The Dreadnought Project Forum Index The Dreadnought Project
Naval History in the years 1890-1920
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   Reg1sterReg1ster 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

...in lieu of Beatty...who?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Dreadnought Project Forum Index -> Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject: ...in lieu of Beatty...who? Reply with quote

If we can say that Lord Beatty's performance at Jutland was not a complete success (and I certainly would), who might have done better?
Any opinions?

I'll put two names out there from amongst the BCF commanders. One
would be the commander of the 2nd BCS, Sir William Pakenham. Now
he certainly had the understanding about the importance of opening
at long-range-using one's advantage to the full. He had been an observer
with the Japanese fleet at Tsushima, the encounter which arguably focussed the world's navies on this. Also, I'd say his performance at
Jutland was pretty solid, given the challenges of trying to follow what
Beatty wanted.

However, I think the name which screams out is Sir Horace Hood, the
commander of the 3rd BCF, who tragically died at Jutland when "Inv-
incible" was destroyed. Now I'd say "he" had all the qualities; great
intellect, bravery, technical mastery, and his performance at Jutland
speaks for itself.

Now I've not gone into the field of the Grand Fleet commanders, or
those of smaller forces who stood out. I had one scholar mention
William Goodenough as one he liked, if he'd had the seniority.
Anyway, just a hypothetical to kick around.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Adrian Dobb



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bargami

With the qualified exception of the CinC I don't think the RN higher command structure at Jutland put in a particularly good performance at all. Beatty's performance was poor. The LC squadrons failed to provide good intelligence reports of what they could see, including Goodenough, and that was their job. Arbuthnot got his cruisers smashed. Evan-Thomas might have reacted to developments quicker.

Jellicoe was left pretty much in the dark (by Admiralty intelligence as much as anyone else). He kept his head and deployed to Port across the HSF's line of retreat which I think was the best British decision of the whole battle (an aggressive move). But he failed to keep close contact and allowed the HSF to cross his stern when it must have been clear from the sounds of action in the night, astern of his position, that he was letting them get away. I know he wanted to avoid a night action and reversing course would have been dangerous but perhaps he could have released his light forces to attempt to drive Scheer back North East.

Some, if not most of these problems were embedded in the culture. What is pleasing to me is that most of them do seem to have been addressed in the aftermath. And by WWII the RN was pretty good at night fighting.

As for a Beatty substitution I would go for Sturdee though ho ho I am tempted to say Hipper as I go with Frost's appreciation that he put in the best performance of the higher commanders on either side.
After all the England football (soccer in US parlance) team now has an Italian at the helm!

Happy New Year all.

Adrian
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Adrian; fascinating response. Your suggestion of Hipper can't be
argued with. The one fleet commander whose performance on the day
was virtually faultless; a man who was always in complete charge of
all that was happening with his group, as indeed he insisted on being.
Virtually the anti-Beatty.

Re. Sturdee he was certainly in-position for the job, and had that
victory at the Falklands to his credit. Fisher would have hated it,
but he might not have been at the Admiralty when the appointment
was made.

The intelligence failures on the day; what a mess, beginning with
maybe the worst one, the bogus message that the HSF was still
in the Jade, which effectively truncated the day. And as far as the
night, I've read it suggested that there may have been a collective
shell-shock by then; there was surely a lack of curiosity to know
what was really happening back there in the rear. As for Jellicoe,
he never lost sight of the strategic imperative, and, as so many
have pointed out, what he said in advance he wouldn't do, he
didn't do, for instance serious night engagement (maybe just as
well).

Jellicoe guessed wrong on the homeward path Scheer would take
after the second turnabout, but I'm not sure how eager he was to
re-engage.

And Happy New Year!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Harley



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we're talking about just Beatty then probably all of his subordinate Flag Officers; de Brock, Pakenham and Hood, could probably done as well as him if not better. Considering the length of time in command and action seen, it's somewhat criminal the Battle unfolded the way it did. Evan-Thomas I think was guilty of what Marder called, being a bit "slow on the uptake". There must have been something about such a relatively junior Rear-Admiral being given the four most powerful ships in the Navy.

I think every which way you look at it while the Battle Squadrons were competently led (a lot of notable Vice-Admirals and Rear-Admirals there) that command of the cruiser forces was off as Adrian says.

One thing which niggles at my mind is why the 3rd BCS was shooting so well. It hadn't been up at Scapa so long as to make their gunnery spectacular shurely, which rather detracts from the endemic state of BCF shooting. Was that down to Hood in particular, Dannreuther (his gunnery officer and Commander) or to the way things ran up in the main Grand Fleet?

Simon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
tone
Site Admin


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 479
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a soft spot for Pakenham based on the colorful anecdote about him with Turk-Armenian ugliness in Rules of the Game. I bought a naval book by a Pakenham on the extremely long chance that it was by him, but apparently it is by his son. Hood was clearly able to inspire superior efforts from his squadron, but then again, lighting was paramount on this day.

tone
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Harley



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pakenham certainly seems to have been an interesting chap - 14 months with the Japanese battle fleet with hardly any going ashore at all is an impressive feat!! His only sin is to have been actively supported by Churchill - a dangerous sign!

Simon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon, regarding "supported by Churchill"; "dangerous sign," I certainly
agree with that! Indeed, on that note, I am gratified that no one has
put forward Lewis Bayly or Roger Keyes, for all of their sterling qualities
(and I completely laud Keyes' leadership of Zeebrugge; I will argue with the
sense of approving the operation at all).

Churchill had a weakness for these men. In contrast to Henry Oliver,
the Chief of Staff for most of the War, who thought that Churchill's
schemes were madness, Bayly and Keyes were ready to see the First
Lord and go him one better.

Now, I do not disdain these men. Indeed, as an American, I cannot
disdain Lewis Bayly. When our destroyer force arrived in Ireland there
was an instant affinity. Regarding Keyes, well, he may have been right
about the Dardanelles; a few more days. Importantly, however,
Churchill at the Admiralty, although a quick study and one who threw
himself completely into his billet, always had the air of the dilettante,
capable of seeming-complete dedication to the senior service, but
also able to say "rum, sodomy and the lash." In the first year of the
War, his telegrams from Admiralty- "his" and not Fisher's, Oliver's,
Battenberg's-did considerable damage.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Harley



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keyes did well after the war as a Flag Officer - in light of that it would be interesting to see how he would have performed in higher command during the First War, rather than as a Battle Division commander or as C-in-C Dover Patrol. He was very much wont to "toot his horn" with what he did in the Channel, much to the maligning of Reginald Bacon, by far the better officer. That the blocking operations in 1918 in Belgium went so well is probably more to the fact that Keyes had an eye for the best people rather than his plan.

One has to wonder, when people muttered in September 1939 "Winston's back!", was it a perjorative term, akin to "Oh Christ!", "Not again!" or "I'm resigning my commission"?

Somewhat akin to Churchill's re-employing of Keyes during the Second World War, as First Lord again Churchill allowed on Walter Henry Cowan go back on active service - at the age of 68! He acted as a liason with the Commandos in North Africa before getting caught up by the Italians at Bir Hacheim, where the daft old bugger attached himself to an Indian Army regiment and got trapped behind enemy lines. Took on an armoured car with his revolver, got captured and after being repatriated in 1944 joined the commandos again. !! For the record Cowan was promted Rear-Admiral in September, 1918, so he counts as a Great War admiral. Sidebar over...

Simon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon, your sidebar about Cowan is priceless. What it shows is that, with
these men, daring and a desire to be in the thick of things were never in
doubt. They were always ready to be called back (whether wisely or not)
even without pay (witness Sir Arthur Wilson at the Admiralty).

Regarding Bacon vs. Keyes of course you're right. Bacon was an intellect,
a technician, qualities which Keyes lacked. I think that Bacon never
completely shook the taint of "supposedly" being Fisher's man, going
back to that business of personal spying for Fisher when serving with
Beresford in the Mediterranean. Now I don't have a stroke about that
myself. I believe the dispute between Fisher and Beresford "was"
personal on many levels. And witness Beresford's conduct, with his
evening admirals' "conferences" at his home (with participants diving
under the table when Sir Francis Bridgeman walked in). That's my
sidebar.

And for you and Tone both regarding Hood and the shooting of the
3rd BCS, and why so much better than the other BC squadrons in
those few minutes. Good visibility, a precious and rare commodity
that day, may have made the difference. What I like about Hood
(and, if not in command of the BCF I'd put him in charge of the
5th BS), is that he had "initiative." Brooks concludes this in his
book, about why Hood charged in. Not foolish inititiative; calm,
informed initiative. If Beatty's orders (or lack of them) do not
seem to fit the situation-ignore him! Lord Fisher has approved
this message.

P.S. - I recognize that, having had his ship destroyed and lost his
life, Hood was no more on top of the cordite/handling issue
than anyone else!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Dreadnought Project Forum Index -> Discussion All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group