Was this due to their fascination of torpedo effect shells in order to generate underwater hits below the main belt?
Yes, as I understand it.
I believe they even practiced shooting tight groups a little 'short' in order to try to achieve that type of hit.
The whole idea sounds like the sort of thing that requires smarter weapons than were available to anyone then.
 
Ironically the one time those things actually worked as designed(on the USS Boise at the battle of Cape Esperance) the giant hole said shell created instantly flooded the forward magazines and prevented the ship from blowing up, she still needed months of repairs though.
Thank you for that example (my knowledge of the Pacific War is limited) - I'm amazed it ever worked!
 
Have their been any drivers to change either navy's attitudes to night combat or battleship captains' initiative?
Beatty's Captains are rather better briefed as to his intentions, but then there are a few developments due there...

The attitude to night combat is still very much as in reality. The RN is poorly prepared and Jellicoe's natural caution is undimmed. The Germans are a bit better, but still not seeking a night engagement.
 
Stavanger 15 - Nightfall
Stavanger 15 - Nightfall

By seven o’clock, most of the heavy guns had fallen silent over the seas southwest of Stavanger.

Admiral Beatty and his staff had successfully transferred themselves onto the destroyer HMS Defender and had set off in hot pursuit of the rest of the battlecruisers, now a few miles to the East. Such signals as the Admiral had before he left HMS Lion led him to believe the Germans were escaping south, and he had seen the High Seas Fleet turn around. Shortly after boarding the Defender, he ordered his squadron to turn south. Faced with the unfamiliar setup of the destroyer, the Admiral’s Flag Lieutenant proved unable to hoist the flags for a few minutes, and in fact it was Defender’s Signals Officer who eventually bent the signal. The Admiral reportedly directed a ‘well-rounded naval phrase’ at his Flags, before turning around to continue fighting the battle.
Technically, at this time it should have become Sturdee’s Battle Cruiser Force, as he was senior to Beatty and his ships had now joined the rear of the main battle line. However, in the heat of action and with Beatty signalling furiously from his temporary destroyer-flagship, Sturdee didn’t feel it was advisable to interfere. His decision would be debated for years to come. At that moment he had a better view than Beatty and could see the German battlecruisers retreating to the Southeast, not the South. However, he assumed Beatty wanted to either join the van of the Grand Fleet and support them in engaging the High Seas Fleet, or cut the German battlecruisers off from their home port at Wilhelmshaven. He therefore repeated Beatty’s order to the rest of the squadron.
Ultimately, that may well have played to the Germans’ advantage, as it was only the High Seas Fleet retreating south. Hipper's battlecruisers sailed away unmolested to the southeast, and would continue to do so for nearly hour, before ultimately turning East towards the relative safety of the Skaggerak.

At about 7.30, the BCF’s easternmost scouts reported Hipper's ships, or at least ‘Enemy ships sailing southeast’, but there were conflicting reports of heavy ships heading south and Admiral Beatty chose to ignore this new sighting as light forces, or perhaps isolated damaged ships making their way from the battle. Half an hour later, the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron and several destroyers were despatched to finish them off, but in the gathering gloom they failed to find their targets, while they themselves were silhouetted against the light of the setting sun. Hipper did in fact see them but chose not to fire for fear of giving away his position. However, his escorting destroyers engaged furiously. HMS Pelican would later sink and HMS Nestor was ultimately towed home, in return for damage to G102, which was later beached on the Danish coast.

The Grand Fleet did not regain contact with the HSF before dusk, due to the delay caused by the earlier German torpedo attacks. Both fleets were steaming at about 20 knots and Jellicoe remained cautious due to repeated sightings of German torpedo-boats ahead. At 8.05, cries of ‘Mine’ were heard aboard HMS Monarch, in line behind the flagship Iron Duke, although this was probably a spent torpedo from earlier in the day. As if to compensate for his poor luck or poor judgment in sailing South, at 8.36 Beatty received reports of a single ship sighted to the East. This time, he believed the report, as it could be seen from the Defender. Perhaps out of frustration, or maybe in the belief that where there was one, there might be more, he swung the battlecruisers around to close. The light cruiser Stuttgart didn't stand a chance. She had been damaged earlier during action with British screening cruisers, and it took the battlecruisers just seven minutes to finish her.

In the growing gloom of the evening, Admiral Jellicoe could only guess what route the Germans would take towards their home port. He would have spotted Scheer by now if the German Admiral had been so unwise as to attempt to break through to the East, but that left two possibilities; the Horns Reef or the route along the north coast of Germany. Scheer’s course as his ships disappeared into the haze suggested the former, but a turn of just a couple of points could change that. If the action were to be renewed tomorrow morning, he therefore had to cover both possibilities, while the ideal of having the Germans silhouetted against the morning light meant a southerly course was attractive.
As the sun set and visibility rapidly closed in, Jellicoe's nerves were tested. There was gunfire some way away to the southeast (this was 2LCS engaging Hipper's destroyers), but also repeated brief but furious battles between his flotillas and German light forces ahead, which resulted in heavy damage to several Grand Fleet destroyers.
Late in the evening, Beatty reported sighting the German battlecruisers, but that report was confused by his second signal, ‘Engaging enemy cruiser bearing north-northeast’, along with a position that put Beatty’s ships to the south of where the sound of gunfire suggested they really were.

Having demolished the Stuttgart, Beatty swung around to the west, disappointed that he hadn’t found the German battlecruisers. Without any certain reports of their location, he decided to resume his position ahead of the Grand Fleet, and the pace of the BCF briefly slowed as he took the chance to board Princess Royal, a somewhat more suitable flagship than the tiny Defender.

Both fleets would steam south for much of the night. Shortly after 8.30, Admiral Scheer turned slightly to the East to cross ahead of the Grand Fleet. With the sounds of skirmishes astern, Scheer was certain the British knew where he was. He was desperate not to renew the action and planned to launch a torpedo attack early in the morning to try to slow the enemy and buy him a little more time to reach the safety of the minefields.

By 3 o'clock, Admiral Jellicoe knew the German minefields were not far ahead, but that action could not be resumed before first light. As the first glimmers of light illuminated the horizon at about 3.30, there was no sign of Scheer anywhere to the East.
 
And so Jutland ends not with a bang but a slow drawn out groan as its now a case of getting the cripples home. Honours are roughly even, the RN lose a modern battlecruiser and had several other modern ships badly shot up, as well as loosing some armoured cruisers which shouldn't have been there and some DD's.

The Germans lost a modern dreadnought, and had other ships badly shot up with some battlecruisers, like their RN counterparts being crippled but no losses there. The Germans have lost several light cruisers and destroyers and are withdrawing.

Tactically its a draw but a strategic victory for the UK, but its a case of getting their damaged ships home now and repairing them. The 5th Battle Squadron is badly shot up and the Battlecruisers are not in much better shape. But the RN can claim a victory here.

An excellent update all round, not quite the huge BANG we was expecting. And the RN will be making very angry noises about the quality of its shells for sure!
 
In fairness we don't know the state of the crippled German battlecruisers If they're anything like Seydlitz was otl the extra distance to home may prove fatal.
 
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And so Jutland ends not with a bang but a slow drawn out groan as its now a case of getting the cripples home. Honours are roughly even, the RN lose a modern battlecruiser and had several other modern ships badly shot up, as well as loosing some armoured cruisers which shouldn't have been there and some DD's.

The Germans lost a modern dreadnought, and had other ships badly shot up with some battlecruisers, like their RN counterparts being crippled but no losses there. The Germans have lost several light cruisers and destroyers and are withdrawing.

Tactically its a draw but a strategic victory for the UK, but its a case of getting their damaged ships home now and repairing them. The 5th Battle Squadron is badly shot up and the Battlecruisers are not in much better shape. But the RN can claim a victory here.

An excellent update all round, not quite the huge BANG we was expecting. And the RN will be making very angry noises about the quality of its shells for sure!

"No sign of Scheer anywhere to the East" - that's not the same as no sign of him. If he's misjudged the timing of when to try to get round the GF he could be sat right across their T (which is going to suck for the RN) or he could still be to westward.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
And so Jutland ends not with a bang but a slow drawn out groan as its now a case of getting the cripples home. Honours are roughly even, the RN lose a modern battlecruiser and had several other modern ships badly shot up, as well as loosing some armoured cruisers which shouldn't have been there and some DD's.

The Germans lost a modern dreadnought, and had other ships badly shot up with some battlecruisers, like their RN counterparts being crippled but no losses there. The Germans have lost several light cruisers and destroyers and are withdrawing.

Tactically its a draw but a strategic victory for the UK, but its a case of getting their damaged ships home now and repairing them. The 5th Battle Squadron is badly shot up and the Battlecruisers are not in much better shape. But the RN can claim a victory here.

An excellent update all round, not quite the huge BANG we was expecting. And the RN will be making very angry noises about the quality of its shells for sure!

Sinking dreadnoughts by gunfire took a long time. They were incredibly durable. How many battleships were sunk by gunfire alone (note I exclude battlecruisers!)?
 
...

Tactically its a draw but a strategic victory for the UK, but its a case of getting their damaged ships home now and repairing them. The 5th Battle Squadron is badly shot up and the Battlecruisers are not in much better shape. But the RN can claim a victory here.
...

In fairness we don't know the state of the crippled German battlecruisers If they're anything like Seydlitz was otl the extra distance to home may prove fatal.

Both sides now have to face their greatest enemy - the sea.
... and small but important things may yet happen in action, even yet.
 
Sinking dreadnoughts by gunfire took a long time. They were incredibly durable. How many battleships were sunk by gunfire alone (note I exclude battlecruisers!)?
Indeed, they were very carefully designed ships (not unreasonably; they were the deterrent forces of their day).
To sink one at all required a degree of luck that exposed some unlooked-for flaw in the design.

Even the battlecruisers were tough ships. Of the 6 that were sunk due to gunfire-related causes, it is hard to blame the fundamental design of the ships for five of them.
The exception being Hood, and even so, she faced an opponent with considerably superior guns, and if the theory of the hit on the 4" magazine is correct, it was still quite a lucky hit.
The three British ships lost at Jutland were, primarily, the victims of shockingly poor magazine regulations (and possibly poor QC of Cordite) that made almost any turret hit fatal.

Only Lutzow and Kirishima could really be argued to have been sunk by weight of gunfire, and even so Kirishima faced a vastly superior opponent (as one of the DNCs observed about the sinking of Hood, in terms of time, it would be like sending one of White's Majestics to Jutland).
 
Stavanger 16 – The Stragglers
Stavanger 16 – The Stragglers

Overnight, Admiral Scheer’s fleet maintained as high speed as was practical, about 19 knots, in order to stay ahead of the Grand Fleet. He had decided to head straight home, but to avoid being caught silhouetted against the eastern dawn, he had to stay ahead of the British.

He need not have worried. Overnight, the Grand Fleet had slowed to a cruising speed of 18 knots, and the ships gradually broke up back into a series of divisional lines, as lack of visibility and the tiredness of crews began to have an effect.
By the time dawn came up, a disappointed Admiral Jellicoe had already broken off the chase and turned Northwest. It was expected that the Germans would sow mines in their wake, and before the battle, intercepted signals suggested that U-Boats were positioned off Norway. The C-in-C therefore wanted to be away to the west before these weapons had an opportunity to even out what appeared to be a British victory. So far, he had been lucky, but these German submarines and minelayers had now had over twelve hours to position themselves and their deadly cargoes. At 3.30, he therefore ordered the Grand Fleet to break off the chase and head home.
Attention turned to the business of making harbour.

As the Fleets were heading south overnight, heavily damaged survivors had begun limping back towards their homes. To the northwest, HMS Warspite had extinguished her fires and was steaming slowly back towards Rosyth at 12 knots, her progress hampered by the need to zig-zag to avoid the threat of U-boat attack. Every time the battleship turned, she heeled badly and only slowly righted herself in the swell.
Some way behind her, Royal Oak was barely moving. Surrounded by three destroyers and trailed by a damaged light cruiser, she was heavily flooded both fore and aft. Her engines were fully operational but attempting anything over 8 knots caused the bow wave to wash over her foc'sle. Waves and the roll of the swell caused more water to enter through her secondary gunports, adding to the problems below, as it had been decided to let it drain down into bilges and even boiler rooms as quickly as possible in order to help preserve what little stability she had left. That morning, the ships of the Grand Fleet were sighted to the south on their way home, and at that time the First Lieutenant estimated her displacement was about 38,000 tons. When she sailed, she would have displaced about 32,500, and since then had burned off about 1,000 tons of fuel and fired 400 tons of ammunition.

Those few of her crew who had time to notice saw a remarkable sight that morning. At 7.40, a Zeppelin poked its grey nose out from behind a cloud some miles to the south, clearly following the progress of the Grand Fleet. Several ships engaged it with calibres ranging from .303 to 15”, but it turned and climbed away, seemingly unharmed. However, when it reappeared beneath the clouds a few minutes later, heading north towards Royal Oak, its luck ran out. The Zeppelin was engaged by a Short 225 aircraft piloted by Sub-Lieutenant J.A. Mills. Using special bright-burning tracer rounds, he was able to puncture and set fire to the German airship, and thousands of men on the ships below had the satisfaction of seeing the machine fall into the sea. Lt. Mills earned a commendation for his actions, but he also earned his place in history when he landed back alongside Campania. He had become the first man to score an air combat victory from a carrier aircraft.

Aboard the Royal Oak, bulkheads were holding but there was little stability left in the ship, and she wallowed in the swell as her helmsmen struggled to hold a course at low speed. At ten o'clock, the steering compartment finally began to flood at a rate that the portable pumps were unable to keep pace with. Theoretically, the steering gear would continue to work underwater, but it was another risk.
With a rising wind and the rudder having little bite at just five knots, the ship could barely be steered anyway, and a few minutes before eleven, her Captain gave up trying and ordered HMS Obdurate to take station ahead and pass a tow line to help stabilise the battleship. However, as the hawser was being passed across, her luck finally ran out. Despite the efforts of the two other destroyers to patrol around the crippled ship, one of the U-Boats that had failed to spring a trap on the Grand Fleet had finally found a target. UB-18 fired two torpedoes at 12.02. One failed and ran on the surface, alerting the escorts and the crew on the battleship, but unfortunately, the second found the ship, and exploded on the port side abeam the forward boiler rooms. In normal circumstances, a single torpedo would not have crippled such a large ship, but Royal Oak had around 7,000 tons of water on board already. The torpedo opened a gash that quickly flooded several wing compartments, and water started to pour into Boiler Room 1. On the bridge, Captain Earle knew the condition of his ship, and he gave the order to abandon the instant the torpedo exploded.
There was so little stability reserve left in the hull that she started to roll almost immediately. Observers on HMS Onslow saw her deck was awash to port within a minute, and barely two minutes after the torpedo hit, one of the Royal Navy's most powerful and modern battleships rolled over. Fused shells in her forward magazine exploded as the masts hits the water, and there was nothing left to do but pick up survivors and try to hunt for the submarine, which quietly turned away and escaped to the east.

Some way to the northeast of the sunken Royal Oak, HMS Lion was also in a bad condition. Her port engine room had flooded completely during the night, and there were leaks into the port condenser room and wing spaces. The only way her crew had prevented her from capsizing was by allowing water into the starboard condenser room and then later by drawing the fires and part-flooding the starboard aft boiler room. Waves washed over her quarterdeck as she limped west at 10 knots, using her starboard engine only, while bulkheads in both the damaged and deliberately flooded compartments proved less watertight than they should have been. Shortly after mid-day, salt contamination was found in her boilers and evidence was found that the starboard condenser and several feed tanks were leaking. Using reserve water, she continued west for about an hour before the battlecruisers came into sight to the south, and a tow line was passed from New Zealand. By mid-afternoon, she was once again heading towards home, at just 8 knots.

By the evening of the 1st August, the German Government was able to say, with some legitimacy, that the German Fleet was back in harbour, following a successful action with the Royal Navy. They claimed to have inflicted losses of 4-to-1 on the British, having sunk Queen Mary, Lion, Royal Oak and Warspite, while admitting only the loss of the Markgraf.
 
Well written as usual and it seems to basically be a German win at least in terms of ships sunk. One modern BC, one modern battleship and some obsolete ACR's in return for one of their Dreadnoughts sunk. We don't know the state of the German stragglers though.

And despite her end, the Royal Oak really did show that the ships design is sound. She took a HUGE beating from guns of all calibers and kept on fighting and was only done in by progressive flooding.
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
Warspite and Lion still being afloat kind of reduces that narrative, but the other two are legit kills. The HSF are still in port licking their wounds from a larger fleet however. Let's hope RN losses are replaced by lengthened QE class.
 
Beatty put his battlecruisers into a fight that he could not win. That narrative has not changed from OTL so I confidently expect his failure to be rewarded with promotion
 
Man I bet the R class design team is both proud of Royal Oak(at least she went out like a beast in this timeline with the bulk of her crew hopefully surviving)and how much it took to sink her and sadened by her loss...and the loss of the ability to learn how to build yet better capital ships by examining her damage, ah well it looks like they will have to make do with Warspite. Also ironically it looks like the RN will be much stronger than otl in the lead up to the Washington Naval Treaty since it will have the 5 QEs,4 Rs, the 2 Renowns,Furious, and the 4 Admirals or in other words 16 modern capital ships with no less than 7 modern battlecruisers among them which will prove very useful indeed in WW2. Of course this means the RN probably will not be getting the Nelsons but in the context of WW2 the Nelsons are far less useful than say Furious due to their low speed. On the other hand having 18 capital ships if they do get the Nelsons would make a better refit/rebuild cycle far easier to do(assuming the money to do so is available of course,maybe the RN gets the money to do so as a counter to American and Japanese rebuilds of their capital ships), especially since the Rs don't have the issues that made rebuilding them impossible in otl.
 
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SsgtC

Banned
Man I bet the R class design team is both proud of Royal Oak(at least she went out like a beast in this timeline with the bulk of her crew hopefully surviving)
She sank in two minutes. I doubt more than 1-200 got off before she went down. Add in the fact that she exploded when she rolled over, and very few would have survived
 
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