Reports from Second Battle Squadron

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VICE-ADMIRAL'S REPORT, 2nd BATTLE SQUADRON

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Enclosure No. 5 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C. Home Fleets.

No. 149/47 D.
KING GEORGE V,

5th June 1916.


Sir,

I HAVE the honour to forward herewith a summary of the events occurring during the recent action, compiled from reports made by ships of the Second Battle Squadron, accompanied by plans sent in by KING GEORGE V[1], ERIN[2], ORION[3] MONARCH[4], and THUNDERER,[5] and a diary of events before, during, and after the action, kept on board KING GEORGE V

2. I am unable to supply much detail from personal observation, as it was impossible to gather any general idea of the action, only momentary glimpses of the enemy being obtained.
As leading ship, in addition to the hazy atmosphere, I was much hampered by what I imagine to have been cordite fumes from the battle-cruisers after they passed us, and from other cruisers engaged on the bow ; also by funnel gases from small craft ahead, and, for a considerable time, by dense smoke from DUKE OF EDINBURGH, who was unable to draw clear.

3. There is some evidence that submarines were close; DUKE OF EDINBURGH three times made the signal of their presence, and my Flag Lieutenant-Commander is certain that he saw the two periscopes of one vessel.
On the other hand, it was obvious to me that a good deal of DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S fire was directed not at a submarine but at the wake of vessels ahead.
The right gunlayer and trainer of "Y" turret in KING GEORGE V state that they saw a torpedo break surface 400 yards short of KING GEORGE V.

4. I should like to mention specially that about 9 p.m. I negatived an attack with Whitehead torpedoes ordered by CAROLINE, as I was certain that the vessels seen on our starboard beam were our own battle-cruisers. The Navigating Officer of my Flagship, who has just come from the battle-cruiser fleet, was also certain that they were ours, and saw them sufficiently clearly to give their approximate course, which I reported to you.
Shortly afterwards, I told CAROLINE to attack if he was quite certain they were enemy ships, as he was in a better position


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to see them than I was, but I do not know whether an attack was made.

If they were enemy ships and no attack was made, the fault is mine, and not that of CAROLINE.

I have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

T. H. M. JERRAM,

Vice-Admiral,

Commanding Second Battle Squadron.



The Commander-in-Chief,

H.M. Ships and Vessels,

Grand Fleet.

ACTION OF 31ST MAY, 1916.

Summary of Reports from Second Battle Squadron.

Time. Ship Reporting. Observations. Remarks.
5.40 p.m. KING GEORGE V Observed battle cruisers in action,
probably about 30°
green.
-
6.15 p.m. ORION Trained on an enemy
cruiser, apparently of
Kolberg class already
on fire aft and stopped,

steam escaping from
funnels, foremast shot
away. Range, 12,400 yards.
Did not open fire, as
blanked by a ship of 1st
Cruiser Squadron.

-
6. 15 p.m. MONARCH Enemy hidden from us by
our battle cruisers. Two
four - funnelled British
cruisers retiring towards
rear end of our battle fleet.
One disappeared in a cloud
of steam. One surrounded
by splashes but appeared
to emerge undamaged.
-
6.17 p.m. THUNDERER 1st Cruiser Squadron under
heavy fire, being straddled
frequently. They were seen
to damage a German
cruiser severely, setting her
on fire aft. This was
thought to be either "Prinz
Adalbert" or "Friedrich
Karl
As these vessels
are believed to
have been sunk
some time ago,
probably it was
Kolberg class.



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Time. Ship Reporting. Observations. Remarks.
6.20 p.m. ORION Observed one of our battle
cruisers heavily engaged
before starboard beam. Ri-
cochets falling near us.
-
6.25 p.m. THUNDERER IRON DUKE opened fire on
damaged cruiser. THUN-
DERER also opened fire,
followed by CONQUEROR
This was proba-
bly same ship
of KOLBERG
class referred to
previously by
THUNDERER
and ORION
6.25p.m. THUNDERER Four enemy ships— KAISER
class and battle cruisers -
hove in sight. Guns were
laid on one of these, but we
were masked by CON-
QUEROR before we could
fire. Ranges of 22,000
were obtained in the fore
top.
-
6.30 p.m.
(approx.)
ERIN 2nd Battle Squadron's view
of enemy obscured by
smoke of DUKE OF EDIN-
BURGH. Enemy's battle
fleet must then have turned
16 points, our battle cruiser
fleet about this time passing
between us and them and
being joined by the 3rd
Battle Cruiser Squadron.
-
6.30 p.m. MONARCH Opened fire on enemy light
cruiser of KOLBERG class
stopped. Range, 10,400.
Fired three salvoes; first
missed right, second missed
right, third appeared to
straddle.
Probably same
ship previously
referred to by ORION and
THUNDERER.
6.31 p.m. CONQUEROR Opened fire on " Markgraf
"class; rough range, 12,000
yards. This ship quickly
disappeared in the haze,
and fire was shifted to a
three-funneled cruiser (pro-
bably the late " Maravev
Amurski," vide Sheet " D,"
959—-WarVessels); rough
range, 10,000 yards.
It seems probable
that this also
refers to " Kol-
berg " class ves-
sel under fire
from several
ships.
6.32 p.m. KING GEORGE V Ship bearing S.E.blew up;
it is not know what this
vessel was, but it was
thought to be an enemy
light cruiser.
Also passed shortly after
this " Acasta " badly dam-
aged placing collision mat,
and another British de-
One was observed
there shortly be-
fore heavily on
fire, probably
" Stettin " class.

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Time. Ship Reporting. Observations. Remarks.
stroyer apparently with
disabled engines.
6.32 p.m. ORION Example R.A. ORION
personally ob-
served the hits.
Example Example Example Example
Example Example Example Example
Example Example Example Example
Example Example Example Example
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GENERAL REMARKS.

Ajax - It appeared that each enemy ship was accompanied by a destroyer which emitted dense volumes of smoke with the idea of obscuring the target.

Centurion - Submarines were reported on several occasions, and Lieutenant Peet has no doubt that he sighted a submarine with double periscope at 7.40 p.m., bearing 60° green, 2,000 yards.

Orion - Firing was by chrector, which was invaluable.

Thunderer - Just before opening fire there was a very large explosion on starboard quarter, apparently bej^ond Fifth Battle Squadron ; a column of water and debris was thrown up'. No enemy shots fell nearer than 400 yards (short). Objects came into view and disappeared again in about 3 minutes, a quick R.F. reading, used immediately, was the only practicable method. Most of the ranges taken were about 11,000 yards, but for a short period ranges 22,000 to 18,000 were obtained in the fore top. Powder filled common excellent to commence with, i.e., till straddhng is well estabHshed, the bursts being easy to distinguish.

NOTES MADE ON BOARD KING GEORGE V.

Battle-fleet was in divisions in line ahead columns disposed abeam to starboard, 8 cables apart, steering S. 50 E.
31st May, p.m.
(1) 2.24. Signal received form GALATEA 2 cruisers probably hostile, in sight (56 — 48 N., 5—26 E.), bearing E.S.E. stopped, later report course of enemy S.S.E. chased at 2.38p.m. (1420 and 1422.)


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31st May, p.m.

(2) 2.40. GALATEA reported a large quantity of smoke bearing E.N.E. (56.50 N., 5.27 E.). Speed of fleet, 17 knots. (1435.)

  • 2.45. Guides of columns ordered to bear N.E. by N.
  • 18 knots.

(3) 3.00 Altered course, leaders together, to S.E. by S.
GALATEA reported smoke appeared to be from 7 vessels—Destroyers and cruisers steering North 56.52 N., 5.38 E. (1450.)
(4) 3.07. S.O. 3rd L.C.S. reported 3 cruisers bearing E.steeringN.56,-59N.,5.33E. (1500.)

  • 3.08. Cruisers took up cruising disposition No. 1.
  • 3.13. S.O. 1st L.C.S. reported enemy altered course to N.W. Columns opened to 1°. (1507.)

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  1. Plate 8.
  2. No trace of receipt at Admiralty of plans by ERIN or MONARCH
  3. Plate 29.
  4. No trace of receipt at Admiralty of plans by ERIN or MONARCH
  5. Plate 30.