Teaching Naval history - discuss

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Jellicoe commanded a fleet that hadn’t fought a peer in a century, and was adapting to a ferociously rapid technological transformation in all aspects of ship design, guns, shells, and fire control. Plus new threats like mines and torpedoes.

Given all this, plus his status as the one man who could lose the war in an afternoon, he did the professional thing which was to use his fleet cautiously despite the strong aggressive tradition of the RN.
Fair points - and Jellicoe was probably the most capable of the WW1 admirals. But if you read his Grand Fleet Battle Orders, you can see an obvious reason why his captains didn't show much initiative. They're immensely detailed and cover in huge detail what captains should do in every conceivable situation. Captains were probably too busy thumbing through them to find out what to do to start wondering if they should act on their own initiative.

But that lack of initiative was what did for Jellicoe. All some captains needed to do was signal 'enemy sighted' or simply open fire. They just sat there. Jellicoe just didn't have the visibility to see everything. He needed his captains to keep him informed - but he'd stifled their initiative.

To be fair to Jellicoe, he had informed the Admiralty that he intended to use a cautious strategy - and got their approval. So he was acting in accordance with the wishes of his professional masters.

Wordsmith
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
What is also remarkable is that this battle took place a mere 40 years after the RN had reduced 500 houses in Kagoshima to smoking ash in a short bombardment.
In a bombardment where the return fire decapitated the ship's captain and the band played 'Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be'. A propos this there is a memorial in Yokohama which survived WW2 undesecrated. Given the Japanese propensity for wooden houses reducing them to ash must have been spectacular.
 
Not wanting to take anything away from Richard Polanski's service and bravery, and perhaps this is just a terminology difference on my part being non-RN, but how can you be 'closed up' in an open-backed turret? Journalistic license?

Your temporary puzzlement is understandable. I am reminded of other differences in terminology which can cause confusion. It is said that when asked to secure a building, the RN would lock it up and go home, the Army would attack and occupy it, and the RAF would take a lease on it for two years with an option to buy.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
In a bombardment where the return fire decapitated the ship's captain and the band played 'Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be'. A propos this there is a memorial in Yokohama which survived WW2 undesecrated. Given the Japanese propensity for wooden houses reducing them to ash must have been spectacular.
They got their own back - Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse - Wikipedia
 
Sultan honours trailblazing female engineer | Royal Navy

In a male-dominated industry Drummond fought against discrimination and prejudice to become respected by her marine engineer peers and receive the MBE for bravery during the Battle of the Atlantic.

In a seagoing career spanning four decades, she completed 49 voyages – including numerous Atlantic convoys and a three-month on a tanker supporting the invasion of Normandy.


Do we do enough to celebrate and remember the achievements of the past? What better what to install C2DRIL values?
 

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