German Navy Tactical Orders

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

Commander-in-Chief High Sea Fleet

10th February 1918.

Gg. 969 A3.

Alterations and Additions No. 19.

Most Secret.


Conduct of Squadrons in Dangerous Submarine Areas.

1. In addition to screening by destroyers (vide T. B. 2) the following rules are to be observed by squadrons operating in areas rendered unsafe by submarines:-

It is always advisable to proceed at high speed.

Broad formations are of great value so long as the danger from mines is not increased thereby. Close order is more favourable than open. Bold irregular zigzag courses are to be used when at "waiting" positions, or rendezvous (Aufnahmestellungen), and if it is impossible to proceed at high speed. Should lack of time, the objective, or other circumstances not allow of making marked irregular alterations of course, then a steady course and high speed are more advantageous.

2. The most suitable cruising orders for small forces are, therefore, line abreast or column of pairs; for large squadrons, column of divisions. The distances of columns apart should not be greater than normal. It is best to order and execute one zigzag course for the whole force.

3. Should visual communication be possible, screening cruisers will inform the van and rearguard, etc, of the zigzag course of the Main Fleet. Cruisers screening the Main Fleet will, as a rule, proceed on zigzag courses.

(Signed) SCHEER

Last Updated: 21 November, 1999.

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