Operation ZZ

These are the orders issued by Admiral Sir David Beatty regarding the surrender and internment of the German Fleet, 21 November 1918 (thanks to Charles Moore (cfmoore@texas.net) for the contribution).

"Panoramic View of British Navy's Triumph"

(from "The Graphic" Souvenir of the German Navy's Surrender)

Click here! to link to a map on Charles Moore's site, showing the location of Operation ZZ.

H.F. 0050/9




To meet and escort to an anchorage in the Firth of Forth the ships of the German High Sea Fleet which are to be handed over for internment to the Grand Fleet.



1st B. S. "Lion" 1st L. C. S. "Castor"
2nd B. S. 1st B. C. S. 2nd L. C. S. "Champion"
4th B. S. 2nd B. C. S. 3rd L. C. S. 3rd Flotilla
5th B. S. 1st C. S. 4th L. C. S. 11th Flotilla
6th B. S. "Furious" 5th L. C. S. 12th Flotilla
. "Minotaur" 6th L. C. S. 13th Flotilla
. . 7th L. C. S. 14th Flotilla
. . "Fearless" 15th Flotilla
. . . 20th Flotilla
. . . 21st Flotilla


(a) The German Force to be handed over for internment on Thursday, 21 November consists of the following vessels of the German High Sea Fleet:-


"Friedrich der Grosse" flying the flag of Rear-Admiral von Reuter, who is in command of the whole force; (Call sign IMA).

"König Albert" "Kaiserin" "Prinzregent Luitpold"

"Kaiser" "Bayern" "Grosser Kurfürst"

"Kronprinz Wilhelm" "Markgraf"


"Seydlitz", flying the Broad Pendant of Commodore Tägert; (Call sign NCÖ).

"Derfflinger" "Hindenburg"

"Von der Tann" "Moltke"

Light Cruisers:-

"Karlsruhe", flying the Broad Pendant of Commodore Harder; (Call sign WBD).

"Frankfurt" "Nürnberg" "Cöln"

"Emden" "Brummer" "Bremse"


50 of the latest destroyers from the German 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th Flotillas.

(b) The force will approach rendezvous 'X', position Latitude 56º 11' N., Longitude 1º 20' W, on a course 270º, speed 10 knots, the leading ship passing the rendezvous about 0900, Thursday, 21 November.

(c) The order of the German Force will be as follows:-

(i) Heavy Ships in single line ahead, 3 cables apart, with the Battle Cruisers leading.

(ii) Light Cruisers in single line ahead, 3 cables apart, the leading Light Cruiser 3 miles astern of the rear battleship.

(iii) Destroyers in five groups, 3 miles astern of the rear Light Cruisers.

(d) The German vessels will have their guns in the securing position, trained fore and aft.


Leaving Harbour and Meeting the High Sea Fleet.

(a) Squadrons are to pass Black Rock Gate at the times shown in the table given in Enclosure 1, and are then to proceed in two lines as follows:-

Squadrons in the Northern Line in the order:-

1st L. C. S. less "Phaeton"

6th L. C. S. less "Cardiff"

1st C. S.

"Lion" and 1st B. C. S.

5th B. S.

6th. B. S.

2nd B. S.

"Queen Elizabeth"

Squadrons in the Southern Line in the order:-

3rd L. C. S.

2nd L. C. S.



"2nd B. C. S.

1st B. S.

4th B. S.

7th L. C. S.

are to pass South of May Island, and are then to proceed along the parallel of 56º 8' N.

"Queen Elizabeth" will adjust speed so as to pass May Island at 0800 Thursday 21 November, and after passing May Island will maintain a speed of 12 knots.

At 0815, 21 November, squadrons are to be in station as shown in Diagram 1, Enclosure 2. "Lion" with 1st B. C. S. proceeding to the rear of the Northern Line, the 2nd B. C. S. tin the rear of the Southern Line, the 4th and 7th L. C. S. dropping astern to give room for the 1st and 2nd B. C. S.

(b) "Cardiff" (towing a kite balloon, weather permitting), "Phaeton", "Castor", "Champion" and flotillas are to proceed in company well ahead of the 1st L. C. S. in time to arrive in position Lat. 56º 11' N., Long. 1º 20' W. at 0800, Thursday, 21 November, "Cardiff" and "Phaeton" following the 13th Flotilla out of harbour.

After passing May Island, "Cardiff" and "Phaeton" are to form 3 miles astern of the 13th Flotilla, which is to spread at daylight 21 November as a lookout screen.

(c) On sighting the German Force "Cardiff" and "Phaeton" are to take station 3 cables ahead of the leading German heavy ship and light cruiser respectively. "Castor" is to form ahead o the centre line of German destroyers.

Flotilla leaders and flotillas are to form on the German flotillas in accordance with orders issued by the Commodore (F), copies of which are to be supplied to "Cardiff" and "Phaeton".

(d) In the event of the reckoning of the German Fleet being in error, "Cardiff" is to lead the German Fleet for a position 1 mile 180º from May Island. "Cardiff" is to report her position, course and speed by W/T as soon as formed up ahead of the German Fleet.

(e) On sighting the German Fleet the Senior Officers of 1st and 3rd L. C. S. are to alter course as necessary to allow the German Fleet to pass midway between the Northern and Southern Lines at the same time making the signal by W/T:- "My course is ..................". Senior Officers of Squadrons are then to alter to this course and preserve their compass bearing from the Senior Officers 1st and 3rd L. C. S. respectively. On the Senior Officers 1st and 3rd L. C. S. resuming the original course, the same procedure is to be carried out, the object being to take up position preparatory to the signal "WL" being made.

(f) On the signal "WL" being made by the Commander-in-Chief, leaders of divisions of the battlefleet and leaders of battle-cruiser, cruiser and light cruiser squadrons will from together 180º outwards, remainder following in succession, the British Fleet then assuming the order shown in Diagram 2, Enclosure 2.

Entering Harbour.

(g) The Northern Line, with the exception of the 1st C. S., 1st and 6th L. C. S. is to proceed into harbour, passing North of May Island.

The 1st C. S., 1st and 6th L. C. S. are to proceed into harbour astern of the Southern Line.

(h) "Lion" and 1st B. C. S. are to wait in Largo Bay until the 5th B. S. has passed, allowing sufficient room for the divisions of the Northern Line to invert the line.

(i) Squadrons of the southern Line, with the exception of the 7th L. C. S. are to turn 180º to port, battleships by divisions, the remainder by squadrons, by signal from the Admiral 2nd in Command when the leading ship of the 2nd B. C. S. reaches the meridian of 2º 30' W. They will be turned to the westward again and proceed into harbour astern of the German Flotillas by order of the Admiral 2nd in Command, 1st B. S., 2nd B. C. S., 2nd and 3rd L. C. S. anchoring in the berths shown in the anchorage plan (supplied to Flag Officers and Commodores).

(j) The 7th L. C. S. is to proceed into harbour direct, ahead of the German Fleet, taking station astern of the 4th L. C. S. after passing Fidra Gap.

(k) On passing Fidra Gap each division proceeding to the Fleet Anchorage is to invert the line by signal from its Divisional Commander, ships passing on the starboard hand of the ships ahead, leading ship maintaining the speed of the fleet, the rear ship increasing to 17 knots.

(l) As regards the German Force, from position 1 mile 180º from May Island "Cardiff" is to lead the German Fleet to pass 5 cables 360º from South Buoy (Light Fl. Red) of Fidra Gap thence for Still Point, Inchkeith, bearing 242º.

After passing Fidra Gap "Phaeton" is to alter to the Southward till on line "D" (vide anchorage plan) steering 242º, and lead the German Light Cruisers to the anchorage as shown on the plan.

After passing Fidra Gap German ships should be ordered to form up according to the anchorage plan.

"Castor" is to lead the German Flotillas to their anchorage.


(a) One destroyer, detailed by the Commodore (F), is required with "Lion" and each flagship of the 1st and 2nd B. C. S., 1st C. S., 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th B. S. These destroyers are to take station 5 cables on the outer beam of their respective flagships when the fleet is in the cruising order shown on the diagram. Commodore (F) is to report the names of these destroyers to the Senior Officers concerned.

"Oak" is to work with the Fleet Flagship.

(b) "Fearless", "Blonde", "Blanche", "Boadicea" and "King Orry" are to act as repeating ships in the position shown on Diagram 2, Enclosure 2.

(c) "Minotaur" is to follow "Furious" throughout the operation.

(d) P.V.'s are to be towed.

Navigation lights are to be burnt whilst leaving harbour and until sunrise, 21 November.

(e) Balloons are not to be towed except by "Cardiff".

(f) "Cardiff", "Phaeton" and "Castor" are each to fly a Blue Ensign at the masthead.

"Cardiff" is to direct the movements of the German Main Force and order them to proceed, if possible, at a speed of 12 knots.

(g) Aircraft from local stations are to fly over the Fleet in accordance with orders issued by the C.-in-C., Coast of Scotland and A.C.A.

(h) One destroyer is to be detailed by the Commodore (F) for photographic duties, and is to embark photographers in the Penns p. m. Wednesday, 20 November.

(i) Before meeting the German Fleet, and until the signal is made to negative it, ships' companies are to be at "CB" stations.

Turrets and guns are to be kept in the securing positions, but free. Guns are to be empty with cages up and loaded ready for ramming home.

Directors and armoured towers are to be trained on.

Correct range and deflection are to be kept set continuously on the sights.

(j) Ships are to fly masthead flags from 0800 until sunset, 21 November.

(k) The Red and Blue Burgees will be the distinguishing signals for the Northern and Southern Lines respectively. For the purposes of W/T the Northern Line will be considered as Red Fleet, the Southern Line as Blue Fleet.

(l) German Ships will be listening out on 800 metres. Should it be necessary to signal to them plain language is to be used; the name of the officer addressed and ship of origin is to be included in the text.

The Flag Officers, Commodores and Officers

in Command of H. M. Ships of the

Grand Fleet.

Copies to:-


Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland;

Admiral Commanding, Orkneys and Shetlands;

Rear-Admiral Commanding, Harwich Force;

Rear-Admiral, (M);

Senior Naval Officer, Granton.


Enclosure No. 1 to Memorandum H. F. 0050/9 of 20 November, 1918.

Table showing routes for Squadrons, and times of passing Black Rock and May Island on leaving
harbour, Thursday, 21st November, 1918.


S- Southern

Time of passing BLACK ROCK GATE.

Time of passing MAY ISLAND.

Approx. time of meeting German Fleet.

Speed till MAY ISLAND abeam.
A 1st LCS

less "Phaeton"

6th LCS less "Cardiff"

N 0240 0435 0910 12 knots
B 3rd LCS

2nd LCS

S 0255 0450 . 12 knots
C 1st C. S.






0315 0510 . 12 knots
D 2nd BCS

1st BCS

5th BS

6th BS

1st BS

4th BS

2nd BS

"Queen Elizabeth"

4th LCS

7th LCS









































12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots

12 knots


(i) Groups A, B, C and D, are to proceed at 10 inots after passing May Island, reducing to 8 knots if necessary to avoid closing destroyer flotillas.

(ii) Squadrons are to turn so as to be in the positions shown Diagram 1, Enclosure 2, by 0815, but no squadron is to turn before 0700.

(iii) Each unit is to report by W/T time of going ahead to the unit following.

(iv) Destroyer flotillas will be anchored to East of Inchkeith p. m. Wednesday and will proceed out as ordered by Commodore (F), keeping ahead of 1st L. C. S. "Cardiff" and "Phaeton" will be in company.

Enclosure No. 2 to Memorandum H. F. 0050/9 of 20 November, 1918.

Enclosure No. 2 to Memorandum H. F. 0050/9 of 20 November, 1918.

Last Updated: 2 January, 2000.

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