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100 Years of Learning: The Battle of Jutland at the Naval War College The First World War, 1914-1918

From 1916 until well into World War II, all students who attended the Naval War College (NWC) knew, and hopefully learned from, the Battle of Jutland. Fought between Great Britain and Germany, Jutland was the biggest naval battle of the First World War when 250 ships engaged in the North Sea from 31 May to 1 June, 1916.

In 1919, William S. Sims radically altered the Naval War College curriculum to focus more on experiential learning through war gaming. In the 1920s, the Naval War College president and staff directed students to study a broad range of historical naval battles from Greece and Rome to Nelson at Trafalgar, Farragut at Vicksburg, Togo at Tsushima, and, starting in September 1916, Beatty and Jellicoe, Scheer and Hipper at Jutland. History, they believed and taught, presented critical lessons to the U.S. Navy that ensured continuous improvement in strategy, tactics, and technology allowing the Navy to achieve its aims: victory when war became necessary.

This online exhibition leads visitors through the Naval War College's experience with the Battle of Jutland from the initial collection of material and the first reports in 1916 through to the advances in war gaming and a revised curriculum that became the core of an NWC education until World War II. The first two pages of the exhibit provide background information on the Battle of Jutland and War Gaming at the Naval War College. The following pages illustrate what NWC students, including future Navy leaders Chester W. Nimitz, Ernest J. King, William Halsey, Jr., Joel R.P. Pringle, John Vincent Babcock, and Harold R. Stark, learned at NWC in the classroom, on the game floor, and doing their own research. The exhibit concludes with information for further research on Jutland at the Naval Historical Collection.

For more information on the Battle of Jutland, World War I or any of the NWC alumni or material in this exhibit, contact the Naval Historical Collection at NHC@usnwc.edu. If you are currently in Newport, visit us in Mahan Hall, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.

Links to the Exhibit's pages are at the bottom of this page, below "Credits."

 

Credits

Dara A. Baker, Head Archivist, Elizabeth Delmage, Assistant Archivist, and Robert Marchetta, Archives Technician, Naval Historical Collection; Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner and Jonathan Grenier, Archives Volunteers; Jennifer Magrath, NWC Library. Special thanks to our featured GUEST WRITERS, Pete Pellegrino and Prof. Jon Scott Logel, War Gaming, Dr. David Kohnen, Maritime History/COSL, Rob Doane, NWC Museum, and Dara A. Baker, Naval Historical Collection