The British battle fleet Vol.2

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Gordon Smith, Naval-History. Second edition published in The Raid on the Yorkshire Coast, December The Dogger Bank Action — January The Attack on Egypt , January 27 to February Part 2 of 2. Churchill, and Formation of a Coalition Government. Appendix A. Appendix B. Appendix C. February 22, Index not included — you can use Search. Within the Volume.

Atlantic Fleet 3 British Battleships vs 2 H-39 class Battleships

Bombardment of Hartlepool Strategical Plan of the Raid on the Yorkshire Coast Strategical Plan of the Dogger Bank Action Suez Canal The Approaches to the Dardanelles The Dardanelles, Bombardment of February 19th Dardanelles, Bombardment of February 25th The Dardanelles, the Attack on the Narrows Gallipoli, the Southern Beaches Eastern Mediterranean In front and rear pockets of the Volume.

The Raid on the Yorkshire Coast. The Battle of the Dogger Bank. The Dardanelles. The Dardanelles repeated. The Search for, and Destruction of S. The present volume is mainly concerned with the Dardanelles operations from their inception as a naval diversion to their development into a combined eccentric offensive and their failure as a coup de main. The narrative, though related from the naval point of view, is necessarily concerned with military movements, but they have been dealt with only in so far as seemed essential for elucidating what the navy did in endeavouring to facilitate the task of the sister service.

The account of the shore operations must, therefore, in no way be regarded as an adequate or complete exposition of the fine work done by the army in face of the difficulties of every kind under which it had to be carried out. A special and detailed account of this aspect of the campaign is in preparation as a separate section of the Official History. The purely naval operations treated include the raid on the Yorkshire coast and the Dogger Bank action. With regard to these chapters it seems necessary to emphasise once more that the Admiralty are in no way responsible for the presentation of the narrative or for the opinions expressed.

The part of the Admiralty has been to place at the disposal of the author the whole of the documents in their possession relating to the war, and subsequently to examine the proofs with a view to pointing out errors of statement which may have arisen from a misreading of the existing documentary evidence. A prevalent idea that anything in the nature of censorship by the Admiralty has been exercised is purely erroneous. The principal of these are: —. The Report of the Dardanelles Commission with the statements prepared for its information and the evidence taken before it.

The " Mitchell Report," being the report of a special naval and military committee, sent out to Constantinople after the armistice, under Commodore F. Mitchell, to investigate the course of the operations and the defences in the Dardanelles. Books written by high officers concerned with particular operations, the chief of which are: —. My Memoirs, Grand-Admiral von Tirpitz. Other books of less importance are mentioned in footnotes when special use has been made of them. The publication of these works since the history began to be written has proved of great assistance in correcting false impressions and supplying gaps in our own information.

Their value increases in Vol. July, With the destruction of Admiral von Spee's squadron at the Falklands the war in its naval aspects entered a new phase. The first stage in the essential work of the fleet was, in fact, accomplished. The object of that stage was, as always, to establish a general command of the sea, and now that the enemy had no organised squadrons outside his own home waters we could regard the work — judged at least by traditional standards — as practically done.

On the great southern and western trade routes, however, there was little immediate relaxation of the strain on the navy. The watch on the German liners in American ports and at the Canaries had still to be maintained, and this menace, coupled with the escape of the Dresden from the battle and the still unsolved mystery of the Karlsruhe compelled us to keep a considerable force of cruisers in the Atlantic and on the South American Station.

On January 1, , there were still forty-one ships of war in the Atlantic, only six of which were under orders for home. But the end of these isolated ships could not be far distant, nor their power of disturbance serious. In those seas there was nothing else at large except two armed merchant cruisers, the Prinz Eitel Friedrich and the Kronprinz Wilhelm while Eastern waters had been made absolutely safe by the destruction of the Emden and the blockade of the Koenigsberg in the Rufiji River. In Home waters there was a different tale to tell.

There the conditions were making it more evident every day that the command could no longer be measured by the old standards. If command of the sea meant the power to move fleets, troops and trade freely where we would, then our command was not undisputed, and indeed it seemed to be growing gradually more precarious, as the mining activities of the enemy extended to our western coasts and their submarines with increasing power and range spread further and further afield.

By the time we had freed the ocean highways there was scarcely an area in the Narrow Seas where movement could be considered safe. We found ourselves, in fact, faced with a new struggle of which we had no experience, and from now onwards the crucial question was whether the old sea genius would prove still vigorous enough to devise some means of overcoming the new forms of attack, or whether it would have to recognise that its day was done. With sure instinct it was to the old well-spring of our sea power we went to renew our youth for the anxious contest.

The fleet would no longer suffice, but behind it were still the deep-sea fishermen and the great sea-faring population to whom nothing afloat came amiss. We have seen already how they had been called on to form an organisation which later on was known officially as the Auxiliary Patrol, but as yet the call was only beginning. Over trawlers and drifters had already been taken up, besides yachts and other small vessels, and as far as possible they were being fitted with guns and explosive sweeps.

These sweeps were lines towed astern. At the end of the line or wire were explosive charges which could be detonated electrically when a submerged submarine was located. As the men threw themselves into the work their increasing skill and enterprise proved the utility of the new force, and the cry for more became insatiable. Already during November the Commander-in-Chief had been promised for Scapa four units, each consisting of a yacht and twelve trawlers; Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty at Cromarty was to have three yachts and eighteen trawlers, and these only for securing free movement for the Grand Fleet in the vicinity of its bases.

Everywhere else, in the Straits of Dover, the Channel, the Irish Sea, the demand was scarcely less, but nothing can emphasise the problem so strongly as the Northern auxiliary patrol. In all tradition it had been a constant duty of the Grand Fleet to protect our fishing fleets; now it was the fishing fleets that must protect the Grand Fleet. Still the dominating fact of the naval position, it may even be said the key fact of the whole war, was that, in spite of the secret and sudden danger by which it was encompassed, the Grand Fleet held on to its controlling position.

Except for teasing it from time to time with submarines, the Germans had made no attempt to disturb it. Notwithstanding every provocation the High Seas Fleet showed a. The command of the Baltic was vital to the German position, and it is doubtful whether their main fleet could at this period have been devoted to any better object.

The soundness of this strategical idea can only have become more indisputable as our overwhelming concentration became more pronounced with the addition of powerful new battleships, new light cruisers and others that were flocking home from distant seas where their work was done. Neither our operations on the Belgian coast nor the temptation of our lines of communication across the Channel had availed to stir the German Staff from the attitude they had taken up.

It appears from the Diary of Admiral von Pohl, who was then Chief of the Staff, that this attitude had been imposed upon him. He relates that on October 2 the Emperor again explicitly reserved to himself absolute control over the fleet, and directed that Admiral von Ingenohl, who commanded it, was to confine offensive action to submarines and destroyers, though occasional sorties of heavy cruisers might be attempted.

They had not even ventured to hold out a hand to Admiral von Spee, as he perhaps, and certainly Germans in America, had expected. As against the enemy's main fleet, then, we could claim, and actually enjoyed, a command outside the Baltic as complete as ever it was in the old days of the blockades of Brest and the occupation of the Western position. Indeed in one respect it was more complete, for whereas in certain normally recurrent conditions of weather the Brest fleet could always get away into the Atlantic, our northern position rendered it impossible for the High Seas Fleet to escape without hazarding an action with a force strong enough in favourable conditions to annihilate it.

In these circumstances the keen desire for the return of the three battle cruisers which had been detached to deal with Admiral von Spee needs explanation. Now that the outer seas had been cleared the paramount need was to obtain a closer hold on the North Sea, with a view to the possibility of ultimately pressing our offensive into the enemy's waters. Such operations would involve coastal attack and inshore work, and required a special class of vessel. The necessary programme had been inaugurated when Lord Fisher returned to the Admiralty, and was being pressed on with energy.

The ships designed were mainly of the monitor type, made as far as possible unsinkable by mine or torpedo, and certain very fast ships of battle cruiser size lightly protected, but with very heavy gun-power. But until the programme was well forward nothing could be done, and in the meanwhile the enemy might be expected to use the opportunity for operating in the North Sea in a way which would require the utmost activity and vigilance from our own fleet.

Seeing how deeply the German idea of war was imbued with the offensive spirit, it was not to be believed that the inactivity of their fleet could continue. The view that they would never undertake operations which might render them powerless to keep us out of the Baltic seems at this time to have had little weight with our own High Command. The more general conviction was that the apathy with which the Germans had suffered us to crush their Pacific squadron and wipe out their trade was only to be explained by an intention to husband their fleet for some sudden blow when the long winter nights would give them the best chance of evasion and surprise.

Now that their failures in France had forced them to recognise that the war would not be the short and brilliant affair they had expected, they were already having to give anxious attention to the question of food supply, and however prudently inclined the High Command of the navy might be, its hand might at any time be forced into some desperate attempt to diminish the stringency of the blockade, or to deter us from sending further troops to France.

It was at the end of October that these considerations began to raise a doubt as to whether the distribution of the Home fleets was the best that could be made, and whether the principle of extreme concentration on which it was based was not the child of pure theory rather than of sound doctrine founded on the practical experience of past naval warfare. During November, when the Grand Fleet was back at Scapa from its temporary withdrawal to the westward, the whole question was gone into with the help of the veteran flag officers who during their period of active command had acquired most completely the confidence of the service.

The general result was in favour of further dispersal; Sir Arthur Wilson, the highest authority amongst them, after full consideration of all that could be said in favour of close concentration by its best advocates, pronounced emphatically against its continuance. This, however, is only a dream. What we have to do is to dispose our forces so as to prevent the Germans from doing us more injury than we can possibly help and never to miss a good opportunity of injuring them.

It is, above all,. That the Germans might be intending to hazard some such desperate enterprise was certainly an eventuality which could not be neglected, seeing how the situation in France had been developing. The long-drawn battles of Ypres were coming to an end, and the costly effort of the Germans to break through to Calais had failed.

The German offensive was ending in a series of local actions, the prelude to the long period of trench warfare; day after day there was "no change to report"; and the defeat of the enemy's purpose was proving to be as complete as his effort had been powerful and persistent. Though it was clear the German plan for solving the formidable problem which the battle of the Marne had set them was now abandoned, too much had been staked upon it for them to be likely to sit down under the rebuff.

The intention had obviously been to break down our commanding naval position by getting a foothold on the Straits of Dover, and it was only natural to suppose that they would seek the same end by other means. The most likely plan, since they had not ventured an attempt to break into the Channel and disturb the lines of communication by which we nourished our army in France, was to give us a strong inducement to keep our troops at home.

In these circumstances long experience taught us to anticipate an attempt to invade, or at least the threat of a formidable military raid on our coasts. Special precautions, indeed, had been under consideration since the end of September, and these began to be put in action very soon after the battle cruisers were detached from the Grand Fleet to deal with the German Pacific Squadron.

At all likely places of descent, arrangements were made for meeting the first shock of any raiding force that might elude the vigilance of the Grand Fleet. The local naval defence was strengthened by additional guardships which were now available. Loch Ewe where the Illustrious had been stationed, was no longer required as a Grand Fleet base, and Stornoway had been found to be a more convenient base for the auxiliary patrol of the Hebrides area. The Illustrious was therefore moved down to the Tyne, which, though an imperfectly defended repair base, had hitherto had no regular guardship.

The Humber, as being the nearest secondary base to Wilhelmshaven, was better provided for. There was the headquarters of Rear-Admiral G. Ballard, the Admiral of Patrols, with his flag in the St. The Victorious and Mars were also with him, and he was now to be reinforced by the Majestic and Jupiter. Lower down in the Wash the three original monitors were stationed, and at all the principal ports along the east coast were distributed the old light cruisers, sloops and gunboats which had been commissioned for bombarding the Belgian coast in support of the army.

In addition to these precautions preparations were being made for instantly blocking the ports and disabling their wharf gear in case of need, while at certain of those which were undefended, such as Blyth, South Shields and Sunderland, observation mines were laid. But it was by no means on such measures of passive defence that reliance was placed. The old way had ever been to do all that was possible to meet the invading force at sea, and to this end, as a result of the deliberations already referred to, the time-honoured practice reasserted itself in a redistribution of the Grand Fleet.

What was required was obviously a closer hold on the North Sea than had hitherto prevailed, but no such hold could be obtained so long as the Grand Fleet was kept completely concentrated in the far north. It was on that basis our distribution had hitherto rested. It served admirably so long as we could rest content with interrupting the enemy's communications north-about and trusting to the pressure so exercised to force his fleet to action.

But that hope had now grown cold, and if, as seemed more likely, he meant to adopt the old French device of a direct attack on our coasts, a mere concentration on the great trade highway in the north would no longer serve. The objections to opening out the original distribution were, of course, far from negligible. For an inferior naval Power the threat of military attack was a stock method of loosening the concentration of a fleet with a view to making an opportunity for bringing part of it to action under conditions of advantage.

And now, if ever, seemed the enemy's chance of playing the well-known game. At home both from. A military and a naval point of view we were passing through a stage of weakness. Of the regular army there was nothing in the country except the troops arriving from India and the more distant colonial garrisons which were being formed into the XXVIIth, XXVIIIth and XXIXth Divisions; the Territorial Force had not completed the six months' training which was supposed to be necessary for its efficiency in the field; many of its best units had gone abroad, and the new armies were still in leading-strings.

The Grand Fleet, moreover, was at its lowest ebb. The Audacious was gone, and although her place was more than supplied by two new " Iron Duke s," Benbow and Emperor of India , it was not till November 20 that they were ready to go to Queenstown to carry out their gunnery.

Neither ship for some time could be really fit to lie in the line, and the new battle cruiser Tiger which had recently joined the fleet, was scarcely less raw. Benbow and Emperor of India , 25, ton, 21kts design speed, Tiger , 28, ton, 30kts design speed, In addition to these drawbacks the base at Scapa was still insecure, though by this time it was less exposed.

Something at least had been done to reduce the number of channels by which the Flow could be entered. By using twelve blockships Rear-Admiral F. Miller, in spite of the strong tidal streams, had succeeded in closing three of them, leaving besides the main southern entrance only one on the west side and two on the east.


For the rest, anti-submarine defences of a type which had been successfully tried at Cromarty were being prepared, but had not yet arrived. Until they were in position, the Grand Fleet had to rely for security on the destroyers and Auxiliary Patrol vessels that had been attached to it for this special purpose. There were twelve destroyers that had been so lent, and every week the call for their return to their normal patrol functions in the south was becoming more urgent.

The growing activity of the enemy's submarines in the Channel called for increased protection for the transports that were continually crossing to France. During November nearly 70, troops and over 16, horses went over, occupying, with stores an average of about twelve transports a day. On November 21 a new plan for barring the Straits of Dover had been instituted.

The whole zone was divided into eight areas, each of which was to be patrolled continuously by a British destroyer, while French submarines were to be always ready, when the alarm was given, to occupy the lines from Gris Nez to the Varne and from Calais to the Goodwins. But besides this cover the transports required escort, and nothing but destroyers could provide it adequately. A large number were therefore wanted, more indeed than we could possibly find, and in spite of the assistance the French were giving with their flotillas, less important ships had frequently to go over without escort, and a large convoy from India which arrived in the middle of the month, instead of coming to Southampton, was diverted to Devonport The convoy consisted of six ships carrying ten battalions of infantry and eleven batteries R.

The insecurity of the Channel had just been emphasised by the loss of the Niger. On November 11 this old torpedo-gunboat was torpedoed and sunk off Deal She was claimed by U. A further effect of the enemy's activity was that the cruisers of the Western Patrol were ordered not to risk submarine attack by boarding merchant vessels. They were to make it their main duty to look out for suspicious ships rather than, as hitherto, to stop the passage of contraband.

The situation in the Northern Patrol area was also bad. The six old "Edgars" of the 10th Cruiser Squadron had proved to be so completely worn out, that the wonder was they had been able to do their work at all. Yet, thanks to the devotion of officers and men, they had maintained the blockade with splendid efficiency, and Rear-Admiral D. Now, so bad was their condition, that orders had been issued to pay them off, and as yet only a few of the armed merchant cruisers which were to take their place on the Northern Patrol were ready.

But this defect would soon be remedied. For since it had been found unnecessary to form a new squadron for the West Coast of Africa to deal with Admiral von Spee, the Warrior , Black Prince , Duke of Edinburgh and Donegal were on their way to join Admiral Jellicoe's flag, and so were the Leviathan from dockyard hands and the Hampshire released from the East Indies after the destruction of the Emden.

To make up for the loss of the battle cruisers Admiral Jellicoe would therefore have in the near future three ships of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, with the Leviathan as the fourth ship, while the 6th Cruiser Squadron, of which he hitherto had only had the Drake and other stray units, would be completed with the Donegal , Cumberland and Hampshire. When therefore we consider that the first of the " Queen Elizabeths " was nearly ready for sea, and that it could not be long before the Germans discovered the absence of the three battle cruisers, it was obvious they might well conceive they would never again have so good a chance of striking a damaging blow at our fleet.

The risk of loosening its concentration at such a moment was therefore undeniable, but the new Board had shown already that when time-honoured principles were at stake it was ready to accept risks. It was one of those principles that where invasion or a raid is within reasonable probability, every possible step must be taken to ensure that it shall be met at sea, or at least when it reaches the coast.

So the risk was taken now. As a station to secure the end in view Scapa was too distant, and so was Cromarty, where Admiral Beatty was already stationed with his battle cruisers and the light cruisers. Yet for effectively securing the command of the north-about passage both bases had to be maintained. In order to meet the new situation it was therefore necessary to establish a third base further south.

Rosyth, with all its drawbacks, was the only possible place, and as its first anti-submarine defences were on the point of being completed, it was now practicable to use it for a considerable force. Admiral Jellicoe, in view of his reduced battle strength, had asked to have returned to him the 3rd Battle Squadron, which it will be remembered had been called down to the Channel in the early days of November.

But this request could not be granted in its entirety. Owing to the increasing menace of submarines in the Channel, and as the best means of abating it, the Admiralty had decided to attack the bases from which they were acting. For this hazardous operation they had already earmarked the five "Duncans," which, with the Revenge , were to be formed into a new special service squadron, designated the 6th Battle Squadron, under command of Rear- Admiral Stuart Nicholson.

The eight " King Edwards," however, could be spared. Vice-Admiral E. Bradford, therefore, was ordered to take them north again, and on November 18 seven of them left Portland to rejoin the Grand Fleet. But Scapa was not to be their base. On the previous day November 12 the new plan for meeting any attempt of the Germans to land troops upon our coasts had been completed. Its base idea was that whether the enemy's expeditionary force appeared north or south of Flamborough Head, we should be in a position to strike immediately at its covering force, in order either to break through and attack the transports and their escort, or enable the flotillas to deal with them.

For the northern area this duty was assigned to Admiral Bradford, and in order that he might perform it he was to be permanently stationed at Rosyth, and there he was to be joined by Rear-Admiral W. In the southern area the idea of the plan was more difficult to realise effectively.

Here there was little available, nothing indeed but the comparatively old and slow 5th Battle Squadron and the still older "Duncans. This was a specially serious drawback, because under the original War Orders the Channel Fleet was regarded as a reserve, and men were being continually drafted from it, so that it always contained a large proportion of untrained ratings. The inadequacy of the force was further emphasised by the fact that there was no cruiser squadron or flotilla available to act with it.

Still the position had to be occupied, and there was nothing else. On November 14, therefore. The 5th Battle Squadron at this time comprised Lord Nelson , flag of Admiral Bumey, Agamemnon and seven " Formidable s," of which two were in dockyard hands, and two light cruisers. To get over the difficulties of Sheerness it was intended to form a protected anchorage in the Wallet, off the Essex coast, where the Gunfleet shoals made a submarine attack very difficult, but the plan was abandoned. Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney's orders were that at the first intimation of a hostile expedition he was instantly to attack it, regardless of its strength, and call up the 6th Battle Squadron to his flag.

In this way it was thought fairly certain that with the assistance of the Harwich and Nore flotillas he could prevent any landing in force, while ample provision was made with submarines and minelayers to render the enemy's retreat disastrous. Fresh orders were issued to Admiral Ballard by which. This had been their function under the first distribution, but owing to the German activity in minelaying it had gradually been eaten into. Instead of being concentrated at certain selected ports, the patrol destroyers had been more and more devoted to intercepting the enemy's minelayers.

As often as not they acted singly, and had thus become too widely scattered for immediate and effective action against a raid. Early in November the risk that was involved came prominently under notice by the Gorleston raid, and after a conference at the Admiralty it was decided to restore the original disposition as designed by Rear-Admiral J. Admiral Ballard was therefore informed that he was to reconcentrate the destroyers in divisions as laid down in the War Orders, and leave the prevention of minelaying to the trawlers of the Auxiliary Patrol.

In accordance with these orders Admiral Ballard's two flotillas, the 7th and 9th were each organised in four divisions, one division of each flotilla to be always in reserve cleaning boilers. Of the active divisions, two of the 7th Flotilla were kept at Yarmouth ready for immediate action night and day, and one in the Humber. In the Humber also was one division of the 9th flotilla; another division lay in the Tyne and the third patrolled between Flamborough Head and Hartlepool. As the month wore on our intelligence seemed to confirm both the wisdom of the decision and the risk it involved.

Captain W. Hall was now Director of Naval Intelligence. Oliver, that officer having become Chief of the War Staff when Admiral Sturdee was given his memorable command afloat. There were increasing indications of unusual activity in German naval ports. First on November 20 came warning of a submarine attack about to be made in strength on one or more of the Grand Fleet bases.

But this caused little concern, since the chances were they would find the bases empty. As usual the signs of German restlessness were to be met by a full-strength sweep to the Bight, this time in conjunction with an air raid on the Cuxhaven Zeppelin sheds as an additional means of goading the enemy to action. So much on the alert, however, did he appear to be that the air raid was countermanded, but from the 22nd to the 25th all squadrons of the Grand Fleet, together with the Harwich Force, made the sweep up to the Bight.

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As usual, nothing was seen, and all units returned to their newly-allotted stations. But the period of the operation was not entirely barren. On November 20 a message came from General Joffre saying that since we had ceased operating on the Belgian coast, the enemy's guns east of Nieuport had been getting very troublesome. General Foch was, in fact, being subjected to a violent bombardment which he had no means of reducing, and the French Commander-in-Chief begged that the Admiralty would resume more active co-operation with him.

Though, as will be seen directly, we had an operation of our own on foot in that quarter, the request was immediately complied with, and Rear-Admiral The Hon. Hood went over to Dunkirk with such ships as were immediately available. His force consisted of the Revenge , the Bustard and six destroyers, and at our suggestion four French destroyers and a torpedo-gunboat were placed at his disposal, and having done what was required, he was ordered on the 22nd to send the Revenge back to Dover.

Simultaneously our own operation had taken place. Owing to the increasing annoyance of submarines in the Channel, the occasion of the Grand Fleet sweep had been seized to inaugurate the new offensive policy against the enemy's submarine bases. The port that caused us the most uneasiness was Zeebrugge. Here the Germans were known to be establishing a submarine base for disturbing the army's lines of communication across the Channel.

When the port was evacuated, the reasons for leaving it intact were indisputable. The risk was frankly accepted, but now the consequences were beginning to be felt. The increasing annoyance had already given birth to several projects for closing it with blockships, as the Japanese had so strenuously attempted to do with Port Arthur. Their failure, however, the reasons of which were perhaps not fully known, caused the design to be pronounced impracticable in the face of modern fortress artillery.

Long afterwards, when improved technical devices had changed the conditions of the problem, one of the most daring exploits in the annals of our navy was to disprove the finality of this opinion, but for the present it stood, and operations against the port were confined to a bombardment. On November 21, as the Grand Fleet was about to start its great sweep. Admiral Nicholson was directed to proceed off Zeebrugge with two of the " Duncans," Russell and Exmouth.

He was to be joined by eight destroyers, as many Lowestoft minesweeping trawlers and two airships for directing his fire. On November 28 the operation was carried out. Owing to the low speed of the trawlers and the continual difficulty they had with sweeps parting on the. As for the two airships they failed to appear at all.

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Still he held on, and by 2. Running on till the range was 11, yards, Admiral Nicholson altered four points to port, so as to bring all guns to bear, and then distributed his fire between the railway station and the harbour and its forts. On this course he reached the Wielingen lightship, with the range down to 6, yards. Then he turned sixteen points and repeated the run on the opposite course, till 8.

Owing to the absence of the airships it was impossible to tell what damage had been done. About rounds had been fired, and one large conflagration and several smaller ones could be seen. If later reports from Holland could be believed, the success had been considerable. It was said that all the stores, buildings and cranes of the port had been destroyed, and that the sections of six submarines which were about to be put together were reduced to a tangle of twisted iron. The place, in fact, so it was said, had been made for the time impossible as a submarine base, and the Germans would have to make shift with Bruges.

Circumstantial as these reports were, they lacked confirmation, and Zeebrugge continued to be a source of anxiety to our cross-Channel transport lines. Of the increasing enterprise of the enemy's submarines there could be no doubt. The day the attack on Zeebrugge took place, a small British steamer called the Malachite , from Liverpool to Havre, was stopped by submarine U. So complete was the surprise that the submarine fired into the prize for nearly half an hour without interruption, nor was any attempt made from the shore to salve the Malachite though she remained afloat for at least twenty-four hours.

For the next few days, however, the submarine was diligently hunted by French torpedo-boats. Several times she was seen, and on one occasion fired three torpedoes at one of her pursuers without effect. Still she held her ground, and on November 26, off Cape d'Antifer, just north of Havre, caught a collier, the Primo , bound for Rouen.

This she treated in the same way as the Malachite , again without interference, and with no effort to salve after the enemy left her. The actual loss was small, but what the incident signified was of the deepest gravity. The long-expected attack on the army's communications had begun, and it was obvious that existing measures were inadequate to deal with it. Though the French had eighteen destroyers at Cherbourg, their end of the line seemed almost unprotected. Our own arrangements for escort were as yet incomplete. Twelve armed trawlers with three leaders The " leaders " of the trawler patrols were simply larger trawlers provided for the commissioned officer commanding the several patrol units.

The sailing of all transports had to be stopped, and five about to leave Southampton had to wait till six destroyers came round from Harwich to escort them. This duty done the destroyers were to sweep back along the British coast in search of submarines and floating mines, of which a large number were being reported in the area. On November 26, the day the Primo was sunk, another division was detached from Harwich to sweep from Dover to the Needles, and the French were asked to do the same on their own coast.

Dover was then drawn upon for six more destroyers for regular escort work, and by the time they arrived a division of " Beagles," one of the two that had been recalled from the Mediterranean to form a new flotilla for the North Sea, reached Devonport. They were at once assigned to Portsmouth for escort work, and it was then possible to use the Yarmouth trawlers to form a permanent patrol between Winchelsea and Poole which would cover the Dieppe route as well as that to Havre. In this way the new situation was rapidly met and henceforth no important ship was allowed to cross without escort, and sailings were timed so that vessels should arrive at the French coast after dark.

These measures were also supplemented by a new device. Since the submarine had been using gun-fire on the ships she stopped, there seemed a good chance of entrapping her. Instructions were therefore given for a decoy vessel, the Victoria , to be fitted out and armed with two concealed pounder guns. To all its other cares the navy had thus a new one added. At a time when, owing to the apprehension of an attack on our coasts, every destroyer was wanted in the North Sea, the army communications became a source of real anxiety, and from now onward an ever-increasing strain upon our flotilla strength.

Yet for the moment it was not there that the enemy's main submarine effort was being made. On the day of the Zeebrugge bombardment, while the Grand Fleet was in position off the Bight, the expected attack on its base appears to have taken place. By the end of the war, the Navy had over 1, warships.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in , the Soviet Red Navy fell apart, which made the United States the world's undisputed naval superpower. Nuclear power and ballistic missile technology led to new ship propulsion and weapon systems, which were used in the Nimitz -class aircraft carriers and Ohio -class submarines. By , the number of ships had dwindled to less than , many of which were from World War II, which prompted Ronald Reagan to institute a program for a modern, ship Navy.

Today, the United States is the world's undisputed naval superpower, with the ability to engage and project power in two simultaneous limited wars along separate fronts. In March , the U. Navy reached its smallest fleet size, with ships, since World War I. Former U. Navy admirals who head the U. Naval Institute have raised concerns about what they see as the ability to respond to 'aggressive moves by Iran and China. The Navy was rooted in the American seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors, captains and shipbuilders in the colonial era.

The same day, Governor Nicholas Cooke signed orders addressed to Captain Abraham Whipple , commander of the sloop Katy , and commodore of the armed vessels employed by the government. The first formal movement for the creation of a Continental navy came from Rhode Island, because its merchants' widespread smuggling activities had been severely harassed by British frigates. On August 26, , Rhode Island passed a resolution that there be a single Continental fleet funded by the Continental Congress.

Resolution of the Continental Congress that marked the establishment of what is now the United States Navy. The British fleet did destroy Arnold's fleet, but the U.

Privateers had some success, with 1, letters of marque being issued by Congress. Individual states, American agents in Europe and in the Caribbean also issued commissions; taking duplications into account more than 2, commissions were issued by the various authorities. France officially entered the war on June 17, , and the ships of the French Navy sent to the Western Hemisphere spent most of the year in the West Indies, and only sailed near the Thirteen Colonies during the Caribbean hurricane season from July until November.

The first French fleet attempted landings in New York and Rhode Island, but ultimately failed to engage British forces during Successfully deceiving the British that an attack was planned in New York, Washington and de Rochambeau marched to Virginia, and de Grasse began landing forces near Yorktown, Virginia. On September 5, a major naval action was fought by de Grasse and the British at the Battle of the Virginia Capes , ending with the French fleet in control of the Chesapeake Bay.

The U. Navy continued to interdict British supply ships until peace was finally declared in late The Revolutionary War was ended by the Treaty of Paris in , and by the Continental Navy was disbanded and the remaining ships were sold. The frigate Alliance , which had fired the last shots of the American Revolutionary War, was also the last ship in the Navy. A faction within Congress wanted to keep the ship, but the new nation did not have the funds to keep her in service.

Other than a general lack of money, factors for the disarmament of the navy were the loose confederation of the states, a change of goals from war to peace, and more domestic and fewer foreign interests. After the American Revolutionary War, the brand-new United States struggled to stay financially afloat. National income was desperately needed and most came from tariffs on imported goods. Because of rampant smuggling , the need was immediate for strong enforcement of tariff laws.

American merchant shipping had been protected by the British Navy, and as a consequence of the Treaty of Paris and the disarmament of the Continental Navy, the United States no longer had any protection for its ships from pirates. The fledgling nation did not have the funds to pay annual tribute to the Barbary states , so their ships were vulnerable for capture after By , the new Constitution of the United States authorized Congress to create a navy, but during George Washington's first term — little was done to rearm the navy.

Soon after, the pirates sailed into the Atlantic, and captured 11 American merchant ships and more than a hundred seamen. In reaction to the seizure of the American vessels, Congress debated and approved the Naval Act of , which authorized the building of six frigates, four of 44 guns and two of 36 guns. Supporters were mostly from the northern states and the coastal regions, who argued the Navy would result in savings in insurance and ransom payments, while opponents from southern states and inland regions thought a navy was not worth the expense and would drive the United States into more costly wars.

After considerable debate, three of the six frigates were authorized to be completed: United States , Constitution and Constellation. At the same time, tensions between the U. The United States preferred to take a position of neutrality in the conflicts between France and Britain, but this put the nation at odds with both Britain and France. After the Jay Treaty was authorized with Great Britain in , France began to side against the United States and by they had seized over American vessels.

The newly inaugurated President John Adams took steps to deal with the crisis, working with Congress to finish the three almost-completed frigates, approving funds to build the other three, and attempting to negotiate an agreement similar to the Jay Treaty with France. The XYZ Affair originated with a report distributed by Adams where alleged French agents were identified by the letters X, Y, and Z who informed the delegation a bribe must be paid before the diplomats could meet with the foreign minister, and the resulting scandal increased popular support in the country for a war with France.

The war with France was fought almost entirely at sea, mostly between privateers and merchant ships. The remainder of the ships in service were sold and the dismissed officers were given four months pay. The problems with the Barbary states had never gone away, and on May 10, the Tripolitans declared war on the United States by chopping down the flag in front of the American Embassy, which began the First Barbary War. This policy proved completely ineffective within a decade. President Thomas Jefferson and his Republican party opposed a strong navy, arguing that small gunboats in the major harbors were all the nation needed to defend itself.

They proved useless in wartime. The Royal Navy continued to illegally press American sailors into the Royal Navy; an estimated 10, sailors between and Leopard severely damaged Chesapeake when she refused. The most violent of many such encounters, the affair further fueled the tensions and in June the U. Much of the war was expected to be fought at sea; and within an hour of the announcement of war, the diminutive American navy set forth to do battle with an opponent outnumbering it to The capture of the three British frigates led the British to deploy more vessels on the American seaboard to tighten the blockade.

Lawrence was mortally wounded and famously cried out, "Don't give up the ship! During the summer of , the British fought the Chesapeake Campaign , which was climaxed by amphibious assaults against Washington and Baltimore. The capital fell to the British almost without a fight, and several ships were burned at the Washington Navy Yard , including the gun frigate USS Columbia.

At Baltimore, the bombardment by Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to write " The Star-Spangled Banner ", and the hulks blocking the channel prevented the fleet from entering the harbor; the army reembarked on the ships, ending the battle. Navy until World War II. After the war, the Navy's accomplishments paid off in the form of better funding, and it embarked on the construction of many new ships. However, the expense of the larger ships was prohibitive, and many of them stayed in shipyards half-completed, in readiness for another war, until the Age of Sail had almost completely passed.

The main force of the Navy continued to be large sailing frigates with a number of smaller sloops during the three decades of peace. By the s, the Navy began to adopt steam power and shell guns, but they lagged behind the French and British in adopting the new technologies. Enlisted sailors during this time included many foreign-born men, and native-born Americans were usually social outcasts who had few other employment options or they were trying to escape punishment for crimes. It was unlawful for black men to serve in the Navy, but the shortage of men was so acute this law was frequently ignored.

Discipline followed the customs of the Royal Navy but punishment was much milder than typical in European navies. Sodomy was rarely prosecuted. The Army abolished flogging as a punishment in , but the Navy kept it until During the War of , the Barbary states took advantage of the weakness of the United States Navy to again capture American merchant ships and sailors. After the Treaty of Ghent was signed, the United States looked at ending the piracy in the Mediterranean which had plagued American merchants for two decades. On March 3, , the U. Congress authorized deployment of naval power against Algiers, beginning the Second Barbary War.

Two powerful squadrons under the command of Commodores Stephen Decatur, Jr. Shortly after departing Gibraltar en route to Algiers, Decatur's squadron encountered the Algerian flagship Meshuda , and, in the Action of 17 June , captured it. By June, the squadrons had reached Algiers and peace was negotiated with the Dey, including a return of captured vessels and men, a guarantee of no further tributes and a right to trade in the region. Piracy in the Caribbean sea was also a major problem, and between and an estimated 3, ships were captured by pirates. In , Congress authorized President James Madison to deal with this threat, and since many of the pirates were privateers of the newly independent states of Latin America, he decided to embark on a strategy of diplomacy backed up by the guns of the Navy.

Another international problem was the slave trade, and the African squadron was formed in to deal with this threat. Politically, the suppression of the slave trade was unpopular, and the squadron was withdrawn in ostensibly to deal with piracy in the Caribbean, and did not return to the African coast until the passage of the Webster—Ashburton treaty with Britain in After the treaty was passed, the United States used fewer ships than the treaty required, ordered the ships based far from the coast of Africa, and used ships that were too large to operate close to shore.

Between and , the United States Navy captured only 10 slave vessels, while the British captured vessels carrying 27, captives. The poor quality of officer training in the U. He formed a council led by Commodore Perry to create a new system for training officers, and turned the old Fort Severn at Annapolis into a new institution in which would be designated as the United States Naval Academy by Congress in Naval forces participated in the effort to forcibly move the Seminole Indians from Florida to a reservation west of the Mississippi.

After a massacre of army soldiers near Tampa on December 28, , marines and sailors were added to the forces which fought the Second Seminole War from until A "mosquito fleet" was formed in the Everglades out of various small craft to transport a mixture of army and navy personnel to pursue the Seminoles into the swamps. About 1, soldiers were killed during the conflict, some Seminoles agreed to move but a small group of Seminoles remained in control of the Everglades and the area around Lake Okeechobee. The Navy played a role in two major operations of the Mexican—American War — ; during the Battle of Veracruz , it transported the invasion force that captured Veracruz by landing 12, troops and their equipment in one day, leading eventually to the capture of Mexico City, and the end of the war.

Its Pacific Squadron 's ships facilitated the capture of California. In Commodore Matthew Perry led the Perry Expedition, a squadron of four ships which sailed to Japan to establish normal relations with Japan. Perry's two technologically advanced steam-powered ships and calm, firm diplomacy convinced Japan to end three centuries of isolation and sign Treaty of Kanagawa with the U.

Nominally a treaty of friendship, the agreement soon paved the way for the opening of Japan and normal trade relations with the United States and Europe. Between the beginning of the war and the end of , commissioned officers, warrant officers, and midshipmen resigned or were dismissed from the United States Navy and went on to serve the Confederacy.

Winfield Scott , the commanding general of the U. Army at the beginning of the war, devised the Anaconda Plan to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible. His idea was that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River would split the South.

Lincoln adopted the plan in terms of a blockade to squeeze to death the Confederate economy, but overruled Scott's warnings that his new army was not ready for an offensive operation because public opinion demanded an immediate attack. On March 8, , the Confederate Navy initiated the first combat between ironclads when Virginia successfully attacked the blockade. Their battle ended in a draw, and the Confederacy later lost Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture. Monitor was the prototype for the monitor warship and many more were built by the Union Navy.

While the Confederacy built more ironclad ships during the war, they lacked the ability to build or purchase ships that could effectively counter the monitors.

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Along with ironclad ships, the new technologies of naval mines , which were known as torpedoes after the torpedo eel , and submarine warfare were introduced during the war by the Confederacy. After Tecumseh sank, Admiral David G. Farragut famously said, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! The Union ship was barely damaged and the resulting geyser of water put out the fires in the submarine's boiler, rendering the submarine immobile.

Hunley , was designed to dive and surface but ultimately did not work well and sank on five occasions during trials. When the Union Navy seized a blockade runner, the ship and cargo were sold and the proceeds given to the Navy sailors; the captured crewmen were mostly British and they were simply released. The blockade of the South caused the Southern economy to collapse during the war. Shortages of food and supplies were caused by the blockade, the failure of Southern railroads, the loss of control of the main rivers, and foraging by Union and Confederate armies.

The standard of living fell even as large-scale printing of paper money caused inflation and distrust of the currency. By the internal food distribution had broken down, leaving cities without enough food and causing food riots across the Confederacy. The Union victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in January closed the last useful Southern port, virtually ending blockade running and hastening the end of the war.

After the war, the Navy went into a period of decline. Navy the second largest in the world after the Royal Navy. In , an expedition of five warships commanded by Rear Admiral John Rodgers was sent to Korea to obtain an apology for the murders of several shipwrecked American sailors and secure a treaty to protect shipwrecked foreigners in the future. After a small skirmish, Rodgers launched an amphibious assault of approximately men on the forts protecting Seoul.

Despite the capture of the forts, the Koreans refused to negotiate, and the expedition was forced to leave before the start of typhoon season. By the s most of the ironclads from the Civil War were laid up in reserve, leaving the United States virtually without an ironclad fleet. When the Virginius Affair first broke out in , a Spanish ironclad happened to be anchored in New York Harbor , leading to the uncomfortable realization on the part of the U. Navy that it had no ship capable of defeating such a vessel.

The Navy hastily issued contracts for the construction of five new ironclads, and accelerated its existing repair program for several more. All five vessels would later take part in the Spanish—American War of By the time the Garfield administration assumed office in , the Navy's condition had deteriorated still further. A review conducted on behalf of the new Secretary of the Navy, William H.

Hunt , found that of vessels on the Navy's active list, only 52 were in an operational state, of which a mere 17 were iron-hulled ships, including 14 aging Civil War era ironclads. Hunt recognized the necessity of modernizing the Navy, and set up an informal advisory board to make recommendations.

History of the United States Navy

The limitations of the monitor type effectively prevented the United States from projecting power overseas, and until the s the United States would have come off badly in a conflict with even Spain or the Latin American powers. In , on the recommendation of an advisory panel, the Navy Secretary William H. Hunt requested funds from Congress to construct modern ships.

The ABCD ships proved to be excellent vessels, and the three cruisers were organized into the Squadron of Evolution , popularly known as the White Squadron because of the color of the hulls, which was used to train a generation of officers and men. Alfred Thayer Mahan 's book The Influence of Sea Power upon History, — , published in , was very influential in justifying the naval program to the civilian government and to the general public.

With the closing of the frontier, some Americans began to look outwards, to the Caribbean, to Hawaii and the Pacific, and with the doctrine of Manifest Destiny as philosophical justification, many saw the Navy as an essential part of realizing that doctrine beyond the limits of the American continent. Tracy to propose the United States start building no less than ships of all types, but Congress rejected the proposal.

By around the start of the 20th century, two Kearsarge -class battleships and three Illinois -class battleships were completed or under construction, which brought the U. Navy from twelfth place in [81] to fifth place among the world's navies. Battle tactics, especially long-range gunnery, became a central concern. The United States was interested in purchasing colonies from Spain, specifically Cuba, but Spain refused. Newspapers wrote stories, many which were fabricated, about atrocities committed in Spanish colonies which raised tensions between the two countries. The cause of the explosion was investigated by a board of inquiry, which in March came to the conclusion the explosion was caused by a sea mine, and there was pressure from the public to blame Spain for sinking the ship.

However, later investigations pointed to an internal explosion in one of the magazines caused by heat from a fire in the adjacent coal bunker. The Navy's experience in this war was encouraging in that it had won but also cautionary in that the enemy had one of the weakest of the world's modern fleets.

Also, the Manila Bay attack was extremely risky in which the American ships could have incurred severe damage or run out of supplies, as they were 7, miles from the nearest American harbor. That would have a profound effect on Navy strategy and American foreign policy for next several decades. Fortunately for the New Navy, its most ardent political supporter, Theodore Roosevelt , became President in Under his administration, the Navy went from the sixth largest in the world to second only to the Royal Navy. At a speech in , Roosevelt said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far", which was a cornerstone of diplomacy during his presidency.

The fleet returned to Germany on 13 August, and the annual autumn maneuvers followed from 27 August to 12 September. Later that year, the fleet toured coastal German cities as part of an effort to increase public support for naval expenditures. The next year——followed much the same pattern.

His tenure as fleet commander was marked by strategic experimentation, owing to the increased threat the latest underwater weapons posed, and because the new Nassau -class battleships were too wide to pass through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. Accordingly, the fleet was transferred from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven on 1 April In May , the fleet conducted training maneuvers in the Kattegat , between Norway and Denmark. These were in accordance with Holtzendorff's strategy, which envisioned drawing the Royal Navy into the narrow waters in the Kattegat. The annual summer cruise went to Norway, and was followed by fleet training, during which another fleet review was held in Danzig on 29 August.

A training cruise into the Baltic followed at the end of the year. In March , the fleet conducted exercises in the Skagerrak and Kattegat. Pommern and the rest of the fleet received British and American naval squadrons in Kiel in June and July. The year's autumn maneuvers were confined to the Baltic and the Kattegat. Another fleet review was held during the exercises for a visiting Austro-Hungarian delegation that included Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Admiral Rudolf Montecuccoli.

In mid, due to the Agadir Crisis , the summer cruise only went into the Baltic to avoid exposing the fleet during the period of heightened tension with Britain and France. As a result of rising international tensions, the cruise was cut short and the German fleet was back in Wilhelmshaven by 29 July. Pommern and her squadron mates were stationed in the mouth of the Elbe to support the vessels on patrol duty in the Bight. Once it became clear that the British would not attack the High Seas Fleet, the Germans began a series of operations designed to lure out part of the numerically superior British Grand Fleet and destroy it.

However, skirmishes between the rival destroyer screens in the darkness convinced the German fleet commander, VAdm Friedrich von Ingenohl , that the entire Grand Fleet was deployed before him. Under orders from Wilhelm II to avoid battle if victory was not certain, von Ingenohl broke off the engagement and turned the battlefleet back towards Germany. Two fruitless fleet advances followed on 17—18 and 21—23 April A third took place on 17—18 May, and a fourth occurred on 23—24 October. She was detached to return home, and the rest of the ships continued with the mission.

Due to poor visibility, the battlecruisers conducted a brief bombardment of the ports of Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The operation was quickly called off, preventing the British fleet from being able to intervene.