The Battle of Jutland
The Battle Area
The British Grand Fleet steamed eastwards across the North Sea in two groups - the battlecruiser fleet commanded by Admiral Sir David Beatty from its base in Rosyth, and the main battle fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, from its base at Scapa Flow.
The German High Seas Fleet moved northwards from Wilhelmshaven in a similar formation, with Admiral Franz Hipper’s faster battlecruisers steaming ahead of the main battle fleet under Admiral Reinhard Scheer.
By early morning of 31st May 1916, the British and German fleets were on a collision course but incredibly, neither knew that the other was at sea.
Scheer was unaware that his signals were being intercepted, whilst Jellicoe and Beatty were mistakenly informed by the Admiralty at midday that Scheer was still in harbour at Wilhelmshaven.
Consequently, when visual contact was made by the advance battlecruisers of Beatty and Hipper at 14.40, this came as a surprise to both sides.