The Times History of the War 1914, Volume II

CHAPTER XXX. THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF NAVAL WAR. Intro duct i on—T h e Nature o f Naval Sup r e macy— A nUns e enD o m i nat ion— P rote c t i o nor Trans p o r ts— cureS i t y o f Commerce and Supp lie s—Ec ono mic Press u r eon theE n e my—Th e New Mate riel —Mines— buS mar ines— A i r craft— A Brill i ant Record— T h e Kings Mes sage— A d amir l Jell i c o e's Comm and— I nit i a lOpe rat ions —The NorthS e a Are ra—Ge man Strategy -—Mine- L a yin g—Loss o f the“ A mph ion ”—T he“B i r ming ­hams ”Success -—Min e-S wee Aping— Sweep o f the manGer C o a st— V i c tory Hoff e gil o land— A Brill i ant Engagement —Sub marin eRe conn a i sans ce— G a i n sand Loss e s—B r i sit h Mine- leiF din the North Sea— Loss o f“Ab o u k i r ”“Hog u e ”and “Cress y ”—Four manGer Destroyers Sunk —TheM reedit ran e Fan— r enc h Naval Pol icy -—Escape oft h e“Go e b e n”an d“B res l a ”—Tu heB a l tic —British Mon i tor son the French Coast .THREE months of war shed light upon the conduct of naval opera­tions in modern conditions and threw into strong relief alike the efficiency and the predominance of the British Navy. In his memorable interview with the British Ambassador in Berlin SirE. Goschen, on August 4 the German Imperial Chancellor for a moment revealed his real convictions. The idea of British intervention was he said, “terrible to a degree.” The conjectures of the eager experts who laboured to make their countrymen believe that naval supremacy no longer counted as in the past and that modern weapons combined with steam and speed had imposed heavy disabilities upon the superior fleet were soon brought to the test and proved unfounded. To Germany the might of the British Navy showed itself “terrible to a degree.” In the broad sense it can be said that the old lessons of naval war were strikingly re­affirmed and that those who had strongly main ta:ned that the many startling changes of materiel had not impaired the potency of the Vol. 2.—P art 14. superior fleet or prevented our Navy from discharging its vitally important functions in war were amply justified. In 1804 the positions of the British battle .squadrons and the nature of the duties they were carrying on were almost unknown to the public. Y et,as Admiral M ahan has outpointed “while bodily present before Brest Rochefort and Toulon strategically the British squadrons inlay the Straits of Dover barring the way against the Army of Invasion.” More than this could be said of the British Grand Fleet after three months of war. Unseen since the war began it dominated the AVestern Campaign in the strategic sense. If it had not existed or had been overwhelmed the sea-board of France would have been a t the mercy of the enemy. Large forces might have been landed, which would have gravely embarrassed the French Armies. No British troops would have been available to stem the first German onset and—steadily reinforced— to have co-operated1 powerfully in hurling back the invaders and holding them fast a t along distance from their objective— Paris. British and French trade
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