by Tom B
"The two day sea voyage in the immense and lovely Vaterland was not too rough. Many of us had trouble sleeping nonetheless. We were all excited about our very unusual mission. There was much discussion about whether we would get to witness a sea battle. Some of us thought it was very likely that the British would try to intercept us before we reached Ireland. Fanning this speculation Lt. Hoppe instructed us in the proper procedures for extinguishing fires aboard the immense vessel. This of course contributed to our excitement but also to our apprehension.
We arrived at Ireland without seeing any indication of a sea battle. I was both disappointed and relieved, but I was still very nervous. We did not immediately proceed to Cork but anchored instead near the mouth of a harbor at a place called Kinsale. There some of the companies in our regiment were transferred to smaller boats that could land at Kinsale’s harbor. We wondered if we too would land in Ireland in that fashion. It seemed to be a slow process."
----Shamrocks of Steel, Ernst Jünger
------northeast of Thurles (Tipperary) 0015 hrs Saturday 15 May, 1915
One of the 20 man raiding parties the 3rd Tipperary Battalion had dispatched, made it to the outskirts of Thurles yesterday afternoon. They found a large farm owned by an elderly couple sympathetic to the rebellion and used the barn as an interim base of operation. They were told that the rail tracks that passed though Thurles were patrolled at night because there had already been a few attempts to damage the tracks with sledgehammers at night. These patrols were thought to be weaker northeast of the city.
The team set out after dark and reached the railroad tracks without incident. One of their members was their explosives expert and carried dynamite with fuses. He went to work while the others stood guard. It was pitch black under a cloudy new moon sky. Just as the fuse was lit the one member of the band heard voices of men approaching. "People are coming!" he tried to warn the others.
This was heard by not only the raiding party but the half dozen constables who were out on patrol. "Who’s out there!" yelled the leader of the constables. This patrol carried 2 lanterns but neither was lit as the constables had discovered in the past that a lit lantern usually warned off the rebel saboteurs. One of the constables started to light his lantern. Before he did the dynamite exploded startling the constables and provided some fleeting illumination. Some of the rebels opened fire with their rifles. The constables only fired two rounds in return without hitting anyone then they fled. One of the constables had been hit in the stomach and he lay on writhing on the ground.
The leader of the rebel band approached the wounded constable. He regretted letting the other constables get away. They would surely raise the alarm and return with a much larger contingent. With his pistol in hand the leader looked at the wounded constable who was moaning piteously, "Please help, it hurts so badly. Oh please."
One of the rebels leaned over the constable trying to figure out how best to assist. "Are we going to take him with us, Sarge?" asked another.
The leader thought this situation over. Taking this man prisoner and bringing him would slow them down. "Get out of the way, Clancy," he told the man trying to help the constable.
"But he’s hurt real bad, Sarge. We have to help him."
"Get up and move to the side and I will take care of him."
Clancy did as he was ordered. The leader leaned over and peered at the wounded constable, who continued to writhe and moan on the ground. The leader suddenly fired two rounds with his revolver. The constable’s body twitched for a few seconds then lay perfectly still. The rebels gazed at their leader, who was merely an indistinct dark shape within a greater darkness. "He was going to die anyway. I did him a bleedin’ favor," said the leader who could sense that some of his men were shocked by his decision, "Get his rifle, sidearm and ammunition. Do it quickly. We need to be going."
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse Celtic Sea 0050 hrs
Adm. von Ingenohl was having trouble getting sleep this fateful night as the High Seas Fleet steamed towards Ireland. His nerves were part of the problem but so too were the frequent interruptions. He now glumly gazed at the latest wireless message from Hipper.
FORT CAMDEN IS STILL NOT YET COMPLETELY NEUTRALIZED AND MAY TAKE SEVERAL MORE HOURS TO ACCOMPLISH REPEAT FORT CAMDEN IS STILL NOT YET COMPLETELY NEUTRALIZED AND MAY TAKE SEVERAL MORE HOURS TO ACCOMPLISH STOP KINSALE CAN ONLY EFFICIENTLY COAL ONE FLOTILLA AT A TIME STOP HAVE OFFLOADED SIXTEEN COMPANIES AT KINSALE STOP WILL CONTINUE OFFLOADING INFANTRY BY BOAT AT KINSALE STOP
Adm. von Ingenohl’s scowl deepened. He gave his situation some thought then decided, "Alter our course to arrive off Youghal not Cork. Notify Gen. von François and Adm. von Hipper immediately of this change in our plans."
------Jebwadno (East Prussia) 0100 hrs GMT
Gen. von Plehve decided to start his East Prussian offensive with the all 3 infantry divisions of the IV Siberian Corps making a night attack against a 12 km wide stretch of the front, which was defended by only the German 37th Infantry Division. The divisions had begun to concentrate and dig saps the previous night. There had been no preliminary bombardment the day before. Gen. von Plehve had been very strict about forbidding artillery duels even if provoked by the Germans. Gen. von Plehve had attached an engineer battalion with 3 sapper companies to each of the attacking divisions. The Germans had been steadily improving their defenses in the last month, and that included thickening their wire barriers. Von Plehve hoped the sappers would be able to clear paths through the wire. They had achieved a measure of surprise at first but this evaporated before the wire could be overcome. Meanwhile German machineguns and artillery using star shells had begun to whittle down the attackers.
The Russians were attacking with 24 rifle battalions in the assault as well as the 3 engineer battalions. The German 37th Infantry Division was spread out over a front of 19 kilometers. While the Russians suffered losses while working their way through the wire they still had a marked superiority in numbers when they began to reach forward trench. Gen. von Plehve had seen to it that the battalions involved in the assault were well equipped with grenades and those men who lacked a rifle had at least an effective weapon for trench melee. The fight for the forward trench went on for over an hour before the Russians finally secured most of it, capturing 6 light minenwerfers and 14 machineguns in the process. They had in the process suffered heavy casualties and in the darkness their formation had become scrambled. Reinforcements and machineguns were moved forward to consolidate their gains. There was some confusion in the attacking divisions about trying to advance on to the next trench line. Meanwhile the sky was beginning to lighten with the first rosy hints of dawn. The end result was only a few battalions tried to advance and the Germans defending the second trench were able to repulse the attack though only just barely.
------South of Zeila (British Somaliland) 0230 hrs
Angered by the recent attack of the Abyssinians and the Ottomans the Senegalese forces in British Somaliland launched another attack of their own attack soon after first light. They had not received any more shells for their artillery since they first arrived here on account of Clemenceau’s disinterest in African campaigns. Their officers did not want to use up what little ammunition they had left for their cannons and so mounted an attack without any artillery support. They hoped to take the enemy by surprise but in fact one of Rabadi’s objectives had been to goad them into doing precisely this. The Abyssinians did not panic and held their position. Their rifle fire was hardly masterful but for the most part it proved adequate and the Ottoman fire was a small notch better. The Ottoman artillery was also used sparingly but effectively to break up the enemy’s greatest concentration. Oromo horsemen were waiting to counterattack if the tirailleurs broke through but to Rabadi’s relief their services were not required. The French officers soon realized their attack was not working and called it off.
------Phoenix Park Dublin 0305 hrs
After sleeping for a few hours Rommel arrived in person at Phoenix Park with yet another company of Irish Volunteers. He directed the counterattack against the Royal Irish Riflemen and constables in the park. Part of his plan included moving the Vickers machinegun he had captured yesterday to a key position. Rommel succeeded in taking 46 prisoners and startling the enemy enough to cause them to withdraw from most of the park. He was finally to reach the Magazine Fort. He distributed the improvised bombs that Ziethen’s pioneers had been fashioning amongst the Irish Volunteers. He again felt exhausted and nearly collapsed. Gaulart changed the dressing on his wound and Rommel was forced to get some more badly needed bed rest.
------Jebwadno (East Prussia) 0400 hrs
The artillery assigned to the IV Siberian Corps now came into play. Gen. von Plehve had provided them with all of the very limited amount of heavy artillery that Twelfth Army had at its disposal, but despite this most of the guns involved were only the standard 3" Pulitov field gun. The bombardment lasted only a half hour. Gen. von Plehve made it clear that the German trenches were to be bombarded with HE not shrapnel shells. Even firing HE shells the Pulitov guns with their very low trajectory and small bursting charge had very limited effectiveness against a well dug trench. Furthermore the Russian artillery was not completely dominating the German batteries. When the assault came it ran into defenses that had merely been scratched. The result was the attackers suffered heavy losses and again were only able to overwhelm the defenders by sheer numbers because the German defenders were so badly stretched in this sector. The assault succeeded the most on the center while on the flanks the attackers were subjected to enfilading fire by both artillery and machineguns.
------Ft. Camden (Cork) 0430 hrs
In bitter fighting the Bavarian Jaegers assisted by Pioneers had penetrated into the main body of the fort just before midnight taking the Upper Right Battery with its three casemated 12 pounders. After that there was two hours of fighting amidst the barracks and stores. After two unsuccessful assaults on the Upper Left Battery, the Jaegers finally realized that the 6" guns at that position were really only decoy dummy guns and were content to keep the Royal Munster Fusiliers at that location pinned down. However the only pathway to the lower tier of the fort, which included the Left Lower Battery and a Brennan torpedo establishment, was a zigzag traverse from the Left Upper Battery. Some of the Jaegers tried to work their way down the slope in the dark but this failed. Before first light the Jaegers brought their machine gun company into the fort while the pioneers brought up and positioned 2 of the medium minenwerfers.
There was now sufficient sunlight to bring first the machineguns then the minenwerfers to bear on the Royal Munster Fusiliers and naval gunners below. The made it impossible for them to man the guns of the Left Lower Battery. Soon afterwards some Jaegers in rowboats assaulted the Brennan torpedo establishment finding only a pair of Royal Marines they quickly captured. Soon after that the Jaegers discovered that the reason why this facility was so lightly guarded was that it had in fact been deactivated for several years.
------Youghal (Cork) 0435 hrs
The High Seas Fleet arrived at Ireland off Youghal. The rebels had once eliminated the R.I.C. in Youghal but recently 26 constables had returned to the town. With the Welsh Division in retreat Gen. von Gyssling was able to dispatch a single company of Bavarian infantry crammed into some motor vehicles. This company only had an effective strength of 89 men. On the way to Youghal it picked up 3 Irish Volunteers of the East Cork Battalion familiar with Youghal and took them along while passing on von Gyssling’s orders for the rest of the battalion to march towards Youghal as quickly as possible.
When the Bavarians arrived at Youghal they found the band of R.I.C. they encountered to be more resolute than most constables, neither running off nor surrendering once they realized they were outnumbered by Germans. While this was going on an Austro-Hungarian rifle company was being landed in boats from the George Washington to ensure the speedy capture of the harbor. These soon made contact with the Bavarians. The first action the Austro-Hungarians saw in Ireland was here in Youghal fighting with these constables. The constables surrendered soon after the Austro-Hungarian company, which was predominantly Czech, arrived to assist in the fighting much to the amazement of the Germans. A small dispute arose after the battle as the Bavarians felt with some justification that the constables had been on the verge of surrendering when the black legs arrived. The Czechs on the other hand insisted that the Bavarians had failed miserably before their arrival. The Bavarians were also surprised to learn that the Czechs were armed with Lee-Enfield rifles and therefore insisted on taking all the clips of .303 captured from the constables.
When notified that friendly forces were in undisputed control Adm. von Ingenohl ordered the 3rd Torpedoboat Flotilla to coal at Youghal, while the rest of the High Seas Fleet headed east.
------Watergrasshill (Cork) 0500 hrs
The pursuit of the Welsh Division by the 6th Bavarian Division had slackened during the night as its commander, Gen. von Gyssling decided it was prudent to let his men get some sleep. Gen. Wilson had insisted that the Welsh Division regain the initiative as soon as possible despite the protests of its commander, Gen. Friend. All that the division could manage was a cautious attack by the two strongest battalions of North Wales Brigade. Though he had received a small shipment of 15 pounder shells during the night, Gen. Friend decided he needed them for defensive purposes and so there was no artillery support for the attack. One of the attacking Welsh battalions was thoroughly disrupted by German 7.7 cm shellfire. The other battalion escaped the attention of the German artillery through adept use of the terrain but the Bavarian infantry it attacked skillfully fell back to where they had the support of well emplaced machineguns. The Bavarian riflemen then turned about and issued a sharp rebuff to the pursuing Welshmen. After that fighting between the Welsh Division and the 6th Bavarian Division became mostly a series of skirmishes between patrols as Gen. von Gyssling began to fret about a potential threat to his own left emerging if he advanced too far away from Cork. At dawn he had sent the 2nd Chevauleger Regiment trotting off towards Mallow to reconnoiter. They had observed only one enemy battalion which was falling back to the northeast to rejoin the rest of the Welsh Division.
------Dublin 0515 hrs
The artillery of the Lowland Division in and around Trinity College resumed bombarding the G.P.O. and the Shelbourne Hotel with the shells they received during the night. However as they did this some of the gun crews came under fire from rebel snipers and suffered a few casualties. Meanwhile the Lowland Division mounted a series of attack in an arc that extended from South Dublin Union in the west to the St. Stephen’s Green in the east. Gen. Egerton had been reluctant to order these attacks but Gen. Hamilton was adamant that the situation in Dublin be resolved as quickly as possible. The fighting was particularly intense in and around the Royal College of Surgeons.
Lt. Col. Sir Winston Churchill personally led the charge of the 5th battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Royal College of Surgeons. Most of the defenders were the Irish Citizen Army but it also included Tom Barry and a half dozen of his Sealgairs. Barry had found himself a good sniper’s post in the upper floor. A British machinegun had raked the upper floors just as the British attack began. It badly wounded one of Barry’s Sealgairs but Barry himself was untouched. He now took careful aim at the pompous officer waving a sword. His shot merely grazed Churchill’s scalp but it was enough to stun Sir Winston who collapsed on the cobblestones. "The colonel is down!" yelled some of the Royal Scot Fusiliers and two tried to assist their valiant leader. Barry’s next shot instantly killed one of those soldiers. He realized that the colonel he had hit was not that badly wounded and resolved to finish the job with his next round. He had clear shot on Churchill. A fraction of a second before he could pull the trigger the hail of machinegun bullets returned to Barry’s window. This time a ricochet hit him in the lower left calf. "Oh, fucking shit! Holy Mother Mary!" he roared in pain. He temporarily lost interest in shooting Churchill. However when a jam tin was lobbed into the window he knew what it was. Despite his pain Barry was able to reach out and grab it, hurling it back from whence it came yelling, "This is from Joe Flynn’s ghost you mother rapists!"
The attack of the Royal Scots Fusiliers had run into a storm of shotgun and pistol fire and the wounding of their colonel had shaken their morale. The jam tin bomb that now exploded in their midst was the last straw and they fell back. Meanwhile most of the other British attacks accomplished little more than add to the piles of corpses rotting in the streets of Dublin.
------SMY Hohenzollern Waterford harbor 0530 hrs
When Division Prague was renamed the Erzherzog Karl Division, it was also decided to rename its Royal Hussars Regiment as the Erzherzog Karl Hussar Regiment. Count Tisza was its commanding officer. It was billeted aboard the German imperial yacht Hohenzollern, which was due to be replaced by a new vessel laid down in 1914, and so was converted into a high speed troopship for Operation Unicorn. Gen. von François had suggested just after midnight that it land at Waterford which was firmly controlled by a battalion of rebels. A landing party had been put ashore from 5th Scouting Group and made contact with the Waterford Battalion. After that they signaled via semaphore that that it was safe for Hohenzollern to dock at Waterford.
Maj. Heinz Wendel I.R.A., the Irish Brigade commander of Waterford Battalion, was at the docks to greet his unexpected guests. Wendel had arrived at Waterford only yesterday and was still less than completely clear about several aspects of the local situation. This morning he was startled to learn that Hungarian Hussars would be landing soon at Waterford. If that was not enough he now learned that the Hungarians were commanded by none other than the infamous Count Tisza!
When Count Tisza stepped off the yacht he dramatically unsheathed his sword at rattled it defiantly at the cloud covered sky yelling in Hungarian, "Ireland, you will now witness the glorious splendor which is the Magyar fighting spirit!"
Maj. Wendel gulped then with more than a little trepidation stepped forward and offered his hand, "Uh, I presume you are Count Tisza. I am Maj. Heinz Wendel, Irish Republican Army, the commander of the local Irish forces. Welcome to Waterford, Your Excellency."
Count Tisza cast a withering glance at Wendel. He took his time before he shook hands and replying in fluent but accented German, "I accept your welcome, major. Excuse me for being blunt but you do seem awfully young to be a major."
Wendel blushed slightly. He had brought some of his Irishmen with him. Two of those spoke some German. He paused before responding, "I received a temporary promotion when I was given this assignment, Your Excellency."
The count grunted as if he did not find the explanation satisfying, but he decided not to pursue the matter. There were more important things on his mind, "Hmm. Well then my young major, how soon will my Hussars be getting their fine Irish mounts?"
Wendel gulped again. "Uh, we have maybe 35 horses that we can provide for you in the next half hour, Your Excellency. There are also 20 or so ponies that are too small for riding but could be used to haul your wagons."
"What!" thundered Tisza raising his sword demonstratively, "This is utter incompetence! How can Hussars fight effectively without horses!"
Wendel gulped again. For a few seconds he wondered if the Count was going to challenge him to a duel. "Uh, I will round more horses locally and send word immediately to Cork where the 6th Bavarian Division is currently located."
"See that you do so, major. In the net few minutes I will fashion a letter for you to have delivered to Gen. von François immediately. Is that clear?"
"Yes, of course, Your Excellency. I shall see to it right away, Your Excellency. I am happy to serve."
As this was going the High Seas Fleet patrolled off the shore of Waterford and Wexford at 12 knots making frequent course changes. Its battleships remained out of sight from the shore. Its dense smoke was visible though despite the clouds. The 5th Scouting Group scouted SSE of the battle squadrons while the 3rd Scouting Group poked its armored nose into St. George’s Channel to the east hoping to find some enemy traffic around Rosslare Harbor but all they discovered was a tiny trawler not worth stopping.
------Cork harbor 0540 hrs
With word that Ft. Camden had finally been neutralized, the 5 troopships with 1st Scouting Group began entering the harbor. The cruiser Dresden and a pair of torpedoboats went in first to check things out. They passed Ft. Camden without ill effect. There had been some concern about mines. However this was a busy commercial harbor and the safe channel was well known to all local tug boats. The 3 minesweeping trawlers of the I.R.N. had hunted all since the arrival of First Scouting Group for any sign of mines the British may have laid offshore the last few days and found none so far.
There was an old British torpedo boat and 2 armed trawlers anchored at Haulbowline Island. The 6" guns at Ft. Westmoreland had shelled all three an hour earlier. All three were now burning. Dresden carefully watched them burn. One of the trawlers was burning less fiercely than the other two warships and Dresden opened fire at short range with her 10.5 cm guns, even though there were no signs of any crew being aboard the trawler.
A half hour later the Kronprinz Wilhelm became the first troopship to enter the harbor. The men at her forward 8.8 cm mount were ready to fire at a moments notice. The I.R.N. had two tugs operational and the smaller of them assisted in her berthing at Queenstown. The Kronprinz Wilhelm carried the 164th Infantry Regiment, the 3rd Squadron 22nd Dragoon Regiment and the 371st Field Hospital. It had already offloaded the soldiers of 7 rifle companies in boats at Kinsale but not their wagons and supplies. After the Kronprinz Wilhelm came Vaterland which carried the 73rd Hanoverian Fusiliers Regiment, the 221st Field Artillery Regiment, the 111th Ambulance Company, the 111th Telegraph Detachment, the 111th Division HQ staff as well as more than half of the special supply train the 111th Infantry Division had been provided for Operation Unicorn. There were also 600 naval shore personnel aboard Vaterland.
------Nadarzyyn (Poland) 0600 hrs
The attack of the Russian Second Army against the German Ninth Army with the objective of driving the Germans back from Warsaw consisted of 10 divisions all placed under the command of a single Corps---the VI Corps led by Gen. Vasily Gurko. The commander of the Russian Second Army, Gen. Smirnov felt that there was no way that an attack by those many divisions in a narrow sector, defended only by the German XI Army Corps, could fail to achieve a breakthrough. The problem was this was that the intense concentration of infantry in a narrow corridor got in each others way and while they thronged in an inchoate blob of flesh came under a sharp bombardment by German artillery. Ten divisions was too much for a single corps HQ to coordinate effectively even if it had adequate communication equipment which like all Russian higher headquarters was definitely not the case. The artillery of the different divisions was not well coordinated. .
The attack went on and on for the rest of the morning as the Russian casualties approached 30,000. One of the Russian divisions did manage to attack and capture a small stretch of the forward trench eventually and this very limited success was mostly due to some key German batteries exhausting their stockpile of shells in slaughtering the first wave of Russian attacks.
-------HQ British VI Army Corps Maryborough (Queen’s) 0625 hrs
Gen. Wilson was on the telephone which Gen. de Lisle, the new commander of the 10th (Irish) Division whose HQ was now established at the army base at Buttevant. "I have just dispatched that half battalion of Cheshires to join the Welsh Division as Gen. Friend has been demanding, sir," said Lisle, "but when I ask him about when I can expect to have the 3 batteries which belong to my division returned I received no answer whatsoever. Clearly you must have a stern word with him, sir."
"I shall anon but it will mostly deal with other more pressing topics. There is some asymmetry in your respective situations, Gen. de Lisle. Suffice it to say you will receive those batteries but not before tomorrow. I thought you told me that you were confident that your attack against the Bavarian could succeed with only a single battery supporting it. Have you now experienced a change of heart?"
"Uh, no, not so much a change of heart, sir. We can still accomplish our mission but it would go easier if I had additional artillery. But what really has my goat about all this is the basic principle---those batteries are part of my division and rightfully belong with it just as the Cheshire infantry belong back with the Welsh Division."
Wilson rolled his eyes. He had already found both strengths and weaknesses in Gen. de Lisle. This sort of posturing attitude was one of the weaknesses. "Let us go over your attack, general. As I understand it you are bringing the 29th Brigade through Mallow to attack the left flank of the Bavarians, with only the lone battery Gen. Friend had left them. I hope you are not planning on leaving your right flank unguarded."
"Rest assured, general, I am leaving the 5th Connaught Rangers behind at Kanturk and Banteer to guard my flank. That should be more than sufficient as my intelligence indicates that the enemy only has only some rebels in that area. They are no match for my men."
"Quite true, but if the German do land reinforcements in strength expect them to attack your right flank at some point soon. This Gen. von François has a nasty reputation for pouncing on exposed flanks. Gen. Lindley can vouch for that."
"Which is another reason why it is absolutely imperative for us to bottle up the Hun reinforcements inside Cork city, sir!"
Wilson regarded de Lisle’s aggressiveness as one of the man’s strengths. "I think for the next 48 hours you are correct about your right flank. After that you may well need to strengthen it. However by that time the Lowland Division will be well on its way to Cork. We shall see what develops this afternoon."
-------OKW Berlin 0640 hrs
Generalfeldmarschal von Moltke was on the telephone with Kronprinz Rupprecht to discuss current developments in Operation Tourniquet. "We still have not found Gen. Ludendorff, Feldmarschal," said Rupprecht, "It is looking more and more likely that he is either dead or captured---probably the latter as we have some witnesses that claim they saw his capture from a distance."
"Eye witness testimony is not always reliable in the excitement of combat---even at close range, Your Royal Highness. But assuming these reports are indeed correct and Gen. Ludendorff has been captured, do we know by whom and more importantly is there any reasonable hope that he might be rescued?"
"If he has indeed been captured, our best guess, Feldmarschal, is that it was by the British colonial division, which we now believe to be something called the New Zealand and Australian Division. It apparently has a very unusual structure, sort of a compromise between a cavalry division and an infantry division."
"Hmm. Please send OKW what details you have about this unusual unit, Your Royal Highness. I am still finding it hard to believe the British were willing---and able--- to send an entire division that far north."
"So were we, Feldmarschal. If we had been less skeptical I believe that we would have suffered less."
"Have you regained control of the tactical situation, Your Royal Highness?"
"Not completely, Feldmarschal, though it has improved since yesterday. The gap between the Austrian Third Army and our Tenth Army has not yet been completely closed but it is steadily shrinking and I hope to have contact between Third Army’s left flank and the Bavarian cavalry division on our right flank before nightfall."
"Well that at least is promising news, Your Royal Highness. As you are certainly well aware it had been hoped that by the middle of May, that the Tenth Army would be at the point where it could dispense with one of its corps. That assumption has proven sorely deficient, yes?"
"Yes, quite obviously so, Feldmarschal. Even if the gap is closed today it looks to be at least 2 weeks before I could spare an entire corps."
"I wonder if that is overly pessimistic, Your Royal Highness. For one thing another Ottoman Division will be arriving at Sofia soon to help. Increased pressure in the south should serve to draw off a portion of the Serbian strength opposing you."
"Perhaps but I am still discouraged that Bulgarian progress towards Nish has become very slow in the last few days."
"Yes that is discouraging, Your Royal Highness. For one thing, the rail line to the Ottoman Empire cannot be opened until after Nish is secured. Is there nothing you can do to accelerate its fall?"
"Huh, there is something that has been suggested, Feldmarschal. I have given it preliminary approval. It is worth a try."
------near Przemysl (Galicia) 0700 hrs
The combined German and Austrian bombardment had intensified in the last 2 hours, including rapid fire by medium and light minenwerfers. The assault by the German II Army Corps on the left and the AustroHungarian IV Corps on the right found the forward trench of the Russian Eleventh Division completely devastated with gaping holes in the thin Russian wire barrier. The forward trench was taken easily along with nearly 7,000 prisoners. The attackers continued on to the second trench. This had been badly hit as well but quite as severely as the forward trench. Furthermore while the forward trench was being overrun the second trench received some reinforcements while the Russian artillery began to reassert itself. Taking the second trench was not as easy as the first with both the Germans and Austrians starting to suffer considerable losses. The second trench line was eventually taken after a protracted struggle with the copious use of grenades and some savage melee within the trench.
The Austrians on the right wing soon began to come under fire on their right flank, while the Germans were busy fending off determined Russian counterattacks, including an entire Russian cavalry division. With communication with their supporting artillery dependent ob messengers, neither the German nor Austrian infantry were able to make a quick thrust towards the enemy’s rear trench line. They concentrated instead on expanding the width of their breakthrough. In the case of the German 3rd Infantry Division this expansion resulted in attacking elements of the division of the Russian Third Army that bordered on the Eleventh Army. Within a few hours the forward advance of Center Army had essentially stalled with fighting concentrating on the flanks of the attack.
------Nenagh (Tipperary) 0720 hrs
"I wonder what this is all about?" C.P. Connolly asked Keith Murdoch. The three reporters had been abruptly summoned this morning to the local military HQ without being provided a clue about what it concerned.
"Either Limerick has finally been liberated or the Dublin Rising has been crushed," Murdoch answered speculatively.
"Hopefully both," added Sax Rohmer.
"Perhaps but it could just as well be about Cork," wondered C.P. aloud.
The briefing officer entered the room. From the very somber look on the man’s face C.P. realized the news was very serious and not good. "Gentlemen, if I might have your attention," announced the officer, "I have some very grave news to report. We have just received word in the last hour that the German battle fleet is off the south coast of Ireland escorting reinforcements to their invasion force."
Three jaws simultaneously plummeted. The 3 reporters were momentarily speechless. "How did the Germans get past the Royal Navy?" asked Sax Rohmer.
"I do not have that information and even if I did, I would not be sharing it with you."
"How is this going to alter the Battle of Cork?" asked Conolly.
"At the risk of sounding cheeky, I must say again that I do not know and even if I did I would not be at liberty to tell you at this time."
------Dessie (Abyssinia) 0725 hrs
Ras Mikael suddenly burst in see his son, Iyasu. "Your Majesty, I have just received word that our scouts have engaged a strong force of British cavalry on the main road to here."
"So does this mean the British are coming here to fight us as you wished, father?" asked Iyasu, who had been in favor of marching his army on Gondar.
"It is most likely so, Your Majesty. Though our scouts have only spotted cavalry we also know from our spies in Gondar have informed us that most of the enemy forces---both the British and Zauditu’s followers have in fact left Gondar."
"Then it would seem that you were right after all, father. Still I am not happy with the thought of simply waiting for them here. Perhaps we could meet them midway?"
Ras Mikael shook his head, "No, it is best to meet them here, Your Majesty. As I have said before we have certain defensive advantages if we remain here."
"Yes, yes, I understand all that, but do we require such an advantage to defeat our enemies?"
"Perhaps not, Your Majesty, but that victory would likely come at a heavy cost in casualties that I believe we could avoid if the enemy will fight us here."
Iyasu remained unhappy but he did not have an obvious counterargument. Finally he shrugged, "So how long we will have to wait before they arrive, father?"
"My best guess is a week, Your Majesty, though extended bad weather could make it much longer."
"Then I shall pray to Allah for the best weather so the day of our great victory comes as quickly as possible."
------HMS Iron Duke west of Isles of Scilly 0735 hrs
Adm. Bayly had ordered that most of the Grand Fleet steam all the way to the west of the Isles of Scilly before the turning north towards Cork. The only exception was the 1st Cruiser Squadron which came tight around the east side of the Isles of Scilly. Adm. Bayly did this for multiple reasons. First he felt that the Germans would have at least one U-Boat and maybe even a dispersed minefield lying in ambush for him off Lands End. Tirpitz did indeed plan to have a U-Boat lying in wait off Lands End but the haste with which the second wave of Operation Unicorn was approved there simply was not enough time to station a U-Boat there. Adm. Bayly’s second reason was that he hoped he might be able to take the Germans by surprise by heading towards Cork using a more westerly course.
------HQ Gendko Irland Kinsale (Cork) 0745 hrs
Capt. Raeder had accompanied Gen. von François and Maj. von Rundstedt back to Kinsale as a temporary naval liaison. Raeder was introduced to Hell as well as Plunkett.
"My highest priority right now is to get the 111th Infantry Division into action as soon as possible," declared Gen. von François, "I intend to mount a vigorous counterattack against the British forces near Cork tomorrow morning."
"We have already offloaded 13 Austrian and 22 German companies here at Kinsale before sending our troopships into Cork harbor," said Raeder, "One of the German companies was the Feldersatz company for the Bavarian Jaegers. The rest belong to 111th Infantry Division."
"We have already sent the one battalion of the 73rd Fusiliers marching to Cork as reinforcements," said Oberst Hell, "I suggest we do the same with the other companies of the 111th Division now, general, so they can assemble with the rest of their division as it unloads at Queenstown."
Gen. von François rubbed his chin then nodded, "I approve your recommendation. We would have sent them sooner but thought it best if they could get a little sleep."
"Should we send the Austrian companies as well, general?"
"For the time being no, Oberst. Let us keep them here to guard our HQ. We are going to have a reenactment of one of the problems we had when we first arrived in Ireland---a shortage of horses. According to the list Adm. von Hipper provided me, he only brought a little more than 800 horses but 1,400 mules with the second wave. We have at most only 1,200 horses and ponies plus maybe 300 mules and donkeys we can provide him quickly. This is more than adequate for a triangular division with only 7 batteries of artillery but it is insufficient for both divisions. Landing and assembling this Erzherzog Karl Division is therefore a lower priority than the 111th Division, and I do not anticipate it being ready for action before Monday morning. In the meantime let them relieve the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment in this sector. The Jaegers still have more than half of their motor trucks available. Do you have a rough estimate of how many men they could transport at one time?"
"A little more than 400 men, general," answered Hell.
"Have them start moving out to Macroom. You said there were reports of British cavalry scouting Macroom, yes?"
"Yes, it is believed to be at most a single squadron, quite possibly only a troop, general. Intelligence section thinks it is probably from the same British cavalry brigade that West Cork Battalion has been fighting at Bantry."
"Hmm. The Jaegers should be able to eject them without much difficulty if they are still in the area. The entire Jaeger regiment should assemble there including the howitzer platoon and pioneers. I am hopeful they can finish the capture of Ft. Camden very soon. Once Macroom is secure we can use the narrow gauge rail line to rapidly move 2nd Seebattalion to Macroom as well. In the meantime I want 1st Kerry Battalion moved to Rathmore and 2nd Kerry Battalion to proceed towards Newmarket. Now that the cable station is wrecked there is no good reason for 4th Kerry Battalion to remain at Waterville. It is to redeploy to Killarney as quickly as its men can march."
Hell frowned slightly, then asked, "Is this leading where I think it is leading, general?"
The general grinned, "Yes, we are reforming Brigade Hell. You will leave for Macroom once the Jaegers confirm that it is secure."
Hell’s frown deepened and he sighed audibly. Capt. Plunkett suddenly spoke up, "There is a new small battalion at Listowel, general, the 5th Kerry Battalion. Perhaps we should send it to guard Tralee, while the 2nd Kerry Battalion is in County Cork."
Gen. von François had warmed up to Plunkett in the last week. He scratched at his cheekbones for a minute then answered, "I think not. Now that the High Seas Fleet is here I do not think the British would attempt to land by sea in Kerry. Killarney needs to be reinforced by 4th Kerry Battalion because of the Zeppelin shed and the prisoners of war camp, but for the time bring being Tralee is less of a concern. Likewise there is less reason to worry about northern Kerry. Therefore I want this new battalion to proceed as quickly as possible to Rathkeale where it is to rendezvous with the 16th Uhlan Regiment."
Everyone else in the room looked surprised at that. "Uh, I do not intend to question your orders, general" said Oberst Hell, "but I am confused as to the objective behind this particular order."
"My primary intent is to lift the siege of Limerick as quickly as possible. The British will likely try to delay that as much as possible. We have received reports from Gen. von Jacobsen that there have been signs that the British are shifting their forces around Limerick. The 16th Uhlans reported a column of troops and guns pouring south from Limerick. There is a good chance the forces laying siege there have been greatly weakened. "
------HQ Irish Command Curragh (Kildare) 0755 hrs
Gen. Hamilton and his chief of staff, Gen. Braithwaite decided that it was necessary to tell Lord Curzon the bad news at this time. Merely looking at their faces made the Viceroy apprehensive, "Good heavens, gentlemen, what has gone wrong now?"
Hamilton and Braithwaite exchanged glances ask themselves, "Do you want to tell him or should I?" After a sigh as deep as a canyon Hamilton spoke, "Er, ah, we do have some very serious news to report, Your Excellency. The German battle fleet is now off County Cork. We have good reason to believe they escorted fast ocean liners carrying reinforcements."
Curzon paled and quivered. He was so shocked that he was momentarily speechless. Finally he asked, "Why was I not informed of this sooner?"
"We only found out ourselves a little more than an hour ago, Your Excellency," Braithwaite lied.
"And what of the Royal Navy?"
"The Admiralty has not seen to provide us any details, Your Excellency, but has made some vague reassurances that steps are being taken," Hamilton responded.
"And do we have any idea of how many reinforcements the Germans will try to land?"
"Uh, none so far, Your Excellency," said Hamilton. He did not feel like sharing some recently received intelligence of Germans landing at Kinsale.
"If the Germans do manage to land reinforcements, does Lord Kitchener intend to reinforce you as well, Sir Ian?"
"Oh yes indeed, Your Excellency. I am happy to report that elements of the 11th Infantry Division shall be arriving at Belfast in less than 5 hours. It was felt with the German fleet off our shores, using Kingstown was too risky."
Curzon’s face regained some of its color. "Well that at least is some good news," he conceded. He then paused in thought before continuing, "Now wait a blessed minute. This new division is arriving far too quickly if London just found out about the German fleet."
Hamilton and Braithwaite again exchanged but tried not to be too obvious about. "Uh, London apparently had some intelligence yesterday they did not see fit to share with us, Your Excellency."
"I am not sure that I believe you, Sir Ian. I do wonder sometimes if there is some document floating around here saying that I must always be the last to know."
In fact there is Hamilton confessed to himself.
------Claremorris (Mayo) 0805 hrs
Reinforced during the night and early morning by the arrival of companies from Castlebar, Tourmakeady, Ballinrobe, Tuam and Ballyhaunis the rebel forces at Claremorris had grown to 476 men and 18 women and was now called the South Mayo Battalion. It was continuing to attack nearby R.I.C. stations, not only to consolidate its control of the area but to capture a few more badly needed rifles along with ammunition. The armored train had experienced some difficulty with its boiler yesterday and was now being worked on by rebel repair crew.
-----10 Downing St. 0830 hrs
The newly expanded War Committee was having it first meeting. "Well then, Lord Kitchener and Sir Edward, you have both been invited to brief us in the past," said Bonar Law, "From now on you will be with us every time we meet and share in all our deliberations as equals. I do hope this does not take either of you away from your important duties. The three of us have gotten in the habit of scheduling frequent meetings---nearly every day though we do try to take Sunday off every now and then."
"Sometimes even twice a day, esp. in the last two weeks," added Lloyd-George. One of the concerns expressed about expanding the War Committee was that it would not be as easy for them to meet as often as the 3 man committee had.
"I am deeply honored to become a member of this incredibly important body," Grey replied with sincere enthusiasm.
"I too am honored," added Kitchener, "This is a fateful period for the British Empire. There is much that requires discussion and decision today. As a start I would like to know what the Admiralty intends to do about the German fleet heading towards Ireland."
Carson realized that remark was directed at him. He cast a quick glance at the prime minister and sighed. "Yes, Lord Kitchener, some German reinforcements are indeed coming ashore in Ireland as we speak. The Grand Fleet has just entered the Celtic Sea and will seek to maneuver towards a propitious engagement in the afternoon."
"Is the Grand Fleet strong enough to defeat the Germans at this time?" asked Lloyd-George worriedly.
"The Sea Lords believe there is a good chance that we can surprise Adm. von Ingenohl while he is coaling his screen."
"But what if they do not, First Lord? What then?" asked Kitchener testily.
"If Adm. Bayly does not find a favorable opportunity this afternoon, he will need to refuel his own screen."
"In which case it would be tomorrow afternoon before he could return---am I correct?"
"Yes, that is correct, Field Marshal."
"That would give the Germans time to seize the initiative in Ireland, First Lord."
"Possibly but that setback pales in significance compared to what will happen if the Grand Fleet suffers another defeat. The reinforcement of the German invasion force would be most unfortunate but we already have six divisions in Ireland with a seventh of the way so I fail to see how this would be catastrophic. In fact it can be argued that the Germans are making the classic mistake of throwing good money after bad."
"As I have said many times previously, First Lord, the 16th Infantry Division was next to worthless and the 10th Division is not much better. My words have proven true. The 16th Infantry Division is essentially destroyed while the 10th Infantry Division has repeatedly shown itself to be feckless at Limerick. Moreover the 36th Infantry Division was not used effectively by Gen. Stopford. Furthermore---"
Bonar Law interrupted, "---Yes, yes, we now all this already, Lord Kitchener. This morning I am more interested in hearing what I do not already know. You can start with Ireland but the rest of us have not lost interest in what is going on in France."
"The Battle of Cork and the Battle of Dublin are still in progress, prime minister. As for Limerick Gen. Wilson has implemented a promising new strategy which focuses on a thrust into Clare and then attacking Limerick from the northwest. Unfortunately its biggest drawback is that it will take some time to implement. There is some fighting in Waterford and northern Connaught, mostly a bunch of rebels that we shall be eradicating very soon. As for France---"
"---pardon me for interrupting, Lord Kitchener, but before moving on to France might we please have a little more in the way of details," said Bonar Law, "In particular what exactly is happening at Cork? And why is it taking so blasted long to end things at Dublin?"
"And I for one remain deeply concerned about Athlone, which you failed to mention," added Carson.
"Athlone remains in enemy hands, First Lord, but the armored train which was the major obstacle to its recapture has departed so there is good reason to believe we will very soon eradicate the infestation of Papist traitors there. Athlone and the other peripheral rebellions are little more than diversions."
Grey was the only one present that at this meeting who had not previously learned that things were going worse in Ireland than being publicly admitted and was deeply upset by the revelations he was now hearing. He tried not to show this too much of his concern but Lloyd-George could sense what was going on in Sir Edward’s mind. Sir Edward will not spread what he’s learning here. He can keep a secret. If anything he is too good at keeping secrets. It might well be why we find ourselves in this bloody war.
"I will accept that for the time being, Lord Kitchener," said Bonar Law, "But what in bloody blazes is going on at Cork? Is Ft. Camden holding out?"
"The Welsh Division was unable to penetrate into the heart of the city, prime minister. Enemy pressure on its flank forced it to fall back a few miles---"
"---fall back a few miles! How are the Germans managing to do this? You’ve told me repeatedly that this pesky Bavarian Division is nearly out of both men and ammunition."
Kitchener paused slightly before responding, "It is indeed something of a mystery to me as well, prime minister."
Bonar Law rolled his eyes, "Well then, what about Ft. Camden?"
"Gen. Hamilton is unclear as to its status, prime minister. It may well be holding out, thereby delaying the use of Cork harbor by the Germans."
"So the Grand Fleet could possibly destroy the troopships before they can finish offloading?" asked Bonar Law with a grain of hope.
"That is a distinct possibility, prime minister," answered Carson.
"It would make things a great deal easier for Gen. Hamilton," remarked Kitchener.
"The Sea Lords and I am well aware of that, Field Marshal," answered Carson huffily.
"We have a great deal to discuss this morning without belaboring the obvious," Bonar Law commented acerbically, "What is far cry from being obvious in my mind, Lord Kitchener, is why the rebellion has not yet been crushed in Dublin?"
"Uh, well for one thing it now looks like our initial estimate of the size of Dublin Rising was too low, prime minister. Then there is the intervention of a battalion of well armed rebels from Kerry led by a few Germans."
"Yes, I am aware of both of those facts, Lord Kitchener. But I am still flabbergasted that it is enough to hold off an entire division for so long."
Kitchener wondered if he was losing the confidence of Bonar Law, "Dublin will be destroyed before the day is over, prime minister! You have my word!"
"I do hope that you mean the rebellion and not the entire city, Lord Kitchener," Lloyd-George could not resist saying.
------Bebhaban (Persia) 0855 hrs GMT
Four motor cars arrived in the city Freiherr of Bebhaban carrying Generalfeldmarschal von Der Goltz plus a contingent of Ottoman soldiers serving as both staff and guards. The man the Baron came to meet was already there. He was dressed in flowing robes, but he was a German not a Persian. He extended his hand, "It is a great pleasure to meet you, Your Excellency. I am Herr Wilhelm Wassmuss."
"And it is a pleasure for me as well. You have already made something of a name for yourself, Herr Wassmuss. We had heard that you had been taken prisoner here by local chieftain wishing to sell you to the British back in March but made a very remarkable escape."
Wassmuss grinned wolfishly, "I told my guards that my horse was sick. Throughout the night I pestered them with demands to check on my horse. Eventually my guards grew tired and permitted me to visit my horse without an escort. When I did I mounted my horse and sped off. I eventually arrived at Shiraz where I found safety. Unfortunately I had lost my luggage which contained many valuable papers."
The generalfeldmarschal laughed, "An amazing story! I have been assured by Khaz’al Khan that you and I are now completely safe here."
"Yes, unfortunately it does not include the return of my luggage which the British were allowed to haul off. There certainly has been a change of heart around here lately, including Khaz’al Khan. I believe I have you to thank for that, Your Excellency."
"You are most welcome but it is the Ottoman Fifth Army that deserves most of the credit. It is they who ultimately eliminated the Anglo-Indian invaders in what was some very difficult fighting."
"Praise be to Allah the Merciful! News of your victories are starting to have a deep impact here in Persia, Your Excellency. In the northern part of the country the Russians are almost universally hated. They compensate for that with a strong military presence, incl. the infamous Cossack Brigade. As you are probably well aware, here in the south the British do things very differently with much more subtlety. Their military presence is very small but they incur the favor of certain important tribes with financial rewards."
"Ah, but the tribes not so favored are prone to envy and resentment?"
"That is indeed most true, Your Excellency. And in some cases even within the tribes that are benefiting from the British presence quite a few think they are not being reimbursed enough by their British overlords---which is in fact very true. I have made it abundantly clear to them that we will be much more generous after the war."
"I take it that Berlin has not been informed of this."
"On the contrary, using my occult powers I frequently communicate with my fellow Muslim, Kaiser Haji Wilhelm Mohammed."
The Baron chuckled while shaking his head, "You are positively shameless, Herr Wassmuss!"
"I hear that a lot, Your Excellency."
"The British will inevitably return to Mesopotamia, Herr Wassmuss. There are two excellent jumping off points nearby for them. The first is Kuwait, and so I promptly dispatched the 19th Division to pay Mubarak a courtesy call."
"And the second one is just as obviously Bushire, Your Excellency. I have been thinking of assembling some of the friendly Persian forces near Shiraz to try to take Bushire by coup de main."
"Begin assembling your men, but hold off on the attack until the Ottoman column I will be sending you in the next day or two arrives. It will consist of 2 battalions, a cavalry squadron and a battery of artillery. Part of your job will be to see that they can live off the land without causing undue hard feelings. Any assistance in mounting the assault on Bushire would be greatly appreciated as well, even if it is just reconnaissance. Then there is the matter of how the Swedish Gendarmerie will react."
"The Gendarmerie is an interesting situation, Your Excellency. As you are well aware, the Russians never rusted them at all and barred them completely from their zone. The British initially felt that the Gendarmerie could be manipulated to efficiently serve their ends. However the Swedes increasingly exhibit a widespread sympathy towards Persian nationalism that now makes the British uncomfortable and the Russians downright furious. Furthermore some of the Gendarmes think that Sweden will soon join the Central Powers. There are already a few of them that I can count on. The rest will not try to offer futile opposition to this incursion, esp. if it is seen as a way of preventing the British from committing a large force here."
"Wonderful! Persia is steadily slipping from the Entente grasp. I learned only yesterday that Enver Pasha is planning to invade northern Persia next month hoping to take Tabriz."
"Excellent! Though why do I hear some skepticism in your voice?"
"Alas that is because Enver is frequently overly optimistic. I am hoping that we can get the Majlis firmly behind us before the offensive starts. That should make things easier."
"Yes, I have had some contacts with them that are worth developing, Your Excellency. On the other hand I’m afraid that the boy Shah is a lost cause."
"Yes, I have come to that conclusion as well. I see the spirit of the Constitutional Revolution being reinvigorated and this will continue after the war. The Qajar dynasty may well come to an end before too long. But we are wandering into speculation. There is something that I need from you, Herr Wassmuss. Can you assemble a force of Bhaktiari that we can rely on and seize the oil fields at Maidin-I-Naftun?"
"I think I can, Your Excellency, though it will likely take at least a fortnight to arrange. I am a tad bewildered as to why you want this done. You already control the pipeline and the refinery. It would seem that whether or not the fields continue pumping is totally irrelevant."
"Ah but it is important if you want to use the refinery and not just deny it to the enemy."
"There has been a fierce debate amongst military historians as to when the Second Battle of Crecy Forest ended and the Second Battle of the Somme began. The consensus that has emerged in recent years is that Second Crecy Forest ended with the destruction of the British 2nd Infantry Division on May 14 and Second Somme began the very next day."
------Ingenohl’s Glory, Augustine Wolf
------Phoenix Park Dublin 0915 hrs
Another rifle company from the 1st Dublin Battalion arrived in Phoenix Park as reinforcements just before Maj. Rommel awoke and tried to convince himself that he was already half recovered from his wound. To demonstrate his hypothesis he orchestrated an attack using the new arrivals and the Daimler armored car to link up with his forces inside Kilmainham Gaol. The first attempt failed due in part to the defenders becoming well enough acquainted with the armored car by now to realize its limitations. Greatly annoyed Rommel quickly planned a second attack that involved a liberal use of the improvised bombs Ziethen’s pioneers had fashioned. Some of the Irishmen using these bombs blew themselves up along with a few comrades, but enough had sufficient success to eject the Royal Irish Riflemen from their positions.
Rommel had begun to worry about ammunition. Roughly 800 of his men were armed with the Mannlicher rifles that Childers had landed at Howth. There were reports from all of the Dublin battalions that they had either exhausted their ammunition for these weapons or were down to their last few rounds. At the opposite end of the spectrum they had an ample supply of captured .303 rounds for the Lee-Enfields. Somewhere in between was the ammunition situation for the Moisin-Nagant rifles had brought to Dublin.
Rommel made his way to Kilmainham Gaol taking care not to give British snipers a shot. After dark he intended to deposit the prisoners captured at Phoenix Park inside the gaol. He ran into the Countess Markievicz and Pound. "How is Mr. Yeats?" asked Rommel.
"He is doing just fine, Major. We do not have a rifle for everyone so we decided it was best to arm him only with a pistol. His real weapon is his verse, of course," answered the Countess, "You will be happy to know that he has already composed a poem in your honor. He would be more than happy to recite it for you. He really does appreciate all that you have done for us."
"I would like very much to hear it but it will have to wait until later. Right now I want to interview some of those men from Monaghan again. I think Herr O’Duffy was on to something."
------Waterford harbor 1005 hrs
The motor launch of the Friedrich der Grosse had just deposited Sir Roger Casement at the mouth of the Suir River where it headed to Waterford harbor. Casement had preferred to have come ashore at either Cork or Kinsale but Adm. von Ingenohl had decided it would be at Waterford. Casement sensed that von Ingenohl despised him and was glad that he wasn’t given a life preserver and told to swim to land. As the launch had approached the quay Sir Roger’s emotions were jumbled. He was glad that Operation Unicorn seemed to be doing much better. In the planning for Operation Unicorn numbers like 75,000 and 80,000 had been tossed around willy-nilly by both Plunkett and Devoy as the likely size of the Irish rebellion. Casement in his heart had thought those numbers to be overly optimistic. When only a small fraction of that materialized in the first week of the rebellion Tirpitz had repeatedly railed at Sir Roger for deceiving him. This had changed since Dublin exploded but nevertheless Casement was glad to be away from Tirpitz. He was also glad to leave Friedrich der Grosse and the painfully obvious hostility of von Ingenohl.
He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind kept reverberating in Sir Roger’s mind. What have I done? he kept asking himself. When he arrived at the docks he notified the Irish Volunteers guarding it who he was. They ran off and fetched their leader, one of those young Irish Brigade majors. While they did so Casement noticed some men in strange uniforms milling about on the docks. Sir Roger strongly suspected that they were part of the Austro-Hungarian division.
"Sir Roger Casement, I am Major Heinz Wendel, the commander of the Waterford Battalion," said the Irish Brigade major as he extended his hand, "It is an honor to finally meet you. I have heard that without you thing operation would have never happened. Welcome back to Ireland!"
Casement took Wendel’s hand and shook it vigorously. There were tears in Sir Roger’s eyes. They were tears of joy. They were tears of sadness.
------Madrid 1030 hrs
Leon Trotsky had begun his first speech of the day an hour earlier. Not far from where he spoke a crowd gathered to hear another speaker prompted from what they read in leaflets that had been handed out since dawn. The speaker was Maj. Gen. Miguel Primo de Rivera. Some other officers had been making political speeches lately---as long as the opinion expressed was not unpatriotic Spain tolerated political expression by its officer corps more than most European counties. However Primo de Rivera would be the first general to speak publicly about de Valera and the "Irish situation".
"Citizens of our great kingdom, if I might have your attention, please. Our great country has recently been blessed by the presence of a remarkable man. His name is senor Eamon de Valera, an Irishman but with some Spanish ancestry. He has been an eloquent advocate for the plight of the Irish people, who have suffered for centuries under the yoke of the British heretics. Now we learn to our great sadness that he been placed under arrest. The government has been ominously silent about why he has been arrested and what they intend to do with him. We must demand a full disclosure of what they have done and what they plan to do with him in the future. Is this brave man from Ireland being persecuted simply for telling the truth? Most of you are acquainted with abomination of justice which the British perpetrated on James Connolly. Are their provocateurs behind the arrest of de Valera? "
------Sligo city 1130 hrs
The 1st and 3rd battalions of the North Ireland Regiment continued to fight off attacks by the 1/7th battalion Highland Light Infantry. The Highlanders did manage to take the telephone exchange though at a sizable cost in casualties. They failed in their two attempts to take their most important objective, the railroad station. Meanwhile the North Ireland Regiment continued to attack R.I.C. stations into northern half of the county. These yielded mixed results. Sometimes the constables were easily overwhelmed. Sometimes they abandoned the stations in motor vehicles. But sometimes they held out stubbornly. When that happened Maj. Schirmer had instructed his company commandants to be content to cordon out the pockets of resistance. The German experience in Ireland was that on those less than frequent occasions when the R.I.C. did resist fiercely they would sometimes abruptly surrender later once they realized that they were trapped and had lost hope that a British relief force would arrive soon.
------Phoenix Park (Dublin) 1145 hrs
Gen. Egerton had become increasingly dissatisfied with the situation inside Phoenix Park, so he decided to reinforce BGen. Lowe with the 1/7th Battalion Royal Scots. The determined Scottish counterattacks slowly pushed the Irish rebels back in the western portion of the park but suffered heavy losses and were unable to reach the Magazine Fort.
In the rest of Dublin fighting continued at the South Dublin Union and to the south of Trinity College where the Lowland Division struggled to establish a secure line of communication to its artillery, which intermittently shelled the G.P.O. The number of dead and dying bodies littering the streets steadily rose. Hungry dogs would sometimes try to eat the corpses. Most of the noncombatant population had abandoned the city.
------HQ British Ireland Command Curragh (Kildare) 1150 hrs
Gen. Hamilton had spent much of the morning discussing how to best deploy the 11th (Northern) Division with his chief of staff, Gen. Braithwaite. Sir Ian now had Gen. Wilson, the commander of the VI Army Corps on the telephone. "About a half hour from now, Gen. Wilson, the transport vessels carrying much of the 11th Division will begin arriving at Belfast and will promptly start off loading. Gen. Braithwaite and myself had fully expected the Lowland Division to have completely eliminated the Dublin Rebellion by now but to our profound disappointment that is not the case despite our many repeated exhortations to Gen. Egerton. Dublin is crucial to our line of communication esp. with the rebels now controlling many important communication centers in Connaught. While there is some small signs of progress at Dublin Gen. Egerton does not foresee an end to the fighting there before dark and warns that he expects at least portions of the enemy to still be fighting tomorrow morning. So my decision is that except for one battalion we are sending to counterattack the rebels in County Leitrim, the 11th Infantry Division will be moved by rail from Belfast to Drogheda from which it will march south to Dublin. If there is any stubborn embers remaining in Dublin tomorrow morning the additional strength of the 11th Division will ensure that they are speedily extinguished.
"I cannot fathom why the Papist vermin have been able to frustrate as for as long as they have, sir," answered Wilson over the telephone.
"There are several factors at work. For one it now seems we apparently underestimated the sheer size of the enemy in Dublin. I believe our estimate of the rebel strength early Monday was accurate but we did not take into consideration a large number of late arrivals. Furthermore we also badly underestimated just how mind numbing difficult it is to fight inside a crowded urban setting."
"Bah! Most of that was because we were unnecessarily squeamish about using artillery inside the city."
"Only partially true, general. For one thing, we are finding shrapnel shells not as decisive as expected in this tactical situation. The only high explosive shells we had at Dublin were only a few howitzers rounds. And there were other problems in Dublin such as the sudden appearance out of nowhere of a German led rebel battalion all the way from Kerry."
"Yes, yes. That mysterious spook battalion that miraculously pops up whenever one of our generals desperately needs a convenient excuse for failure, sir."
"Tone down the sarcasm, general," ordered Hamilton with some annoyance, "though admittedly I too have some doubts about all these remarkable stories I have been hearing about this Major Rommel. But instead of trying to justify our lack of progress at Dublin, I am more inclined to hear how West Riding Division’s attack into Clare is progressing."
"The redeployment is progressing according to schedule, sir. The 109th Brigade will be making a thorough reconnaissance of the Clare border this afternoon and establish the attack position before nightfall. After dark the West Riding Division will fall into position alongside them. .The main attack will begin an hour before dawn tomorrow. I expect to reach the first objective, the Ennis-Tulla-Scariff line in five hours and take the German 10cm guns west of the Shannon before noon. We should be inside Limerick in the late afternoon. If the Naval Division is as worn down as I’ve been repeatedly told the end should come quickly."
"Excellent! With enemy resistance eliminated in both Dublin and Limerick and rest of the 11th Infantry Division arriving tomorrow, we shall then be able to concentrate five divisions against the Germans in Cork by Tuesday."
"Hmm. Do we have any reliable intelligence about the size of the German second wave, sir? Do we know if any of it has any of it landed so far?"
Hamilton’s sigh was audible over the telephone, "Yes and no. There is some intelligence that some German infantry landed at Kinsale. I hesitate to call this intelligence reliable though."
"Might I ask why, sir?"
"Well, for one thing it is claimed that it wasn’t just Germans coming ashore at Kinsale but also some Austrian troops as well. While that is certainly not impossible I find it rather unlikely."
------SMS Moltke SSE of Youghal (Cork) 1230 hrs
After cruising off the coast of Cork during the morning, 1st Scouting Group had returned to Kinsale before noon where it rendezvoused with the 5th TB Flotilla which had finished coaling there. Hipper then ordered the 4th TB Flotilla into Kinsale to coal. He then proceeded south to once again become the linchpin of the High Seas Fleet’s scouting force. Meanwhile off Cork and Kinsale the Nautilus laid protective mine fields augmenting the thin fields Kolberg had laid during the night.
------Listowel (Kerry) 1250 hrs
Hans Schultz had been a Bavarian oberfeldwebel when he was selected to become part of the Irish Brigade with a temporary rank of captain. He was 41 years old and bit pudgy unlike most of the lean and mean types in the Irish Brigade. Schultz was a devout Roman Catholic and spoke good English which helped him get into the Irish Brigade as his service record was not as exceptional as most of the other members. He had been told that he would be commanding companies of Irish Volunteers. Initially he did command a company of the 2nd Kerry Battalion and had participated in the Battle of Rathmore as part of Hell’s Brigade. There were not enough majors in the Irish Brigade to command every I.R.A. battalion and so when the small 5th Kerry Battalion was formed Capt. Schultz was chosen to lead it.
Schultz arrived at Listowel in a motor car to assume command. He was expecting to meet a Lt. McAndrews I.R.A., who had previously commanded the unit. Instead he was greeted by a woman in a uniform. Schultz knew very well that there were some Irish women who wanted to fight in their war of independence. The German officers were not very comfortable with this but gravitated towards something of a compromise trying to limit these bizarre females to performing support roles---medical, supply, communications and the guarding of prisoners. Schultz had seen several of these women in the support company at Tralee and had slowly come to accept this policy.
The woman approached and saluted crisply. "Capt Schultz. I am SSgt. Bridget Donahue."
That name is vaguely familiar Schultz told himself while returning the salute Oh, yes, I recall some brief mention of her by Commandant Stack. She assisted McAndrews while he was recovering from his wounds. "I am pleased to meet you, Sgt. McAndrews. You are something of an assistant to Lt. McAndrews, yes? Do you know where he is right now?"
"Yes, captain, he is with most of the battalion which is now marching towards Abbeyfeale in accord with the telegram we received three hours ago. Am I correct that you were notified of these orders before you left Tralee?"
"Uh, yes. I was told. I had assumed the battalion would wait until I arrived before departing."
"We were not explicitly told to do so, sir. We thought it best to get moving as soon as possible. We left a single platoon behind here to wait for you and sent the rest marching on their way. Now that you are here my plan---uh, I mean Lt. Andrews plan--- is to split the platoon. Half will remain here to tend to the wound, guard our prisoners and maintain order. The other half will escort you to Lt. McAndrews and the rest of the battalion."
"Hmm. I see nothing wrong with this plan. Good initiative on Lt. McAndrews’ part. I take it that you are going to be one of those remaining here, yes?"
"Oh no, sir, on the contrary I am going to be leading the half platoon that will escort you."
Capt. Schultz was momentarily taken aback by Mother Superior’s tone of voice which while properly respectful---in fact considerably more so than most male I.R.A. soldiers he had encountered---subtly implied that this matter was her decision to make. Part of him briefly wanted to overrule her and insist that she remain behind at Listowel. A Prussian would almost certainly do that he told himself but we Bavarians are a more flexible lot. This strange woman evidently knows a great deal of what is going on. That is why she wasn’t sent to the support company.
"I see. Well then, how soon before the half platoon can move out, Sgt?"
"Ten minutes at most, captain."
"Excellent! As we are catching up with the rest of the battalion you can give me a preliminary briefing so I will be prepared when I finally meet up with Lt. McAndrews."
------HQ British Second Army 1405 hrs
Sir John French decided to pay Gen. Plumer a visit. "Things have been rather quiet this morning," French told Plumer, "As I suspected the Huns must have worn themselves out and need to recover their spent strength. They have hurt us but we inflicted a heavy price on them in return. I feel that this augurs well for your next attack."
Plumer shook his head slightly, "It was indeed quiet at dawn, sir, but in the last 4 hours the German artillery have begun a relentless shelling of IV Army Corps from multiple directions. The intensity of this bombardment is too much for our own guns to suppress. It is now clear than the German Sixth Army has shifted at least a major portion of their heavy artillery to the east. As we have discussed in the past the jagged salient that IV Corps currently occupies leaves them dangerously exposed to enfilading shell fire."
There had previously been a trace of warmth on the Field Marshal’s face. It now disappeared. "We have discussed this before, Gen. Plumer. Must I remind you that this issue is a big reason why Gen. Smith-Dorrien no longer commands Second Army."
"I am well aware of that Field Marshal, but with all due respect I feel it is my duty as an officer compels me to once again propose moving IV Army Corps to a less exposed position."
"As I recall from our previous conversations on this topic, moving to a less exposed position means surrendering roughly 5 square miles to the Germans. Gen. Foch visited me last night. He made it abundantly clear to me that prime minister Clemenceau is most unhappy with the amount of what he likes to call ‘sacred French soil’ we have relinquished in the last month. He went out of his way to remind me that we promised Gen. Joffre to make no further withdrawals in exchange for the 2 French infantry divisions which are now assisting us."
"It is a mere 5 sq. miles of Picardy farmland with no strategic importance, sir! I can pare the withdrawal down to a little less than 4 sq. miles if that would make the politics any easier."
"There is to be no withdrawal by IV Army Corps! It is bad enough that we may be moving First Army behind the Somme in the next week."
"Yes, I could see where that withdrawal would make a great deal of sense."
"I did not ask for your opinion on that topic, Gen. Plumer. Gen. Haig is studying that option in detail and will be forwarding me his recommendation in the next few days."
"Uh, I have the utmost confidence that Gen. Haig will quickly reach the most logical conclusion, sir."
"What he decides will depend in large part on the success of your next attack, general. If you can completely clear the line of communication to First Army I see no compelling reason for them to withdraw behind the Somme."
"I will try my very best to do that, sir. That is one reason I wanted to pull back IV Army Corps as it would shorten my front releasing additional battalions for use in the attack."
"I have heard that argument before and do not want to hear it again. Is that clear, general?"
"Very clear, sir. When can I expect more supplies and hopefully some replacement troops?"
"As you are well aware the Admiralty froze all departing ships in port when they learned that the German battle fleet was heading this way. And from what I’ve been told it is not just the Channel and the mouth of the Thames, but all of England, Wales and the west coast of Scotland as well. And from what I’ve learned from the Admiralty this condition will remain in effect for at least 2 more days, maybe longer. I was instructed not to share that tidbit with either the French or the Belgians. Foch asked me about it and I said I didn’t know. However the Admiralty is making one exception. A convoy carrying supplies and some replacement troops will depart Newhaven less than 2 hours from now. They will be escorted to LeHavre by most of Dover Patrol plus Harwich Force. The supplies and reinforcements will be reaching you tomorrow morning. I know you think more highly of night attacks than Haig. Do you think a late afternoon attack today followed by a night attack is feasible?"
Plumer sighed inaudibly, "With all due respect, Field Marshal, I cannot give a proper answer to that question without more information. For instance, just when in the morning and how much ammunition will be delivered? Weather needs to be factored in as well as the latest intelligence about enemy dispositions."
French waved his right hand dismissively, "Yes, yes. My staff will provide you with the pertinent information. If you do not find tomorrow morning to be feasible that is your decision but then I must insist on an attack late tomorrow. Is that clear?"
"Yes, perfectly clear, sir."
------Jebwabne (East Prussia) 1345 hrs
The attack of the Russian Twelfth Army continued to make slow progress against the outnumbered German defenders. The attackers only had a line of strong points to overcome and then they would be in open territory. As they made their attack Brigade Grossman began arriving at the scene after a hard march from Allenstein. These were part of the Woernitz Division, a temporary division which was the reserve for Army Detachment Scholtz. These were surprisingly good soldiers for members of a temporary division and they distinguished themselves in throwing back the first wave of Russian assaults on the strong points.
As this was going on another element of the Woernitz Division, the 2nd Guard Landwehr Foot Artillery Battalion positioned itself with remarkable speed and was in place to help defeat the second wave of Russian attacks. After that news reached his HQ, Gen. von Plehve reluctantly accepted that he would not achieve a complete rupture of the German entrenchments this day, esp. as some of his batteries had completely exhausted their ammunition and his warplanes were reporting that the Germans were already hard at work digging new trenches to the north. The cavalry division he had standing by in close reserve to exploit a complete German collapse was told to dismount. Unable to expand the depth of their advance the Russians tried to expand its breadth and fighting continued in spasms on the flanks until dusk.
------north of Blarney (Cork) 1425 hrs
The attack of the British 29th Brigade soon became too much for the 2nd Chevauleger Regiment to stop. One squadron tried to harass the enemy flanks while the rest fell back towards Blarney. There they were joined by the 3rd Battalion 4th Foot Guard and the West Limerick Battalion. There was a single battery of 15cm howitzers supporting thee units but they were very low on shells.
Two British battalions rapidly marched down the main road. The 15cm howitzers spent their last shells on the lead battalion, then they began withdrawing to the relative safety of Cork. Additional ammunition was one of the invaluable supplies aboard the troopships. Their bombardment was too brief to devastate the British battalion but it did cause some casualties and forced it to disperse leaving the road. After that it became an infantry battle. At the beginning of the war the Prussian Guards had been too eager to seize the initiative and had suffered needlessly on several occasions. They had learned that lesson and were content to hold their position this afternoon. They had not been used as intensely as the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division since coming to Ireland at the Kaiser’s insistence and so they still possessed an effective strength of just under 700 men. The battalions of the British 29th Brigade had been steadily worn down during the protracted siege of Limerick. They had become tougher in the process but they were still not as hardened as the Prussian Guards who stopped the attack with the help of Chevaulegers and the Irish Volunteers. As the British attack petered out additional reinforcements arrived for the Germans in the form of 2 rifle companies belonging to the 1st Cork City Battalion.
Another battalion of the 29th Brigade further the east did succeed in putting some pressure on the left flank of the 6th Bavarian Division which further discouraged Gen. von Gyssling from attempting to advance further against the Welsh Division during the afternoon.
------Navan (Meath) 1435 hrs
Despite the increased enemy strength inside Phoenix Park Rommel had scraped together enough motor vehicles to carry 180 men. Taking the armored car with them to lead the way he drove up Navan Road to the town of Navan in County Meath. There was a fairly large company of Irish Volunteers at Navan. In what was the usual pattern the R.I.C. had arrested the company commandant and confiscated most of the company’s firearms soon after the Germans had landed. Since then there had been confusion as to who was charge of the company. There was also an influx of some disaffected Redmondites. A new commandant had been chosen a few days before Dublin had erupted but was also arrested by the R.I.C. leaving the company leaderless again. Since the rising started in Dublin a fifth of the company had on their own initiative made their way to Dublin in dribs and drabs.
Rommel personally led his force of Irish Volunteers in the attack on Navan. He quickly captured the town incl. the local R.I.C. station. There was another small contingent of constables that were holding out in two buildings but they were pinned down. Most of the rest of the local Irish Volunteers company were now being assembled. The town was being scavenged for petrol and food. Rommel had brought 50 Moisin-Nagant and 10 Lee-Enfield rifles plus 20 shotguns with him to arm the locals. He now faced a difficult decision. Before becoming part of Operation Unicorn, Rommel had only commanded small units. Since landing in Ireland he found himself commanding ever larger formations. Now here in Dublin he was commanding a good sized brigade and often there was too much action for Rommel to handle personally.
This raid on Navan was only a preliminary step in Rommel’s plan but the next phase would take him even further from Dublin and there was much going on in Dublin that he thought required his personal attention. Most of the men that Rommel had brought to Navan were from the 5th Dublin Battalion, though some were those who had fought with O’Duffy in Monaghan. Rommel reluctantly decided he would trust Tom Ashe, the commandant of that battalion, to carry out the next phase of the operation.
"Commandant Ashe, I have decided that I must return to Dublin. I plan to leave in the next half hour," Rommel told him, "You know what this mission is about, but I want to go over with you in detail what I want you to do after sunset."
------SMS Pillau Celtic Sea heading south 1438 hrs
The Pillau’s captain and the commander of 4th Scouting Group gazed anxiously through their binoculars. A minute earlier his lookouts reported first one and two ships approaching from the southwest. "They are definitely British cruisers, admiral," remarked the skipper.
The commodore lowered his binoculars and scratched his chin as he confessed with a deep sigh, "Alas, my aging eyes are not as strong as they once were. We need to determine if they are armored or light cruisers. But either way they are trouble. I will want all of my cruisers to raise steam for flank speed immediately."
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading NNE 1439 hrs
Admiral Bayly had deployed the 5 cruiser squadrons under his command in a broad arc about 40 nm ahead of the battle squadrons. The 1st Cruiser Squadron was on the far right of the scouting formation. The commander of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Rear Admiral Archibald Moore had split the squadron in half. The port group consisted of Devonshire and Donegal. The starboard group consisted of Black Prince and the Duke of Edinburgh, his flagship. "Order Devonshire and Donegal by searchlight and wireless to turn 15 degrees to starboard and increase their speed to 21 knots," Adm. Moore decided, "After that we shall notify Adm. Bayly of our discovery."
------SMS Moltke heading south 1449 hrs
Adm. von Hipper and his chief of staff, Capt. Raeder had received and decrypted the wireless report from Pillau. "We should not intercept these British cruisers directly, admiral but should instead try to circle around and try to cut off their line of retreat, admiral" Raeder suggested.
The admiral puffed on his cigar and considered the suggestion. It did not take long for him to decide, "Yes, I heartily concur with that suggestion."
------HMS Iron Duke heading north 1454 hrs
"It has begun," Adm. Bayly admitted to Adm. Madden, his chief of staff, "If we really do feel it is best to avoid a fleet action at this time then we should strongly consider turning around right now, eh?"
Madden was unsure how to respond to this. For much of the morning Adm. Bayly had demonstrated a deep ambivalence about the wisdom of engaging the German battle fleet. A series of wireless transmissions from the Admiralty merely suggested that Adm. Bayly seek an opportunity for a tactical advantage while reiterating that the admiral had freedom of action and should demonstrate "prudent judgment". Madden reflected how very different this was from Utsire where there was still a considerable amount of Nelsonic confidence and boldness floating in the air. "It now appears that we are less likely to sneak up on the Huns and take them by surprise, sir."
"Ah, so are you saying that we should turn away and head for Devonport because our chance for victory has vanished?"
"Uh, not at all, sir. That was one merely aspect of our plan. I think we can still make this work. For instance, there remains the possibility that most of the German screen is coaling."
"That is true but I do worry that the German battle cruisers will chew up our scouting forces. I still cannot believe the Admiralty dispatched Inflexible to North America."
"So then should we turn back, sir?"
"No. I did not come all this way to now run away with my tail between my legs. Signal the battle squadrons to turn 30˚ to starboard. Also send a wireless message to the other 4 cruiser squadrons telling them to turn 30˚ to starboard and to increase their speed to 21 knots."
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading SSW ½ S 1457 hrs
"These armored cruisers are almost certainly part of the scouting force for the Grand Fleet," Grossadmiral von Ingenohl told Vizeadmiral Richard Eckermann, his chief of staff.
"First Scouting Group should be able to handle them easily, admiral" answered Eckermann, "We should be able to dominate their scouting forces with 1st Scouting Group which in turn should grant us an important tactical advantage at the start of the main fleet engagement."
The man many were calling the German Nelson waved his hand dismissively, "That is very speculative at best. What is not speculative is the weakness of my screen. We only brought 5 flotillas with us to Ireland. Two are coaling leaving us with only three present for this possible engagement. Our flotillas proved useful in the early phase of Dogger Bank and critical during the decisive phase of Utsire. Not only do we now lack that potent sword but we do not have enough screen to protect ourselves from a determined enemy torpedo attack."
------L.10 Killarney (Kerry) 1459 hrs
Having been provided insufficient advance notice the Zeppelin shed at Killarney was not fully ready when the L.10 had arrived and had trouble servicing the airship. Adm. von Ingenohl had wanted it out scouting in the Celtic Sea more than 2 hours earlier but only now was it able to get airborne. It continued to cause many of the local citizens to stare up at it in amazement.
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading 20˚ 1506 hrs
The 1st Cruiser Squadron was chasing the German light cruisers. Devonshire and Donegal had just arrived and were following 2500 yards behind. Lookouts had begun reporting a mass of smoke to the east a few minutes ago. Now they could see at least 2 new ships SSE. Admiral Moore had a hunch as to who they were and did wait for identification. "Flags! Hoist signals for a simultaneous 12 point turn to port."
------SMS Moltke steaming southwest 1512 hrs
Adm. von Hipper had countered 1st Cruiser Squadron’s evasive turn by ordering a 2 point turn to starboard and an increase of speed to 25 knots. Moltke’s 28cm guns now commenced firing on Black Prince at a range of 18,100 yards. There was some mist and haze building up and the two more distant British armored cruisers were very difficult to observe effectively. Derfflinger opened fire on the Duke of Edinburgh a minute later. The 9.2" guns on the armored cruisers lacked the range to respond. Adm. von Ingenohl had repeatedly stressed the importance of not wasting ammunition while they were so far from Germany. While von Hipper had detected some defeatism underlying this advice he also saw some wisdom to it. He therefore ordered Von der Tann to temporarily hold its fire.
------HMS Iron Duke 1515 hrs
Informed by wireless of 1st Cruiser Squadron’s predicament, Adm. Bayly immediately ordered the Grand Fleet to turn another 35˚ to starboard and increase its speed to 17 knots. "I am worried that the battle cruisers could do grave harm to our armored cruisers before we can rescue them," Bayly admitted to Madden, "For that reason I want the 4th Destroyer Flotilla to increase its speed to 28 knots, intercept the German battle cruisers and make a torpedo attack. This should cause the battle cruisers to turn away long before our presence will. Not only will this help 1st Cruiser Squadron but nearly as important it will delay and maybe even prevent the Germans discovering our presence, position and course. I will leave it to you to work out the optimum course for the 4th Destroyer Flotilla."
"Yes, Admiral, I shall see to immediately. Hopefully with a determined attack we can put a fish or two into the Hun battle cruisers."
Bayly wagged a finger while shaking his head slightly, "While that would indeed be most lovely, I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not wanting them pursuing the German battle cruisers if they do indeed turn away. This is true even if the battle cruiser do not have any destroyers with them."
------HMS Black Prince heading SW 1517 hrs
Moltke scored its first hit on the Black Prince which was already having serious trouble sustaining 21 knots. The 28cm SAP shell struck the cruiser’s 6" belt well above the waterline. It failed to penetrate but drove in the armor plates sharply which allowed some seawater to leak in.
-----HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading SW 1520 hrs
Derfflinger scored its first hit on the Duke of Edinburgh. The 28cm SAP shell exploded amidst the after concentration of 3 pounder guns disabling 5 of the weapons and causing 19 casualties.
------SMS Moltke heading SW 1536 hrs
Adm. von Hipper ordered a change in the fire distribution of 1st Scouting Group as his lookouts and gunners were now getting a better view of Donegal. Moltke shifted her guns to Donegal which was now within range. Von der Tann took up the shelling of the Black Prince which had fallen behind the Duke of Edinburgh.
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading SW 1537 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from Derfflinger knocked out the aft 9.2" port wing turret of the Duke of Edinburgh.
------HMS Donegal heading SW 1539 hrs
Moltke scored its first hit on the Donegal, which passed through the aft smokestack without exploding.
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading SW 1541 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from Derfflinger penetrated the cruiser’s 6" belt armor at the waterline and exploded in the port engine room. Her speed soon fell off eventually falling below 16 knots which caused her to fall behind Black Prince again. Her 9.2"guns were now within range of the enemy and firing back though two of the guns had been knocked out of action.
------HMS Devonshire heading SW 1547 hrs
Devonshire’s 7.5" guns started to shell Moltke which in response shifted her guns to targeting Devonshire having only scored 3 hits on Donegal.
------SMS Moltke heading SW 1552 hrs
"Admiral! British torpedo boats are approaching at high speed from the southwest," came the reports from the lookouts. Adm. von Hipper lifted his binoculars, "Hmm, I think I see one maybe two small cruisers with them acting as flagships."
"We should order 4th Scouting Group and the 5th Torpedoboat Flotilla to engage them immediately, admiral," said Raeder.
Adm. von Hipper took another glance through his binoculars then lowered them. He took out a cigar and lit it. "Hmm. Let us not be so dogged in our pursuit of the British armored cruisers that we badly weaken our own screen and risk getting one of our ships torpedoed. More important than finishing off these cruisers is finding the enemy battleships. Therefore we shall turn away in a few minutes after we are close enough to rake the enemy flotilla with our secondary batteries. I also want this ship’s main battery to switch to the largest cruiser in the new formation which is very probably the flotilla flagship."
------HMS Sparrowhawk 1557 hrs
A 15cm shell from Derfflinger exploded in the forward boiler room of the destroyer, Sparrowhawk. The flooding it caused soon extinguished the most of the boiler fires, but was not enough to sink her. Losing steam she very awkwardly fired both her torpedo tubes at the German battle cruisers then withdrew from the flotilla.
------HMS Caroline 1559 hrs
A 28cm SAP shell from Moltke burst amidships wrecking one of Caroline’s 4" guns and killing the gun crew. It also started a small fire that was quickly extinguished.
------HMS Mastiff 1600 hrs
Seconds after firing one torpedo at the German battlecruisers, the mainmast of the destroyer Mastiff was hit by a pair of 15cm shells from Moltke. One of these exploded squarely in the bridge where it killed or mortally wounded everyone incl. the captain and started a modest fire. It also jammed the rudder for a few minutes. Eventually control of steering was regained but only from the after steering compartment. The other shell wrecked the wireless station and also started a medium sized fire.
Meanwhile the flotilla leader Faulknor and 2 of the 3 divisions of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla each fired a single torpedo with the exception of Sparrowhawk which had fired both of its tubes on account of its heavy damage. The destroyers were also laying down a smoke screen to protect the badly battered 1st Cruiser Squadron. Derfflinger’s had hit the Duke of Edinburgh 17 times with 30.5cm shells as well as scoring some 15cm shells in the last few minutes. She was down by the stern and listing badly to port rendering her guns ineffective. It also had several fires. The Black Prince had been hit 19 time by 28 cm shells. She was also listing to port as well but not as severely as Duke of Edinburgh. Her fires though were very bad and were interfering with her ability to fight back.
------SMS Moltke heading NNW1626 hrs
The 1st Scouting Group had circled back after the 4th Destroyer Flotilla had called off their attack using the smoke screen laid by the British destroyers in order to help 1st Cruiser Squadron to mask their own maneuver. Despite some gradual deterioration in the visibility in the last half hour the lookouts had first spotted a large mass of smoke. They could now see the 2nd division of the 5th Battle Squadron on the far right of the Grand Fleet’s cruising formation. A wireless message was quickly sent to Adm. von Ingenohl. Meanwhile von Hipper and Raeder watched the enemy battleships through his binoculars. "They look to be predreadnoughts, admiral," commented Raeder.
"Yes, and if my memory serves me well, I believe can outrange the British predreadnoughts. Flags! Signal an 8 point turn to starboard in succession. Once the turn is completed slow to 22 knots and commence firing."
------HMS Agamemnon course 335˚ 1628 hrs
The 2nd Division of the 5th Battle Squadron consisted of the flagship, Agamemnon followed by Irresistible, London and Formidable. The rear admiral aboard Agamemnon now gave the order for his battle division to commence firing on the German battle cruisers.
------HMS Iron Duke course 335˚ 1630 hrs
Adm. Bayly had been informed of 1st Scouting Group’s attack on his right flank. "Forming line to starboard would be downright foolish in this situation. The German battle cruisers are already in position crossing our ‘T’ when we come out of the maneuver. I know there are only 3 of them but if we then turn our line parallel to them it will take too long for our dreadnoughts to come into play. In the meantime they have demonstrated that they can outrange our predreadnoughts."
"Forming line to port is the better option, sir," replied Madden, "We would be moving away from the battle cruisers."
"Not much better. They could still badly harass our rear. No, our best option is to send the 4th Destroyer Flotilla back to drive them off again. While that is going on we need to find the High Seas Fleet. If they are close by as I suspect we shall need to make some extremely important decisions quickly."
------HMS Moltke heading ENE1631 hrs
Raeder watched with some alarm as British shells exploded off the battle cruiser’s port bow. "Admiral clearly we are within range of the British guns," he informed Adm. von Hipper excitedly.
"Yes I can see that. However the salvoes directed at Derrflinger and Von der Tann fell considerably short and the enemy has given up firing at them. The lead vessel appears to be a Lord Nelson class and its guns have a longer barrel than the others."
The frown remained on Raeder’s face, "We could try to open the range a little more, admiral."
"No. The visibility is barely adequate at this range. We shall fight as long as we can from this range. I do not expect we will be allowed to do this for long."
------HMS London course 65˚ 1633 hrs
A 28cm SAP shell from Von der Tann struck the deck amidships and penetrated the deck armor exploding almost immediately. Shell fragments damaged the port engines, but without causing any flooding. Her speed soon dropped and eventually she struggled to make 15 knots.
------SMS Moltke 1634 hrs
Agamemnon’s 12" guns scored their first hit on Moltke which detonated inside her superstructure, destroying an 8.8cm gun and causing 4 casualties. This hit caused Moltke to shift its 28cm guns from Irresistible to Agamemnon, so it would cease having the advantage of not being fired on.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading 180˚ 1635 hrs
"It looks like we stand a good chance to catch the Grand Fleet in cruising formation again, admiral," Adm. Eckerman told Adm. von Ingenohl.
"Perhaps. At least it is worth a try but we should not count on it. What is more probable is that it now appears that we will enjoy a significant advantage in visibility. That is what justifies our engaging the enemy battle line. Flag officer! Hoist signals for a 1 point turn to starboard in succession and an increase in speed to 18 knots."
------HMS Formidable course 65˚ 1636 hrs
A 30.5cm SAP shell fired by Derfflinger penetrated the roof of the battleship’s forward 12" turret. The shell exploded inside wrecking the turret.
------SMS Moltke 1639 hrs
Lookouts had begun reporting a flotilla of British destroyers off the port bow approaching rapidly. "So this is the British response---or at least its initial phase. Apparently we did not hurt the British flotillas enough before. We should correct that mistake, yes?" declared von Hipper to his staff, "But first we must take care not to get ourselves torpedoed. Flags! Signal a simultaneous 16 point turn to starboard."
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh heading 220˚ 1642 hrs
"Admiral, the flooding of the machinery spaces continues to worsen. Based on what my engineers have told me I now believe that there is a very serious risk that this ship will capsize in the next hour. I respectfully suggest you transfer your flag as soon as possible, sir."
This came as no surprise to Adm. Moore. Despite slowing to 11 knots the list of Duke of Edinburgh had steadily worsened. "Agreed. Signal Devonshire to come about and prepare to receive me."
------SMS Yorck heading 180˚ 1643 hrs
The 3rd Scouting Group consisting of the armored cruisers Yorck and Prinz Heinrich were deployed 11,000 yards ahead of the High Seas Fleet currently cruising at 18 knots the same as the battleships. Their lookouts now reported 2 vessels to the west. These vessels were identified as enemy cruisers heading either north or NNE at high speed. On account of the decrease in visibility the range was reported as somewhere around 16,000 yards. The aggressive commander of 3rd Scouting Group, Kontreadmiral von Rebeur-Paschwitz promptly relayed that information to von Ingenohl but before waiting for a reply ordered a 10 point turn to starboard in sequence with his cruisers to commence firing as soon as they came out of their turn. Finally he ordered speed increased to 20 knots even though he knew Prinz Heinrich would have trouble sustaining it.
------HMS Caroline heading 1644 hrs
A 30.5 cm SAP shell from Derfflinger exploded inside the middle funnel uptake. It extinguished the fires of 5 of the cruiser’s 8 boilers. This soon slowed the warship to 23 knots. Meanwhile splinters from a near miss in the same half salvo riddled its bow. The 4th Destroyer Flotilla had only fired 6 more torpedoes in its latest attack before realizing that the German battle cruisers were turning away. After this the fighting intensified. The 4th Scouting Group engaged one of the divisions of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla then the half flotillas of the 5th Torpedoboat Flotilla each took on a division.
------HMS Galatea heading 25˚ 1646 hrs
While 1st Scouting Group was busy chasing 1st Cruiser Squadron the other scouting elements of the Grand Fleet remained unhindered except for the steady decrease in visibility. The commander of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, Commodore Edwin Alexander-Sinclair had split his squadron in half with one half consisting of his flagship Galatea accompanied by Inconstant and to the NNW the other half was Cordelia and Royalist. Both halves were currently steaming at 26 knots.
"Ships to the east!" came the report of the lookouts.
"How many? What type? What course?" asked the commodore as he raised his binoculars to look for himself. Before his question was answered the commodore saw orange flashes.
"Commodore! The enemy have opened fire! Look there."
Alexander-Sinclair turned to where the enemy vessels were. Could they be the German battle fleet? The more he looked the more he doubted that. For one thing he could only discern only 2 vessels. "This is not the enemy battle fleet," the commodore told his staff, "But it could be a sign that they are nearby. We must press on until we find them. The fate of the Empire is on our shoulders!"
------SMS König heading 180˚ 1648 hrs
The commander of the 3rd Battle Squadron, Vizeadmiral Reinhard Scheer stared at the approaching British cruisers. "Our gunners should now have a good enough view of the enemy. They may commence fire," he ordered.
------HMS Galatea heading 25˚ 1649 hrs
There were more orange flashes. They came more to the north than the gun flashes of the German cruisers. By the light of the flashes it soon became apparent there was at least a squadron of dreadnoughts to their east. "Notify Adm. Bayly by wireless immediately!" ordered Alexander-Sinclair, "Flag officer! Signal a simultaneous 8 point turn to---"
As the commodore was speaking he was rudely interrupted a 21cm SAP shell from Yorck exploding inside Galatea’s mainmast. A sizable splinter from this shell penetrated the bridge where it ricocheted off the walls. Mercifully no one on the bridge was hurt though most were startled. "As I was saying signal a simultaneous 8 point turn to starboard and an increase to 28 knots," said Alexander-Sinclair after a deep breath.
------HMS Faulknor 1650 hrs
A 28cm HE shell from Moltke struck the flotilla leader 3’ above the waterline slightly abaft the mainmast. It knocked out the electrical power and started a large fire. It also allowed seawater into the forward fire room.
-------HMS Inconstant 1651 hrs
A 30.5cm SAP shell smashed into the stern of the cruiser Inconstant, exiting the hull below the waterline without exploding. It did not disrupt the steering gear but soon flooded the magazine of the aft 6" gun.
------HMS Cordelia 1653 hrs
The other half of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron could now see the German 1st Battle Squadron. The bridge crew of Cordelia and Royalist soon began to see bright orange flashes as well.
------HMS Iron Duke course 335˚ 1655 hrs
"Ah-ha! Adm. von Ingenohl is obviously trying to catch us in cruising formation, just as he caught Adm. Jellicoe and yourself at Utsire," Adm. Bayly told Adm. Madden.
"Aye, but this time we have ample warning, sir. We could even try to cross their ‘T’ if we form line to starboard and then turn to port immediately after forming line."
Bayly shook his head vigorously, "That would put 5th Battle Squadron in the van. We would not be firmly in place across their bows but racing against faster warships to try to cross them. The Germans can easily counter by turning a few points to port and then we’d have a very short range battle between their van, which will almost certainly be their best dreadnoughts, and the predreadnoughts of 5th Battle Squadron. Their battle cruisers would soon come into play to bring additional firepower against our van. The damage to London’s engines adds to our list of problems. The alternative of simply forming line to starboard and engaging line in parallel lines is actually better but the Germans would enjoy superior visibility for a long time."
Madden scratched his chin, "We could form line to port and engage them on a reciprocal course, sir."
"Yes, that does indeed look to be our best option. We pass by them bringing our most powerful warships into action first and then curl around the rear of their line. That would permit us to concentrate firepower on their rear while moving into the superior visibility that lies to the east. Furthermore we would cut them off from their base in Cork. As an additional bonus we would be moving away from their battle cruisers thereby postponing their participation in the main action."
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading 180˚ 1657 hrs
Adm. von Ingenohl had ordered Third Squadron to stop firing on the British light cruisers which he regarded as a marginally effective use of ammunition. As he issued those orders he finally learned of 3rd Scouting Group’s course change which did not please him. "Unbelievable! Adm. von Rebeur-Paschwitz is off chasing cruisers which have a 7 knot speed advantage! I need him in our van to warn us of potential danger! Signal that impetuous fool immediately to reverse course and resume his proper position ahead of line."
"And it has been at least 15 minutes since we have heard anything from Hipper. I need to know if the British are still in cruising formation."
------HMS Chatham 7 nm southwest of Old Head of Kinsale 1658 hrs
Adm. Bayly had ordered the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron to proceed ahead of the rest of his scouting force to the Cork coast. Despite the limited visibility Rear Adm. Trevelyan Napier, the squadron commander could clearly see the light house on the Old Head of Kinsale. What he did not see was any vessels, esp. the large German troopships they were hoping to find. "Signal a 40˚ turn to starboard in succession," ordered Napier.
"For obvious reasons Celtic Sea has become the most controversial of Admiral von Ingenohl’s battles."
----Ingenohl’s Glory, Augustine Wolf
------HMS Caroline 1703 hrs
Derfflinger’s main guns scored their fourth hit on the British light cruiser, which was already burning badly. The shell exploded in the superstructure aft and created a severe blaze. The British 4th Destroyer Flotilla was now trying to disengage from a difficult tactical situation under the cover of a smokescreen. Faulknor was listing badly and could barely make 21 knots. She was also fighting several fires. On Mentor the fires were now out of control and detonated a pair of torpedo tubes devastating the superstructure as well as causing several leaks in the hull. Christopher was dead in the water with steadily worsening list. Porpoise had her steering jammed and was turning in circles.
The 4th Destroyer Flotilla had made the Germans pay a price for this. One German torpedoboat was dead in the water in an obvious sinking condition. Two more torpedoboats were burning---one of which was particularly severe. Kolberg had some flooding in one of her of fire rooms and had 2 of her 10.5 cm guns knocked out.
-------SMS Moltke 1704 hrs
With a report from 4th Scouting Group that they had observed at least 2 more torpedoes being launched by the British destroyers, Adm. von Hipper again ordered his battle cruisers to turn away which took them further away from the Grand Fleet.
------HMS Moorsom 1705 hrs
A 15cm shell from Pillau burst in the ammo hoist of the destroyer’s amidships 4" turret and seconds later the magazine erupted and the ship broke in half.
------SMS Yorck heading SSW 1706 hrs
After 3rd Scouting Group finished a 16 port turn to port in succession in accord with Adm. von Ingenohl’s orders, Rebeur-Paschwitz had been on the verge of ordering a 3 point turn to starboard to get ahead of Third Battle Squadron again when his lookouts began reporting vessels to the SSW heading north. In half a minute these reports became more specific. "It looks like that is the enemy battle fleet approaching us from the south," the admiral told his staff, "Notify Adm. von Ingenohl by short range wireless and Adm. Scheer by searchlight."
Deep in his soul Adm. Rebeur-Paschwitz yearned to sweep his armored cruisers across bows of the enemy line. The 3rd Scouting Group had been in the German line at Utsire. Roon had been badly damaged by 13.5" shells on that occasion and nearly sank. That near loss taught Rebeur-Paschwitz some respect for the firepower of dreadnoughts. Very reluctantly he ordered, "Signal a simultaneous 8 point turn to port. We shall hold our fire until the enemy starts firing."
------HMS Caroline 1709 hrs
A 30.5cm SAP shell from Derfflinger obliterated the bridge of Caroline. Steering was lost for nearly 6 minutes before being regained from the steering compartment. Meanwhile another serious fire started in what remained of her mainmast.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth course 335˚ 1709 hrs
The lookouts had begun to spot first one then two ships to NNW a minute earlier. For a while Admiral Burney worried that they might be British cruisers. He was now satisfied that they were enemy warships. "You may commence firing. Flags will signal the same for the squadron."
The forward turrets on Queen Elizabeth shortly commenced firing on Yorck. Her rear turrets could not be brought to bear.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading 180˚ 1710 hrs
Adm. von Ingenohl was deeply upset, "So not only did we fail to catch the Grand Fleet in cruising formation but the British formed their line on a reciprocal course which presents us with some problems. Why was I not informed of this by 1st Scouting Group? How has a single British flotilla managed to completely paralyze Hipper?"
------HMS Marlborough course 335˚ 1711 hrs
The forward turrets on Marlborough began firing on Yorck. This would soon create problems distinguishing her splashes from those of Queen Elizabeth. A few seconds later Thunderer commenced firing on Prinz Heinrich.
------SMS König course 180˚ 1712 hrs
The lookouts had first observed gun flashes to the southwest. With each passing minute their view improved. With the enemy on a reciprocal course Adm. Scheer realized that fire distribution would soon become very problematic. He ordered that König target not the lead battleship but the one furthest down in the British line that they could see clearly.
------SMS Yorck heading NNW 1714 hrs
A 15" CPC shell exploded in Yorck’s aft superstructure near the aft conning tower which it riddled with fragments. It also destroyed a nearby 8.8 cm gun and started a medium sized fire. This damage was enough to dampen some brash thoughts Rebeur-Pashwitz had been entertaining.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth course 335˚ 1715 hrs
Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney now ordered the guns of 1st Battle Squadron to concentrate on the German battleships coming into view. However the visibility which was still only marginal at best for the lead German battleships was a notch still worse for the British battleships so initially they were essentially firing at gun flashes. However the British could now use their full broadsides.
------HMS Caroline 1717 hrs
Having just received an admonishing wireless message from Adm. von Ingenohl, Adm. von Hipper was intent on finishing off the badly wounded Caroline as he sped to join the High Seas Fleet. A pair of 28 SAP shells from Moltke slammed into the cruiser not long after she regained control of steering. One of these set off a secondary explosion in magazine for one of the cruiser’s 4" guns. The explosion was not strong enough to set off other magazines much less break the ship apart but it blew a large hole in the hull below the waterline and further aggravated her fires.
------HMS Iron Duke course 335˚ 1719 hrs
"It looks we are not perfectly parallel to the German line but a bit skewed," Adm. Bayly commented to his staff, "I do not regard that as being beneficial for us. Hoist flags for a 30˚ turn to starboard in succession. Also signal an increase in speed to 18 knots."
------HMS Moltke heading NNE 1720 hrs
"The British cruiser looks to be in an obvious sinking condition to me, admiral," said Raederas he lowered his binoculars.
The admiral lowered his binoculars as well and nodded, "I concur with that appraisal." So far they had only seen 2 British destroyers actually sink incl. the ‘M’ class destroyer which had exploded a few minutes ago. However the British flotilla was clearly mauled and had been trying to disengage. Adm. von Hipper had ordered the 10th Torpedoboat Half-Flotilla to remain a while longer to finish off the two enemy cripples.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth course 5˚ 1722 hrs
The Queen Elizabeth was now hit by a 30.5cm shell for the third time. This shell was much more damaging than the prior two. It burst in her starboard battery obliterating one 6"gun. A cordite fire then ensued which rapidly spread through the entire battery which caused 99 casualties and rendered the entire battery inoperative. Due to the visibility Queen Elizabeth had herself scored only 2 hits so far incl. the one on Yorck.
------HMS Iron Duke course 5˚ 1723 hrs
"We need to begin our course changes if we are to come in behind the German fleet," said Adm. Bayly, "Hoist flags signaling a 30˚ turn to starboard in succession. If the High Seas Fleet has its own flotillas---and we know now that at least their battle cruisers have a small flotilla with them---von Ingenohl will likely try to counter our maneuver across his stern with a torpedo attack against our van. I want our strongest flotilla in place to counter that, so signal the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla to take up position 5,000 yards northwest of Queen Elizabeth and raise steam for flank speed."
------HMS Vanguard course 5˚ 1724 hrs
A 30.5cm SAP shell exploded in the superstructure of the Vanguard at the base of the mainmast knocking out 2 of her 4" guns and starting a serious fire.
------SMS Markgraf course 180˚ 180 1725 hrs
A 13.5" CPC shell from Iron Duke struck the lower edge of Markgraf’s belt more than 5’ below the waterline. Shell fragments holed the torpedo bulkhead and allowed seawater into several compartments incl. a secondary gun magazine. She soon took on a significant list to starboard.
------HMS Dominion course 335˚ 1726 hrs
The German 3rd Battle Squadron was at this time targeting mostly the British 3rd Battle Squadron in the center of the British battle line. A 30.5cm APC shell from Kaiserin penetrated Dominion’s belt armor and burst inside a boiler. The subsequent boiler explosion snuffed out the fires of 3 more boilers and aggravated the ship’s flooding. In a few minutes the battleship’s speed dropped below 17 knots.
The fire distribution of the British was esp. tricky as the predreadnoughts of the 5th Battle Squadron were now beginning to fire as well so most of ships of the German 3rd Battle Squadron were targeted by more than one shooter. Further confounding the problem of distinguishing salvoes the British 9.2" guns were also firing.
------SMS Kronprinz course 0˚ 1727 hrs
Despite the problems of visibility and distinguishing salvoes the British predreadnoughts still managed to score a few hits. A 12" APC shell from King Edward VII struck the ‘X’ turret of Kronprinz. It failed to penetrate the armor but its concussion jammed the turret for 21 minutes.
------HMS Africa course 335˚ 1727 hrs
A 30.5 SAP shell from Markgraf penetrated the 9" armor of Africa’s aft starboard 9.2" turret. Within a minute there was a violent explosion within the turret. The flash did not reach the magazine though as a precaution it was ordered flooded. The flash did cause a cordite fire in the nearby 12 pounders which became more severe as it spread into the 6" gun battery a deck below.
------SMS Nassau course 180˚ 1728 hrs
A pair of 15" AP shells from Queen Elizabeth stuck Nassau. The first penetrated her belt armor exploding almost immediately between the main and middle decks. This permitted seawater to enter her port engine room. The other shell penetrated the face armor of the forward starboard wing turret and burst completely wrecking it and killing the entire turret crew.
------HMS Neptune course 35˚ 1728 hrs
A 30.5cm shell penetrated the 8" upper belt of Neptune. It exploded as it struck the middle deck and two large fragments penetrated the 1.75" deck armor. One of them caused some damage to the starboard engines though it could still make the current 18 knots speed of the Grand Fleet. However it also admitted seawater to the engine rooms.
------HMS Iron Duke course 5˚ 1729 hrs
"Queen Elizabeth should now be north of the rear of the German battle line, sir," Adm. Madden informed Adm. Bayly.
"Excellent. Hoist flags for a 40˚ turn to starboard in succession."
------Old Admiralty Building 1729 hrs
"We just received and decoded this message from Adm. Bayly, First Lord," the First Sea Lord, Adm. Callaghan informed Sir Edward Carson handing him a sheet of paper.
HAVE ENGAGED GERMAN BATTLEFLEET ABOUT SIXTY MILES SOUTH OF CORK REPEAT HAVE ENGAGED GERMAN BATTLEFLEET ABOUT SIXTY MILES SOUTH OF CORK STOP GOD SAVE THE KING STOP
"Is that all there is?" asked a deeply anxious Carson. He and the Sea Lords had debated the wisdom of a fleet action all day long and remained deeply ambivalent. Now that the battle was joined Callaghan looked apprehensive.
"Yes, First Lord. That is all that we have so far."
Carson sighed deeply, "Well put, Adm. Bayly. God save the King. God save us all."
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading 180˚ 1730 hrs
Reports had come in of the prior British course change to 35˚. Adm. von Ingenohl saw this as confirming his suspicions. He had already been in contact with Nassau for what he planned next so the difficult maneuver could be executed as smoothly as possible. The British van had passed the rear of his fleet a minute earlier. He now issued his order to be transmitted by both flags and short range wireless.
"Gefechtskehrtwendung nach Backbord!"
------HMS Iron Duke heading 35˚ 1731 hrs
A 30.5cm SAP shell from Ostrfriesland struck the face of Iron Duke’s ‘Q’ turret. It broke up against the armor but the concussion jammed the turret for 17 minutes.
------IRT Wolfe Tone off Cork 1732 hrs
This trawler converted into an I.R.N. minesweeper had wandered off from the other minesweepers to hunt from possible British mines more remote from the entranceway to Cork harbor. Like the other minesweepers her skipper had been an Obermaat in the Kriegsmarine with experience in minesweeping and a good fluency with English. He was given a temporary I.R.N. rank of Lt. He commanded a crew of 24 Irish sailors. The trawler’s sole armament was a 5cm gun. There was no wireless but there were some colored signal rockets.
One of his lookouts had spotted first one ship then two more to the southwest. The Lt. lacked binoculars but had an old telescope. When he lowered it he said several very impolite German words then told the crew they were British cruisers. Visibility had decreased steadily during the afternoon. The Lt. ordered vessel to make for Cork desperately hoping that the cruisers had failed to see his vessel. Unfortunately they had seen not only his trawler but its green flag with a gold harp. The officers aboard the British warships at first did not know what it was. Eventually they guessed its meaning and decided that they did not like it. Not at all. Galatea commenced firing.
The 5cm gun could not reach the enemy cruisers. One of the signal rockets was fired off but it was not seen by those who were intended to see it. Before another could be launched that post was obliterated by a British shell. When the German skipper was mortally wounded the crew tried to surrender by lowering their precious Irish flag. The British warships ignored this gesture. To Napier and his men this was not an honorable enemy vessel but nest of traitors. Accepting the surrender and capturing the trawler would further delay their mission.
------HMS Zealandia course 345˚ 1733 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell fired by König struck the 9" belt of Zealandia below the waterline near the forward 12" turret. The shell failed to penetrate the armor but the burst holed which resulted in the flooding of the forward magazine. The blast also buckled the nearby bow armor which began to leak considerably.
------HMS Duke of Edinburgh 1734 hrs
Despite the effort of its damage control parties the list of the Duke of Edinburgh had grown steadily worse and she now capsized. Most but not all of the crew had been safely removed by this time.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth course 75˚ 1734 hrs
The last turn Queen Elizabeth had executed meant that her aft turrets could no longer be brought to bear on Nassau. It was expected that this situation would not last long with the German line moving at a fair pace to the south while Queen Elizabeth was heading ESE. In fact it was anticipated by Adm. Burney and Capt. Hope that Adm. Bayly would be ordering another turn to starboard before long. Neither of these assumptions turned out to be true.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse turning 1735 hrs
Adm. von Ingenohl had hoped that the British would score few hits on the High Seas Fleet while it was turning about and not firing back. In addition to the turning making things more complicated for the British gunners the High Seas Fleet would be moving further away into the misty murkiness. However Dreadnought still managed to hit Friedrich der Grosse in the superstructure amidships while she was turning about causing a medium sized fire which caused von Ingenohl to fret still more.
------SMS Nassau course 0˚ 1736 hrs
The simultaneous turn about of the High Seas Fleet made Nassau the new Guide of the Fleet. While the ship had been turning Adm. von Ingenohl’s instructions to the High Seas Fleet had been to cease firing as he regarded the chances of scoring a hit during the turn to be so low as to the constitute a waste of precious ammunition. It would be much better to let the gunners rest so they could fire rapidly once the turn was completed. The turn as practiced by the Kriegsmarine was not completely simultaneous. Nassau started the turn to port and the others very quickly followed.
------HMS Iron Duke course 35˚ 1737 hrs
"What in blue blazes are the infernal Huns doing?" muttered a bewildered Adm. Madden. The most noticeable change was they had ceased firing for a while starting with the rear of the line working forward. However the rear of their line had now resumed firing. Through the mist and the smoke and waterspouts generated by British shells it was not all that clear what was happening at first other than the obvious fact the Germans were turning. Adm. Bayly’s first thought that the Germans wanted to increase the range hoping that would amplify the advantage the visibility gave them.
"I know this is going to sound insane but I think they have just managed to turn their fleet completely around," replied a very worried Bayly.
"What? A simultaneous turn about of a fleet that size is not possible, sir"
"What my eyes are telling me is that they have somehow made it possible. And it may not be the first time they have done it. One of the mysteries about the Battle of Utsire is about what the Germans did when the 3rd Battle Squadron crossed their ‘T’. There are those who were there who thought this is what the Germans did back then but the Admiralty gave little credence to those witnesses. Well I am now a witness as well. And what I am seeing is that the German battle fleet is now heading north and will soon cross our bows."
Madden squinted through own binoculars for several seconds then lowered them and scratched his head, "Hmm, I rightly don’t rightly know for sure sir. It does sort of look that’s what they’ve done though I can scarcely believe it."
"If they have they threaten to cross to our bows as we speak. We need take prompt action."
"I am still not completely convinced that they have actually pulled it off, sir. I would caution against doing anything hasty. In another minute---"
"----we cannot afford to wait another minute! Flag officer! Hoist 8 point turn to port in succession. Execute immediately."
------HMS Thunderer course 75˚ 1738 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell struck the barbette of ‘B’ turret bursting inside the 10" armor and starting a fire inside. A minute later a violent explosion destroyed the turret flinging its roof nearly 70’ in the air. The improved flash prevention features implemented since Utsire however kept the magazine safe.
-----HMS Queen Elizabeth course 75˚ 1738 hrs
Both Nassau and Rheinland were firing on Queen Elizabeth. The former had shifted to full salvoes while Rheinland was firing the more standard Kriegsmarine half salvoes. This plus the use of timing clocks reduced but did not completely eliminate the problem confusing each others splashes. The damage control parties of Queen Elizabeth were already struggling with two fires, incl. a particularly stubborn one in the bow. A 28cm APC shell from Nassau now struck Queen Elizabeth in the bow penetrating her 6" armor and burst not far from where the damage control party was working killing all but one of the seamen. It also seriously aggravated the existing fire.
------HMS Marlborough course 75˚ 1739 hrs
Marlborough was directly behind Queen Elizabeth and was currently under fire by Posen firing full salvoes and Oldenburg firing half salvoes. A pair of 28cm APC shells from Posen struck Marlborough in the bow. One penetrated the 6" starboard bow armor 3’ above the waterline and burst almost immediately. The other hit further forward on the starboard side where the armor was only 4" thick. Its path was deflected downward somewhat and it punched through some compartments in the bow then exited the port side just below the armor and therefore well below the waterline. This exit wound admitted seawater in the hull very quickly. As the bow dipped more seawater entered the hull through the other two holes.
-------SMS Nassau course 0˚ 1740 hrs
Nassau was already burning in two places but a 13.5" APC shell from Marlborough exploded near the base of the mainmast and started a more serious blaze.
------HMS Africa course 35˚ 1740 hrs
The fires already raging in the upper works of Africa gave off a great deal of light which made her an easier target for the German gun crews. A 30.5cm SAP shell from Grosser Kurfurst exploded amidships in Africa’s superstructure causing another serious fire not far from the existing one.
------HMS Galatea off Cork 1741hrs
"Admiral, the wireless room has just received the following unencrypted message from Adm. Bayly."
Adm. Napier took the slip of paper wondering why it was sent unencrypted. That could mean it was either too urgent or alternatively too trivial to encode.
ARE YOU ENGAGED WITH OR ARE ABOUT TO ENGAGE ENEMY TROOPSHIPS REPEAT ARE YOU ENGAGED WITH OR ARE ABOUT TO ENGAGE ENEMY TROOPSHIPS STOP IF NOT YOU MUST REJOIN GRAND FLEET AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE REPEAT IF NOT YOU MUST REJOIN GRAND FLEET AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE STOP
------HMS Neptune course 75˚ 1741 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from König Albert wrecked the forward fire control director of Neptune even though it failed to detonate.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth turning 1741 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from Rheinland penetrated the 6" side armor of Queen Elizabeth just below the main deck and burst inside the upper portion starboard feed water tank with shell fragments piercing the bulkheads around the tank. This hit allowed seawater to leak into the starboard engine room through the engine fans.
------HMS Iron Duke course 75˚ 1742 hrs
The warship directly ahead of Iron Duke was Vanguard which was now burning enough to worry Adm. Bayly. Now that Queen Elizabeth had finished her turn, Adm. Bayly had an obstructed view of her of well and did not like the pillar of dense smoke billowing from her bow. The Queen Elizabeth was his most powerful vessel. The Admiralty and the British newspapers had placed great hope in Queen Elizabeth and her sisters. Just as her namesake had delivered them from the Spanish Armada, it was hoped that she would now be the instrument of deliverance from the German Armada. There had been some controversy when Bayly had decided to place her at the head of the 1st Battle Squadron. There were those in the Admiralty who thought Marlborough should be at the head of the line with Queen Elizabeth behind her, but Bayly’s usual retort to that was that he wanted "the sharpest edge of his blade to be at the tip of his sword." He was beginning to wonder if that was a mistake. In fact he secretly wondered if this entire battle had been a mistake.
"Take a good look at Queen Elizabeth, admiral" Bayly ordered Madden, "I am becoming deeply concerned about her."
"It is fairly obvious that she does have a nasty fire forward, sir. Are you worried that she’ll go up like poor Benbow did at Utsire? We have implemented several measures designed to prevent just that."
"I am very well aware of those measures, admiral. I am sure they will prove to be at least partially effective. I not convinced however that they will prove to be even close to completely effective. The violence with which Thunderer lost her turret did not reassure me!"
"Yes that was certainly dramatic, sir but what is important is that we did not lose the ship."
"I do not believe we can prevail in this battle by gun power alone, esp. since we were unable to take the favorable visibility away from the Huns. Signal the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla to make an immediate torpedo attack on the van of the German battle line."
------SMS Nassau course 0˚ 1743 hrs
Nassau’s commandant Kapitän zur See Ludolf von Ußlar stared in satisfaction through his binoculars at the column of dense smoke emanating from the bow of the Queen Elizabeth 9,500 yards distant. There were other smaller fires visible throughout the battleships’ upper works which had been thoroughly peppered by the 15cm guns of both Nassau and Rheinland. Kapitän von Ußlar was somewhat surprised that the 6" secondary battery of the Queen Elizabeth still remained silent esp. since Marlborough’s forward 6" guns had begun firing at her. Queen Elizabeth had just started to show a noticeable list but one far from being fatal. Kapitän von Ußlar pinned his hopes on a magazine explosion instead.
"She can explode any minute now, boys," he told his excited but anxious bridge crew to improve their morale, "Then we will have the glory of sinking the most powerful battleship in the British fleet!"
The Kapitän turned his attention back to the enemy. He suddenly made out 3 large splashes in front of Queen Elizabeth and what looked like a hit in her superstructure. Those shells came from Rheinland. "Well, then again we might have to share that honor a little with our sister ship," von Ußlar amended with a trace of humor. A few sailors chuckled slightly.
The Kapitän’s view of Queen Elizabeth was momentarily disrupted when another quartet of waterspouts erupted in front of him. He knew that came from Marlborough which was now beginning to turn and very shortly would be able to subject Nassau to her full broadside. That was not a pleasant thought. Nassau had already been hit 6 times by 15" shells, 3 times by 13.5" shells and once by a 12" shell. She had her own fires to contend with and was listing to starboard from the water working its way into the starboard engine room.
Suddenly 8 large orange flashes erupted from the turrets of Queen Elizabeth which were hardly unexpected but nevertheless made von Ußlar. He was sure they had hit the enemy’s turrets at least once but without any impact it seemed. Before the inbound shells arrived Nassau’s next salvo was fired.
Whang! Both from the noise and the shock to the hull von Ußlar knew that his poor vessel had been hit by Queen Elizabeth’s last salvo, possibly more than once. As he awaited a report from damage control he noticed that the battleship was turning to port.
"Helm! Why are we turning? I gave no such order. Put us back on course immediately!"
"The rudder is not responding to the helm, Kapitän!"
------HMS Marlborough course 345˚ 1745 hrs
Marlborough was already down by the bow which had slowed her ability to turn when a 30.5cm APC shell from Oldenburg penetrated her 9" middle belt slightly forward of the ‘B’ turret barbette then detonated almost immediately. A larger shell fragment struck the lower barbette which it dented and cracked with a loud clang. Another shell fragment holed the middle deck which allowed still more seawater to enter the forward half of the hull.
------HMS Rheinland turning 1746 hrs
Nassau had assumed the role of Guide of the Fleet during the turn about. Therefore when she began to turn Rheinland followed the turn. That is until the Out of Control flag went up on Nassau’s halyard. Rheinland then took over as Guide of the Fleet and returned to a due north heading. This inadvertent zigzagging threw off Thunderer’s gunners for 3 salvoes though her own gunners lost the range on Queen Elizabeth as well.
------HMS Marlborough course 345˚ 1747 hrs
Shortly after a 28cm shell from Posen broke up against Marlborough’s 12" main belt a 15cm shell from Oldenburg deformed the left 13.5" gun barrel of ‘X’ turret just enough to render it inoperable.
------SMS Nassau circling 1748 hrs
A 13.5" APC shell from Marlborough penetrated the deck and then the 11" barbette armor of Nassau’s forward turret, bursting immediately. A fire started in the barbette and the Germans were immediately forced to flood the magazine.
------HMS Vanguard course 345˚ 1748 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from Thüringen pierced Vanguard’s 10" belt then exploded as it struck the torpedo bulkhead. The smaller shell fragments were absorbed by a coal bunker where they started a fire but the two largest ones entered the engine room causing havoc. The wing compartments quickly flooded and then seawater begin to leak into the engine room.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading 0˚ 1749 hrs
Grossadmiral von Ingenohl struggled to remain calm as he absorbed a series of bad news. First there was Nassau losing control of her rudder. But what worried his more was the British flotilla making an obvious attack on his line. He had already ordered 3rd Scouting Group, the 1st Torpedoboat Flotilla and Stettin to intercept. He now issued additional orders. "Wireless! Find out what is keeping Adm. von Hipper. He should be back in the battle by now! Flag officer! Hoist a simultaneous 2 point turn to starboard."
------ HMS Vanguard course 345˚ 1750 hrs
A 30.5cm APC fired by Thüringen penetrated the unarmored sides of the dreadnought continuing on to pierce the 9" armor of the ‘A’ turret barbette. The shell failed to explode and went on to hit the far wall of the barbette where it split into two parts the larger of which then ricocheted down into the powder room to the horror of the turret crew who immediately flooded the magazine.
------HMS Queen Elizabeth course 345˚ 1751 hrs
Captain Hope watched with satisfaction as Queen Elizabeth’s latest salvo scored two more hits on the Nassau. The enemy battleship was now burning fiercely and down by the stern though with only a modest list. What was deeply troubling to Captain Hope was the pillar of smoke that coming out of his own bow.
"Captain, the leader of the damage control party in the bow wants to speak with you."
Hope wondered if that was good news or bad. With all the noise it was not easy to hear what was being said through a voice tube. He leaned close to the tube and shouted, "This is Captain Hope speaking!"
"Captain, the fires were getting dangerously close to the forward magazine so we were forced to flood the magazine."
------HMS Ruby 1752 hrs
A 21cm HE shell from Prinz Heinrich hit forward on the port side of the destroyer just below the waterline. This admitted water to both the forward 4" magazine and the forward fire room. The destroyer soon lost speed and was unable to keep up with the rest of her division. Meanwhile the secondary batteries of the German 1st Battle Squadron were shifting from the British battleships to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and vanguard of the German 1st Torpedoboat had opened fire. The slower Stettin was still a few minutes away from entering the battle.
------SMS Oldenburg heading NNE 1752 hrs
A 13.5cm APC shell from Iron Duke struck the 30cm armor belt of Oldenburg amidships just below the waterline. The shell burst as it penetrated. The shell splinters punched one fairly small hole and created a slight crack in the German torpedo bulkhead. Two wing compartments quickly flooded. Some water did leak via the torpedo bulkhead but the German damage control party sealed that before too long.
------SMS Moltke course 25˚ 1752 hrs
Adm. von Hipper stared anxiously through his binoculars while puffing furiously on his cigar. Visibility had deteriorated in the last hour and to the northeast where he was currently looking it was particularly bad---only a little more than 11,000 yards. Apparently it was better in the opposite direction as he had seen a pair of orange flashes a few seconds earlier. He hoped this was from one of the British predreadnoughts he had tangled with previously and this was true. With its speed reduced by the damage to her port engine which eventually stopped working completely London has been straggling behind the rest of the Grand Fleet though the many course changes ordered by Adm. Bayly allowed her to take short cuts to catch up with the rest of the Fifth Battle Squadron.
"Flags! Hoist signals for a 4 point turn to starboard in succession. Execute immediately. Commence fire with main batteries. Secondary batteries will withhold fire until further notice."
------HMS Iron Duke heading 335˚ 1753 hrs
Adm. Bayly continued to be dissatisfied with much of what he was hearing and seeing. The biggest exception of course was the Nassau class dreadnought circling out of control. Bayly had high hopes that if not already mortally wounded that enemy warship would be shortly. But she belonged to the oldest and weakest class of German dreadnoughts. It would be a very poor exchange for Queen Elizabeth that continued to burn fiercely or even Marlborough which Bayly had learned only in the last minute was in a potentially fatal struggle with progressive flooding. Vanguard was also burning ominously. The serpentine formation of the Grand Fleet was also far from optimal for combat.
Bayly’s lingering hope that the High Seas Fleet was without a screen had been dashed when 10 German destroyers followed by a scout cruiser emerged to counter the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla. Then there was the advantage in visibility which the Germans enjoyed and which Adm. Bayly thought was becoming more pronounced. Further complicating things lookouts aboard Marlborough claimed to have spotted a periscope off their port bow.
"We have done all that we can and risk ruin if we persist," Adm. Bayly reluctantly told his staff, "We need to begin to withdraw. Flags! Hoist signals for an 8 point turn to port in succession."
------SMS Oldenburg heading NNE 1753 hrs
A 13.5cm APC shell from Iron Duke struck and penetrated the junction between the turret face and turret crown on the aft port wing turret of Oldenburg. The detonation destroyed the turret killing its entire crew.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading NNE 1754 hrs
A worried Adm. von Ingenohl decided that the previous turn was insufficient to protect against the British torpedo attack so he ordered the High Seas Fleet to make an additional 1 point turn to starboard together. "What do you intend to do about rescuing Nassau, admiral?" asked Adm. Eckermann.
"There is nothing we can do to help that would not end up making our own situation worse," answered an annoyed von Ingenohl, "It would be best if we accept the painfully obvious fact that Nassau is almost certainly doomed."
------SMS Nassau circling 1755 hrs
Nassau continued to circle helplessly. Seawater was entering both her starboard and port engine rooms. These were roughly cancelling so the cursed battleship had only a slight list to starboard, but she was very much down by the stern. Her starboard engine now completely stopped working. The port engine would soon follow. Her rudder remained jammed despite the desperate efforts of her damage control parties. Flooding was not her only problem. Her superstructure had 2 serious fires that were spreading.
Since turning Nassau’s 28cm guns had been unable to score a single hit, though her 15cm guns somehow managed to score 2 hits on Marlborough. Nassau’s hull and her smoke were now interfering with the gunnery on both sides except she herself was naked to the British guns.
------HMS London course 70˚ 1756 hrs
A 30.5cm APC shell from Derfflinger penetrated London’s belt and exploded in a coal bunker abreast her starboard engines. Water soon started to steadily flow into the engine room. Her captain who had been intent on trying to bring his broadside to bear on the enemy battle cruisers now changed his mind and ordered a 40˚ turn to port.
------HMS Iron Duke heading 345˚ 1757 hrs
News of the action between London and 1st Scouting Group had only made its way to Adm. Bayly a few seconds earlier. "Since we are planning to turn south soon anyway to return to Devonport, sir," Adm. Madden counseled, "I say we do it now and come to the rescue of London."
Bayly bit his lip pensively, "That was my first inkling as well. But let us think it through, eh? It will take some time for First Battle Squadron to arrive and when it does Queen Elizabeth and Marlborough will be in our van and I don’t see either of them as being in shape for any more fighting right now. What I suggest is that we detach Fifth Battle Squadron immediately and let Adm. Gamble circle back to fight the German battle cruisers as he see fit."
Adm. Madden scratched his chin after hearing that. Adm. Jellicoe had been very reluctant to grant battle squadrons freedom of action during an engagement and so would very likely have rejected this sort of suggestion. "We could send the 1st Destroyer Flotilla to make a torpedo attack on the German battle cruisers. That has worked before, sir."
"No I am going to order 1st Destroyer Flotilla to finish off the German battleship that is circling out of control."
"Begging your pardon, sir, do you really feel that is necessary? That ship looks fatally wounded to me. There is even a chance she might surrender."
"I do not want suppositions! For all we know she will fix her rudder any minute now and slip away from us. I want to hear than she has been sunk! Maybe then my dark mood will lighten. Besides this attack will favorably position 1st Destroyer Flotilla, where it can best intercept an attempt to launch a torpedo attack against us while we withdraw. The 2nd Destroyer Flotilla is now positioned too far north to screen us properly from the most probable axis of a German torpedo attack."
------HMS Devonshire 1759 hrs
Bravely Adm. Moore brought Devonshire and Donegal into renewed action against 1st Scouting Group. He did not bring Black Prince which was burning furiously. Moore’s goal was to briefly divert von Hipper’s attention while the 5th Battle Squadron arrived to save London.
------SMS Nassau 1801 hrs
Wumph! A column of water arose from the port side of the devastated dreadnought. The torpedo bulkhead held but the rapid flooding of 2 wing compartments admitted more seawater into her already badly flooded hull. Some of this leaked through pipes and holes caused by shell damage.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse course NNW ½ W 1802 hrs
"The rear British squadron of predreadnoughts is not following the course of the rest of the Grand Fleet, Admiral," said Eckermann to von Ingenohl, "but is turning about."
"Yes I see that. In succession. Hmm. No wait it now looks to be by division. I wonder what that is about? Very strange," replied von Ingenohl.
"Of course. They must intend to fall back on 1st Scouting Group to save that straggling predreadnought."
"Yes, that is a sound deduction. Warn Adm. von Hipper immediately."
------SMS Helgoland course NNW ½ W 1802 hrs
Some of the 17 torpedoes fired by the British 2nd Destroyer Flotilla were beginning to reach the German 1st Battle Squadron. They were running slowly at this point in their long journey. Helgoland was forced to make a last minute turn to evade one of these torpedoes.
------HMS Devonshire 1803 hrs
Adm. Moore had succeeded in drawing the attention of Adm. von Hipper. A 28 cm SAP shell from Von der Tann now obliterated one of her forward 7.5" guns.
------SMS Ostfriesland course NNW ½ W 1804 hrs
Two British torpedoes approached the Ostfriesland. She was only able to evade one. The other was running very shallow and detonated amidships on her port side against her belt. The armor was deformed slightly and a welded seam failed letting seawater flood a wing compartment. Meanwhile Friedrich der Grosse was also forced to evade a torpedo.
------L.10 Celtic Sea heading SSW 1805 hrs
The Zeppelin L.10 had after hours of fruitless searching under conditions of steadily deteriorating visibility that forced her to reduce altitude, finally located the Grand Fleet mostly due to the very bright fire raging on Africa. Her crew promptly transmitted their discovery to Adm. von Ingenohl by wireless.
------HMS Moltke 1806 hrs
Adm. von Hipper stared with satisfaction through his binoculars at London, which was both listing to starboard and burning in several places. The predreadnought was definitely heavily damaged but was it fatal? He wasn’t sure. A pair of large splashes suddenly erupted to block his view of London. They did not think that they came from London but rather from one of the other predreadnaughts approaching. An entire squadron of British predreadnoughts were heading towards 1st Scouting Group. That was too much for his 3 battle cruisers to handle. He ordered his 1st Scouting Group to turn to SSW and increase their speed from 20 to 24 knots.
------SMS Nassau 1806 hrs
"Kapitän! Kapitän! We have regained control of our rudder."
Kapitän von Ußlar thanked the Lord with all his heart. "We have a chance, men! We have a chance. Helm! Put us on a northeast course immediately."
The wounded battleship turned ponderously. Only her central engine room was working and her hull was full of seawater. She could only make slightly more than 9 knots. The only good thing about her current situation was the Grand Fleet had disappeared. For a while predreadnoughts had replaced the dreadnoughts as Nassau’s tormentors but the mercifully the predreadnoughts had disappeared as well with one group following the dreadnoughts to the west while another contingent apparently turned around by divisions. What had taken their place was another British flotilla which ominously appeared out of the mists in the west and seemed to be heading straight for Nassau.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading NNW ½ W 1808 hrs
Adm. von Ingenohl was considering the possibility that danger posed the British torpedo attack had abated and he considered ordering the High Seas Fleet to turn together back on a northerly course but then he learned that another British flotilla was approaching. After that he learned something else.
"Admiral! There is wonderful news! Nassau has regained control of her steering and is following after us," he was suddenly informed by his excited chief of staff, Adm. Eckermann.
"I’m afraid that will merely postpone the inevitable," replied von Ingenohl with a cynical sigh, "I am not going to risk the High Seas Fleet to go back for a doomed ship."
"The enemy is likely going to try to finish her off with torpedoes. We should at least send the 3rd Torpedoboat Flotilla to guard against that contingency."
The so called German Nelson opened his mouth to say no, then paused. The fears he had that the British would attempt to catch the High Seas Fleet in a torpedo crossfire similar to what he had used at Utsire had begun to wane in the last few minutes. There was the need to have enough of a screen to protect against a night torpedo attack but the 2 flotillas coaling in Ireland would be arriving before dark to perform that task.
------HMS Hind course 75˚ 1813 hrs
While two of Nassau’s 28cm turrets fired HE shells at the flotilla leader, Botha which was leading charge of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, there were three 15cm guns firing away at Hind, and one of them now hit the destroyer’s superstructure just aft of the mainmast. The damage was slight and caused no casualties.
-------HMS Botha course 75˚ 1816 hrs
A 28cm HE shell from Nassau exploded very close to the flotilla leader Botha formerly the Almirante Williams Robelledo. Splinters from the shell riddled the hull, killing 2 seamen and disabling one of her 4 single mount torpedo tubes. Pressure from the blast shook the hull violently causing a few leaks. The flotilla commander had hoped that his destroyers would be able to get within 1,500 yards of what he thought would be an impotent hulk, but the German battleship while obviously battered and bleeding had regained her rudder and was putting up something of a fight. A pair of Nassau’s 8.8 cm guns had opened up on Druid and already scored their first hit despite the attempts of Botha’s forward 4.7" gun to suppress them. Further off some battleships of the more distant High Seas Fleet were starting to fire both their main and secondary guns at the British flotilla. Even more ominous a German flotilla was moving rapidly to intercept with its lead ship already opening fire.
Botha was now about 3,700 yards away from Nassau. The rest of the flotilla which was composed of slower ‘I’ class destroyers were all 400-700 yards behind her. The flotilla commander decided against trying to get much closer and ordered all destroyers in the flotilla to fire one torpedo at the lamed battleship then withdraw laying as much smoke as possible.
------SMS Nassau course 45˚ 1820 hrs
Wumph! Another 21" torpedo exploded in Nassau’s stern on the starboard side where the torpedo bulkhead did not extend. The flooding in the stern intensified. The steering jammed again. A minute later two more torpedoes struck seconds apart on the starboard side. The first one failed to detonate but the other did. The chief engineer excitedly told Kapitän von Ußlar what he already knew, "She will either capsize to starboard or sink by the bow in the next few minutes."
"Now hear this! Abandon ship, abandon ship!" ordered von Ußlar with tears in his eyes.
------HMS Iron Duke course 170˚ 1828 hrs
"There is very good news, sir," Adm. Madden gleefully informed Adm. Bayly," The 1st Destroyer Flotilla reports that the German dreadnought is sinking by the stern."
Bayly sighed deeply, "Hmm. That at least is encouraging. So now what is the bad news?"
"London is rapidly losing headway and will soon be dead in the water, sir. We shall have to arrange a tow for her quickly."
"I have given that some thought and have concluded that Thunderer is the logical choice for that task. Is there any hope that London will be able to get at least one of her engines operational again tonight?"
"The damage is too severe, sir. We will have to tow her all the way back to base. Do you still intend for that to be Devonport?"
"Yes, I do. The Germans may intend to resume the battle, esp. during the night when they would possess additional tactical advantages. I think they would have a good chance to intercept and ambush us if we were to attempt to reach Milford Haven."
"Aye, though we could head west and try to reach Lough Swilly, sir."
"Ah, but you will recall that the Admiralty warned us about the problem of spies and saboteurs at Lough Swilly and counseled us to use that anchorage only if there were a compelling reason. There is also the distinct possibility that the Germans have again laid mines off Lough Swilly. No, I intend to steam all the way to Devonport where there are excellent facilities."
Madden did not completely disagree with Adm. Bayly about Devonport but merely felt it was his duty to respectfully discuss possible alternatives. He decided to move on to another topic, "Uh, shouldn’t we be updating the Admiralty on what has transpired, sir?"
Bayly grimaced slightly but nodded, "I suppose so, though I had wanted to wait until I had a clearer picture about whether or not I could possibly claim a victory."
------3rd Torpedoboat Flotilla 1833 hrs
The 3rd Torpedoboat Flotilla had briefly engaged the British flotilla which had administered the coup de grace to Nassau. After firing their torpedoes the British destroyers had quickly broken off their attack and retired to the southwest laying down a smoke screen. The German torpedoboats began rescuing survivors from Nassau. Before they finished the 4 small cruisers of 5th Scouting Group arrived to assist. They ended up saving 312 officers and seamen. Sadly Kapitän von Ußlar was not one of them.
------Youghal (Cork) 1835 hrs
Another column of motor vehicles arrived at the small port of Youghal. They found the Bavarians had been introducing the Czechs to Irish beer, esp. Guinness. The motor column included a platoon of Pioneers and a Bavarian machine platoon with 2 Maxims. The young Hauptmann commanding the Bavarian company was given written orders coming directly from Gen. von François. The Hauptmann rounded up his able bodied men. "We are going to leave this quaint little fishing town to our new Czech friends," he told them, "We are all going on another scenic motor ride."
------Old Admiralty Building 1846 hrs
The First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Edward Carson anxiously paced back and forth in the conference room. So too did the Sea Lords. Suddenly a thought struck him. We are like the family of a patient in a hospital undergoing a dangerous operation for a life threatening condition. That analogy made him grin slightly for a few seconds.
There was the sound of hurried foot steps coming down the hallway. Suddenly a messenger entered the room, "Admiral Callaghan, sir. We have just finished decoding a wireless message from Adm. Bayly." For a fraction of a second everyone’s heart stopped. The First Sea Lord took a manila folder from the messenger. Sir Edward thought he trembled slightly as he did. Normally Callaghan would take his time and dismiss the messenger but he knew that everyone in the room was dying to hear the news as soon as possible. Callaghan’s mouth was bone dry and he was forced to clear his throat before reading what was on the piece of paper.
BATTLE WITH GERMAN FLEET IS NOW CONCLUDED REPEAT BATTLE WITH GERMAN FLEET IS NOW CONCLUDED STOP WE SANK ONE NASSAU CLASS BATTLESHIP AND THREE DESTROYERS REPEAT WE SANK NASSAU CLASS BATTLESHIP AND THREE DESTROYERS STOP LOST DUKE OF EDINBURGH CAROLINE FAULKNOR AND SIX DESTROYERS REPEAT LOST DUKE OF EDINBURGH CAROLINE FAULKNOR AND SIX DESTROYERS STOP THERE IS CHANCE WE COULD STILL LOSE QUEEN ELIZABETH AFRICA OR BLACK PRINCE TO FIRE
Callaghan momentarily stopped reading and gulped along with everyone else in the room then resumed ashen faced
REPEAT THERE IS CHANCE WE COULD STILL LOSE QUEEN ELIZABETH AFRICA OR BLACK PRINCE TO FIRE STOP THERE IS CHANCE WE COULD STILL LOSE MARLBOROUGH DOMINION OR LONDON TO FLOODING REPEAT THERE IS CHANCE WE COULD STILL LOSE MARLBOROUGH DOMINION OR LONDON TO FLOODING STOP GRAND FLEET IS RETIRING TO DEVONPORT REPEAT GRAND FLEET IS RETIRING TO DEVONPORT STOP
At that everyone in the room except for the messenger either scratched their head or rubbed their chin. Callaghan finally dismissed the messenger. There was a brief attempt at a discussion during which the only thing that was firmly decided was that it was definitely too soon to resume mercantile traffic. Before long everyone was pacing around the room again.
------OKW Berlin 1910 hrs
At OKW in Berlin Grossadmiral von Tirpitz had been pacing back and forth franticly as well while waiting for news from von Ingenohl. So much so that Generalfeldmarschal von Moltke, who was feeling too ill to do likewise, wondered if the admiral was going to wear the carpet out. Finally the anxiously awaited wireless message from Adm. von Ingenohl was delivered to them.
ENGAGED GRAND FLEET ONE HUNDRED KM SOUTH OF CORK REPEAT ENGAGED GRAND FLEET ONE HUNDRED KM SOUTH OF CORK STOP LOST NASSAU AND FOUR GTB REPEAT LOST NASSAU AND FOUR GTB STOP ENEMY LOSSES ARE UNCLEAR STOP SMALL BRITISH CRUISER AND FIVE TBD KNOWN TO BE SUNK BUT SEVERAL BRITISH BATTLESHIPS SEVERELY DAMAGED INCLUDING QUEEN ELIZABETH STOP BRITISH HAVE WITHDRAWN TO THE SOUTH REPEAT BRITISH HAVE WITHDRAWN TO THE SOUTH STOP HIGH SEAS FLEET RETURNING TO CORK REPEAT HIGH SEAS FLEET RETURNING TO CORK STOP WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REMAIN IN IRELAND LONG REPEAT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REMAIN IN IRELAND LONG STOP
Tirpitz angrily pounded his desk and bellowed, "The German Nelson? What a sick joke! We had the enemy where we wanted them. With their navy defeated and Ireland under our control we could have forced the British to capitulate on our terms. This was the genius of Operation Unicorn. It was to be my master stroke that wins the war. All we needed was one more decisive victory. Adm. von Ingenohl’s defeatism has resurfaced at the worst possible moment. He was opposed to Operation Unicorn from the very beginning. He was terrified about bringing the High Seas Fleet all the way to Ireland. His defeatism is why we lost this battle. I am certain of that."
"Hmm. Perhaps we should get more details before reaching a conclusion, admiral," replied von Moltke, "If it was a clear cut British victory then why is their fleet retreating? I am not an admiral but I have learned enough about contemporary naval warfare to know that mortally wounded warships just like soldiers can linger a while before they expire. If the Queen Elizabeth, the mightiest British warship, ends up sinking from her damage then I for one intend to congratulate Adm. von Ingenohl for achieving yet another victory, even though it was not as decisive as we had hoped. Instead of grousing pointlessly our time would be better used going over our options. For instance, do you still intend for Seydlitz to sortie tonight?"
Tirpitz glared daggers. He was full of rage and wanted to take it out on anyone he could. But after his minute his professionalism reasserted himself. "Yes, I see no reason why not," he answered.
------SMS Friedrich der Grosse heading due north 1955 hrs
Adm von Ingenohl had instructed his chief of staff to brief him on the details of the damage to the High Seas Fleet. "The damage to 3rd Battle Squadron was relatively light, admiral," reported Eckermann, "the most badly damaged was Markgraf which still has somewhere between 700 and 800 tons of water in her hull from a shell that hit just under her belt and the necessary counterflooding. There was a problem with progressive flooding for a while but that now appears to be contained as long we do not exceed 15 knots or encounter heavy seas. There were fires on four of the squadron’s ships but none of them were severe and all of them have been completely extinguished."
"Hmm. That is encouraging. What about 1st Battle Squadron?"
"A little worse, admiral but not too bad---except of course, for the loss of Nassau. Oldenburg had a wing turret destroyed and also it has a fair bit of flooding from a shell that penetrated her belt. The torpedo that struck Ostfriesland caused mercifully little damage because it ran shallow. On the whole I would say that our armor has served us well in this battle. Our machinery was kept inviolate with the exception of Nassau. If I might speak freely, admiral, I know you are viewing this battle as a defeat---"
"---but if Queen Elizabeth exploded from her fires after we disengaged then we won. Don’t you think I haven’t repeatedly thought of that as well?"
"Yes, that is fairly obvious, admiral. But there are other possibilities to consider. The Iron Duke class battleship looked badly flooded. It could founder this evening or maybe it already has."
"The sea state is rather mild so I think that eventuality is quite unlikely. Oh, and there was that predreadnought that was listing badly. Is that what you are going to bring up next?"
"Well, actually there were two British predreadnoughts in that condition---there was the King Edward class that 3rd Battle Squadron hit hard and then there’s the Formidable class---"
"---that Hipper damaged badly. Yes, yes, I had forgotten that my good friend, Franz actually did something useful in this battle. Too little and too late as far as I am concerned. I am going to have a very private talk with him tomorrow morning."
------Dublin 2030 hrs
The fighting continued. Having failed to establish a safe line of communication with his artillery near Trinity College during the day, Gen. Egerton again managed to send supplies to them at night when the risk from snipers was much less. The fighting continued at Phoenix Park with the British wearing the rebels down despite all the tricks Rommel could come up with. There was also fierce fighting at South Dublin Union and Portobello Barracks.
Rommel continued to feel weak from his wound. He was starting to worry that despite his best efforts the superior British strength arrayed against him were inexorably grinding down Dublin Brigade. He felt it was time to talk with Pearse again. He believed that he could reach the G.P.O. without getting shot by a British sniper as long as it was still dark. Before he left Kilmainham the Countess Markievicz ran into him and insisted she accompany back to the G.P.O. to confer with Pearse as well and then go on to rejoin the Citizens Army. Rommel was unable to dissuade her. Back in his brain there was a little voice that kept reminding him that he owed her his life. With great reluctance he let her and Pound accompany him back to the G.P.O. or to put it better he did not try to stop her.
------Kilburn (London) 2050 hrs
It started with a dozen well inebriated youths who marched into the neighborhood of Kilburn, which was so Irish it was often referred to "County Kilburn". Three of the youths carried crude placards proclaiming in crudely scrawled letters, "IRISH CATHOLICS ARE TRAITORS" and "DEATH TO THE IRISH TRAITORS". A slightly larger group of equally inebriated Irish youths eventually confronted them.
"Who are you calling traitors?" one of the Irish lads cried brandished an improvised.
"You and all the other Papist wankers, that’s who," came the slurred response.
"I am not a traitor!"
"Oh? But ain’t you one of them Pope worshipping Catholic bastards that lick the Huns’ boots, eh?"
Within seconds punches were being thrown and from there the fight escalated. News of the brawl spread like wildfire throughout nearby neighborhoods and before midnight a full scale riot was underway. This included many instances of the AntiCatholic hooligans throwing rocks and bricks into the windows of whatever they thought were Irish owned shops. There were two instances of arson, 4 stabbings and one shooting. The Bobbies arrived in force an eventually restored order, though there were a few instances of policemen turning the other way when Irish establishments were being vandalized. There were also several instances of the police arresting Irish shop keepers merely trying to protect their establishments.
------Jebwabne (East Prussia) 2145 hrs
Gen. von Plehve, the commander of the Russian Twelfth Army, had been both discouraged and encouraged by his attack so far. The positive aspect was that it had come very close to a true breakthrough of the German lines. The negative elements had been that his casualties were even higher than he had anticipated and that the Germans had held at the final line of strong points. The Russians had captured some minenwerfers and machineguns but not a single piece of the German artillery. Since then the Germans were feverishly digging a new line of trenches. Gen. von Plehve concluded that his best shot, perhaps his only shot, at achieving a breakthrough was to make another night attack otherwise the Germans would be too well entrenched for the Twelfth Army to attack with their very limited amount of heavy artillery which had already fired off much of their meager stockpile of shells during the day.
Reluctantly von Plehve committed a second line infantry division to reinforce the attack of IV Siberian Corps. This reserve division had only limited training and an insufficient number of officers and NCO’s. More than a third of the infantrymen lacked a rifle. They had been provided a sufficient number off hand and rifle grenades for this operation but were not well trained in their use. Their artillerists were adequately trained in using their weapons by day but had no idea how to use their weapons at night.
The night attack of IV Siberian Corps was intended to start at 2130 hrs (GMT) which was 15 minutes after last light. The diversionary attacks by other corps of the Twelfth Army intended to prevent adjacent German divisions from providing reinforcements did go ahead at that time. The attack of IV Siberian Corps was late for several reasons. Moving through the rear of the IV Siberian Corps in the Masurian wetlands proved tricky. Further complicating their deployment was periodic harassing shelling by the Germans and some confusion in the Russian cavalry division they passed through about whether it was to participate dismounted in the attack, be a mounted close reserve or remain dismounted and get some sleep.
So the attack started late. The Germans were expecting it. Their airplanes had detected the movement of reserves and the diversionary attacks were for the most part perceived as what they were. The German artillery at the Russian point of attack had been reinforced further. They had ample star shells which they put to good use along with searchlights and parachute flares. The new trench line had a thick wire barrier in place. While the new reserve division was well rested the other 3 Russian infantry divisions had been up well before dawn and were very tired by now. So were the sapper companies that had proven very helpful in the initial attack. The only real Russian advantage remained their sheer number of infantrymen which outnumbered the Germans more than three to one.
One bit of intelligence from German prisoners that had encouraged von Plehve to go ahead with this attack was that the German reinforcements had come from one of their temporary divisions and those had a reputation for being third rate. The one that they were dealing with here, the Woernitz Division, was an exception to that rule. They fought very hard. Night attacks always generate confusion. The confusion is worse for the attacker whose cohesion breaks down, but the defender also experiences confusion as well. The Russians did manage to lob a few grenades into the German trenches. Gen. von Scholtz ended up going to bed rather late that night as there were some reports that suggested that the trench line might be swamped the Russian hordes.
These troubling reports filtered their way up to Ober Ost where Gen. von Seeckt, the chief of staff asked Hoffman if they should take the extraordinary step of waking von Hindenburg. Hoffman dissuaded him from doing that. Later in the evening they received better news. The German trench line had held. The generalfeldmarschal’s sleep was not disturbed.
------SMS Seydlitz Jade Bay 2200 hrs
Repairs on Seydlitz had taken a little longer than expected but were finally completed in the early morning. She now departed Jade Bay escorted by the 6th Torpedoboat Flotilla. They steamed northwest at 22 knots. The torpedoboats carried mounds of coal on their decks.
------Cavan city 2215 hrs
Commandant Ashe’s motorized column arrived at the city of Cavan which was part of Ulster. The main mission was to repeat what O’Duffy had done earlier in Monaghan---seize the local arsenal of the Ulster Volunteer Force. A secondary objective was to disrupt the railroad lines the passed through Cavan and for that reason Ziethen and 4 of his pioneers came along. Five men who had served with O’Duffy and who were familiar with Cavan also came along. With there help the local company of Irish Volunteers was quickly contacted. This company had been small when the Germans had landed back in April but had steadily grown---mostly with the defection of disenchanted Redmondites---since then. With the help of the local Irish Volunteers the UVF arsenal was located and quickly assaulted and taken. They discovered the same thing that O’Duffy had in Monaghan---that the more remote areas of Ulster were not as well armed with weapons as those near Belfast. There were only 300 of the Austrian Mannlicher rifles but with 60,000 rounds of ammunition. There were other rifles as well but nearly all of those were single shot rifles, the most numerous being 460 Martini-Henry rifles of different marks. While disappointing this haul was still useful to the rebels.
Once the U.V.F. arsenal was captured Ashe used it to arm the assembling Cavan City Company and then loaded the rest onto their motor vehicles. Rommel had given him firm instructions not to attempt to take either of the two railroad stations or the main telephone exchange but instead launch feint diversionary attacks against them to draw the R.I.C. away from their stationhouse and then attack the stationhouse to capture some more .303 ammunition. These tactics worked though the Irish Volunteers suffered 11 casualties in the attack on the stationhouse. The task of disrupting rail traffic fell to Ziethen and his pioneers who blew up sections of track on the outskirts of town. Other supplies that were "appropriated" when found by the rebels included petrol and food.
------HMS Iron Duke course 170˚ 2235 hrs
"The latest report from Marlborough is guardedly optimistic, admiral," Madden cheerfully informed Bayly, "The water levels are slowly but steadily falling and she is listing less. Those powerful pumps have again proven their worth. So unless we encounter very heavy seas there is little chance she will founder. Fortuitously the latest forecast from the meteorological---"
"---that statement is very much incomplete, admiral! The correct statement would have been ‘unless we encounter very heavy seas or the German Navy there is little chance ship will founder.’ We are not out of the woods yet."
"Yes, you make a very good point and I stand corrected, sir. Still I must hasten to point out that we have 3 cruiser squadrons out guarding our rear and they report no sign of any German pursuit."
"True, but isn’t it a fact that the Germans have warships that are often very hard to spot, yes?"
"Oh, you are referring to their submarines, sir. Yes, that is quite true, sir. However we are planning to swing around well to west of the Isles of Scilly tomorrow morning so if there really is a submarine or two lying in wait for us off Lands End they will be sorely disappointed," replied Adm. Madden. There was a very subtle trace of sarcasm in his voice as he thought Adm. Bayly was starting to develop a paranoia about potential submarine traps that reminded him more than a little of poor Adm. Jellicoe.
"That infernal Zeppelin that tailed us for a while gave the Huns a good indication as to where we are probably headed. They may have a nasty surprise waiting for us tomorrow morning."
------off Cork harbor 2250 hrs
The High Seas Fleet had returned to Cork. Adm. von Ingenohl was worried about possible British mines. There was supposed to be 3 I.R.N. trawlers hunting for mines off the harbor mouth but there were only two. The admiral saw that as yet another proof of the unreliability of the Irish. The two that were there had not found any mines where they were not supposed to be. Adm. von Ingenohl was not completely convinced. He started cautiously by sending the 1st Torpedoboat Flotilla, which was very low on fuel, into Cork. They made it through without being mined. Now the 5th Scouting Group which were low on fuel as well were entering the harbor mouth. When they made it through safely von Ingenohl crossed his fingers and let the battle squadrons enter.
------HMS Iron Duke course 170˚ 2305 hrs
"There are 2 of our destroyers that leaking oil from battle damage, sir. They will definitely run out of fuel before we reach Devonport," Adm. Bayly and Adm. Madden were informed by a member of their staff.
"They will need to be towed, sir," Adm. Madden concluded, "Might I suggest using 2 of our light cruisers for that?"
"Aye, that makes sense. How about Cordelia and Royalist?"
"Those sound like good choices, sir. Shall I go ahead and issue the necessary orders?"
"Aye, see to it," ordered Bayly who then continued after a few seconds, "Over than this little problem the damage reports are very encouraging. Unless there are mines or submarines waiting for us off Plymouth, it now looks like we are not going to lose any more ships. I am almost at the point of telling the Admiralty that."
"I think you should go ahead and do just that, sir. I believe it to be completely accurate and the Sea Lords would love to hear it."
"Quite so, but it does raise an interesting question."
"And what might that be, sir?"
"Did we win?"
"Uh, why yes, I do definitely think so, sir. We sank one of their dreadnoughts and lost none of our own, not even a predreadnought. By that clear cut standard we won. Not a big victory, mind you, but still a victory nonetheless."
"Yes indeed, that certainly is one perfectly valid perspective. But here is my problem. We have a great many warships that are very badly damaged. Among the battleships, Queen Elizabeth, Marlborough, Vanguard, Africa, Dominion and London are in no condition to take into battle. Let’s add Neptune to that list as she has engine damage that can only be repaired in the yards. And maybe Zealandia was well. Moving on to our cruisers, Black Prince is severely burned above the waterline. Devonshire and Donegal are both question marks. As for destroyers there are at least 10 that must go to the yards immediately."
"Aye, I see your point, sir, but surely many of the German warships were badly hurt as well."
"I would like very much to believe that but I don’t think so. I am not saying they came out of the battle unharmed. We saw some fires on them and at least two had a noticeable list for a while but my impression is that the overall level of damage is less. That was why I felt compelled to retreat. So maybe we won a victory today. Another such victory over the Germans and we are undone."
------The Leap (Wexford) 2335 hrs
The I.R.A. Wexford Battalion had continued to grow during the day. Its motor pool had also grown to 5 cars, 2 trucks and a motorcycle. It had up moved up from New Ross all the way to The Leap where it began skirmishing with patrols of constables and Royal Irish Riflemen on the outskirts of Enniscorthy. The Irish Brigade Major in charge of Wexford Battalion was disappointed that he had not received a new shipment of rifles and ammunition during the day. Nearly a third of his current men were without a military grade rifle. He had wanted to send more arms to Carlow during the night but did not have any to spare. There was a promising rumor of German warships being sighted off Waterford but he wasn’t sure what to make of that.
Despite the weapons shortage the Major still planned to launch a predawn assault on Carlow. He had finished his plans and was taking off his boots so as to get some sleep when one of the Irish Volunteers burst in on him. "Major, major! The motor convoy finally arrived. It looks to be a big one."
"Oh well, better late than never I suppose," answered the Major putting his boots back on. He went outside ignoring the drizzle. The first thing that struck was the Irish youth had not been exaggerating about the size of the motor convoy. It was indeed large. Well then it looks like I am going to grossly over armed in the days ahead even if I share it with the new Carlow unit he thought wryly I much prefer that to being under armed. But then he started noticing a few other things. For one there were a substantial number of German soldiers with this convoy, much more than was needed simply to ride shotgun. Some of them wore Pioneer uniforms. Others wore very ornate cavalry uniforms that he had never seen before.
Now a Bavarian officer was marching in his direction. When he drew close he spoke in German, "I am Hauptmann Schumacher. You are the commandant of the Wexford Battalion, yes?"
"Yes, I am, Hauptmann."
"Very good. Your unit is now under my command, ‘Major’. There is a very special mission your unit and mine shall be performing tonight. Oh, and a troop of Hungarian Hussars that I was provided when I stopped at Waterford." There was the usual hint of sarcasm in the pronunciation of "Major" as if it were some sort of inside joke. Nearly all of the Irish Brigade officers were accustomed to that by now.
"What? Did you say ‘Hungarian Hussars’? What are they doing in Ireland?"
Schumacher was glad to see that this Irish Brigade ‘Major’ was not taking his temporary special rank too seriously and challenging his command. "For reasons I do not pretend to understand it was decided to substitute an Austro-Hungarian division for a German division in the second wave. It does not seem to be very well planned. The cavalry component of the division---an entire Hussar regiment---was sent to Ireland with only a handful of horses and a false expectation that all the Irish horses they could possibly want would be waiting for them. When they landed in Waterford they found out otherwise. The leader of the Hussars---the infamous Count Tisza of all people--is beside himself with anger over this but graciously offered to let one of troops participate in this mission while the rest of his men await mounts."
"This is amazing, Hauptmann. I would like to point out that I had already made plans for a predawn attack on Enniscorthy tomorrow. It is an important communication center and possesses considerable symbolic importance to boot."
"Enniscorthy can wait, ‘Major’, we have more important fish to fry."