Book Review – ’36 Hours: Jutland 1916: The battle that won the war’ by Michael Leek
The significance – and continuing controversy – of the battle of Jutland (known as Skagerrakschlacht in Germany) in the history of both the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine means it was inevitable that the hundredth anniversary would be recognized through more than a few publications. That the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, with the Imperial War Museum, should put together a dedicated exhibition is commendable. This excellent book is the catalogue for the exhibition (of 2019). The designer, Sarah Doyle, has presented the exhibition material with consummate skill.
The book is divided into three distinct sections. The first, an introduction, covers the context, a clear and concise timeline of the battle, and an equally clear and concise list of all the ships that took part. The second section, ‘Views of Jutland’, starts with the arrogant claim by Kaiser Wilhelm II that the Royal Navy had been defeated. It concludes with a description of the only aircraft to take part, a Short Type 184; its involvement was a precursor of what was to come, although obviously this was not recognized at the time.
The final and longest section is the catalogue itself, divided into ten parts (including acknowledgements and index, but no bibliography). What makes this section particularly commendable is the fact that it is in chronological order, starting with ‘Opening Rounds’ and concluding with ‘The Archaeology of Jutland’.