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3641 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

warfare. It was probable that the coming

months would witness bitter fighting on

every front, but it seemed certain that

the most stupendous conflict of all would

be in the west. France and Great Britain

were concentrating enormous forces there,

both in men and guns, and even Russians,

Canadians, and Australasians were being

transported thither in large numbers.

On the last day of May, the main battle

fleets of Great Britain and Germany met

for the first time in action. The German

fleet, according to the official German report, had left port "on a mission to the

northward," but what that mission was the

report did not disclose. Meanwhile, two

British fleets were cruising in the same

waters. One of these, the main fighting

force, was near the middle of the North Sea.

It consisted of about a score of dreadnoughts, besides cruisers and destroyers,

and was under the immediate command of

Admiral Jellicoe. The other was about

seventy miles to southward, and consisted

of six battle cruisers, four swift dreadnoughts of the Queen Elizabeth class, and

many smaller craft. It was commanded by

Vice Admiral Beatty.

About 2:20 in the afternoon, one of

Beatty's light cruisers, the Galatea, reported

smoke on the horizon to eastward and

steamed in that direction to investigate,

the rest of the squadron following. About

an hour later, the Galatea and other small

craft met and engaged a similar force of

German vessels, and presently some of

the British vessels made out a squadron

of five German battle cruisers. This

squadron, it is now known, was commanded

by Vice Admiral von Hipper, and it

formed the advance guard of the main

German High Seas Fleet under Admiral

von Scheer. This main body was about

sixty miles to southward, and it contained

about sixteen dreadnoughts, besides smaller

craft.