SMS Regensburg - Service History - Battle of Jutland

Battle of Jutland

In May 1916, Admiral Reinhard Scheer, the fleet commander, planned to lure a portion of the British fleet away from its bases and destroy it with the entire High Seas Fleet. For the planned operation, Regensburg, commanded by Commodore Paul Heinrich, was assigned to serve as the leader of the torpedo boat flotillas that screened for the battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group. The squadron left the Jade roadstead at 02:00 on 31 May, bound for the waters of the Skagerrak. The main body of the fleet followed an hour and a half later. At around 15:30, the cruiser screens of the I Scouting Group and the British 1st Battlecruiser Squadron engaged; Regensburg was on the disengaged side of the German formation, but steamed to reach the head of the line of battle. As she was moving into position, the opposing battlecruisers opened fire; Regensburg was some 2,200 yd (2,000 m) from the German battlecruisers, still on the disengaged side. Her crew noted that the British shells were falling well over their targets, which placed Regensburg in greater danger than the battlecruisers at which the British were aiming. By 17:10, Regensburg had reached the head of the line, and the battlecruiser HMS Tiger fired several salvos at her, mistaking her for a battlecruiser.

As the battlecruiser squadrons closed on each other, Regensburg ordered the torpedo boats to make a general attack on the British formation. The British had similarly ordered an attack with their destroyers, which led to a hard-fought battle at close range between the opposing destroyer forces, supported by light cruisers and the battlecruisers' secondary guns. Shortly after 19:00, Regensburg led an attack with several torpedo boats on the cruiser Canterbury and four destroyers. She disabled the destroyer Shark and then shifted fire to Canterbury, which turned away into the mist. By 20:15, the British and German main fleets had engaged, and Scheer sought a withdrawal; he therefore ordered the I Scouting Group to charge the British line while the rest of the fleet turned away. This was in turn covered by a massed torpedo boat attack, which forced the British to turn away as well. Regensburg and her torpedo boats were ordered to join the attack, but the I Scouting Group had passed in front of his ships, and he realized the British had turned away, which put them out of range of his torpedoes.

Having successfully disengaged, Scheer ordered Regensburg to organize three torpedo boat flotillas to make attacks on the British fleet during the night. At 21:10, Heinrich dispatched the II Flotilla and XII Half-Flotilla from the rear of the German line to attack the British formation. In the night, the High Seas Fleet successfully passed behind the British fleet and reached Horns Reef by 04:00 on 1 June. At 09:45, Regensburg and three torpedo boats turned around to rendezvous with the torpedo boats carrying the crew of the scuttled battlecruiser L├╝tzow. In the course of the battle, Regensburg had fired 372 rounds of 10.5 cm ammunition and emerged completely unscathed.

Read more about this topic:  SMS Regensburg, Service History

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