The Times History of the War 1914, Volume II

2 THE TIMES HISTORY OF THE WAR FIRST AND SECOND SQUAD RON SAT SEA ,Headed by the “Iron Duke and the “Marlborough.” Cribb Southsea. would have been paralysed and no oversea possession of either would have been secure. England would have been daily expecting invasion with an unemployed population clamouring for food. Now as in the great wars of the past the better fleet proved not only the “sure shield ”of the nation but the firm basis of offensive action. The British Navy set free the whole military forces of the Empire and enabled them to be brought to bear upon the needs of the land campaign. More than 350000 men were transported across the seas without a single mishap. Ger­man shipping was either captured or driven to seek refuge in neutral ports with the result of economic pressure upon Germany th a twas certain to increase with every month of war. The attack upon British commerce elaborately planned and supported by measures taken before the outbreak of war proved far less serious than had been expected. The Admiralty was able to outpoint in October that only 1 percent. “out of 4000 British ships engaged in foreign trade ”had been sunk and that the rate of insurance for cargoes originally fixed a t 5 percent. had “been reduced to two guineas percent without injury to the sol­vency of the fund.” Moreover a portion of the relatively small losses—th a t caused by the Em den especially— was indue part to the preoccupation of the ships of war in con­voying troops awhile“ large numb er” of these losses was “caused by merchant vessels taking everything for granted and proceeding without due precautions.” Lastly as a t the battle of the Alma but with infinitely greater effect British ships had directly co-operated with military forces and powerfully aided in defeating violent attacks on the left of the line of the Allies in Flanders. While thus in the strategic rense the effect of changed materiel had been to extend the power of the superior Navy and (o enable that power to be exerted in a shorter tim ethan formerly the new conditions had led to signifi­cant results. The large use of mines by the S outhsej. REAR -A D AMIR G.E.L MAD DEN ,Chief of the Staff.
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