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Grand Fleet

Grand Fleet
The Grand Fleet in the North Sea in April 1915.
Active 1914–1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Size ~160 ships
Engagements Battle of Jutland
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief
1914–1916
Sir John Jellicoe
Commander-in-Chief
1916–1919
Sir David Beatty

The Grand Fleet was the main fleet of the British Royal Navy during the First World War.

History

The 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914. From left to right the ships are: Thunderer, Monarch and Conqueror.
The Grand Fleet sailing in parallel columns during the First World War

It was formed in August 1914 from the First Fleet and elements of the Second Fleet of the Home Fleets and it included 35–40 state-of-the-art capital ships. It was initially commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. He was succeeded by Admiral Sir David Beatty in 1916.

The Grand Fleet was based first on Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and later at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth and took part in the biggest fleet action during the war – the Battle of Jutland.

In April 1919 the Grand Fleet was disbanded, with much of its strength forming a new Atlantic Fleet.

Order of battle

Not all the Grand Fleet was available to put to sea at any one time, because ships required maintenance and repairs. For a list of the ships that were part of the Grand Fleet at the time of the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, see the article Order of battle at Jutland. The order of battle of the Grand Fleet at the end of the war appears in Naval order of 24 October 1918.

The actual strength of the fleet varied through the war as new ships were built and others were sunk, but the numbers steadily increased as the war progressed and the margin of superiority over the German fleet progressed with it. After the United States entered the war, United States Battleship Division Nine was attached to the Grand Fleet as the Sixth Battle Squadron, adding four, and later five, dreadnought battleships.

External links

  • The Grand Fleet
  • Royal Navy History
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