Guns and Destinies at Sea: Readings on the Battle of Jutland, 1915

In 1915, when war was raging in the fields of Europe, naval superiority had yet to be decided. In the lead-up towards war both Germany and England raced towards a superior naval force capable of overpowering the enemy.   But there had not been a naval engagement that would decide who would control the destiny of the Atlantic, and consequently, the British Isles.   If the Germans wrested control of the seas from England, then supplies going to the Isles would be blockaded and they would be starved to submission.   But a British victory would bring freedom of navigation for supply ships going to and from England.

The deciding naval engagement happened at the North Sea, in Jutland.   Both sides were evenly matched, and the guns pounded on both sides for hours, until the engagement broke off with no clear winner.   However, shortly thereafter, Germany no longer brought out its surface fleet, opting instead to turn to submarine warfare.   This assured British dominance in the sea lanes, though for a time the submarines would also imperil their survival.

In the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, the following readings may be recommended:

 

1. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History –  Alfred Thayer Mahan’s seminal work studies the importance of naval dominance on any conflict.   Controlling the sea lanes assures not only constant resupply, but also to limit the capacity of the enemy.   But more is discussed on the book.

You can find the link to the Amazon copy here: LINK

 

 

 

 2. Jutland: the Unfinished Battle – The author has a personal link to Jutland, as he is related to Admiral Jellicoe, one of the important figures that decided the destinies of the two navies that fought in the North Sea.   The battle is studied through the eyes of both combatants.

You can find the link to the Amazon copy here: LINK

 

 

 

  3. Skagerrak: The Battle of Jutland through German eyes – To the British it was a struggle for naval supremacy and dominion.   To the Germans, it was a struggle for survival.  For not only is the waters of the British isles decided on the naval battle in the North Sea, but also much needed supplies coming from this same North Sea to the northern coasts of Germany could be blockaded by British ships.   To the Germans, this was a personal struggle: Skaggerakschlact, or Battle of the Skagerrak.   It is fitting then that Jutland should be told also through the eyes of those who had personal stake in it.

You can find a link of the copy on Amazon here: LINK

 

 

 4. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany and the Winning of the Great War at Sea – This book goes beyond the events of Jutland and studies the entire naval struggle between Germany and Britain throughout the war, leading up to Jutland and beyond, and how naval dominance also had a hand in tipping the balance of power in the war on land.

You can find a link of the copy on Amazon here: LINK