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German Torpedo Boatman’s Account of the Battle of Jutland, 1916.

Posted by Alan Law, on May 26th, 2016


Otto Reckstat was 18 years old whilst serving in the Kriegsmarine on Torpedo Boat V44 at Jutland.  This letter relating to his Jutland experiences was preserved by his daughter. He became something of a hero afterwards, being a trade unionist and Nordhausen councillor and being imprisoned between the wars by the Nazis, and after WWII, by the East Germans. He escaped to the West in 1957 and died in 1983. His letter to Alan Law describes how Torpedo Boat V44 was in the vanguard close to the cruiser Wiesbaden which was hit and then sank. Aboard the Wiesbaden was the poet Gorch Fock. On the order to attack, the Torpedo Boat flotilla attacked British ships with torpedoes on three occasions, and then on another occasion without torpedoes. At nightfall, they lay close to the cruiser Pommern which was on fire. At dawn, they were again ordered to attack, encountering the half-sunk battlecruiser Moltke in the half-light, before engaging ships and retiring to the line. He never knew what ships they fired on.

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