German Navy Tactical Orders

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

Commander-in-Chief High Sea Fleet

Jade, 11th June 1915

Gg. 2174 F. 1.

Alterations and Additions No. 174.

Most Secret

Tactical Order No. 6.

Attack Signals for Destroyers in Day Action.

A. The present signals of Z triangular flag and searchlight remain in force (Signal Book, page 103).

B. The following new signals are instituted:-

(1) yc = Destroyers make feint attack, do not fire.

(2) yd = Destroyers advance to attack inconspicuously by edging down slowly towards the enemy.

(3) ye = (n pendant). Single (n) Destroyers at the discretion of the Senior Officer of Flotilla / ½ Flotilla / Group advance to attack inconspicuously by dropping astern or edging towards the enemy.

(4) U1, U2, (etc to U5) with attack signals (z, yd, ye) = Fire 1, 2 (etc to 5) torpedoes.

(5) 2 pdt. [pendant] hoisted in S. O.'s boat, and repeated by remaining boats grants permission to fire during an inconspicuous attack.

2 pdt. at the dip in individual boats = have fired.

2 pdt. down in S. O.'s boat = negative permission to fire.

Reference to 1-4 in manuscript notes.- The signals will always be made with a preliminary call to a definite Flotilla, ½ Flotilla or Group. All boats of the force addressed will repeat the signal.

Reference to 1.-The feint attack - made at a great distance - is intended to mislead the enemy, and make him sheer off, and thus relieve our own guns. Should a favourable opportunity occur during a feint attack for the Flotilla / ½ Flotilla to make a real attack, the Senior Officer of the Flotilla / ½ Flotilla is to cancel the signal "Feint Attack" by the signals U1, U2, etc (See reference 4).

Reference to 2.-The Flotilla is to edge down towards the enemy for an inconspicuous attack by signal, or on seeing the Senior Officer of Flotilla / ½ Flotilla do so. Z Triangular Flag will not be used, the number of torpedoes to be fired being as a rule laid down by the signals U1, U2, etc, from the Senior Officer of the Flotilla / ½ Flotilla.

Reference to 3.-The order for attack by single boats will usually be given by the Commodore (T), or some more senior officer. But the Senior Officer of a Flotilla or the Senior Officer of an independent ½ Flotilla is authorised to give this order when circumstances render it impracticable to receive orders promptly from the Commodore (T). The Senior Officers of Groups and individual boats have only authority for independent attack when they are detached from their force.

It depends on whether the Flotilla, ½ Flotilla or Group is addressed, whether the Senior Officer of Flotilla, ½ Flotilla or Group gives the order as to which (single) boats are to attack.

The rear boats of Flotillas are to report favourable opportunities for attack by single boats to the Commodore (T) and to the Senior Officer of their Flotilla, as they are frequently better able to observe the situation. If visual signalling is note quickly understood, the signal iAD "opportunity appears favourable for a destroyer attack" is to be made by W/T.

Z Triangular Flag is not to be used by boats proceeding to inconspicuous attack.

Reference to 4.-These signals are to be used when the Senior Officer of a Flotilla desires to limit the number of torpedoes to be fire in any one attack. They are also to be used to cancel the order "Feint Attack", if an opportunity occurs to fire during a feint attack, and vice versa, permission to fire may be withdrawn during an attack by the signal "Feint Attack", when, for example, the enemy edges away too sharply.

The Signals at (4) (as also the signals "red Z," "green Z") are ordinarily to be made only by the Senior Officers of the Flotillas or ½ Flotillas, as the latter can usually appreciate the situation better than the Flotilla Cruiser.

C. The signals (1)-(3) will invariably be made by the Commodore (T), both by visual and W/T on the alternative wave, in order to ensure a rapid and certain passing of the signal.

Reference to 5.-As soon as the leader of an attack considers himself on the fight bearing and distance from the enemy, he will give permission to fire. 2 pdt. in this case practically replaces Z Triangular Flag, which is not used during an inconspicuous attack.

The Signals referred to in No. 5 are also applicable to Light Cruisers.

Last Updated: 26 August, 1999.

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