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by from sixty to seventy miles. This certainly proved unfortunate, and if it was deliberately planned it is undoubtedly open to criticism. A reference, however, to the letter which Mr. Balfour addressed to the mayors of Yarmouth and Lowestoft on May 8, 1916, suggests an explanation which makes the separation of the two forces seem a reasonable one. Mr. Balfour states, for the reassurance of the mayors and their people, that a policy is to be adopted of keeping a force of fast and powerful ships in certain ports near the English Channel, where they will be ready to sally forth at short notice to run down any force which may venture to cross the North Sea, whether for raiding or for any other purpose. This foreshadows the assignment of a force of battle cruisers to the south of England, and it is altogether probable that Beatty, instead of having been detached by Jellicoe for operations to the southward, had, in fact, gone out directly from the mouth of the Thames to sweep northward toward a junction with the main fleet. This view of the matter is confirmed by the opening sentence of Beatty's official report to Jellicoe:

“I have the honor to report that at 2.37 p. m. on 31st May, 1916, I was cruising and steering to the northward to join your flag."

Another point which has been criticized is the action of Beatty in turning south instead of north when he first found himself in touch with Von Hipper.

It is not clear from the evidence at hand whether he followed Von Hipper in this move or whether Von Hipper followed him. If Von Hipper headed south, Beatty could not well refuse to follow him. Beatty was there to fight if there was a chance to fight, and there is no question that in heading south, whether he was following Von Hipper's lead or taking the lead himself, he took the one course which made the existing chance a certainty.

From this point of view he was right. From another point of view he was wrong, for he was running at full speed directly away from his own supports and directly toward those of his opponent. He thought, and Jellicoe appears to have thought, that the Germans did not wish to fight. But when Beatty finally turned north, both Von Hipper and Von Scheer followed readily enough, although they must have known pretty accurately what lay ahead of them. Beatty's error, then, if error it was, seems to have been not so much in judging the tactical situation as in judging the spirit of his opponent.

Very severe criticism has been directed against Beatty for fighting at comparatively short ranges—9,000 to 14,000 yardswhen he had a sufficient excess of speed to choose his distance. This is hardly a fair criticism of the early stages of the battle, as he was then opposed to ships of the same type as his own, so that if he was accepting a disadvantage for himself, he was forcing the same disadvantage upon his opponent. And after all, 14,000 yards is not a short range, though it is certainly much shorter to-day than it would have been ten years ago.

When, in the later stages of the battle, he was opposed to dreadnoughts, it would perhaps have been wiser to maintain a range of from 18,000 to 20,000 yards, but the situation was complicated by the necessity of holding the enemy and leading him to the northward, and it is not possible to say with any confidence that he could have done this if he had held off at a distance as great as prudence might have suggested. Circumstances placed him in a position where it seemed to him desirable to forget the distinction between his ships and battleships, and this is exactly what he did.

Broadly speaking, it must be said that Beatty's course throughout the day was, to quote the favorite expression of British writers on naval matters, “in keeping with the best traditions of the service." And while it was bold and dashing, it was entirely free from the rashness which the British public has been a little inclined to attribute to him since the Dogger Bank engagement.

The only further criticism of the conduct of the battle is that which insists that the German fleet should not have been allowed to escape. And here it is difficult to find an explanation which is at the same time an excuse. Of the situation at 9 p. m. Admiral Jellicoe writes that he had maneuvered into a very advantageous position, in which his fleet was interposed between the German fleet and the German base. He then goes on to say that the threat of destroyer attack during the rapidly approaching darkness made it necessary to dispose the fleet with a view to its safety, while providing for a renewal of the action at daylight. Accordingly, he "maneuvered so as to remain between the Germans and their base, placing flotillas of destroyers where they could protect the fleet and attack the heavy German ships."

Admiral Beatty reported that he did not consider it desirable or proper to engage the German battle fleet during the dark hours, as the strategical position made it appear certain he could locate them at daylight under most favorable circumstances.

Here, then, is the situation between nine and ten o'clock at night, when the approach of darkness made it seem desirable to call a halt for the night-a huge fleet, of more than thirty capital ships, was interposed between the Germans and their base. The general position of the Germans was known, and destroyers, of which the British had at least seventy-five available, were so disposed as to keep in touch with the Germans and attack them during the night. The German fleet was slower than the British fleet by several knots, and if the statements by Jellicoe and Beatty of the damage done are even approximately true, Von Hipper and Von Scheer must have been embarrassed by the necessity of caring for a large number of badly crippled ships. The night is short in that high latitude-not over five hours at the maximum.

And this is the report of what happened at daylight:

"At daylight on the first of June the battle fleet, being southward of Horn Reef, turned northward in search of the enemy vessels, and for the purpose of collecting our own cruisers and torpedo-boat destroyers. The visibility early on the first of June was three to four miles less than on May 31, and the torpedoboat destroyers, being out of visual touch, did not rejoin the fleet until 9 a. m. The British fleet remained in the proximity of the battle field and near the line of approach to German ports until 11 a. m., in spite of the disadvantages of long distances from fleet bases and the danger incurred in waters adjacent to the enemy's coasts from submarines and torpedo craft.

“The enemy, however, made no sign, and I was reluctantly compelled to the conclusion that the High Sea Fleet had returned into port. Subsequent events proved this assumption to have been correct. Our position must have been known to the enemy, as, at 4 a. m., the fleet engaged a Zeppelin about five minutes, during which time she had ample opportunity to note and subsequently report the position and course of the British fleet."

Here is the mystery of the Battle of Horn Reef, and here we may place our finger on the point at which the explanation lies (if we could only make out what the explanation is) of the reason why this battle cannot take rank, either in its conduct or in its results, with the greatest naval battles of history—with Tra: falgar and the Nile, to speak only of English history. It is an unfinished battle; inconclusive, indecisive. And in this respect it cannot be changed by later news of greater losses than are now known. When Jellicoe, with a force materially superior to that commanded by Von Scheer and with higher speed, had interposed between the latter and his base, it would seem that there should have been no escape for the German fleet from absolute destruction. It should have been "played” during the night, and either held or driven northward. How it could work around the flank of the British fleet and be out of sight at dawn is impossible of comprehension even when we have made due allowance for low visibility. And its disappearance was complete. The only German force that was seen was a lone Zeppelin, which was engaged for five minutes. The mystery is increased by Jellicoe's statement that at daylight he "turned northward in search of the enemy's vessels."

His story ends with something in the nature of a reproach for the Germans because they did not return, although "our position must have been known to them."

Let us consider what the situation actually was at daylight. The German fleet, as a whole, had a maximum speed of perhaps 18 knots when fresh from port, and with every ship in perfect condition. According to the English account it had suffered very severely, many of its units being badly crippled. It is incon ceivable that it was in a condition when Jellicoe lost touch with it at ten o'clock at night to make anything like its maximum speed without deserting these cripples. Let us suppose, however, that it could and did make 18 knots in some direction be

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