The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command

The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command

by Andrew Gordon


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Foreword by Admiral Sir John Woodward. When published in hardcover in 1997, this book was praised for providing an engrossing education not only in naval strategy and tactics but in Victorian social attitudes and the influence of character on history. In juxtaposing an operational with a cultural theme, the author comes closer than any historian yet to explaining what was behind the often described operations of this famous 1916 battle at Jutland. Although the British fleet was victorious over the Germans, the cost in ships and men was high, and debates have raged within British naval circles ever since about why the Royal Navy was unable to take advantage of the situation. In this book Andrew Gordon focuses on what he calls a fault-line between two incompatible styles of tactical leadership within the Royal Navy and different understandings of the rules of the games.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591143369
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 12/15/2012
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 708
Sales rank: 527,559
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Andrew Gordon was the Class of '57 Distinguished Chair of Naval Heritage at the U.S. Naval Academy from 2007-09. He has a PhD in war studies and is the author of British Sea Power and Procurement between the Wars an acclaimed exploration of naval policy and administration in the 1920s and 1930s.

Table of Contents

IBackground to Battle
1A Ship which can do Everything7
2The Grand Fleet17
3The Fifth Battle Squadron37
4The Grass Was Never Greener52
5Another Wild Goose Chase66
IIChasing Hipper & Evading Scheer
6Failure to Concentrate81
7The Battlecruiser Duel102
8Standing into Danger129
IIIThe Underlying Reason Why
9The Long Calm Lee of Trafalgar155
10Sir George Tryon's Action Principles193
11Meanwhile, by Royal Appointment215
14Their Lordships' Predicament275
16Regulate Britannia315
17Ordo ab Chao340
18An Example to Our Countrymen371
19Commence Hostilities Against Germany386
IVBringing Scheer to Jellicoe
20Utmost Speed403
21The Clash of Battle-Fleets433
22Night Inaction472
23Something Wrong With Our System503
24Dirty Work Somewhere537
Appendix ITime and Space at Jutland603
Appendix IITrack-Charts606
Appendix IIITime and Space at the 'Turn to the North'611
Appendix IVGerman Targeting at the 'Turn to the North'614
Appendix VTryon's formal explanation of his Tactical Doctrine620

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The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
NauticalFiction99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andrew Gordon has produced a truly stunning work that appeals to both the naval tactician as well as the less learned reader with an interest in naval history. Beyond that, however, it is thoughtful meditation on the way that cultural mores influence military engagements. On October 21, 1805, the English fleet, under the command of Lord Nelson smashed the combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar, guaranteeing that fortress England would remain unassailed by Napoleon's vast continental armies. It was a signature victory for the dashing and charismatic Nelson and, though it would cost him his life, it would also ensure his immortality. More than 100 years later, in 1916, the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy, under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, engaged the German High Seas Fleet near Jutland, Denmark. Unlike Trafalgar, however, the German fleet was able to slip away following the battle without either side achieving a crushing victory. Indeed, both sides would subsequently claim tactical victory. Within the English naval establishment (including the historical community) an equally contentious conflict would quickly develop concerning who within the Grand Fleet was to "blame" for the English inability to bring about a second Trafalgar.What happened during the intervening years between 1805 and 1916 that so changed the demeanor of the English navy and lead to such disparate results in two major fleet actions? It is a intriguing question and one that Gordon probes with intelligence, insight, and eloquence. Finishing this hefty book, one is left with a great deal to think about indeed.Bottom line is that the book functions equally well as an account of the Battle of Jutland and as an assessment of how the English naval ethos evolved between 1805 and 1917. There are times when the tactics get a little thick, but the book richly rewards the reader who weathers that particular storm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago