The Germans, convinced that their communications were now secure, planned to destroy a portion of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet by manoeuvring them into the North Sea, off Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula. This was part of a strategy intended to end the British blockade of German ships. If successful, the Germans would be able to receive vital materials and foodstuffs, in addition to gaining access to the Atlantic. The British, aware of the German plan, sent Vice-Admiral Beatty’s battlecruiser squadron, part of Admiral Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet, to engage the German battlecruisers on 31 May 1916. Vice-Admiral Hipper opened fire on Beatty’s fleet at 3.31 pm. Beatty returned fire at 3.48. By 4.26 pm the British had lost Queen Mary and Indefatigable and their crews. Surprised by the arrival of Vice-Admiral Scheer’s battlecruiser squadron at 4.42 pm, a divide and conquer strategy, the British turned back towards the Grand Fleet.