Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"There Seems To Be Something Wrong With Our Bloody Ships Today"

Today is the centennial of the Battle of Jutland, in which the British Grand Fleet fought the German High Seas Fleet in the largest clash of battleships in history. Robert Farley's The Battleship Book is a great resource for "biographies" of many of the principal ships involved and the military and technological context in which the battle took place.

The post's title is the response of British Vice Admiral David Beatty to the destruction of the British battlecruisers Indefatigable and Queen Mary within thirty minutes (with 11 survivors out of over 2,000 combined crew) and the (incorrect) report of a third having blown up. Unfortunately, two hours later a third battlecruiser - Invincible, in fact the first battlecruiser launched - would be lost with six survivors out of a thousand crew.

The moral here: if you are going to name a ship Invincible, give it enough armor for her to live up to her name.


Anonymous said...

If you haven't read The Dreadnoughts, give that a try. Very big and sluggish but also very good. If I can find my copy I'll bring it by sometime.

Dave P.

Dave S. said...

Is that the Robert Massie book? I have it and boy could it have used an editor. On the other hand, it could probably have lasted longer at Jutland than a British battlecruiser (low bar, but still).