German High Seas Fleet

Consisting of 27 capital ships, the High Seas Fleet was the main striking force of the German Navy during the First World War. Assessed as being able to defeat the British Grand Fleet in an open engagement at the start of the war, the main strategy guiding the High Seas Fleet's employment was to whittle down the British strength before risking a large-scale battle. After heavy losses during the Battle of Jutland the Kaiser ordered the fleet not to take any further risks, and its operations were limited to small-scale forays into the North and Baltic Seas. The fleet was surrendered to the British in Scotland's Firth of Forth on 21 November 1918. Most of the older ships were subsequently scrapped, and the more modern vessels were taken to the British base at Scapa Flow. The ships were still manned by German skeleton crews, who conspired to scuttle the ships on 21 June 1919.