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Weight of Shell Must Tell: A Lanchestrian Reappraisal of the Battle of Jutland

MacKay, Niall, Price, Christopher and Wood, A. Jamie (2016) Weight of Shell Must Tell: A Lanchestrian Reappraisal of the Battle of Jutland. History: The Journal of the Historical Association, 101 (347). pp. 536-563.

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We re-analyse the 1916 Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrak), the major naval engagement of the First World War, in the light of the understanding of dreadnought fleet tactics developed over the decade leading up to it. In particular, we consider the interaction of the calculus of Lanchester’s Square Law with fleet geometry and the commanders’ decisions that determined it, and with the shipbuilding decisions associated with the Lanchestrian trade-off between quality and quantity. We re-examine the behaviour of the commanders in the light of this tactical analysis, and conclude that the outcome of Jutland, in spite of apparent British tactical and technological failings, was the culmination of a decade of consistent and professionally insightful decision-making by the Royal Navy, which built and correctly wielded its decisive weapon, the Grand Fleet, to achieve the required strategic victory.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12241
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DB Austria
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1614

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