Beatty was admittedly rash or more politely aggressive -- that was sort of his trademark, and the reason he was ultimately elevated to the command of the GF -- but I feel that the loss of battlecruisers at Jutland couldn't be laid at his feet. He *engaged* as all British commanders were expected to do, and he had superior numbers. The British BCs were particularly thin on armor compared to the much more stalwart German BCs, and that was by design. The cordite handling flaw just had not been perceived by the British to be the major problem it turned out to be (compared to similar German problem realized due to Seydlitz at Dogger Bank). And even after the BCs at Jutland, Hood was lost due to a similar weakness. But then the British tend to condemn any sea commander who doesn't win regardless of the reason. That is the effect of their tradition of naval dominance.
I don't have a problem with aggressive commanders. The criticism of Beatty goes much, much deeper than the fact he lost three battlecruisers under his command - as unfortunate as that was and for which he can take a share of the blame since the British knew of the problem from an episode with (HMS Kent?) earlier in the war.
His inability to learn anything from earlier engagements and his refusal to remove his clearly unfit Flat-Lieutenant were costly errors, but his whole handling of the 5th Battle Squadron - from the time the four ships fell under his command, his deployment of those ships and then his handling of the squadron once at sea with his battlecruiser squadron was crucial to what happened at Jutland.
As for the ships, the German ships were well constructed and better armoured, but there is nothing to suggest that (had it not been for the cordite handling issue) the British ships would have been less likely to survive. Indeed a study at Southampton University(?) showed this not to be the case.
They compared Queen Mary with Seydlitz. Queen Mary had just one water tight bulkhead less (despite the oft repeated line that the German ships were so much better compartmentalised). They then used a computer program and a mock up of the Queen Mary's hull, and subjected the hull to exactly the same damage (including the torpedo) that Seydlitz suffered (the Germans photographed every hit taken by their ships) to see if she would sink. The Queen Mary, like the Seydlitz, did not sink. Norman Friedman (who knows something about ships!) said that had it not been for the explosions, it is likely the British would have lost no battlecruisers that day....
As for the loss of Hood, yes another battlecruiser, yes a catastrophic explosion - but the circumstances were quite different - e.g. the construction of the ships and the tightening up of cordite handling. Hood's loss was more to do with advances in gunnery and the greater distances involved that made her - with her weak deck armour - vulnerable to plunging shell fire.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 5/27/2018 7:40:16 PM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805