Anglo-German naval rivalry before 1914 had been expected to culminate in a cataclysmic fleet action in the North Sea once war was declared, a battle upon which the outcome of the war would depend: yet the two fleets met only once, at Jutland in 1916, and the battle was far from conclusive.
In his own account of the war in the North Sea, first published in 1920, Admiral Scheer, the German commander at Jutland, gives his own explanation for the failure of either fleet to achieve the decisive victory expected of it, particularly the failure of his own operational plans that resulted in the battle of Jutland. Admiral Scheer’s account of the Great War is far more than the operations of the High Sea Fleet. For anyone unfamiliar with the war at sea as seen from the German side, it is an excellent introduction to much more – U-boat development and operations; mines and minesweeping; Zeppelin design and their role in fleet operations and raids on England. (Admiral Scheer only ever refers to England and the English Navy.)
GERMANY’S HIGH SEAS FLEET IN THE WORLD WAR
This book is an invaluable account of one of the most important theatres of the First World War, written by one of its most senior commanders. As valuable as the book is, it is difficult to read without being aware of Admiral Scheer’s bitterness in defeat, in spite of all the Imperial German Navy accomplished in such a short time.