Battle of Jutland 1916

Since we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of this naval battle it seems worth explaining briefly why it was significant. The British expected to have command of the seas, and with their large and impressive fleet were able to achieve this for many decades up to WWI.
The Germans had similar ambitions, and their aggressive construction of a new High Seas Fleet was just one of several causes of WWI.
Each side hoped to bring the other side’s fleet to battle and destroy it, which would certainly be possible given good tactics and luck. WWI battleships bristled with huge guns and even today would be capable of sinking anything afloat, provided that the target did not shoot a missile back. Unfortunately, by 1914 they were proving vulnerable to mines, and to torpedoes fired by smaller craft, and by that sneaky new weapon, the submarine. This concentrated the minds of the admirals on keeping their expensive battleships out of such situations.
However, at the end of May 1916, both the British and German fleets were at sea, each hoping to lure the other into a tactically difficult position and inflict a smashing blow. The result is a matter of record, but after some fighting, the largely intact German fleet retreated to harbour, leaving the British (who suffered higher losses) in possession of the North Sea for the rest of the war.
The result created much anger and despondency in a Britain accustomed to crushing Trafalgar-style naval victories. Only gradually was the real significance of the outcome understood. It fell to an American to point out that “the Germans had assaulted their jailer but were still in jail”. Winston Churchill said that the British Admiral Jellicoe was “the only man who could lose the war in an afternoon.” Jellicoe had his afternoon, and he didn’t lose.
After Jutland, the British tightened their strangling sea blockade of Germany, and were able to ship men and munitions over to France and the trenches unhindered by the German navy. If we had lost at Jutland, the outcome of WWI would have been very different.