Page 3643

3643 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

saved. Others of his squadron met a

similar fate. It is supposed that Hood

was unaware that he was so close to the

heavier German vessels.

At this juncture, however, the British

Grand Fleet came into action. The British, at last, had what they had for many

months been longing for: they had the German fleet out on the high sea. But unfortunately the sun was sinking and an

evening mist created a state of "low visibility," what light there was being mainly

in favor of the Germans, as they were

facing the sunset. Had a few hours of

daylight remained, there can be little

question that in view of the great British

superiority, very few of the German ships

would have ever again reached a home port.

As it was, the German fleet "crumpled"

and lost some of their vessels. Realizing

his peril, Admiral von Scheer sent his

destroyers against the enemy, and all the

German vessels near the front launched

torpedoes at the enemy. This was an act

the Germans had often rehearsed, and

they had hoped in this way to cripple the

British fleet so badly that what remained

could be overcome by gun fire. The sea

was. streaked by the wakes of scores of torpedoes, but the German destroyers were

met midway by the British destroyers,

while the larger British ships sheered off

and thus avoided the danger.

Though the torpedo attack failed in

its great object, it, nevertheless, probably

saved the German fleet. The attack won

for the sorely endangered Germans a

short respite of time until darkness settled

down. Thereafter, confused fighting took

place between the larger vessels, while

from both sides destroyers made desperate

dashes in the hope of using torpedoes to

advantage against the enemy's capital

ships. The British fleet worked its way

round the flank of the German fleet and

managed, it was supposed, to get between

the Germans and their home port. Jellicoe

and Beatty expected in the morning to

renew the engagement and destroy their

enemy, but in some way the Germans

slipped past the British and made good their

escape. After searching the sea for a time,