North Sea: Situation 31 May 1916


Map Code: Ax00980

In 1916 the German naval force in the North Sea was at a numerical disadvantage to the Royal Navy, which was engaging in a naval blockade of Germany, so targets had to be chosen wisely. The German plan behind the actions that developed into the Battle of Jutland was to lure the secondary British Battle Cruiser Fleet out in response to a German scouting force. The main German High Seas Fleet would follow behind and overpower the British Battle Cruisers in the absence of the Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet. At the time the British were able to decipher encoded German communications so were aware of a large upcoming German deployment, sending the Grand Fleet out in response. German U-Boats stationed around the British coast were caught off guard by the movement of the Grand Fleet and were unable to pass on accurate information about its movement to the High Seas Fleet.

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