There are many different ways to determine the largest naval battle of human history. If you define it as the total tonnages of surface ships before the invention of fleet carriers the largest battle ever took place on May 31 1916 just off the coast of Jutland. The German imperial navy had been hiding from in safe port from the larger British navy for the first two years of world war I. but now was the time to finally unleash the full strength of the German imperial navy.
The German navy consisted of no less than 99 ships including 16 dreadnought battleships and 6 older pre-dreadnoughts. This was a formidable naval force but it was met by an even larger British navy consisting of 151 ships of which 28 were battleships.
If the German navy was to fire all their guns just one time the total weight of this salvo would be no less than 61 tons. One round from the British navy would have a total weight of 151 tons. Such combined firepower would cause a lot of damage when it was unleashed.
When the battle took place it ended in a kind of draw. The British navy lost twice as many ships and a total of 6,094 dead compared to the Germans losses of 2,551 dead. So measured in this way the Germans won the battle. But the German navy never again took to the seas – so it was a strategic victory for the Royal Navy in the end.
To remember the battle there is a museum at the small town of Thyborøn which is dedicated to naval war and the battle of Jutland in particular. Outside the museum is a little memorial park. The park is located in the sand dunes just behind the beach of Thyborøn. The memorial has a collection of large stones with the names of ships participating in the battle and the number of dead on the individual ship. Some of the stones only mention a few dead but for some of the sunken ships the number of dead’s goes into the hundreds. The memorial is set at a lovely peaceful location and it is good place to go and remember the old battle of former times.