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Voices From the Past: The Battle of Jutland (ePub)

History’s Greatest Sea Battle Told Through Newspaper Reports, Official Documents and the Accounts of Those Who Were There

WWI All Frontline eBooks Jutland Frontline: WWI Frontline: Naval

By Richard Osborne
Frontline Books
Series: Voices From the Past
File Size: 15.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 309
ISBN: 9781848324558
Published: 6th June 2016

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Since the days of the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy had been the acknowledged as the most powerful maritime force on the planet. Britain could boast more warships, and particularly more Dreadnoughts and battle-cruisers than any other nation. But the Germans had undertaken an enormously-expensive ship-building programme designed to place the Kaiserliche Marine on an equal footing with the Royal Navy. Since the outbreak of war between the two nations in 1914, the British public had waited in eager anticipation for the moment when the opposing battlefleets would meet at sea.

After a number of smaller engagements, major elements of the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet, finally faced each other across the grey seas of the North Sea off Jutland. Instead of the great victory that the British expected, the result was disappointingly inconclusive, with the Grand Fleet losing more men and more ships than the Germans.

In this insightful and unique investigation into the battle, naval historian Richard Osborne draws on the words of the key players to resolve the many disputes, controversies and myths that have surrounded this battle throughout the intervening 100 years.

The second of these brief reviews of works
published this year on the Battle of Jutland,
as we approach the end of its centenary year,
also makes for fascinating reading. The source
material is, as the publisher prints on the book’s
cover: “History’s Greatest Sea Battle Told Through
Newspaper Reports, Official Documents and the
Accounts of Those Who Were There." The author,
naval historian Richard Osborne, has assembled
the words of many of those involved in order to
investigate the many disputes, disagreements,
and controversies that arose in 1916 and have
never satisfactorily been resolved to this day.
Still, no firm conclusion has been drawn and no final answers reached, but the reader will be left much the wiser for having read this excellent work. The book is illustrated with a number of contemporary photos. The front cover illustration depicts Vice- Admiral Beattie’s flagship HMS Lion leading the battlecruisers during the Battle of Jutland.

Ships in Scale, November/December 2016 - reviewed by Roger Marsh

highly readable book – highly recommended

Marine News, January 2017

I know, yet another book about the Battle of Jutland! I've lost track of how many books on Jutland have been issued or reissued to mark the centenary of the battle. Some have been better than others and this is one of the better volumes. In this book the author, Richard Osborne, draws on the words of the key players to examine the many disputes, controversies and myths that have surrounded this battle throughout the intervening 100 years.

It contains a fairly straightforward account of the battle itself, but what makes this book different is that, wherever possible, the story of the battle is told through newspaper accounts, official documents and eyewitness accounts.

What I found particularly interesting about this book was its examination of events after the battle was over. Press coverage of the battle was viewed around the world are fully investigated. There is no denying that the press was mishandled by the Admiralty following the battle and one long overdue result was the establishment of a Naval Department of Publicity in 1917. There is also a chapter detailing how attempts were made to make the battlecruisers the scapegoats for British failures during the battle. What is interesting here is the fact that as early as October 1916 and Admiralty investigation into the loss of the three battlecruisers at Jutland asserted that they had been lost because magazine regulations have been contravened. This infuriated Beatty who took this to be a personal affront to him and his beloved Battle Cruiser Fleet.

The hardback book is 309 pages long and contains several pages of photographs of ships that took part in the battle. There are detailed Appendices which provide details of the ships which formed both fleets, a comprehensive list of notes and references, an extensive Bibliography and a detailed index. At £25 I feel this volume is good value for money and I thoroughly recommend this book.

Warship World, November – December 2016 - reviewed by PJS

About Richard Osborne

Richard Osborne is a retired lecturer in Pharmacology who was born in Portsmouth in 1948 and awarded a Ph.D in Neurochemistry by Imperial College in 1974. He has always had a keen interest in ships joining the World Ship Society in 1962 and serving as its Chairman from 2000 to 2012.

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