German Navy Tactical Orders

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

Commander-in-Chief, High Sea Fleet.
Jade, 24th May 1916.
Gg. 3265 O.
Alterations and Additions, No. 66

Most Secret.


Conduct of the Main Fleet when under way during Destroyer Attacks at Night.

1. The Night Cruising Order for Battle Squadrons depends on various circumstances - light or dark night, confined or open waters, intentions for the following morning, enemy information, etc; the necessary orders will be issued on every occasion.

2. As a rule, the Fleet will proceed at night in squadrons - distance apart of ships about 3 ½ cables; distance apart of squadrons, 3 miles. The destroyers detailed to the squadrons will proceed in close formation astern of their squadrons.

3. Squadrons will thus have full freedom of movement, should a surprise destroyer attack be made, rendering it necessary for the former to take immediate local action. Senior officers will give their squadrons the necessary instructions by auxiliary W/T for keeping clear of or repelling the attack. When making any necessary movements, the Destroyer Flotillas at the rear must be considered. After the attack is over, the Commander-in-Chief will issue orders by W/T (W. W. O.) regarding further conduct (mean course, speed, etc).

4. Should early information, however, be received (for instance, from the screening force), of an impending destroyer attack, the commander-in-Chief will, with a view to keeping the Fleet together as much as possible, issue orders by W/T (W. W. O) for the whole squadron to keep clear (by turns in succession of the battle squadrons, divisions, units, or also by turns together). In such cases, therefore, battle squadrons should not make any independent movement, unless an immediate and unexpected local danger has to be met, obliging it to act independently, as para 3.

5. Should squadrons proceeding at night be specially ordered to form into units, these units are to proceed in accordance with exercise regulations for the Fleet, Fig 61, para 3. the station of the destroyers on the Fleet, will, in this case, be specially ordered.

(Signed) SCHEER

Last Updated: 21 November, 1999.

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