British naval command was able to intercept and decipher the German radio traffic, they were already in the picture from May 28th that the German forces were ordered to be more operational. From the morning of May 30th, she expected the deep-sea fleet to leave in the evening of the same or early morning of the following day. At 7:40 p.m., the order to sail was issued to the Grand Fleet, which set sail before the high seas fleet at around 9:30 p.m. The high seas fleet left around 2:00 a.m. on May 31st. (All times are in the then applicable German war summer time, GMT + 2 hours)

The Grand Fleet was spread over three bases:

The plan was for Jellicoe to relocate the deep-sea fleet and Beatty to block her way back. Due to communication errors within the radio reconnaissance, the naval command reported at noon on May 31 that the deep-sea fleet was still at anchor at Wilhelmshaven, which is why the admirals were surprised by the sudden encounter with German forces.

At 3:20 p.m., the light cruiser Galatea, the northeastern ship of the British reconnaissance line , sighted a Danish ship stopped by German torpedo boats . The British cruiser mistook the German torpedo boats B 109 and B 110 , which belonged to the II Reconnaissance Group under Rear Admiral Friedrich Boedicker , as cruisers and opened fire.

On the German side, the small cruiser Elbing approached after the opposing association was reported to him by the torpedo boats. The Elbing and the Galatea immediately opened fire on one another. The Elbing was able to take advantage of the higher accuracy and quickly score hits on the Galatea despite the extreme distance . All British cruisers on the east side of the British battlecruiser formation then withdrew, and Beatty changed course to the northeast to intercept the German squadron. There was no longer any other ship between the capital ships of the two fleets.

At this point in time, the majority of Germany was still more than 50 nautical miles further south. The British battle plan envisaged positioning itself between the deep sea fleet and its home port of Wilhelmshaven . This no longer succeeded because the British secret service had forecast the departure of the deep-sea fleet about nine hours later. However, this had already penetrated further into the North Sea. In addition, the Grand Fleet was spread over three bases and only met in the combat area. The relative position of the individual parts of the fleet to each other could not be determined precisely enough due to the inaccuracies of the dead reckoning . Therefore Jellicoe was in the dark about the exact position of the battle cruiser squadron and the deep sea fleet until the last moment. During the entire course of the battle, only part of the fleets were in sight of the flagships .

After seeing Hipper's squadron, Beatty first set out on a south-easterly course to cut off his path.

Battle cruiser battle

Vice Admiral Hipper with his staff. From left to right: Kapitänleutnant Friedrich Brutzer , Kkpt. Erich Raeder , Marine-General-Oberarzt Hagenah, Vice-Admiral Hipper, Kptlt. Gottfried Hansen , Kptlt. Oskar von der Luhe, unknown officer
The meeting of the parts of the fleet

At 4:25 p.m. the British battlecruisers came into view. Admiral Hipper then ordered a U-turn to the southeast in order to lead the enemy to the German bulk. Beatty, who had not foreseen this maneuver, then ordered a change of course to the east to intercept the German battlecruisers. At 4:48 p.m. the distance had dropped to about 15 km and the German battle cruisers opened fire. Because of the position of the sun and the smoke blown by the wind, the visibility conditions for the British ships were poorer, so that they could not take advantage of their greater artillery range. Again, the advantage of the German fire control became apparent, because between the quickly occurring German hits and the first British hits, more than ten minutes passed. Within the next hour, first the Indefatigables were hit by the von der Tann , then the Queen Mary by several volleys of the Derfflinger and the Seydlitz and caused to explode. At the Indefatigable , a turret explosion hit the ammunition chamber. The explosion also ignited the propellant charges in the other towers, which also exploded and completely destroyed the ship. The Queen Mary , on the other hand, was hit directly in an ammunition chamber. On the Indefatigable only four survived, on the Queen Mary only 20 members of the crew of about 1200 men. The German battlecruisers also received heavy hits, but the ammunition rooms on them could still be flooded in good time, and the ammunition reloading rooms prevented flames from reaching the propellant cartridges from the burning towers. The British Lion also narrowly escaped the fate of her sister ships when the central tower "Q" was destroyed by a direct hit, killing the entire tower crew.

Evan-Thomas' squadron had been separated from Beatty due to signal delay. It therefore only intervened after the sinking of the Indefatigable and scored several hits on the von der Tann . After the sinking of the Queen Mary , Evan-Thomas' new battleships had come close enough to fully intervene in the battle. These latest generation super dreadnoughts, which were still in service during World War II , were more heavily armored compared to the battlecruisers, and so the German grenades did much less damage. In addition, torpedo boats and destroyers were now fighting between the battle lines. The British destroyer Nestor sank a German torpedo boat before it had to be abandoned itself. Its sister ship Nomad broke apart after being hit, and German torpedo boats rescued the survivors of both destroyers. The British destroyer Petard torpedoed the battle cruiser Seydlitz after he had sunk the torpedo boat V29 . When the majority of the Germans were sighted by the British, they turned away in order to pull the high seas fleet into Jellicoe's main power. Salvos were also exchanged between the squadron of Evan-Thomas and the command squadron of the high seas, but they did not cause any major damage.


The pursuit of the battle cruiser

Meanwhile, Admiral Jellicoe brought his main body, which was grouped in six columns , into the route of the high seas fleet. The grouping in six columns made it possible to set up a slaughter line in any direction in a short time. During the pursuit, the long-distance duel between Evan-Thomas and the deep-sea fleet continued, but the heavy armor of the battleships prevented major damage.

Beatty radioed a position report that was about 20 nautical miles incorrect. Jellicoe was therefore still unsure whether his keel line should be formed to the right or left.

Meanwhile, the third British battlecruiser squadron under Rear Admiral Hood turned towards the German battlecruisers. First the small cruiser Wiesbaden , which was driving ahead as a reconnaissance aircraft, was put out of action, and Hipper used his torpedo boats to relieve the pressure. Beatty established visual contact with Jellicoe's reconnaissance units at 6:30 p.m. and turned back to face the German battlecruisers in order to push them away from Jellicoe. The presence of the British main fleet was to remain hidden from the Germans for as long as possible in order to enable Jellicoe to reach the optimal starting position, the " Crossing the T ". Since the torpedo boats were busy elsewhere, Hipper turned to fight directly as the vanguard of Scheer's bulk.

Main battle

At 1914, Jellicoe had a definitive position report and he formed his battle line to port. In the meantime, the armored cruisers Warrior and Defense tried to finally sink the incapable of maneuvering Wiesbaden , but got caught in the concentrated fire of the Lützow and Derfflinger from 6000 meters. The defense exploded, with 903 men of the crew including Rear Admiral Arbuthnot lost their lives. The Warrior was unable to maneuver and sank at 8:25 a.m. the next day after the tow cables to the aircraft mother ship Engadine broke . 743 survivors were saved.

Evan-Thomas was now lining up at the end of the British battle line. During this maneuver, the rudder of the Warspite jammed , which then went in circles for a while. Every German ship in sight fired at the Warspite , which had to take heavy hits. However, this saved many sailors on the Warrior , which was no longer primarily fired at. The Warspite's heavy armor prevented its destruction, but its damage was so severe that it was released to the homeport.

The meeting of the parts of the fleet

Admiral Scheer initially maintained his northeast course until Hood came within combat range of the German battlecruisers. Hood's flagship Invincible received a turret hit by the third salvo from Lützow , which detonated an ammunition chamber and tore the ship in two, which then protruded from the sea for half an hour. Over a thousand men perished with Admiral Hood , only six were saved.

In return, the Lützow received ten hits within a quarter of an hour, two of them in the area of ​​the front torpedo room, where the underwater protection had a structural weak point. The torpedo bulkhead was missing here, so that large parts of the forecastle were flooded. As a result, the Lützow became so bow-heavy that it could barely drive. Your radio room and other signaling devices were also down. This made her unusable as a flagship, and Hipper had to transfer to the Moltke with the help of a torpedo boat in order to continue the fight from there.

Jellicoe's battle line now crossed the T in front of the German line. Within a few minutes, the Germans saw nothing but a long line of flashing guns in the north. Otherwise, the British ships hardly stood out against the dark horizon . 19:33 ordered Scheer therefore his first combat turnaround , applied in all ships simultaneously by 180 °.

Because of the passage of time, the haze and the curtain of fog drawn by the torpedo boats, he managed to break loose. At 19:50, however, he ordered a second turnaround that brought the already badly damaged battle cruiser back to the top (Scheer: "Battle cruiser close to the enemy, fully deployed." ). He hoped that this surprising offensive maneuver would pave the way back. By changing course to the south in the meantime, the Grand Fleet was again in front of the German direction of advance. The initially initiated German torpedo boat attack fizzled out ineffectively. Thirteen torpedo boats fired 31 torpedoes at 6800 meters without getting a single hit. The German vanguard, which hardly had a battle cruiser left to fight, was caught in a hail of British projectiles without being able to return fire to the same extent. Thereupon Scheer ordered his third turnaround at 8:18 pm. Meanwhile, the top ship Derfflinger was devastated from 6,000 meters. But since Jellicoe had responded to the torpedo boat attack with the usual counter maneuver, namely turning, this put him out of sight and gave Scheer additional time to set down. Beatty was able to keep in touch but failed to brief his commander in chief accordingly. At around 9 p.m., isolated volleys were exchanged. Jellicoe, wanting to avoid a night fight at all costs, turned south, hoping to resume the fight the next day.

Night battle and breakthrough

An immediate German turn to the south would have brought the two fleets together again. However, it was carried out with a delay, so that both fleets were now on the same course again. For the breakthrough, Scheer, who had to avoid another day's fight, chose the easiest way and headed straight for Horn's reef . He passed the British cruiser screen that Jellicoe had assigned to the Jade as cover against a German escape .

The night battles were very confusing, as a uniform command of the units on both sides was impossible and so both fleets only tried rigidly to obey the orders given in daylight, while their formations began to partially dissolve in the dark and their courses in some cases even crossed.

First the German IV reconnaissance group met the II British cruiser squadron. The light cruiser Frauenlob was sunk by the cruisers Southampton and Dublin , which were badly damaged in return. The British armored cruiser Black Prince , which was trying to reconnect with its own fleet, mistakenly mistook the dimmed German ships for its own units, approached too far and exploded after being hit by the Thuringia ship of the line without even being fired. Some British destroyers launched an attack on the German formation. The cruiser Rostock received a torpedo hit in the boiler and boiler rooms and made little speed. It was sunk with its own torpedoes at 4:45 a.m. when British cruisers came into view. The Elbing had to perform an evasive maneuver, was rammed through the poses and had to be sunk by the crew with explosive cartridges at 3:00 a.m. An hour later, the small cruiser Wiesbaden finally sank - only one man survived.

However, three of the British destroyers did not survive their own torpedo attack. The flotilla leader Tipperary and the destroyers Ardent and Fortune were detected by the searchlights of the German ships of the line Westphalia , Nassau and Rhineland at a distance of 1000 meters and sunk by gunfire. Three others were badly damaged.

The ship of the line Pommern was hit by torpedoes and sank with 844 men. The damaged battle cruiser Lützow , lagging far behind the German fleet and sinking ever deeper, was sunk by two of its own torpedoes at 2:45 a.m. after the crew had been taken over by four torpedo boats. The night battle was observed by British battleships, but they did not report this to the flagship because "the battle took place within sight of the flagship". This is how the German breakthrough came. On the march back, the Ostfriesland large-line ship ran into a mine at 6:20 a.m., which led to considerable water ingress.


Loss of the German deep sea fleet

The heavily damaged Seydlitz

Of the big cruisers that had Lutzow after she was released early due to hits with heavy flooding, during the retreat are still abandoned at night. Driving over the stern to relieve the flooded fore ship, the amount of water that had penetrated was nevertheless so great that the stern lifted so far that the propellers turned over the water. Attempts to tow the accompanying torpedo boats also failed when the sea ​​was meanwhile beginning to rise. The crew of the Lützow switched to the torpedo boats and the G 38 sank the cruiser with two torpedo shots. The other battle cruisers, which had borne the brunt of the battle, were also battered, so the Seydlitz could only be brought back to Germany with great difficulty.

In addition, the small cruisers Wiesbaden , Frauenlob , Elbing , Rostock as well as the older Pommern liner and five torpedo boats ( V4 , V27 , V29 , V48 and S35 ) were lost. There were 2,551 dead and 507 wounded to mourn. Among the dead was the writer Gorch Fock , who served on the Wiesbaden .

British Grand Fleet losses

Damaged third turret of the British battle cruiser Lion - a 30.5 cm grenade from Lützow penetrated the turret at the joint between the armor plate and the tower ceiling and detonated inside over the gun barrel

The British fleet suffered heavy losses in the battlecruisers; the three battle cruisers Queen Mary (launched in 1912), Indefatigable (1909) and Invincible (1907) were all lost to artillery fire along with their crews. They were poorly armored and had large gaps in the internal fire protection, so that the German grenades hit the ammunition chambers. In addition, when hits were in the turrets the flash fire of detonating grenades into the cartridge chambers advance and stored there cordite and thus the entire ship to the explosion bring.

Defense , Warrior and Black Prince of the armored cruisers were lost, all three also to artillery fire. In addition, the destroyer Tipperary (1915), used as flotilla leader , and seven other destroyers ( Ardent , Fortune , Nestor , Nomad , Shark , Sparrowhawk and Turbulent ) were destroyed. The sunk British armored cruisers and the German ship of the line Pommern were obsolete ships, the loss of which did not have a major impact on the balance of power.

There were 6,094 dead and 674 wounded to mourn. In addition, the Germans took 177 shipwrecked British prisoners.

Two factors contributed to all of the explosions: the armor on the battlecruisers was inadequate, and the commanders placed the rate of fire above accuracy. Therefore, many cartridges were kept in the towers and the protective bulkheads opened. In addition, highly explosive ammunition was stowed in insufficiently protected locations in order to increase the ammunition supply. While the German ships had metal cartridges, on British ships they were cylindrically cut silk bags that were not protected against fire and could explode if they came into contact with glowing powder residues in the guns. The cordite as propellant charge was not quite as explosive as the explosive garnet fillings; however, this led to careless handling. It was only after the battle that the regulations and safety bulkheads were changed to prevent ammunition explosions.


Both sides claimed victory for themselves. The Germans had inflicted the much heavier losses on the British, especially on the battlecruisers . In addition, the British did not succeed, as planned, in preventing the withdrawal of the German deep-sea fleet. Jellicoe was therefore later accused of not having used the opportunity to completely destroy the enemy fleet.

The British Grand Fleet , however, was still clearly superior. After the battle, 24 British and ten German battleships were still operational, which corresponds to the balance of power before the battle. Nothing had changed in the overall strategic situation and the British naval blockade could be maintained.

Even after the battle, the high seas could not endanger the English supremacy at sea, and both sides did not seek further the decisive battle. For example, on August 19, 1916, the two fleets approached within 30 nautical miles without a battle. Two British cruisers were sunk by torpedoes from German submarines, which was part of the German strategy of balancing forces. In October 1916 there was a German advance to the Dogger Bank without an English reaction. One reason for this was the risk of a possible loss of prestige through the sinking of capital ships, since each was as expensive as a complete army division and, in the minds of the people, promoted by the pre-war propaganda on both sides, was the symbol of state power.

The unrestricted submarine warfare of the Imperial Navy , which was supposed to bring about the decision to go to sea, tied up large parts of the fleet for escort and minesweeping operations. In April 1918 there was a German advance as far as Bergen - Shetland . A decisive battle in the English Channel planned by the German side in October 1918 led to a mutiny by the sailors , who then formed sailors' councils. Whether the Admiralty wanted to achieve more or less realistic strategic goals or whether they just didn't want to give up without glory and without a fight is a matter of dispute. The only thing that is certain is that the sailors refused to obey orders, which were perceived as pointless. This Kiel sailors' uprising was the starting point for the November Revolution .

The Battle of the Skagerrak presented both sides with great challenges. Because of the high speeds and occasionally poor visibility, practically no air reconnaissance and the recurring deviations when determining one's own position, the meeting of the parts of the fleet was rather a matter of luck. In addition, the commanding admiral had to get an idea of ​​the situation from reports that could be quite rare and imprecise due to the adversities mentioned. Opportunities for aerial reconnaissance by the aircraft mother ship Engadine and the German airships were not used. An exchange of blows, as would have been permitted by modern means of command and communication, could therefore not take place in 1916.

The Skagerrak Battle remains the last major naval battle among artillery- armed ships. It is noteworthy that the German naval building made a decisive contribution to the deterioration of British-German relations before 1914, while the naval forces were then unable to intervene decisively in the course of the war.

Later battles between battleships, such as in World War II, were fought almost exclusively at night, as in the two naval battles of Guadalcanal (1942) and the battle of the Surigao Strait (1944), or only a few ships were involved ( Hood and Prince of Wales versus Bismarck and Prinz Eugen ).

Cultural processing

The sea battle on the Skagerrak was regularly celebrated as a great victory by right-wing parties during the years of the Weimar Republic . In Wilhelmshaven , Skagerrak celebrations with processions, parades and wreath-laying took place until the end of the 1960s. The sea battle on the Skagerrak inspired well-known artists and writers in their works.

Claus Bergen, painter of the Battle of the Skagerrak
When the German deep sea fleet returned from the sea battle off the Skagerrak, the marine painter Claus Bergen happened to be in Wilhelmshaven . He was the first marine painter to speak to crew members, sensed the atmosphere and saw “proud” ships that had been shot down. His excellent contact with Admiral Hipper , the commander of the reconnaissance forces, gave Bergen the opportunity to take part in exercises with the fleet . Claus Bergen then translated his impressions into numerous paintings and has since been considered the painter of the Skagerrak Battle.
Theodor Plievier, novelist of the sailors
The German writer Theodor Plievier processed the events of the Skagerrak Battle in his autobiographical novel Des Kaisers Kulis . In doing so, he particularly went into the perspectives and fates of ordinary sailors from both nations. The novel was an international success and was also published as a stage version under the direction of Erwin Piscator (first performance on August 31, 1930 on the Piscator stage at the Lessing Theater ).
Reinhard Goering
With his tragedy Sea Battle, the expressionist writer Reinhard Goering wrote a philosophical play with a heroic feeling, but with a pacifist undertone, which was premiered in Dresden shortly after its completion during the First World War.


  • The sunken fleet (title variants: Sea battle near Skagerrak / The sea battle near Skagerrak , D 1926, director: Manfred Noa , with Hans Albers as chief heater Tim Kreuger and Heinrich George as chief mate Röwer). The film is based on the novel of the same name by Helmut Lorenz. At the same time, an English version was filmed under the title When Fleet Meets Fleet: A Romance of the Great Battle of Jutland , which, unlike the German version, has survived.


  • Geoffrey Bennett: The Skagerrak Battle. Heyne, Munich 1976, 1980, ISBN 3-453-00618-6 .
  • George Bruce: Naval Battles of the 20th Century. Flechsig, Würzburg 2004, ISBN 3-88189-506-X .
  • Jürgen Busche: Who won the Skagerrak? Cicero , May 23, 2006. Available online. here
  • John Costello, Terry Hughes: Skagerrak 1916. Germany's largest sea battle. Heyne, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-217-00863-4 .
  • Michael Epkenhans , Jörg Hillmann , Frank Nägler (eds.): Skagerrakschlacht - Prehistory - Event - Processing 2., revised. Edition 2011, ISBN 978-3-486-70270-5 . A historical review can be found here
  • Holloway Frost: Grand Fleet and Deep Sea Fleet in World War I. With a foreword by General-Admiral Erich Raeder. Berlin 1938.
  • Andrew Gordon The Rules of the Game: Jutland and the British Naval Command , London, Murray 1996.
  • Dieter Hartwig: The Skagerrak Battle - Necessity of Naval Strategy or Military Adventure? In Jens Graul ; Michael Kämpf, Ed .: Dieter Hartwig - Marine History and Security Policy. Winkler, Bochum 2003, ISBN 3-89911-009-9 .
  • David Howarth (Ed.): The Battleships. Bechtermünz, Eltville am Rhein 1992, ISBN 3-86047-030-2 .
  • Donald Macintyre, Basil W. Bathe: Warships in 5000 Years. Delius, Klasing & Co., Bielefeld 1974, ISBN 3-7688-0184-5 .
  • Robert K. Massie : Castles of Steel - Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. Random House, London 2003, ISBN 0-345-40878-0 .
  • Kathrin Orth, Eberhard Kliem: "We were shot at by the enemy like crazy". People and ships in the Skagerrakschlacht 1916. Carola Hartmann Miles-Verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 3-945861-34-9 .
  • Elmar B. Potter, Chester W. Nimitz, J. Rohwer: Sea power - a naval war history from antiquity to the present. Bernard & Graefe, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-88199-082-8 .
  • Werner Rahn : The influence of radio reconnaissance. In: Winfried Heinemann (Hrsg.): Leadership and means of leadership ( Potsdam writings on military history , 14). Military History Research Office, Potsdam 2011, ISBN 978-3-941571-14-3 .
  • Friedrich Ruge: Scapa Flow 1919. Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Hamburg 1969.
  • Paul Schmalenbach: The history of the German ship artillery. Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1968, ISBN 3-7822-0107-8 .
  • Keith Yates: Flawed Victory. Jutland 1916. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD 2000, ISBN 1-55750-981-6 .

Web links

Commons : Skagerrakschlacht  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow , Volume III
  2. Bennett: The Battle of the Skagerrak. Heyne, 1976, p. 71 and p. 173.
  3. Werner Rahn: The influence of radio reconnaissance. 2011, pp. 23-25.
  4. Werner Rahn: The influence of radio reconnaissance. 2011, p. 25.
  5. ^ Georg Götz: Remembering the Battle of Jutland in Post-War Wilhelmshaven. In: Bill Niven , Chloe Paver (Ed.): Difficult Pasts. Memorialization In Germany since 1945. Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke 2010, ISBN 978-0-230-20703-5 .
  6. ^ Theodor Plievier: The emperor's coolies - novel of the German navy . Malik Verlag, 1930.
  7. KF Reinking: Reinhard Goering's "Sea Battle". To a performance in Heidelberg . In: Die Zeit , No. 49/1947.

Coordinates: 57 °  N , 6 °  E