Jump to content
Sturgeon's House

Mythbusting: Beatty vs Jellicoe


Domus Acipenseris
 Share

Recommended Posts

There is a myth I've seen online and had plenty of arguments about.  The myth says that Beatty was a superior admiral to Jellicoe.  Absurd to anyone in the know but it persists.  I believe it persists because some people see their own personality in Beatty and therefore stick up for him.

 

Where to start?  Jellicoe was involved in the building up of the technical side of the RN in WW1.  He knew that the RN AP shells did not work and that he had a powerful but flawed instrument under him.  Jellicoe knew that the RN was doing as much as it could against the Central Powers with blockade and amphibious warfare and that destroying the German fleet won the Allies nothing.  At Jutland Jellicoe had 0 scouting data from Beatty and therefore had to make decisions based upon instinct, hunches, and reasoning about what effect his choices would have given what the enemy might be doing.  He chose right and crossed the T, letting his superior weight of shell tell.

 

Beatty did not fire his signals officer for personal reasons, costing him battles given the fact that his flagship could not give orders in battle.  At Jutland he went charging after the enemy, leaving the 4 most powerful ships in the world behind due to the lower speed of those ships (Queen Elizabeth class) and once again, poor signals.  The magnitude of this error is clear when one realizes that Hipper had 5 ships to Beatty's 6.  Beatty could have had 10, 4 with 15 inch guns, had he wanted them.  Instead he left them behind.  Beatty's main task was to inform Jellicoe of German positions which he did not do.

 

I'm not sure why this is even a myth but I wanted to help bust it here.

 

The best book I've read on WW1 naval combat is Robert K Massie's Castles of Steel.  Very entertaining as well as informative.

 

 

Trigger warning:  I really hate link rot so I spammed this paper on Jutland.

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-229X.12241

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303546167_Weight_of_Shell_Must_Tell_A_Lanchestrian_Reappraisal_of_the_Battle_of_Jutland

 

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Weight-of-Shell-Must-Tell%3A-A-Lanchestrian-of-the-of-MacKay-Price/af53aec74cccb3a10eac3489aa233dfc9b247cea

 

https://pure.york.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/weight-of-shell-must-tell(186a432d-44bc-4f9b-8ee5-6f6245e1ad44)/export.html

 

https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/99759/1/Jutland.PreReview.pdf

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Domus Acipenseris said:

There is a myth I've seen online and had plenty of arguments about.  The myth says that Beatty was a superior admiral to Jellicoe.  Absurd to anyone in the know but it persists.  I believe it persists because some people see their own personality in Beatty and therefore stick up for him.

 

Where to start?  Jellicoe was involved in the building up of the technical side of the RN in WW1.  He knew that the RN AP shells did not work and that he had a powerful but flawed instrument under him.  Jellicoe knew that the RN was doing as much as it could against the Central Powers with blockade and amphibious warfare and that destroying the German fleet won the Allies nothing.  At Jutland Jellicoe had 0 scouting data from Beatty and therefore had to make decisions based upon instinct, hunches, and reasoning about what effect his choices would have given what the enemy might be doing.  He chose right and crossed the T, letting his superior weight of shell tell.

 

Beatty did not fire his signals officer for personal reasons, costing him battles given the fact that his flagship could not give orders in battle.  At Jutland he went charging after the enemy, leaving the 4 most powerful ships in the world behind due to the lower speed of those ships (Queen Elizabeth class) and once again, poor signals.  The magnitude of this error is clear when one realizes that Hipper had 5 ships to Beatty's 6.  Beatty could have had 10, 4 with 15 inch guns, had he wanted them.  Instead he left them behind.  Beatty's main task was to inform Jellicoe of German positions which he did not do.

 

I'm not sure why this is even a myth but I wanted to help bust it here.

 

The best book I've read on WW1 naval combat is Robert K Massie's Castles of Steel.  Very entertaining as well as informative.

 

 

Trigger warning:  I really hate link rot so I spammed this paper on Jutland.

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-229X.12241

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303546167_Weight_of_Shell_Must_Tell_A_Lanchestrian_Reappraisal_of_the_Battle_of_Jutland

 

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Weight-of-Shell-Must-Tell%3A-A-Lanchestrian-of-the-of-MacKay-Price/af53aec74cccb3a10eac3489aa233dfc9b247cea

 

https://pure.york.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/weight-of-shell-must-tell(186a432d-44bc-4f9b-8ee5-6f6245e1ad44)/export.html

 

https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/99759/1/Jutland.PreReview.pdf

 

 


Admiral Fisher is rolling in his grave; if you’re going to cite OG British admirals (the few good ones there were), cite the best :P
 

Also, I’m pretty sure Pennsylvania was the most powerful battleship in the world, with 50% more guns at only 7% smaller caliber. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Domus Acipenseris said:

Point taken on Pennsylvania vs QE.  I'll amend the statement to most powerful RN ships.  Would we like to start a debate on 14 vs 15 vs 16" main armament?  I do not know enough to contribute much but would be an eager reader of that debate.


It’s fine, I still understood what you were saying :). The Queen E’s were very good, but still suffered from the typical British engineering practice of “penny wise, pound foolish”. 
 

However, this is about her majesty’s admirals, and not their boats, so I’ll stay on topic. I believe Fisher was a more intelligent admiral that the both of them, some of his ideas having very good foresight of future events, also his 2 legacy ships, all big gun battleships and battle cruisers, even if both were not used as effectively as theorized. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/27/2021 at 5:08 PM, Domus Acipenseris said:

I think Fisher was too far ahead of his time.  His ideas were almost all correct and have been borne out over the past century.  However, ideal like the Dardanelles op, "large light cruisers" and super battlecruisers with 18" main and 3" belts were mistakes.  Tech had to catch up to his vision.

 

On 11/28/2021 at 4:57 AM, Dragonstriker said:

First Sea Lord Sir Jackie Fisher also coined “OMG” as an acronym for the phrase “Oh, My God!”.

Truly a great man.


https://books.google.com/books/about/The_British_Battleship_1906_1946.html?id=QDg5CwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&gboemv=1
 

This preview explains a bit about Fisher and his ideas. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...