When Scheer actually did break off battle, we shall find that he turned his fleet in succession through an angle of 135°. There were special reasons that made it obligatory he should do this, and special conditions which made it possible. Until he met the Grand Fleet, there was nothing to force him to turn, and the counter-stroke on which he relied to rob the turn of its chief dangers would not have been operative against the two squadrons of fast ships under Sir David Beatty’s command apartment hong kong.
Had Scheer attempted such a turn as he actually made at 6:45, or had he initiated and continued such a man?uvre as he began at six o’clock, Beatty’s speed advantage would have enabled him to maintain his dominating313 position ahead of the German line. He could either have man?uvred to get round between Scheer and his bases, with a view to heading him north again, or, if he judged it hopeless to expect the Grand Fleet to reach the scene in daylight, could himself have reversed course and pounded the weak ships at the end of the German line unmercifully.
In any event, while it would be an exaggeration to say that he had the whip-hand of the enemy, it is no exaggeration to say that his force was so formidable and so fast as to make escape from it anything but a safe or a simple problem. The utmost Scheer could have hoped for would have been a long defensive action until darkness made attack impossible, or winning the mine-fields made pursuit too dangerous Hong Kong tour.
be ignored in asking why it was that Scheer followed the British Admiral so obediently in the hour and a quarter between 4:57 and 6 P.M. But still less must we forget that had Scheer known earlier that the Grand Fleet was out, he would certainly have preferred the risk of a pursuit by Beatty to the chance of having to take on the whole of Sir John Jellicoe’s battle fleet.
At twenty-five minutes to six Admiral Scheer began hauling round to the east, changing his course, that is to say, gradually away from the British line. Sir David supposes that he had by this time received information of the approach of the Grand Fleet. This information might have come from Zeppelins, though in the weather conditions this would seem to have been improbable; or it might have come from some of his cruisers, which were well ahead, and had made contact with Hood’s scouts. But is this quite consistent with what Admiral Jellicoe says of Hood’s movements Neo skin lab?
314 “At 5:30 this squadron observed flashes of gun-fire and heard the sound of guns to the southwestward. Rear-Admiral Hood sent Chester to investigate, and this ship engaged three or four enemy light cruisers at about 5:45.”
It is not stated that Rear-Admiral Hood saw the German light cruisers, and it seems improbable, then, that they saw him. Admiral Scheer could not have changed course at 5:35, because of the action of his scouts with Chester at 5:45. But her presence may have been signalled to him as soon as she was seen, and he may have concluded that the news could have but one significance, viz., that the Grand Fleet was coming down from the north. But is it altogether impossible that Scheer began his gradual easterly turn before suspecting that the Grand Fleet was out? Was he not, perhaps, already aware of the dangers of getting too far afield, and beginning that gradual turn which might keep Sir David Beatty’s ships in play as long as daylight lasted, without giving the openings which a direct attempt at flight would offer? Whatever the explanation of the movements, the enemy began this gradual turn and Sir David turned with him, increasing speed, so as to maintain his general relation to the head of the German line. At ten minutes to six some of the Grand Fleet’s cruisers were observed ahead, and six minutes later the leading battleships came into view. The moment for which every movement since 2:20 had been a preparation had now arrived—the Grand Fleet and the German Fleet were to meet.