That quote comes from VADM David Beatty, the Commander of the First Battlecruiser Squadron, at the Battle of Jutland, fought 100 years ago today.
There were 250 ships in both fleets, making the battle probably the largest surface gunfight up to that time.
The Germans wanted to trap the Royal Navy between a picket line of submarines and the German guns, as well as break out of their base at Wilhelmshaven. The British wanted to engage in a decisive battle, a la Trafalgar.
Neither side got what they wanted. There's been much discussion, since then, about the crappiness of British communications (an insistence on using flags with the smoke from the ships and the guns) and the crappiness of British gun shells and powder, compared to that of the Germans. Armor plating was more aimed at stopping flat-shooting projectiles, not the plunging fire of longer ranges (one reason why two of Beatty's battlecruisers blew up).
The British had a German code book and were able to get their ships in place before the Germans established a submarine picket. Despite greater losses, the Royal Navy turned back the Kriegsmarine. The Germans realized that in any subsequent fight, it was likely that the Germans would run out of ships first.
So, barring some local operations and actions against the Russian Navy in the Baltic, the German fleet acted as a fleet-in-being for the rest of the war.
Scissors, Rock, Paper
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