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Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield


Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield

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    Available in PDF Format | Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield.pdf | English
    Innes McCartney(Author)
The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the First World War. For years the myriad factors contributing to the loss of many of the ships remained a mystery, subject only to speculation and theory. In this book, marine archaeologist and historian Dr Innes McCartney reveals for the first time what became of the warships that vanished on the night of 31st May 1916, examining the circumstances behind the loss of each ship and reconciling what was known in 1916 to what the archaeology is revealing today. The knowledge of what was present was transformed in 2015 by a groundbreaking survey using the modern technology of multi-beam. This greatly assisted in unravelling the details behind several Jutland enigmas, not least the devastating explosions which claimed five major British warships, the details of the wrecks of the 13 destroyers lost in the battle and the German warships scuttled during the night phase. This is the first book to identify the locations of many of the wrecks, and scandalously how more than half of these sites have been illegally plundered for salvage, despite their status as war graves. An essential and revelatory read for anyone interested in naval history and marine archaeology.

fascinating, crisply written, and handsomely produced Andy Brockman, the UKs leading conflict archaeologist a timely and valuable record of an important battlefield Archaeology magazine a worthy companion for anyone studying the battle ... highly readable with some fascinating photos --Warship World

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Book details

  • PDF | 272 pages
  • Innes McCartney(Author)
  • Conway (19 May 2016)
  • English
  • 3
  • History

Review Text

  • By Andy Brockman on 19 May 2016

    It is easy to become "anniversaried out" by the cascade of anniversary publications related to events in World Wars One and Two. World War One in particular is currently receiving the attention of scores of authors and publishers seeking to play to the clear interest of the public in the events of one hundred years ago. Events which are now on the very furthest fringes of living memory and are about to pass fully into the realm of historical narrative. It is inevitable that these publications will range from the good to the bad through the indifferent, and one of the problems in writing about World War One is the difficulty of saying something new, when many of the archive sources are so well trawled. However, Dr Innes McCartney's new book "Jutland- The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield" does offer something new, simply by dint of it dealing with evidence which simply was not available, even at the turn of this century, because the technology to collect it did not exist. Indeed, so up to date is McCartney's narrative that some of he evidence cited was only collected in 2015.The essence of Dr McCartney's book is simple. It brings the spatial analysis of modern battlefield archaeology to the seascape of Jutland through the painstaking, systematic location and investigation of the twenty four ships which sank during the battle. Those wrecks, examined in forensic detail by diver and latterly by state of the art multibeam sonar and remotely operated vehicles, do not tell a single tale, and, as McCartney admits, some offer more by way of adding to the narrative and understanding of Jutland than others. However, taken together they provide an illuminating, and often poignant, witness to what happens when tens of thousands of men operating steam driven, steel armoured, killing machines, clash at sea.Most evocative of all are studies of the ships lost with all hands on the night of 31 May/1 June, such as SMS Pommern and HMS Black Prince. Mute for a century McCartney's work, and this book, allows the more than fifteen hundred sailors who were lost with both ships to offer some witness to their appalling last moments and offer a necessary balance to some of the heroic images of the battle which appeared in the aftermath.Of course, no book is perfect, and some non-specialists may be put off by the numerous false colour images of smashed and broken ships on the sea bed, which to the casual reader often do not even look like ships. However, McCartney is an able interpreter and the inclusion of these images is essential, both to understand the techniques deployed in the research and to enable the reader to understand that this research is timely. The Jutland wrecks are deteriorating at a frightening rate. Neither is it a pure narrative of the battle, although the work must be taken into account by future narrative accounts. However, what McCartney has written is what is for now, and for the foreseeable future, a unique commentary on the battle.While the Battle of Jutland/Skagarrak, was not "the battle which won the war", as the title of the exhibition on the battle at the National Museum of the Royal Navy would like to suggest, it was the battle which ensured the war would not end with the High Seas Fleet being Trafalgared by the Royal Navy, but would instead become an attritional affair of blockade and counter blockade conducted by cruisers, destroyers, submarines and mines, and in Dr McCartney the battle has an able chronicler who has the ability marry modern technology and historical analysis with a sense of the time place and people who sailed into action on 31 May/1 June 1916.Eight and a half thousand of those sailors, British and German, did not return and the other grim byproduct of Dr McCartney's research is to finally expose the extent to which the wrecks of Jutland have been subjected to industrial scale looting by commercial salvage companies taking advantage of the fact that maritime military graves have no status in International Law, and the Governments on the North Sea litterol, have shown little interest in combating the theft, and what many would see as the desecration of the wrecks. It is to be hoped that, as well as being a service to scholars of Jutland and of World War One at sea, the publication of this fascinating, crisply written, and handsomely produced hardback from Bloomsbury, will go some way to shaming those Governments into action.

  • By A on 23 August 2017

    Just what I wanted when I wanted it at a good price

  • By AMD on 5 June 2016

    This book stands out among the serried ranks of books released to coincide with the Jutland centenary in actually providing new 'hard' data, rather than recycling and/or reinterpreting long-known 'facts'. In the fog of battle, and in the wake of some devastating destructions, the precise fate of a number of ships remained obscure to a greater or lesser degree, with their wrecks the only potential source of elucidation.A number have been located and dived over the years, but it has only been the most recent years that developments in sonar and other underwater remote technology has allowed whole wrecks to be surveyed in a meaningful way - rather than brief glimpses of discrete elements or low-resolution sonar images - or located at all. These innovations have been harnessed to mesh with the author's long-term research into the wrecks, including numerous dives on them, to produce what is (nearly) a definitive account of the archaeology of the battle.The approach is systematic, with an introduction dealing with principles and techniques followed by a chronological account of the battles, seen though the prism of the losses and wrecks. Each ship has her earlier history summarised, the previously-known information on the sinking recounted and eyewitness accounts reproduced and critiqued. The same is done for photographic evidence, the authenticity of a number of well-known images allegedly depicting a given sinking being called into serious question. Finally, the wreck itself is described and illustrated, both with photographs taken by divers and remote-operated-vehicles (essentially mini-submarines) and by the results of multi-beam sonar surveys. The latter represent a quantum leap beyond anything produced before, and produce 'real' representations of the complete wrecks. The archaeological evidence of the wrecks is then combined with the other sources to suggest a most likely narrative for the ships' last moments.In doing so, there are numerous points where previous conclusions are corrected, some deriving from the fact that a wreck is not actually where it was formerly thought to be (or where it was thought that the ship sank), others where the examination of the wreck has indicated that the mode of destruction was not quite as perceived by eyewitnesses. For example, HMS Defence was described as being blown to pieces by magazine explosions yet, although indeed sunk by such explosions that severed the bow and stern, the ship is remarkably intact, allowing the way in which 'flash' from propellant fires passed along the ship's ammunition beam ammunition passages to detonate both fore and aft magazines to be clearly seen. Light is shed on the tragic end of HMS Black Prince - she blundered into the German High Seas Fleet at night and came under the fire of a whole squadron of German battleships, sinking with all hands - with her actual sinking now shown to caused by the explosion of her aft magazine, yet with evidence that she may have fired a torpedo at her assailants in her death throes.These are but a few highlights of what is a must-have for anyone interested in the battle and/or the warships of the First World War. The above qualification of the book's definitive status is simply because since it went to press the author has acquired further data to fill in a few of the remaining gaps in the story. It is to be hoped that this data (which Dr McCartney has already presented in public lectures) can be fitted into the reprint that one suspects will be called for very soon.The only criticism that one might level at the book is that it could be seen as a tad 'over-designed', with (e.g.) different coloured pages, gratuitous watermarks and placing captions on relatively dark panels that make them difficult to read.These issues aside, which are of course not the fault of the author, this book is to be unreservedly recommended as one of those few volumes that genuinely makes a difference, and shows how archaeology can be just as important in writing modern history as it is in doing this for the remote past.

  • By J Bruce H on 26 May 2016

    Previous reviewers have said most of what needs to be said about this very different perspective on a most complex naval engagement.Since at its base it relies on the use of sidebeam and multibeam sonar it would have been helpful to have a brief description of how these similar but different technologies work, for the benefit of the lay reader. A worthwhile book, nevertheless, for the student of Jutland. Recommended.

  • By David J.B. Smith on 4 August 2016

    Only now, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, is the North Sea ready to give up some of her deepest secrets. Dr Innes McCartney is no stranger to the shipwrecks of Jutland. For this book, Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield, Innes draws on his vast experience of marine archaeology and more than a casual ability to tell a great sea story. Skilfully revealing the fates that befell all but 2 of the 25 Jutland wrecks, how they were discovered and ultimately identified. I was genuinely overwhelmed by the amount information packed into this fantastic book. Innes McCartney and everyone involved with this project should be congratulated for producing such a well informed archaeological study of the largest sea battle to take place in World War One. A sea battle which the Admiralty of the time would rather you didn’t know about. DJBS

  • By humblePi on 18 July 2017

    A fantastic and useful book on the battle itself, and the disposition of the two opposing forces. Beware, though, that its not an in-depth discussion on the battle.

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