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A view from Dave Trott: Hit first. Hit hard. Keep on hitting

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“Hit first. Hit hard. Keep on hitting” was Jacky Fisher’s motto.

Fisher was First Sea Lord – he joined the Royal Navy in 1854 and followed 200 years of British naval tradition.

During that time ships were made of wood, and guns had a range of 800 yards – they fired solid cannon balls that battered enemy ships into submission.

The ships that could “Hit first. Hit hard. Keep on hitting” usually won.

But by 1914, ships were made of steel, guns were accurate to more than 10 miles and fired armour-piercing shells.

But the Navy, and Fisher, were stuck in the past, still believing that whoever fired most shots, fastest would win.

In the biggest-ever sea battle, the British and German fleets met at Jutland in 1916.

The largest and most modern ships in the Navy were the battle cruisers.

Because of the belief in speed of firing, they left all their internal safety doors open so they could load the guns quicker.

From eight miles........

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