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Jutland Fiction

 
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Adrian Dobb



Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: Jutland Fiction Reply with quote

Jutland Fiction

It is not often that I am tempted to read naval fiction and I haven’t previously read any Battle of Jutland related fiction. But I have just finished reading Alexander Fullerton’s ‘The Blooding of the Guns’ and I am really pleased I did. I thought I would share this appreciation and ask here if anyone else has read it, and if so what people think.

The fictional attributes are IMO good with well worked believable characters who are not superheroes but do suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (so much historical/military/naval fiction fails to do this). The three leading characters serve on three fictional ships (sounds odd) but which are skilfully worked into the familiar events of the battle – in fact at times almost too skilfully. The Germans are not represented in anyway however, except by what they do as seen through British eyes.

But where the book really shines is the authentic detail, I’ll categorise this on two levels. The first is social and technical. According to the dust jacket the author served in WWII on the QE, cruiser Orion and destroyer Hero before moving to subs, so he knows his way around the daily business of the RN and this shows. He certainly seems to know his way around 15” gun turret loading drill, at least he has convinced me he does, and it may be worth reading for that and a few other technical nuggets on destroyer gun drill.
I will however say my technical knowledge on these matters is certainly not as good as some on this site so I may stand some correction on this.

Lastly his overall judgement, insight and verdict on the battle is about as good as any historian I have read. Many of the insights offered in up to date histories (e.g. the BCF signalling failures, talleyho attitude and the 5BS turn in succession before the HSF are all here in a fictional book published in 1976. I had to check some bibliogs to see if Fullerton was listed – alas no. I have to confess most of Fullerton’s views match my own thoughts, but I think they are well put from a contemporary observers viewpoint, albeit fictional observer. The only obvious controversy missing is the BCF’s lax ammunition handling procedures, which a) only came to light fairly recently and b) well, Fullerton has no characters on the battlecruisers so they would not know!!!!

Apologies for waxing lyrical about this but hadn’t picked up on this book before and I do think it is worth reading if you haven’t. I would be interested to hear anyone’s opinion who has, whether or not you agree with me. It seems this book became the first in a series which carries on into WWII but I doubt if they can all match this standard.

Does anyone know of any other worthwhile Jutland fiction.

Adrian
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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Jutland Fiction Reply with quote

Adrian Dobb wrote:
Jutland Fiction

It is not often that I am tempted to read naval fiction and I haven’t previously read any Battle of Jutland related fiction.


Surely you have read the Horatio Hornblower series? :D
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Adrian Dobb



Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No - cutting out 120 SOL with a sloop, that sort of thing. No!

The Cruel Sea - yes.

Like I said - I'm not often tempted.
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 131
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a copy of "The Blooding of the Guns" kicking around for years, but I only finally got round to reading it a few months ago.

I thought the language was horrifically stilted, but the detail more than made up for the style.

Simon
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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adrian Dobb wrote:
No - cutting out 120 SOL with a sloop, that sort of thing. No!


I think he dismasted a French Frigate while in a sloop. Out sailed the Frenchie while pounding away with stern chasers. Great Stuff!

"Beat to Quarters Mr. Bush!" ;)
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tone
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 478
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jwduquette1 wrote:
Adrian Dobb wrote:
No - cutting out 120 SOL with a sloop, that sort of thing. No!


I think he dismasted a French Frigate while in a sloop. Out sailed the Frenchie while pounding away with stern chasers. Great Stuff!

"Beat to Quarters Mr. Bush!" ;)


You only need one gun and some luck to do that. It helps when you're the protagonist in a fictional series, as well... a form of support Jellicoe and Beatty would have been well advised to secure.

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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fawcett & Copper did put a book togeather called "The Fighting at Jutland". It's not fiction -- rather it is a collection of personal accounts and experiances of folks that participated. It is of course focused upon individuals caught up within larger events. Sort of what I am looking for in "historical fiction", except these are actual accounts.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fawcett & Cooper is a great book. They reprinted it recently, I think, so it is not as hard to obtain as previously.

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Adrian Dobb



Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree Fawcett and Hooper is a very good eyewitness source and one which has been extensively used in the historiography of the battle.

Sloops not only carried fewer guns than your avarage frigate but also they were lighter - probably 6 or maybe 9pdrs against ships armed progressively with 9/12 then 18 pdrs. Frigates were also more heavily built than sloops as Ships o Line were over frigates. Except in exceptional circs (for instance the Indefatigable action against the French 74) you didn't sensibly tangle with bigger ships. So much naval fiction I have read seems based on the premise of overcoming terrific odds and I generally usually find I just want the big battalions to kick heroic ass. But I enjoy it when something different happens. But for sure you can't beat real history -just sometimes the media of fiction provides an interesting alternate angle.
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