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The Battle

The battlecruiser forces - commanded by Beatty and Hipper - were scouting ahead of the main fleets, and the fighting began when they made contact in the afternoon. Two of Beatty's ships were destroyed after being hit by German shells, with huge explosions in the magazines killing thousands of men in only a few minutes. Beatty's ship, Lion, narrowly avoided the same fate.

After sighting the High Seas Fleet, Beatty led the German ships towards Jellicoe's Grand Fleet, which opened fire with devastating effect and forced Scheer to retreat. There were further destructive clashes during the night, but by the morning of 1 June the High Seas Fleet had escaped.

Jutland was a dramatic clash in which the stakes were high. Ships and their entire crews could be destroyed in moments. In the heat of battle, every man - whether an experienced Admiral or a boy sailor - shared the risk, and relied on his fellow sailors to do their duty.

The Royal Navy lost 14 ships, including three battlecruisers, and over 6,000 men. The German fleet lost 11 ships and over 2,500 men. Although Jutland did not result in the decisive victory both sides had hoped for, the Royal Navy retained command of the sea. Germany would eventually turn to unrestricted submarine warfare - inflicting terrible losses on the merchant fleet and its seamen, but contributing to USA's decision to join the war on the side of Britain and her allies.

Find out more about the battle of Jutland.

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