H.M.S. King George V at the Battle of Jutland

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Official Despatches

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.

2.24. Signal received from "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 2.38 p.m. (1420 and 1422.)
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.
2.52. 18 knots.
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.)
3.07. S.O. 3rd L.C.S. reported 3 cruisers bearing E. steering N.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.)
3.17. 19 knots.
3.25. "Nottingham" reported sighting 5 columns of smoke bearing E.N.E., 56.46 N., 5.20 E. (1522.)
3.40. S.O. B.C.F. reported 5 Battle Cruisers and large number of destroyers bearing N.E., 56.53 N., 5.35 E. Course of enemy, S.E. (1535.)
3.50. S.O. B.C.F. reported course of enemy S. 55 E.
3.55. 20 knots.
3.57. S.O. B.C.F. reported that he was engaging the enemy (56.53 N., 5.40 E.) ; it was later ascertained that 5th B.S. were also engaging the enemy. (1550.)
4.40. S.O. 2nd L.C.S. reported having sighted enemy battle-fleet bearing S.E. course North, 56.34 N., 6.26 E. (1636.)
4.46. Enemy Battle-fleet course reported to be E.N.E. (Single line ahead.) (1630.)
4.55. Enemy battle fleet course reported to be North.
5.16. S.O. B.C.F. reported sighting enemy's battle fleet bearing S.E. (56.36 N., 6,9 E.)
5.40. Observed cruisers in action. (1645.)
5.45. 2nd L.C.S. reported enemy's battle fleet altered course N.N.W. (1740.)
5.54. 2nd L.C.S. reported enemy's battle fleet altered course N. (1750.)
6.02. Altered course leaders together, remainder in succession to South, 19 knots.
6.06. Altered course leaders together rest in succession to S.E.
6.13. Equal speed S.E. by E.
6.20. Reduced to 14 knots.
6.26. Altered course to port.
6.32. Increased to 17 knots, battleships in rear opened fire. Ship bearing S.E. blew up ; it is not known what this vessel was, but it was thought to be an enemy light cruiser; also passed shortly after this "Acasta" badly damaged, placing collision mat, and another destroyer apparently with disabled engines. One of our four-funnelled cruisers observed to be heavily hit.
6.51. "King George V." had to alter course to starboard to avoid collision with 4th L.C.S. in the van.
6.56. Altered course to South. This was done just previous to a signal being made.
7.02. "Marlborough" reported being hit by a torpedo. Altered course 3 points to starboard.
7.09. Course South.
7.12. 2nd B.S. ordered to take station ahead.
7.17. "King George V." opened fire on leading enemy ship; range on sights 12,800 yards, salvo fell short. Remainder of 2nd B.S. had opened fire shortly before. Target ship was either leading German battleship or "Lützow" class battle cruiser with three destroyers on engaged side making a heavy smoke screen.
7.20. Altered course 4 points to port together by signal.
7.22. Target obscured by smoke screen and haze; ceased fire.
7.27. "King George V." had to alter course to starboard to avert collision with light craft in the van. "Duke of Edinburgh" much in the way and making a lot of smoke.
7.42. Formed single line ahead on "Iron Duke".
8.26. 2nd L.C.S. reported they were engaging enemy cruisers, 56.47 N., 5.56 E. (2020.)
8.52. 3rd L.C.S. reported Battle Cruisers probably hostile bearing N. steering W.S.W., 56.42 N., 5.41 E. (2045.)
8.56. "Warrior" reported both engines disabled and in tow of "Engadine"',' 56.10 N., 5.50 E. (2103.)
9.03. Course South.
9.03. 2nd L.C.S. reported being attacked by enemy destroyers from the West; these were driven off to N.W. (2055.)
9.07. "Caroline" made signal "Attack with Whitehead torpedoes." V.A. II made "Negative attack, these ships are our battle cruisers." "Caroline" then made "These appear to be enemy ships." V.A. II replied "If you are quite sure, attack." "Caroline" was about six points on the starboard bow, about 1-2 miles distant, but was not seen to attack
9.11. Sighted our Battle cruisers bearing W.N.W. steering S.W.
10.30. Assumed second organisation, divisions in line ahead, course South, columns 1 mile apart, destroyers astern of battle fleet 5 miles.
10.45. Eleventh flotilla reported having been engaged with enemy cruisers. (2240.)
11.36. "Birmingham" reported battle cruisers, probably hostile, bearing N.E. steering South, 56.26 N., 5.46 E.
11.40. 2nd L.C.S. reported engaged with enemy cruisers, 10.15p.m. (2240.)

June, a.m.

3.47. 3rd L.C.S. reported engaging Zeppelin (0335.)
3.57. Battle fleet opened fire on Zeppelin.
4.30. "Dublin" reported one cruiser and two destroyers, probably hostile, bearing East, course South. (0430.)
4.47. Ordered to look out for "Lützow", damaged (ahead).
8.55. "Castor" and eleventh flotilla joined up.
9.0 Informed C.-in-C. we had passed wreckage of foreign origin at 7 a.m. and of obviously English origin at 8.45 a.m.
[1]

Account of Robert Cunliffe

Robert Lionel Brooke Cunliffe served in H.M.S. King George V in the battle. This extract is reproduced from side two of page one of a two page manuscript recollection written by Captain Cunliffe in 1982.[Citation needed]

Jutland, although we were the leading Battleship we were farthest away from the enemy. I had a fairly good view of the proceeding from my turret but hadn't much idea what was going on. We saw the 2 halves of the Invincible sticking out of the water & I thought it was a Zeppelin that had been shot down and told my turrets crew so. At 8.45 P.M. we sighted 3 Battleships. I was asked if I could identify them; Being at a lower level from the spotting officer up the mast. I said I [was] certain they were German as I could see their cranes which were a distinctive feature of German ships also I was well versed in Ship Identification. However my opinion was not accepted & we missed a great opportunity as they were the leading ships of the German 1st Squadron & only 10,000 yards away.

We were, of course, up all night watching the fireworks going on astern of us — our destroyers & the German Fleet.

Narrative

During the course of the battle King George V fired just nine 13.5-inch shells[2] and no 6-inch ammunition.[3]

Footnotes

  1. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 115-118.
  2. Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting. p. 346.
  3. Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting. p. 358.

Bibliography

  • Admiralty (1920). Battle of Jutland 30th May to 1st June 1916: Official Despatches with Appendices. Cmd. 1068. London: His Majesty's Stationary Office.