Top critical review
A Very Dry but Valuable Technical Account of Jutland
on May 26, 2000
The author has compiled an impressive amount of technical data on the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Virtually every important detail concerning major caliber rounds fired and their effects is laid out. Each chapter covers a chronological part of the battle, usually 45-75 minutes each. The final summary provides a very detailed list of the damage to each ship, casualties and ammunition fired in the battle. However this book is limited in several areas. It is not particularly readable because the author seems to have an aversion to the English language in favor of excessive use of jargon and sentence fragments. Organizationally, the book needs a detailed chronology which might reduce some of the redundancy. A big part of the book focuses on the damage to each ship and a huge weakness is the reliance on poor-quality, hard-to-read crude sketches. After all the effort he made to collect the information, the author makes little effort to present it well. Standardized, well-drawn battle damage charts would have made this an outstanding work. The battle maps are generally adequate but the omission for one covering the critical night action was a serious deficiency. Finally, I reached the end and had two critical questions remaining unanswered by the author: first, where German warships really that superior or was it just lucky visibility conditions that aided their gunnery? Second, which fleet was hurt more seriously and how might this have affected a renewed battle if the British Grand Fleet had not lost contact on the night of 31 May 1916? Overall, this is a great technical work but it cannot be read without other, more thorough operational accounts handy.