The British Way of War - The Royal Navy in the 20th Century Sept 24, 2018 18:58:45 GMT -5
Post by ramjb on Sept 24, 2018 18:58:45 GMT -5
The reason why the High Seas Fleet's failure to inflict sufficiently-disproportionate losses on the Grand Fleet to materially reduce the Grand Fleet's margin of superiority matters is that the entire reason why the High Seas Fleet went to sea in the first place was to do exactly that.
...only to find out that they weren't the hunters but the hunted, because they went out to lure a small portion of the british fleet into combat and destroy it and instead found the grand fleet.
Look, it's easy. Imagine Jutland was a success for the german plans. Imagine they surprised a whole battlesquadron of the Grand Fleet. Imagine they overwhelmed it with concentrated firepower, destroyed it completely, and sustained no major losses while doing so.
The strategic outcome of that scenario is the same one as Jutland. The british would still vastly outnumber the HSF to the point of making a direct fleet vs fleet encounter as suicidal as it was during Jutland, and new construction was proceeding at full pace so those losses wouldn't matter at all in the big scope of things.
So according to that scenario, and according to the parameters to measure victory I see here, the Germans would've also lost that one. Because, as nothing changed in the strategic level, no victory. Right?. It'd been only of "tactical" significance, so a defeat anyway.
I'll try to insist one more time, and probably for the last one: Any meaningful shift of the strategic statu quo in the North Sea was simply out of the german HSF grasp. No battle they could win would change that: numbers were far too weighed against them and to make things worse the british completely outpaced them on destroyer, cruiser, battleship and battlecruiser construction (While german naval building had pretty much but frozen by 1916).
Under those circunstances, Jutland was a resounding win. Facing up such ovewhelming opposition, kicking it on the teeth and coming back home to tell the tale was something the own germans never believed was going to happen (and that's why they were avoiding since 1914 exactly the kind of fight that happened in that battle). Because what was NOT going to happen, under any circunstance, is that the HSF inflicted enough losses to the Royal Navy as to force them to bring the blockade to an end. There's no believable scenario where suddenly half the british fleet dissapears from the face of Earth with a snap of fingers. And that's what it'd taken for the germans...not to lift the blockade, but to achieve parity with the british. Parity. they'd still have had to fight it out against the other half, and win that fight, in order to lift the blockade.
so again, it seems no victory for them no matter what. Mkay....but I don't agree. Battles have to be measured in their proper context when deciding who was the winner and who was the loser. And seems nobody (but yours truly) is willing to do that with this particular one.