N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
SETS FOR SALE
ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
|Saturday, 17th May 2008|
he Battle of Jutland was one of the biggest naval engagements of all time and also a battle ground for the new capital ship, The Dreadnoughts.
In 1904 Sir John Fisher (First Sea Lord) dreamt up the concept of the Dreadnought. It had twice as many big guns on her as any previous battleship.
By 1906 HMS Dreadnought had been built, it was to give its name to a whole generation of capital ships. Its advent also meant that Germany could now build capital ships on parity with the British, which does become significant a few years later on. By September 1910 Wills had produced a very nice series of 25 cards entitled The Worlds Dreadnoughts.
The set has high production values as a lot of the turn of the century sets have.
Naturally enough this great ship appears on card five of the series. The reverse of this card along with the reverse of all the cards is factually detailed. Giving the commisioned date (1905?) and the completion date, October 1906. Along with its gun compliment and the thickness of the armour plating. The card also notes that the ship was built under conditions of great secrecy and in record time.
There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!Admiral Beatty
This well researched set also shows sign of being at the cutting edge of its field. Many of the vessels have completion dates set at 1910 and some have dates beyond the 1910 of set issue. Again this underlines just how important getting it right was the the cigarette card manufacturers and just how sophisticated the business had become from its beginnings where a picture of a scantily clad woman was parr for the course.
|In 1910 you could advertise the following product in the UK with a straight face, and no law suit:
Sore Throats cured with one dose
'Fennings' FEVER CURER
Bowl complaints cured with One Dose.
Typhus or Low Fever cured with Two Doses
Diphteria cured with Three Doses
Scarlet Fever cured with Four Doses
Cholera cured with Five Doses
Influenza cured with Six Doses
By card 7 there is a whiff of intrigue over the matter of Lord Nelson. The card explains thus, 'The claim of these ships to be considered, 'Dreadnoughts' is disputed by some, but merely because they pre-date that ship.' The ship having been laid down in Nov 1904. The card dismisses this by suggesting, 'They are fully as powerful as some foriegn 'Dreadnoughts'.
There must be something about the multiples of seven because card 14, Blucher is also controversial. The card states, 'Except that she has a uniform big gun armament, the Blucher should not be regarded as a Dreadnought cruiser; she is, however, always so tabulated.
Many of the cards mention their sister ships, such as Card 13, Westfallen giving Nassau (card 12), Rheinland and Posen as sister ships. Nassau is credited as being the first true German Dreadnought.
It is only natural for us to be thinking of the global conflict of 1914-18 as we examine this set but card 18 reminds us that war was never far away during these times.
Card 18, Satsuma. It notes that this is the first Japanese Dreadnought which was laid down in May 1905, during the war with Russia.
In 1905 the two great fleets of the Japanese and Russians clashed at the Battle of Tsushima (1905). Russian defeat was total in this battle.
It is an inescapable fact that war breaks out in 1914 and Blucher (card14) was sank on Dogger Bank on Jan 24th 1915. That day, David Beatty was in command of the British ships in that engagement and he was to lead a squadron in May 1916 when the greatest ever accumulation of seapower met each other at Jutland.
The British fleet consisted of 151 ships, with 60,000 men employed and the Germans had 99 and 36,000 men employed.
This represented a large proportion of the both fleets total strength and as such a number of the Dreadnoughts on these cards were engaged in this battle. This number increases when you take into account of the sister ships mentioned on the reverse of the cards.
The fleets were almost totally ignorant of one another's size and power when they met. This was due to both sides being successful in their deceptions. Warfare at the time was very localised, there was no radar for example so you fought someone when you could see them and often you only stumbled on them in the first place. When the battle was raging a German Zeppelin flew high overhead and had no idea of the struggling unfurling beneath them.
It was probably the last battle which was dominated by the belief the big gun was paramount. Although there were submarines, seaplanes, mines and torpedoes, near, or on the scene none played a major role. In fact the British seaplane carrier Engadine, pioneer of the aircraft carrier was used for nothing more than towing a crippled cruiser.
The following ships mentioned on the titles of the set were in the battle:
|Vanguard||Von Der Tann|
|Invincible (flagship, Rear Admiral Hood)|
The sister ships mentioned in the set which did battle at Jutland:
|Colossus (flagship Rear Admiral Gaunt)|
It should also be noted that the Iron Duke was also in this engagement.
British fatalities in this conflict amounted to 6094 souls.
A high proportion of these deaths were actually drawn from ships which were mentioned in the Wills set.
For the Indefatigable (card 4) and Invincible (card 6) this was their final battles. Indefatigable sank with 1017 souls and Invincible with 1026 souls. Only the sinking of the Queen Mary saw the loss of more lives (1266 deaths).
These ships can be considered unfortunate in sinking as they were only hit by 5 rounds of heavy shelling each. Compare this to the Tiger which was pounded by 17 rounds from heavy guns and only 24 men were to die.
The German ships depicted in the set were to be luckier than the British counterparts, although pounded they remained afloat.
Rheinland saw 10 deaths, 20 injured which could be considered unfortunate as it was only hit once by a secondary shell. Nassau had 11 deaths as did the Van Der Tann. The Westfalen only recorded two deaths but the Moltke suffered most in this subset of the battle with 17 deaths having been hit by 4 shells from heavy guns.
It should be noted that the number of hits on ships have been taken from the German account of the battle which do underestimate the number of impacts suffered on their ships and may exagerate the number of shells slamming into the British fleet.
Two of the vessels depicted in the set met each other on the high seas and shelled one another on a one to one basis. The Indefatigable came off second best, one of the first ships to be destroyed in the battle, sinking as it did at just after 4pm sunk by the Van Der Tann (card 11).
The Invincible also sank early in the exchange, a shell igniting one if its magazines which broke the back of the vessel and it sank with bow and stern jutting from the water.
That is one of the sad facts of these sets produced so close to the war years but they are there to remind us of what did happen.
Although the British were to suffer greater losses the conflict was to keep the German fleet bottled up for the remainder of the war as although they had fewer vessels sunk only 6 of their battleships survived unscathed, as opposed to 26 in the English fleet. Certainly the Battle of Jutland was something of a wasted opportunity for the British to totally destroy the German fleet which managed to escape by the skin of their teeth, and no small amount of skill.