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6. The Student Experience: Papers and Problems

Rob Doane
Curator, Naval War College Museum
Naval History and Heritage Command

Starting in 1912, Naval War College students faced a new requirement, writing a final thesis paper. Combined with lectures, readings, and war games, the paper formed the core of a student's learning experience at the Naval War College. 

Most classes in the interwar years were assigned three major games as part of their studies: a hypothetical war with Japan (ORANGE), a hypothetical war with Great Britain (RED), and a historical battle. Jutland and Trafalgar were the two most gamed historical battles and, more often than not, faculty and staff chose to game Jutland as the historical battle, especially in the decade following World War I. After studying the battle in the classroom, students replayed the action using war gaming models and debated with one another about which side maneuvered more effectively. Each student then wrote a paper, in which he presented his conclusions and attempted to identify lessons that the U.S. Navy should draw from the battle. Though the subjects of these papers changed over the years, the Naval Historical Collection today holds 86 student theses on “Tactics” written between the years 1919 and 1935 that contain substantive discussion on the Battle of Jutland.

To view the full selection of Naval War College Student Theses, visit Part I of the Naval Historical Collections' Battle of Jutland online exhibition, "Learning the Battle of Jutland at the U.S. Naval War College." The exhibit includes eighteen student thesis papers that deal with Jutland including those of Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, and Harold Stark. 

German North Sea Operations, Including Jutland, in the World War

LCDR J.F. Meigs, Jr., German North Sea Operations, Class of 1927


To see the additional student theses on Jutland, visit "Learning the Battle of Jutland at the U.S. Naval War College," Part I of the Naval Historical Collection's Battle of Jutland online exhibition.



Works Referenced

Naval War College Student Theses, 1916-1945, Record Group 13 (Student Theses), Naval Historical Collection, U.S. Naval War College.

6. The Student Experience: Papers and Problems