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First World War battle re-enacted on a table top at Chatham's Historic Dockyard

By Chris Hunter

Almost 100 years since they clashed in the largest fleet battle of the Great War, the High Seas Fleet of the Kaiserliche Marine and the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy will meet again.

But will anyone win this time?

The Battle of Jutland ended on June 1, 1916, with the both sides claiming victory – the Germans revelling at having bloodied the noses of their more heavily armed opponents; the British relieved to have fended off the Kaiser’s advance into the North Sea.

The largest fleet engagement of WW1 is recreated at The Historic Dockyard
The largest fleet engagement of WW1 is recreated at The Historic Dockyard

Perhaps for both it was a lesson in the then-not-so-age-old adage about treating triumph and disaster just the same, and both forces returned home to lick their wounds.

On August 9 and 10, the two naval forces will take to the seas once more – or more precisely, they’ll take to a table top in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard – for a reenactment of the battle in which 41 Chatham Division ships were present.

The recreation will use Mongoose Publishing’s popular Victory at Sea tabletop rules and miniature ships on an engagement area of 62 scale square miles.

Visitors will be encouraged to participate in the game by controlling a flotilla of ships and helping to decide the outcome of the battle.

Organiser Scott Belcher said: “The idea isn’t to glorify the conflict, but to demonstrate not only the sheer scale of the battle but also the tactical difficulties encountered in such a large fleet engagement, all within the historical context to coincide with the commemorations of the outbreak of the Great War.”

The battle is included in normal admission for annual ticket holders.

A day ticket can be bought for £8 which will allow access to this and the Treasures gallery in No.1 Smithery.

  • For more on the First World War centenary, see tomorrow's Medway Messenger
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