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Scapa 1919


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The Archaeology of A Scuttled Fleet.

Discover the story of a fleet lost for a century beneath the waves.

By Innes McCartney.


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The German High Seas Fleet was one of the most powerful naval forces in the world, and had fought the pride of the Royal navy to a stalemate at the battle of Jutland in 1916. After the armistice ended fighting in World War I, the fleet was interned in Scapa Flow pending the outcome of the Treaty of Versailles. Then, in July 1919, the entire fleet attempted to sink itself in the Flow to prevent it being surrendered as war prizes. Of the 74 ships present, 52 sank, while 22 were prevented from doing so by circumstance and British intervention.

Drawing on cutting-edge multibeam imaging and photographs from the sea floor, marine archaeologist and historian Dr Innes McCartney reveals the mysterious fate of the lost ships of the Grand Scuttle, including detailed examinations of the nine wrecks that remain on the sea floor at Scapa Flow and the dispersed remains of many others. Using archive footage of the scuttle and salvage operations, as well as modern underwater photography, he examines the circumstances behind the loss of each ship and reconciles what was known about them at the time to what the archaeology is telling us today.

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