The Battle of Jutland

A Comparison of the Fleets

Warships of the German High Seas Fleet sail from their naval base at Wilhelmshaven.
Warships of the German High Seas Fleet set sail from their naval base at Wilhelmshaven. At this point neither the British nor German fleets knew each other was at sea.

The Strength of the Two Fleets
The table below illustrates the size of the British and German fleets at the Battle of Jutland:

The German High Seas Fleet Royal Navy ensign German Navy war ensign
Class of Ship
British Grand Fleet
German High Seas Fleet
28 16
0 6
9 5
Armoured Cruisers
8 0
Light Cruisers
26 11
77 61
Seaplane Carriers
1 0
1 0

Dimensions of Ships
Below is a comparison of the battlecruiser flagships of Admiral Beatty and Admiral Hipper. As can be seen from the table, the ships are of similar size but have different strengths and weaknesses.

The British emphasis is on higher speed and bigger guns at the expense of defensive armour. The German emphasis is on greater defensive armour at the expense of higher speed and bigger guns. The German advantage in defensive armour was increased by the fact that British armour-piercing shells frequently failed to explode on impact.

Royal Navy and German Navy ensigns Admiral Sir David Beatty and the Royal Navy battlecruiser flagship HMS Lion Admiral Franz von Hipper and the Imperial German battlecruiser flagship SMS Lutzow
HMS Lion
SMS Lutzow
May 1912
August 1915
701 x 89 feet
689 x 95.1 feet
26,150 tons
26,600 tons
9 inch thick max.
11.8 inch thick max.
28 knots
26 knots
8 x 13.5 inch guns
8 x 12 inch guns
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