THE GREAT WAR AT SEA
THE GREAT WAR AT SEA
In August 1914 Great Britain, with 29 capital ships ready and 13 under construction, and Germany, with 18 and nine, were the two great rival sea powers. Neither of them at first wanted a direct confrontation: the British were chiefly concerned with the protection of their trade routes; the Germans hoped that mines and submarine attacks would gradually destroy Great Britain’s numerical superiority, so that confrontation could eventually take place on equal terms.
British Royal Navy
Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher (1841-1920), During his first reign as First Sea Lord – 1904 - 1910 - he re-organised the fleet, dockyards, pushed the development of submarines and encouraged the development of the Dreadnought. Criticised for initiating the Navel arms race with Germany, he replaced the naturalised British citizen Prince Louis of Battenberg who was First Sea Lord in the immediate pre-war years from 1912-14, for his second spell as First Sea Lord until he dramatically resigned on 15 May 1915, stating his protest at Churchill's misuse of 'spare' Admiralty vessels as part of the Dardanelles campaign. He is often referred to as the greatest Royal Navy Admiral since Nelson.
Battle of Heligoland Bight
The First Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first naval battle of the First World War, fought on 28 August 1914. The battle was a clear British victory, The most significant result of the battle was the effect on the attitude of the Kaiser. To preserve his ships the Kaiser determined that the fleet should, "hold itself back and avoid actions which can lead to greater losses."
Battle of the Falkland Islands
As a consequence of the battle, German commerce raiding on the high seas by regular warships of the Kaiserliche Marine was brought to an end. However, Germany put several armed merchant vessels into service as commerce raiders until the end of the war
An ocean liner was torpedoed by the SM U-20, a German U-boat on 7 May 1915 and sank in eighteen minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, and was instrumental in bringing the United States into World War I. The sinking was a coup for anti-German sentiment and caused great controversy.