Subscribe via RSS Feed

Archive for May, 2006

More on the Hanson

[ 0 ] May 24, 2006 |

One of the most entertaining parts of being a defense oriented blogger is the occasional opportunity to dismantle Victor Davis Hanson, king of the 101st Typing Wingnuts. Hanson is such a bizarre product of our age; a “historian” whose work is plainly incoherent, but who has generated a following through appeal to a set of masculinist tropes about warfare, and who has maintained that appeal with the occasional screed against dirty-pacifist-hippie-leftist-Frenchies. I suppose that Hanson’s rise and the popularity of the History Channel arise from the same impulse, although the comparison manages to do a disservice to the History Channel, difficult as that might be to imagine. Hanson gives his readers the ability to fancy that they are Russell Crowe’s Gladiator, always ready to sacrifice whatever is necessary to defend the idyllic family against either the barbarian hordes on the borders or the more insidious internal threats to the Republic.

Anyway, Dan Nexon gives us a fine contribution to the Hanson-smashing genre. Enjoy.

An American Odyssey

[ 0 ] May 24, 2006 |

Speaking of food that will make you violently ill, I really want to be these guys.

A few weeks ago I embarked on a gluttonous odyssey, with a changing cast of co-conspirators, across this fast-food nation, from New York to California, sea to greasy sea. It was a roving binge as warped road movie: “Transfatamerica.” Or maybe, given our cholesterol-oblivious plunge over a nutritional cliff: “Thelma and Disease.”

But my goal wasn’t to supersize myself. It was to size up and single out the best fast food from familiar national chains, relatively unfamiliar regional chains and tiny local chains I had never encountered. To take the culinary road less traveled, at least by me.

Given my latest cholesterol reading (Doctor Bennet: “Check again. Are you sure you’re still alive?”) I fear that such a quest is forever beyond my grasp. Interestingly, what I’ve heard about Gold Star Chili confirms Bruni’s assessment that it’s the worst fast food in America. I can’t agree with his claim that KFC is better than Popeye’s, but I concur that the Whopper is better than the Big Mac by a fair margin.

Hat tip to Davida.

Violently, Violently Ill

[ 0 ] May 24, 2006 |

Has anyone ever noticed that food poisoning really sucks? Sooo cold….

Lethal Injection and the 8th Amendment

[ 0 ] May 23, 2006 |

As long-time readers will know, I’m an opponent of the death penalty, but a fairly tepid one. While I don’t think it ultimately accomplishes anything, I also think that as American injustices go, the death penalty circa 2006 is overrated. I would start with incarceration rates that are staggering outliers among liberal democracies before rarely-applied capital punishment. As a matter of constitutional law, I don’t think arguments that the death penalty is inherently unconstitutional are at all convincing. I think the Supreme Court basically got it right in both Furman and Gregg: the death penalty as practiced prior to 1972 was plainly unconstitutional, but states should have been given the opportunity to craft regimes that would be consistent with the Constitution. In other words, I can see arguments that the death penalty is unconstitutionally applied (although I’m not sure that this is currently true), but I do not believe that the death penalty for first degree murder is ipso facto unconstitutional although I would vote against such statutes as a legislator.

Some interesting arguments about application remain, however. Consider the one that the Supreme Court recently refused to hear:

The court turned down a challenge to Tennessee’s method of lethal injection, filed by an inmate on the state’s death row. The inmate, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, convicted of a 1986 murder, argued that one of three chemicals the state uses “has the clear potential to inflict great pain,” although it is not needed to cause death.

The chemical, pancuronium bromide, paralyzes the muscles, giving the inmate a peaceful appearance, but can cause severe pain if not accompanied by adequate, sufficiently long-lasting anesthesia. Most states that carry out executions by lethal injection use the same chemical. At the same time, many, including Tennessee, forbid its use in veterinary practice for euthanizing animals.

The Tennessee Supreme Court rejected the defense’s argument that the state’s lethal injection protocol violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Although the Court didn’t take the case, it seems to me that 8th Amendment arguments about lethal injection without sufficient anesthetic are considerably more powerful than the claim that the amendment categorically forbids the execution of those under 18. If prisoners are being tortured to death–and while this is obvious a question of fact, that states forbid the use of the chemical used to execute prisoners to euthanize animals strongly suggests a considerable risk–this seems central to the purposed of the cruel and unusual punishment clause. Granted, the medicalization of the death penalty is one reason I oppose it; making state executions a private, outwardly antiseptic process seems fundamentally at odds with the moral arguments that are the only remotely decent arguments for the death penalty. Nonetheless, the death penalty currently in place relies on the idea that it does not attempt to apply additional suffering, and it’s definitely a legitimate role of the courts to ensure that the state is held to the principles it uses to maintain public support for the death penalty.

La Flanagan Watch

[ 0 ] May 23, 2006 |

Since this web log hasn’t had a post on Caitlin “why, oh why, do people criticize the crackpot arguments I make in public rather than the sensible opinions I express in private” Flanagan in at least 36 hours, I thought I would fill you in on some of the latest analysis:

  • Cathy Young on the purported “blowjob epidemic” that Flanagan was inexplicably given eleventy-billion words to opine about in the august pages of the Atlantic Monthly.
  • Ann Bartow on Flanagan and her even more clueless defenders.
  • Amanda on her recent WSJ piece, which may be part of a forthcoming book project intended to rewrite Hollywood vs. America with somewhat better prose and somewhat worse reasoning. Apparently, Hollywood makes terrible, derivative movies staring washed-up comedians that have lots of crude scatological humor–who knew?–and anyone who finds humor in the idea that Jesus can interpose Himself to protect specific individuals from specific natural disasters clearly hates all mainstream Christians. Read the rest score: -5 out of 5.

Can’t Greece and Turkey Just Get Along?

[ 0 ] May 23, 2006 |

Seriously. This is ridiculous.

Greek and Turkish F-16 fighter planes collided in midair today in disputed airspace over the Aegean Sea.

[...]

Greece insists its national airspace rights extend 10 miles from its coast. Turkey, however, recognizes only a six-mile zone and says it has a right to train in international airspace.

The dispute, among the thorniest in Greek-Turkish relations, has had warplanes from both sides engaging in a near daily drill of mock combat maneuvers over contested parts of the Aegean.

In April alone, Turkish jets violated Greek airspace no less than 53 times, Hellenic Air Force officials said today.

Then again, I suppose that it helps to demonstrate the continued value of the NATO alliance. Greece and Turkey are far less likely to come to actual blows while under the same security umbrella.

Incidentally, one of the books I mention below, Wayne Hughes’ Fleet Combat, describes a scenario involving US naval intervention in a Greco-Turkish war. Kind of cool.

Update: Via comments, Fistful of Euros has more.

Sebelius For Veep!

[ 0 ] May 23, 2006 |

It’s not just Al Gore; another politician who Ezra has convinced me to see the virtues of is Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. And here’s yet another reason to get on the bandwagon:

Legislation requiring physicians to furnish the state with additional information when they perform abortions was vetoed Friday by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who said it crossed the line on privacy issues.

The bill would have required physicians to inform state health officials about each late-term abortion and whether the fetus was abnormal. It also would have expanded how much information doctors would have had to report, including how a woman would have been harmed without the procedure.

When the bill was debated by legislators, supporters said it would give Kansans better data about abortion, while opponents called it an attempt to harass doctors and clinics.

In her veto message, Sebelius said the bill did nothing to reduce the number of abortions in Kansas.

“Instead, it will force women to provide intimate, sensitive health information to the government,” she wrote. “Privacy is a fundamental concern to all Kansans.”

She also noted, “As we have seen in recent months, we can never take our health privacy for granted.”

That was viewed by some as an oblique reference by the Democratic governor to Republican Attorney General Phill Kline’s ongoing dispute with two abortion clinics over access to their patients’ records.

(Via Feministing. Whose proprietor gets extra props from me for praising my uber-geeky headphones.)

I’ve never heard her speak, but a female Democrat who can not only get elected to statewide office in Kansas but is willing to stand up to this kind of bullshit regulation of reproductive freedom is certainly someone to keep a close eye on. The veto message (in addition to the swipe at Kansas’ panty-sniffer in chief) is particularly gratifying. More politicians need to explain what the purpose and effect of these kinds of regulations are rather than following the advice of the William Saletans of the world and simply rolling over and playing dead without really even considering their utter lack of merit.

Military Affairs Reading List

[ 0 ] May 22, 2006 |

CJ, among others, has requested a military affairs reading list. Ask 100 students of military affairs this question and you’ll get 100 different lists, and I haven’t really made an effort to give a general survey. Rather, this is a selection of my favorite books. I also spoke with John at Op For, and he offered his list. Here goes:

Stephen Biddle, Military Power: This is a critical text for getting a basic understanding of the “modern system” of land warfare that developed on the Western Front during World War I. Biddle includes chapters on Operation Goodwood, Operation Desert Storm, and the Second Battle of the Somme. The answer, Biddle argues, is force employment. Effective execution of tactics matters more than numbers or technology.

David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed: This is an excellent single volume history of the Eastern Front in World War II. The scale of combat on the Eastern Front exceeded in numbers, technology, and skill anything seen in the West. The Red Army and the Wehrmacht attained an extraordinary level of skill by the end of the war. Important because this is the single most devastating war in human history.

Hans Delbruck, Warfare in Antiquity: A little over a hundred years old, Delbruck employs an innovative method for studying military history. If you want to know what happened at Marathon, then the historical text matters somewhat less that what our own eyes tell us is possible. For example, Delbruck compared the description of the Battle of Marathon given by Herodotus with the actual battlefield, and determined that it was simply impossible for the Athenian phalanx to move as Herodotus had recorded. This text, the first of four, is very good for describing the basic difference between the various kinds of phalanx and the progressive iterations of Roman Legion.

Robert Pape, Bombing to Win: This selection might be controversial, but I like how Pape handles the various coercion campaigns in World War II and the Vietnam War. It might be a little heavy on the political science for some tastes. The upshot is that strategic bombing doesn’t come close to meeting the predictions of its enthusiasts. Although I haven’t read Tami Biddle’s Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, it’s supposed to be quite good.

John Keegan, Face of Battle: This is a very nice little volume that explains, in vivid detail, the differences between the battle experience of a soldier at Agincourt, at Waterloo, and at the Somme. If you really don’t know anything about warfare, this isn’t a bad place to start.

Andrew Krepinevich, The Army and Vietnam: An exceptional volume about the experience of the Army in the Vietnam War, and in particular the difficulty it had in adopting and executing counter-insurgency tactics. A must read, especially today.

Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence: I include this volume not so much because I agree with Schelling’s arguments (I don’t, so much), but because Schelling is so important to understanding how states and heads of government have thought about coercion and military violence in the past forty years.

Peter Paret ed., Makers of Modern Strategy: If you’re only going to read one 900 page book on military strategy, try this one. Most, although not all, of the essays are informative and helpful. The contributors discuss everything from the development of Napoleonic warfare to nuclear strategy. There’s even a competent if not inspired essay on Soviet military strategy by Condi Rice.

Carl Builder, The Masks of War
: A bit outdated but still remarkably interesting, Builder discusses how the three services understand themselves and war in strikingly different ways. Helps to explain why convincing the services to work with one another remains difficult, and why Congress and the Pentagon have worked so hard at convincing them to cooperate.

Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones, How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War: This is my favorite military account of the Civil War, although I’ll concede that I’m no specialist and that others may have better suggestions. This is a very serviceable volume, detailed and even-handed.

Sam Huntington, Soldier and the State: A classic on the role of the military professional in a civilian governed state. Huntington didn’t really get much better than this.

Wayne Hughes, Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat: A very solid text on the development of missile warfare, and of the application of general principles of naval combat to the modern age. I don’t quite agree with many of his conclusions, but it’s a useful book nonetheless.

Kenneth Pollack, Arabs at War: Interesting both for the subject matter, and as a general history of warfare in the second half of the twentieth century. Pollack details the particular military deficiencies of each Arab state. Israel’s success against the Arab states isn’t simply the result of Israeli expertise, but also includes a fair dose of Arab military ineptitude. The Egyptian chapter is particularly illuminating, and demonstrates the importance of communication, trust, and innovation in modern mechanized warfare.

Alan Millett and Williamson Murray eds., Military Effectiveness, v. 1-3 These books include essays on the military effectiveness of the various belligerents in World War I, the Interwar Period, and World War II. Very informative. Unfortunately, the seem to be out of print. Try to find them in a library. I haven’t yet read Millet and Murray’s history of World War II, A War to be Won, but I suspect that it’s quite good.

N.A.M. Rodger, Safeguard of the Sea, Command of the Ocean: This selection is quite idiosyncratic, and most readers probably won’t find all that much use for these two volumes. They chronicle the history of naval warfare, particularly in the context of the development of navies in the British Isles. What I find most interesting in Rodger’s work is his narrative of the evolution of the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy is one of the world’s oldest military organizations, and its development closely parallels the construction of the English state. Both volumes are quite readable.

That’s my list. Here’s John’s.

My additions:

These are eight books that I consider to be invaluable additions to the science of military thought. I don’t always go after the most brainy reads, instead focusing on the ones that I find most valuable and applicable to the modern day. For example, I’ve included Clausowitz but excluded Sun Tzu, who I think is dry and a master of the obvious. But that’s aside the point. Hope you all find these suggestions as useful as I have, and feel free to send me your own suggestions.

Hitler’s Generals: books on the military genius of German commanders during the Second World War are a dime a dozen. I dig Barnett’s version because -unlike the subject’s other authors- he spends more time detailing the relationship between Hitler and the German High Command than he does kissing the asses of the Kraut field marshalls. I’m not saying guys like Guderian and Rommell aren’t deserving of high praise, I’m just sick of hearing about it. Barnett breaths new life into an otherwise tired theme, check it out.

Stephen Decatur: A Life Most Bold and Daring: My blog partner Charlie describes Stephen Decatur as “the Jack Bauer of the 1800s,” and he’s right. The US Navy’s famed commodore was responsible for the first real projection of US power abroad, fought the Barbary Pirates off the Tripoli coast and commanded a naval squadron during the War of 1812. Dr. Spencer Tucker captured Decatur so effectively that A Life Most Bold and Daring has become one of my favorite reads.

Rogue Warrior: Former Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko is a controversial guy. He was court-martialed by the Navy for some stupid spat over hand grenades, I don’t know the details. But Rogue Warrior, Marcinko’s autobiography, is a must-read. It’s a kind of a “rise and fall of the special forces operator” story, following Marcinko as he joined the SEALs during their infancy in the early 60s, fought in Vietnam, and founded two of the nation’s premier counter-terrorism units: SEAL Team Six and Red Cell. What’s fascinating about the book -if you can get past all the ego- is the way Marcinko’s life and story intersects with history. It’s not a very academic read, lots of swearing and dirty jokes, but hell, whatever. If he can be informative and entertaining at the same time, great.

Imperial Grunts: Robert Kaplan uses Imperial Grunts to make an argument that I hate, the notion of America as an empire, without being snotty about it. Embedding himself with elite American military units in some six different countries, Kaplan doesn’t hide the fact that he greatly admires US troops. But, he says, the fall of the Soviet Union and rise of ambiguous enemies have turned those soldiers into the arms of 21st century imperialism, no less so than Rome during her apex of power. This is one of those “important” books.

On War: Okay I know that mentioning Clausowitz is a “no duh” addition but, cliche or not, the lasting effects of Clausowitz’s military genius make it difficult to exclude.

The Book of Five Rings: And speaking of Clausowitz, this is like a Japanese version of On War. Another book where philosophy and military science meet. Plus I’ve always thought Samurais were cool.

George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the 20th Century:
I’ve long believed that General George C. Marshall was one of the most important figures of the 20th century, a true-to-life Cincinattus. Unlike other generals, Marshall’s legacy transcended warfare, as he was instrumental in the formation of the NATO alliance and the reconstruction of Europe. Mark Stoler’s account of Marshall’s life isn’t so much a biography as it is a lesson in leadership. Oh and Marshall is a fellow VMI man, heh.

On Gore ’08

[ 0 ] May 22, 2006 |

Like Ezra and Shakes, I hope that Al Gore will run in ’08, and would, at a minimum, strongly lean toward supporting him in the primaries. Neil tries to throw some cold water on the parade. He makes at least one good point, although I’m not convinced by the overall argument:

  • The sound point is the media’s kneecapping of Gore in ’00; I don’t know if that would happen again, but it’s possible, and is certainly the strongest argument against his candidacy. I don’t fully buy some of the subsets to the argument, though. Worrying about whether someone will be called a “flip-flopper” is rather silly, since virtually any candidate can be called one, and some (like McCain) seem insulated from the charge no matter how apparently egregious their pandering it is. Clinton and Edwards certainly wouldn’t be any less immune. The fact that a segment of the media hates Gore is a variable to consider, but nothing more than that.
  • I’m puzzled, on the other hand, by the discussion of Gore’s electoral prospects, which essentially ignores the rather salient fact that he’s already won a Presidential election. Won the popular vote, would have won the electoral college if the United States had a vaguely rational system for counting votes, and were it not for the reactionary vanity candidacy of Ralph Nader would have won a victory that was well beyond the reach of inept voting commissioners, manufactured riots, and Supreme Court lawlessness. Gore is a very rare thing among primary candidates, a literally electable candidate. It seems to me that this trumps the theoretical constituencies that Warner may or may not be able to deliver on election day. And while I agree that the netroots shouldn’t be overrated, a candidate that both the base and the party establishment can mobilize behind is very valuable. (And, as Neil says, running the guy who got the Presidency stolen from him in 2000 throws the disastrous Bush administration into particular sharp relief. The harder it is for Republicans to run away from a failed presidency, the better.)
  • There are two basic criteria by which primary candidates should be measured: on the merits, and on their chances of winning. I believe that Neil places insufficient weight on Gore’s obvious virtues in the former category. When evaluating candidates, it’s crucial to remember that 1)how good a candidate someone will be in a presidential election is in many respects inherently unknowable, and 2)Presidential campaigns are determined much more by larger structural factors than by electoral campaigns. Once one crosses a certain threshold of electoral plausibility –what one might call the “Feingold line”–whether someone would make a good President is more important than trying to make predictions about whether someone is more “electable.”

Obviously, these questions are only relevant in comparison. Applying these standards, I think it’s obvious that Gore is infinitely preferable to Clinton, who’s not particularly appealing on the merits and is also pretty weak in terms of “electability.” (A centrist who’s perceived as a liberal is a model for a bad candidate. Gore has this problem to some extent, but Clinton is much worse in this respect.) I also don’t think that Warner’s theoretical (and, to me, not terribly convincing) electoral advantages trump Gore’s strong superiority on the merits. I could perhaps be convinced about Edwards, and there may be other candidates we don’t fully know about, but Gore looks to me like the best candidate for ’08 if he decides to run.

…Ugh–a reminder of hacks past and present. But, of course, since the Kleins and Matthewses will hate any Democratic candidate for President–and that goes triple if Saint McCain is the GOP nominee–there’s no point in trying to appease them.

…in comments, zuzu makes a good point: Gore’s consistent opposition to the Iraq war has to be considered a huge plus, particularly given that he supported the first Iraq war. A Clinton or Edwards running on the mushy “it was a great idea badly executed” line is likely to fare about as well as Kerry did with that. Because the war was still fairly popular in ’04 the Dems were admittedly in a bind, but by ’08 that problem will almost certainly have gone away. A strong and prescient anti-Iraq-war candidate could definitely pull significant votes in the midwest.

Montenegro

[ 0 ] May 21, 2006 |

It appears that Montenegro has voted to secede from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro. A 55% supermajority was needed, and it looks as if they’ve just managed to get there. Let’s hope that this divorce can be conducted more peacefully than the rest of the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

Doug Muir has more.

Escovedo-YMSB-Murdoch-Stanley-DBT

[ 0 ] May 21, 2006 |

The show last night in Louisville was, as expected, outstanding. The timing was very tight, as each band had only abot 45 minutes to play. We missed one or two Escovedo songs because he apparently started right at 7. There were a couple of technical problems, including a bad guitar amp in the Escovedo set, and some feedback problems with Stanley. That’s probably to be expected at a show that includes five acts in a short period of time.

All of the acts were outstanding. I had not previously heard YMSB, but I was pleased with their set. Aleksi Murdoch was fine, I suppose. Dr. Stanley only participated in about half the songs that his band played, but he’s 79, so I’m inclined to cut him a break. One other thing about Ralph Stanley; he’s an extremely short man.

The Drive By Truckers went on last, and played a short but exceptional set. Three songs each, if I recall correctly, from Decoration Day, Dirty South, and A Blessing and a Curse. I was particularly impressed with the live versions of the last, which made me more appreciative of their latest album.

Rodger Payne has more. This was my first real visit to Louisville, which has a nice little downtown walking area, nicer than Lexington, anyway.

Sunday Battleship Blogging: SMS Friedrich Der Grosse

[ 0 ] May 21, 2006 |

Part III of a four part series to commemmorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.

Part I: SMS Lutzow
Part II: HMS Lion

The first eight German dreadnoughts followed the naming convention previously adopted for pre-dreadnoughts. Like in the US Navy, battleships were named after states. This changed with the construction of the Kaisers, the third class of German dreadnoughts. They, and their successors the Konigs, were named after general or specific monarchs. After nine ships the German Navy reverted to the practice of naming battleships after states with Baden and Bayern. Although one might suspect that the decision to name battleships after monarchs was designed to please William II, he had always been an ardent supporter of the naval program, and no such flattery was necessary.

Friedrich Der Grosse
was the second of the Kaiser class, commissioned in October 1912. Friedrich Der Grosse carried 10 12″ guns, displaced 25000 tons, and could make 22 knots. Her design included a couple of interesting points. The Germans abandoned the wasteful hexagonal turret distribution that they had used in the Nassau and Helgoland classes, instead carrying one twin turret forward, two turrets rear, and two wing turrets. Theoretically, the wing turrets could fire on either broadside, but such use put enormous strain on the hull and the superstructure. The arrangement was mildly better than that of her predecessors, but the Germans wouldn’t achieve a truly efficient turret arrangement until the completion of the Konig class. At one point during the war, Austrian naval engineers visited Kiel and discussed the relative merits of different turret designs. The Austrians, correctly, argued that the German turret distribution was wasteful. The Germans insisted that the triple turrets preferred by the Austrians could never work. The Austrians had a much better case; Szent Istvan could easily outgun Friedrich Der Grosse, despite being 20% smaller. The Kaisers were also the first class of German dreadnoughts to use turbines.

Friedrich der Grosse became flagship of the High Seas Fleet from roughly the date of her commissioning, and carried the flag of Admiral Reinhard Scheer at the Battle of Jutland. The German plan was to lure part of the Grand Fleet into a conflict with the whole of the High Seas Fleet. Pre-positioned U-boats would delay and weaken the Grand Fleet. On May 31, 1916, it seemed that this plan had worked. Six British battlecruisers and four battleships had been lured out of Rosyth to do battle with the German battlecruisers. Admiral Hipper, commanding from Lutzow, led David Beatty and Lion toward the oncoming German fleet, consisting of sixteen dreadnoughts. Upon sighting the High Seas Fleet, the battered British ships turned north and were relieved by the Fifth Battle Squadron, which exchanged fire for a while with the German battlecruisers and with the forward elements of the High Seas Fleet. Unbeknownst to Scheer, however, the Grand Fleet had been neither delayed nor weakened, and was in a position, with fully twenty-four dreadnoughts and three battlecruisers, to intercept Scheer’s fleet.

The High Seas Fleet continued to plug north in pursuit of Beatty’s ships, and briefly savaged a squadron of British armored cruisers that found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crew of the cruiser Warrior was saved by a mechanical problem on board Warspite. Her rudder damaged, Warspite made two full turns in front of the German Navy, taking fifteen hits in the process but eventually limping away. As Warspite sped out of reach, however, Scheer became aware of the presence of the Grand Fleet, which was in the process of crossing the German “T”, the most advantageous possible tactical position.

Scheer knew that he couldn’t fight the Grand Fleet, and did the sensible thing. He ordered the High Seas Fleet to make a 180 degree turn in line; a very difficult maneuver that required a great deal of practice. Essentially, each ship turned at roughly the same time, rather than in formation. At the end of the turn, the trailing ship was in the lead, and Scheer’s fleet was moving to the southwest, away from the British fleet but also away from the German bases. In a move that has still not been fully explained, Scheer then ordered his fleet to execute a second 180 degree turn, back toward the British line. The Grand Fleet was in a perfect position to intercept this, and began hammering the head of the German line. Finally, Scheer ordered a third 180 degree turn to escape from the British. To cover the German escape, he ordered the destroyers and battlecruisers to launch an attack against the Grand Fleet, hoping that this would save the German battlefleet.

This still left the Germans on the wrong side of the British fleet. It was getting late in the day, however, and the Germans managed to avoid further combat before nightfall. During the night the High Seas Fleet took advantage of poor British communications to cross the British line and escape towards Germany. Although many of the German dreadnoughts had been heavily damaged (Friedrich Der Grosse had not suffered much damage), none were sunk.

The rest of Friedrich Der Grosse’s career was uneventful. She operated in the Baltic against the Russian Navy, and was interned by the Allies at Scapa Flow. On June 21, 1919 she was scuttled along with the rest of the High Seas Fleet. In 1937 the hulk was raised and scrapped by a British entrepreneur.

In 1928, Admiral Jellicoe invited Admiral Scheer to Great Britain for a visit. Sadly, Scheer died before he could travel to the UK.

Trivia: What British battleship was de-militarized in accordance with the London Naval Treaty of 1930?

UPDATE, 12/3/06: Out of curiosity, why the sudden interest in this post? Have received a bunch of hits from the UK on this post in the last hour…

Page 4 of 12« First...2345610...Last »
  • Switch to our mobile site