Well, PB, I do understand your mindset, but, what that assumption is clearly ignoring is the quality of the German High Seas Fleet itself; its excellent gunnery record, the fact that German officers did undergo a far more thorough training and intellectual education than their British counterparts. Beatty, for instance, rushed through the ranks, after becoming something of a darling to the British public, after Omdurman. He never acquired any specific proficiency in any of the specialities of his service, and this did show, both at Doggerbank and Jutland. Jellicoe, on the other hand was highly competent, perhaps the most competent admiral on either side, but here the shabby staff work and lack of communication between him and Admiralty influenced his actions very negatively - and just to clarify: I meant the Admiralty staff; not Jellicoes!
So, in other words, there should have had to be so many "should have beens" before the Great War, as to make a clear-cut British victory in a naval engagement virtually impossible. The Admiralty was submerged in a dazed attitude towards many aspects of the vital needs for the Senior Service. Both McKenna and Churchill were responsible for that. There was the intermittent war of words between Jacky Fisher and Lord Charles Beresford, between 1906-10 (when both men were forced out of the service!) and the subsequent siding either as a 'Fisherite' or 'Beresfordian', which did much to damage the cohesion within the navy, and which was refelected upon several actions during the war.
as for Nelson's dictum, I don't agree it would've been a good idea; just look at these four examples and how it went down: First: Cradock vs Spee. The former had his squadron destroyed under him and Cradock lost his life, while charging headlong against the overwhelming superiority of Count von Spee's crack armored cruisers at Coronel, Nov. 1, 1914. Second: Jutland, The Run to the North; Beatty vs Hipper. Here, in this running battle, Beatty lost two battle cruisers, Hipper none, and availed himself very little of the tremenduous firepower of Evan-Thomas' 5th BS, due to failure to concentrate his forces. Third: The gallant and, as it proved very fortitudinous arrival from the North of Horace Hood's Third BCS, at about 1817. Here, initially the surprise effect of Hood's sudden appearance told in a surprisingly accurate British gunfire, and a confused German one, but, as soon as Hipper's battlecruisers had recovered from the shock they replied in kind, sending Hood's flagship, Invincible to the bottom. Fourth: Sir Robert Arbuthnot's Death ride against the German battle line, at about 1830 same battle, same day. Here, the sheer stupenduous bravery did not work to save the doomed 1st CS from complete annihilation.
In other words, Nelson's offensive dictum was simply not suitable for the kind of fast maneuvering and long-range gunnery that prevailed during WW1. Instead Jellicoe's cautious and deliberate approach to battle was the correct one.
Also, bear in mind, Nelson, except at Copenhagen, most usually fought an enemy vastly inferior to him and his men in training and experience. Certainly some French flagofficers did rise to the occassion and proved themselves capable, such as La Touche-Treville, Ganteaume or Villeneuve himself (who actually quite accurately understood Nelson's psyche, and was trying to conceive a workable battle plan for the Combined Fleet to meet Nelson on equal terms!). - During WW1, the principla opponent of the RN, was an equally, if not better trained navy, which, albeit lacking in traditions and historical experience, nevertheless was eager to come to grips with their erstwhile friends and allies in the RN- though on a chivalrous mode!
But, basically, what is wrong in an assumption, in my view, about a propitiate British naval victory is the presupposition, too, that the enemy would be obligingly waiting for the Brits to bear down and put their vessel along that of the enemy. The Germans, unfortunately for the RN, simply refused to play along!
My Avatar:Петр Алексеевич Безобразов (Petr Alekseevich Bezobrazov), Вице-адмирал , царская ВМФ России(1845-1906) - I sign my drawings as Ari Saarinen