The sighting of Scheer’s High Seas Fleet came as a complete surprise to the British as they believed that it was still in port. Beatty quickly ordered a turn north at 16:40 and informed Jellicoe who moved his Grand Fleet southeast in preparation for an engagement. The damaged destroyers Nestor and Nomad were soon sunk as sitting ducks by the long-range fire of the incoming High Seas Fleet. Again Beatty’s instructions to the 5th Battle Squadron were delayed and they found themselves at the rear of the retreating British formation after making the turn north at 16:55. The four battleships began taking fire from Scheer’s fleet in the south and Hipper’s battle cruisers in the east simultaneously as Beatty had moved his own battle cruisers out of range to the west. The Queen Elizabeth-class battleships were equipped with heavy armour and long-range guns, making them ideal for their unintended role as a rear guard.
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