The Grand Scuttle: The sinking of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919
by Dan van der Vat
About the Book
Used book. Paperback. Good condition.
-- From the inside
At Scapa Flow on 21 June 1919, there occurred an event unique in world naval history. The German Admiral in charge of seventy-four of his country’s finest warships ordered that they should scuttle themselves in the principal anchorage of the enemy British Grand Fleet. Ship for ship, the high Seas Fleet of the Imperial German Navy, interned in Orkney for seven months after the Armistice, which ended the fighting of the First World War, was the most formidable ever built until that time. It included the vast majority of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s battleships and battlecruisers as well as light cruisers and flotillas of destroyers. Fifty-two of them actually went to the bottom; seven of them are there to this day despite an unmatched salvage operation, which is still going on.
This ‘Grand Scuttle’ passed into the folk memory of the Germans and British alike. Most people know that the high Seas Fleet was sunk at Scape Flow by its own hand at the end of the First World War. It is rather less well-known that Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter became the only man in history to sink his own navy on the strength of a misleading report in a four-day-old British newspaper; that the Royal Navy guessed his intention but could do nothing to thwart it; that the sinking produced the last casualties and the last prisoners of the war and that fragments of the Kaiser’s fleet are now probably on the moon.
The Grand Scuttle tells the story of this futile fleet from its misconceived creation by Tirpitz with the Kaiser’s blessing to its complete frustration in war, its disgrace by mutiny, the salvation of its morale by an unparalleled act of self-destruction and the unprecedented salvage effort, which ensued. For the first time the entire story of these wasted ships is told from start to finish in a single narrative based on mostly unused German archive material, eyewitness accounts and the recollections of survivors.