(source: Public Record Office ADM 186/55: CB1548 German Navy Tactical Orders)
Cancelled in accordance with Order No. 339 from C.-in-C, High Sea Fleet.
10th May, 1916
1. Should the Fleet (I, II, III and IV Squadron [IV Squadron inserted in pencil]) commence an action in close order, and in a definitely-intended direction, the station of the II Battle Squadron is at the rear of the line.
2. When a fleet which is proceeding in a deep approach order has to deploy suddenly, the station of the II Battle Squadron will be such as results from the deployment.
3. If it is doubtful in which direction the battle will develop, the II Battle Squadron will probably take up a position at column distance to the rear or on about the beam of the line, on the side away from the enemy, and will conform with the movements of the line.
As soon as the course, on which the action will be fought, is certain, its station is at the rear of the line.
4. It is advisable for us to keep our forces concentrated as long as possible, in view of the enemy's superiority. Also, for the purpose of distribution of fire and of signalling, it is desirable that the battleships should proceed in close formation, and should be controlled as long as possible from one source. As a rule, the II Battle Squadron, therefore, will not be ordered to act independently until a special situation arises necessitating its being detached.
Under certain circumstances, however - such as when the supervision fails - or on account of technical signal difficulties - the centralised control of all three (four [pencil correction - Transl.]) Battle Squadrons from one source may become impossible, and therefore the II Battle Squadron may have to be ordered to act independently sooner. Under the above conditions the moment when this Squadron is to leave the line, after having been ordered to act independently, will be determined by its Senior Officer.
5. The II Battle Squadron, when ordered to act independently, is to consider the movements which the main Fleet will have to make, and is to manoeuvre as far as possible so as to give as much free play to our main body as possible, or is to hold up any movements of the enemy threatening the latter, and to throw the enemy's line into confusion, if necessary, without regard to the consequences. The II Battle Squadron must not cause confusion to our line.
6. Even should the II Battle Squadron not have been ordered to act independently, the Senior Officer of the Squadron may leave the line during the action and act independently, if by this means it appears that a success for the whole Fleet would thereby be rendered more likely.
In this case the Senior Officer will himself make the signal (both by main W/T and by Flags): "The II Battle Squadron is to act independently."
7. Should the enemy force turn 16 points during a running action (laufendes Gefecht) the procedure to be adopted by the II Battle Squadron, when acting independently and stationed in the rear of the line, will depend on whether the action is going to be fought as a circular action (Kreisgefecht) or as a running action in the reverse direction.
If the battle develops into a circular action, the enemy van is to be concentrated on as much as possible. Should the Commander-in-Chief expect the II Battle Squadron to push home an attack regardless of consequences, he will indicate the same by the signal: "The II Battle Squadron is to operate on the enemy's van."
Should the battle, owing to a 16-point turn on our part, develop into a running action in the reverse direction, the best station for the II Battle Squadron, when acting independently, is at the head of the new line of battle, in order to prevent our own line from dropping astern relative to the enemy, and so that it may be better protected against an outflanking movement, and that the distribution of fire may remain unaltered.
8. Should we turn 16 points (? during a running action - omitted) the II Battle Squadron, when acting independently at the old rear of the line, will have to conform to this movement at once in order to avoid getting astern of and blanketing our line. should the enemy also execute a 16-point turn so that the battle develops into a running action in the reverse direction, the most advantageous position for the II Battle Squadron is then ahead on the new course of the action, for the same reasons as stated under 7. Any manoeuvre for taking up a position astern of the line would be executed under the most unfavourable conditions and while under the heaviest fire of the enemy.
Should the enemy accept a circular action, the II Squadron, when acting independently, would soon be placed out of range of both lines by our van taking a sharp turn towards the enemy's rear. This squadron would then be obliged to look for any enemy battleships which had fallen out, or a light cruiser squadron or, as a last resort, to make another turn and to attack the enemy's van again.
9. Each independent attack by the II Battle Squadron must be supported by a simultaneous destroyer attack whenever possible. The flotillas at the rear of the line should be used for this purpose; those in the van should remain with the remainder of the Fleet.
10. In many cases the II Battle Squadron, should it have been ordered to act independently right at the beginning, will only be able to join in the action after the battle has started. It will then be the duty of the Senior Officer of the Squadron to press home his attack where its effect will be felt best. In such a case the general situation will show which flotillas are able to support the attack of the II Battle Squadron.
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