German Navy Tactical Orders

(source: Public Record Office ADM 186/55: CB1548 German Navy Tactical Orders)

Commander-in-Chief High Sea Fleet

Jade, October 19th 1915

Gg. 4571.F. !.

Alterations and Additions No. 250.

Most Secret

Tactical Order No. 3.

Recognition Signals During Night Actions.

In a night action the utmost importance must be attached, firstly to distinguishing between friend and foe, and secondly to the ascertaining of ships' names. In the light of previous experience it must be remembered that challenges made by a force/ship approaching a force/ship already in action, may remain unanswered. The following orders for night engagements are therefore issued:-

(1) At the discretion of the Commanding Officer, every ship or destroyer will, without waiting to be challenged, show the new challenge continually as long as he is burning his searchlights or firing.

The "challenge number" is to be shown under similar circumstances with the foremost N. S. A. (Night Signal Apparatus), or if this is out of action, with the after N. S. A.

(2) Should an approaching force be unable to make out the N. S. A. before joining the action, or should the former desire for any special reason to learn the name of the forces or a part of the forces engaged, he may make by W/T or searchlight, according to circumstances, the signal "F S L - Make Recognition signal by searchlight or Morse lamp." In this case it is left to the discretion of the individual Commanding Officer, or the Senior Officer, to reply to the challenge or not as circumstances require. For all cases the following signals are now introduced:-

F T B - show continuously the "New Challenge" for night action.

F T C - show continuously the "New Challenge" for night action until further orders.

(3) Should any ship think she is being fired at by one of her own ships, she is to make into the sky by searchlight "- - - - -" [ie 4 dashes], followed by her distinguishing signal repeated several times.

(4) For enemy night recognition signals, see Tactical Order No. 4, para 1.

Last Updated: 26 August, 1999.

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