THE NAVAL SOCIETY
For Private Circulation
among its Members.
Copy9ighted under Act oj' 1911.
I. WITHT H E GRAND
FLEET~ T H
( JAXUIRT 1 9 1 j) - I
2. N-~RRATIVE THE PROCEEDINGS
OF OF H.lI.;l.S.
I'.\RT I. -
SYL)NE'I'. - - - - 9
I I. THE INFLUEKE OVERSI--1 Tr,\nb: ox H I ~ I . ~ I S I I
NAVAL STRATEGY THE p . 4 ~ .\ND .\T
PRESENT - - - - - - - 104
12. THEROY.~LI V4S ~x
* ~ ~ 1 . 4. ~ ~ -
4 ~ - - 13s
ACTION F F T H E FILKLYNDINDS. THECHASE
01: THE GEII~IAN SQUADRON THE KENT'S
ACTION WITH THE SI'TRNBERG - - - - I43
16. ~ A R R A T I V EO F THE A 4 ~ 1
~ O F F T H E~ COAST F
CHILE. BY.IN OFFICER
OF THE GLASC;OW -
REPORT .ACTION W I T H T H E EMDEN.
BY CAPTAIN C. ' ' GLOSSOP,
J. I. R.N., H.M.A.S.
SIDNEY - - - - - - -
18. GERMAN SQUADRON. LETTERFROM
ONE OF THE CREWOF THE - -
19. ~\IEJIORANIIUJI T H E DIRECTORF
81 O THE AIR
ON :\ERIAL ATTACKON FRIED-
RICHSHAFEN - - - - - - -
20. N.~I<R.ITIVE A
OF ~O F F F~I,I(L.~ND
~ ~ o
~ ISLANDS. ~
BY AN OFFICERF
O THE INFLESIBLE - - -
WITH THE GRAND FLEET ~ T H
( APRIL, 1915) - I7I
FINANCE D NAVAL WARFARE-
AN - 201
THE ACTION OFF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS.
( I ) THE CORNWALL'S SHARE
(2) A LETTER FROM THE INVINCIBLE -
(3) THE PART OF THE MACEDONIA -
(4) THE CRUISE OF H.M.S. CANOPUS -
(5) SIDELIGHTS TIIE BATTLE -
NAVAL WORK I N THE CAMEROONS. PART 11. -
PROCEEDINGS H.M.S. CUMBERLAND
OF AHD THE
C PER AT IONS I N THE CAMEROONS PARTI. -
THE ALLIED CHINA SQUADRON -
THE OPERATIONSAT TSINGTAUD
AN THE WORK
O F THE TRIUMPH.PARTI. -
COMBINED NAVAL A N D MILITARY OPERATIONS
AGAINST SHEIKHSEYD, SOUTHERN ARABIA -
CORRESPONDENCE - -
Contributions to the " Naval Review."
HON. EDITOR'S NOTES.
WITH THE GRAND FLEET(IST JULY,1915) - - 345
OR ? - - - - - 354
THE FUTURE THF, ROYAL
OF CANADIAN NAVY- - 364
THE WORKOF THE GLASGOW, THE ACTION OFF
CORONEL. PARTI. - - - - - - 378
CORONEL,I ST NOVEMBER 4. 191 VICE-ADMIRAL
COUNT SPEE'S DESPATCH - - - - - 398
OF FROM LETTER BY VICE-
ADMIRAL COUNT SPEE HIS SON, LIEUTENAKT
COUNT OTTOSPEE - - - - - -
TRANSLATION A POCKET
OF DIARYFOUND ON AN
OFFICER SURVIVOR GNEISENAU -
OF THE - -
EXTRACTS FROM THE LOG OF THE DRESDEN, WITH
COMMENTSN HER CAREER -
THE SINKINGTHE DRESDEN -
OF - - -
IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC - - - - - -
NARRATIVE THE PROCEEDINGS H .M.A.S.
SYDNEY. PART 11. - - - - - -
H .&I.S. INDEFATIGABLE. WITH THE SQUADROX OF
OBSERVATION F THE DARDANELLES -
OF OF H.M.S. CHATHAM
OFF EAST COASTOF AFRICA IN SEARCH THEOF
K~NIGSBERG - - - - - - - -
THE PERSIAN GULF. THE NAVAL OPERATIONS THE
SHATT-AL-ARAB - - - - - - -
PROCEEDINGS H.M.S. CUMBERLAND THE
OPERATIONS TIIE CAMEROONS.
IN PART - 11. -
ON SECURING ALONGSIDE ANOTHER
SKIPS ONE -
CORRESPONDENCE - - - - - - -
Corrections to Articles KO. 7 (2) and No. 7 (I) in
FLEET ~ T H
1915) - - 539
OF PEACE - - - - - 547
IN THE - -
PACIFIC - - 600
AN OUTPOST THE EMPIRE. 'THE PROCEEDINGS
T H E \VEYXIOUTH - - - - - - 604
THEWORK THE MONITORS THE BELGIAN
OF ON COAST 61 I
l ~ ~ ON
r r ~ lMONTHS THE SYRIAN
COAST - - - 621 '
19. CORRESPOND~NCE - - - - - 699
Boat Sailing in the Navy.
. " Naval History " Anecdote.
Corrections t o August Number.
X YEAR NAVAL
~VARPAKE - - - - 535
WITH THE GRAND FLEET (4TH OCTOBER, 5) -
191 - 539
THE SHIBBOLETHS PEACE -OF - - - 547
WELFARE THE PERSONNEL
OF - - - - - 553
NAVAL EDUCATION- - - - - - 559
SOME REFLECTIONS THE WAROF 1914-191-
ON - 569
A Cullrous ANALOGY - - - - - 575
THE IT.ILIAN w.4~ - - - - - - 579
HIDEAND SEEK THE PACIFIC
IN - - - - - 600
,\N C)UTPOST OF THE EMPIRE. 'I'HE PROCEEDINGS OF
THE TVEY~FOUTH - - - - - - - 604
'I'HE WORK THE MONITORS THE BELGIAN
OF ON COAST 61 I
?'HIZEE MONTHS THE SYRIAN
ON COAST - - - 621
-4 ~ Y N O P S I S THE DOINGS THE CAPE F GOOD
OF OF O
HOPESQUADRON - - - - - - 637
ITINER~IXY .M .S. TRIUMPH
1 - - - 644
THE SUEZCANAL - - - - - - - 649
a SHORTDI.:SCRIPTION THE LANDING THE
AUSTRALI.~NS 47' GABA TEPE- - - - - 653
'I'HE PERSIAN GULF. PART11. THE NATAL OPER~\-
TIONS IN MESOPOTAMIA - - - - - 659
THEA \ ~ ON~THE K ~ N I~ S B E R G
4 ~ G ~ - - 682
CORRESPONDENCE - - - - - 699
Boat Sailing in the Navy.
-4 " Naval History " Anecdote.
Corrections to August Number.
?'HE object of the Saval Society in founding a REVIEW to is
encourage thought and discussion on such subjects a s strategy,
tactics, naval operations, staff work, administration, organisa-
tion, command, discipline, education, naval history, and any
other topic affecting the fighting efficiency of the Savy, but
excluding the material aspects of the technical sciences ; it is
hoped that it will help to build u p that body of sound doctrine
which is so essential to success in war, and to provide a means
of expression and discussion within the Service.
It is proposed to issue a quarterly edition, only printing
sufficient copies for distribution to members. T h e fact of join-
ing the Society involves a guarantee that proper care is taken of
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such with anyone outside the range of membership; and that
they should on no account be used for press or political
The question of excluding confidential matter must rest with
the Hon. Editor, who will obtain the opinion of other members
in deciding doubtful points. I<verything connected with war
can be discussed in the abstract, but generally speaking, service
methods should not be referred to, except when dealing with
silbjects already made public such as education, administration,
staff organisation, discipline, etc.
Original articles, criticisms of previous ones, notices and
reviews of books, and translations are invited from all members
of the Society. These should be sent to .Admiral TAT. H .
Henderson, 3, Onslow Houses, Idondon, S.W., who mill select
for publication. They should, if possible, be typewritten ; if
only one copy is sent it is advisable to register it.
To encourage free discussion and criticism it is thought
best that all articles should he anonymous, but if contributors
desire it the Hon. Editor \ \ i l l assign letters to them.
Officers of and above the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal
Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Australian Navy and the Naval
Service of Canada, the First Lord and Civil Members of the
Board of Admiralty, Members of the Committee of lmperial
Defence, the Ministers for Defence of the Dominions, and the
Lecturer on Naval History at the W a r College, are eligible for
membership. T h e subscription is 10s. per annum, due on the
1st January in each year, which should be sent to, and made
payable to, the Union of London and Smiths Bank, Ltd.,
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crossed for a / c of the Naval Society, or by a bankers' order
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Each copy is numbered. Members are particularly
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Having undertaken the duties of Hon. Treasurer of the
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of address and all communications, except remittances to the
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at any time and they are invited to offer me their suggestions
or criticisms on matters connected with the REVIEW.
Members will notice that with this the first number of
Vol. 111. a lighter quality of paper has been adopted, which will
allow for expansion and at the same time keep the cost of
postage down, as well as proportionately reducing the bulk of
the volumes when bound.
Members sending Vol. I. to be bound should enclose their
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The Index to Vol. 11. and for all future Volumes will,
however, be added when Members send their copies to be
Notices concerning the reprinting of Volume I., Binding
of Volumes, Increase of Membership, and Statement of
Accounts for 1914, will be found at the end of this number.
147. H. HENDERSON,
3, Onslow Houses,
Febrziary, 191j. London, S.W.
NOTES HON. EDITOR.
O n account of the war several articles promised for this
number have of course no1 been forthcoming. I t i s hoped,
however, that the REVIEW a y be kept going, and possibly that
it m a y serve to record some of the incidents and lessons of the
war w h i c h m a y otherwise pass into oblivion. T h e Naval
Chronicle in the Great W a r was the recipient of m a n y interest-
i n g letters from oficers o n every kind of subject relating to the
war, as readers of i t will rentembcr. I t contained anecdotes,
proceedings of squadrons in action, reviews of current literature,
copies of letters from the Gazette, registers of events, pro-
motions, state of the .Vavy, and m a n y other matters, m u c h of
zvhich was contributed b y sea-officers; and it i s a repository of a
mass of matter which would otherzvise have been lost. A l t h o u g h
there are more means nowadays of preserving a record of these
things, the newspapers, in consequence of the censorship, m u s t
necessarily present a very scanty outline.
If it should be found possible to set out a comprehensive
outline of the general course of the war, particularly in its
strategical aspects, it will be done. B u t it will be recognised
that it is not yet possible to do this, and that a n y information
must be somewhat belated before it can be reproduced even in a
periodical enjoying the confidential nature of the NAVAL
It i s hoped that members m a y continue to send contribu-
tions. T h e Channel knows little of what hus happened in
China, nor does China k n o w what the Cape has been doing.
A n y t h i n g that will throw some light o n the operations w h i c h
have been in progress, and let oficers k n o w what the N a v y has
been doing in parts other t h a n their o w n stations should be of
interest, as well as results of experiences that m a y be useful all
round. I t i s probably unnecessary to say that due caution m u s t
be observed, and the lapse of time considered, in describing
events, and that these points m a y safely be left in the hands of
the H o n . Editor. November, 1914.
It will be seen that a beginning in the foregoing direction
has been made in the February number, and I hope that other
members will follow up the lead. February, 1915.
WITH T H E G R A N D FLEET.
\YE can no\?; take stocli of the naval situation after five months
of mar. Since the last number of the NAVAL REVIEW pro-lvas
duced there has been little fighting and few great events to
appeal to the imagination, yet none the less some tremendous
issues have been decided. Some were decided in battle and
others, by no means the least important, were settled without a
shot being fired.
Three months ago 1 wrote that the future contained for our
Navy three vital necessities, which were-
( I ) T o maintain unimpaired the full command of the outer
(2) T o ensure the chief aim of all strategy; that we shall
muster overwhelming force in the decisive area.
(3) T o exert against the enemy, by the use of sea-power, a
maximum of economic and military pressure.
Three months ago the chances of attaining these urgent
requirements were all, in some measure, open to doubt. A4s
regards ( I ) , no enemy cruiser on the high seas had pet been
caught. They had eluded all their pursuers; the Emden was
holding up a vital trade route and had done damage amounting
to over ~2,ooo,ooo. Later the Good Hope and hlonmouth were
sunk, and the German China Fleet was causing widespread
alarm in every Iiriiish port fro13 Vancouver to Cape Town.
The task of rounding up our agile enemiesappeared stupendous.
But now what a change ! On all the trade routes of the world
there are only two German cruisers at large; their fuel supply is
precarious, they can get no repairs, and they are being hunted
night and day by superior forces.
Writing three months ago I said of our officers abroad
" we know that they are doing arduous and difficult work in all
2 N.4VAL REVIEW.
the seven seas, and we know that they will do it well and
tlioroughlj-." Truly they have done so.
T h e total number of vessels molested or damaged per
month, inclusive of everything (such as vessels stopped and
released again, trawlers captured, or sunk by mines, etc.) is as
follows. August 40, September 31, October 25, November 10,
December 8. I quote these because when plotted as a curve
(see diagram) they give a very striking forecast of the increas-
ing security of our trade and shipping. T o coin an impossible
phrase, one might almost call it a " Command of the Sea "
~ ' /nter-ferenci e 'wiCh' Brifish" "Sh'pp~"$ 1Qf4
" " ~ " " "" '" m i t i "' " ' " " " " " " " " ~
As regards ( 2 ) , we were compelled to send from home
battle cruisers to deal with the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
H a d the enemy's strategy abroad proved successful they might
have sent out from home the Blucher, Roon, or a battle cruiser,
to make us send away yet other detachments. If those already
abroad eluded us the others might also, and we should then
have had to hunt the whole Atlantic with heavy ships, thus
seriously weakening our strength in the decisive area. But that
danger is now dead. In face of the disasters that have over-
whelmed their ships abroad, their loss of prestige and lack of
coaling bases, the Germans can never dare now to play the
same game with bigger stakes. Thus we can follow unhindered
the true principles of Imperial strategy.
WITH THE GRAND FLEET. 3
Having cleared the outer seas we work inwards towards the
centre and gradually concentrate a n ever-increasing force in the
area where the decisive issue rnust eventually be settled.
A s regards (3), it'was long doubtful whether the use of
neutral ports and the menace of hostile submarines might not
prevent our fleet from exerting effective economic pressure.
T h a t doubt is now settled. Both in war material and in the
necessaries of life there is a shortage in Germany and Austria
which cannot be relieved. T h e prices of food have risen, and
they mill continue to rise till the war is ended. T h e number
of unemployed in Germany, is more than double the number for
previous years. Before the winter ends the economic pressure
will have become very severe. W e have therefore every reason
to feel satisfied with the Naval situation. Naturall~lwe have
not in all respects been perfect, in fact many mistakes have been
made, but our mistakes have been instructive and interesting
and it is a very comforting thought that in spite of them all we
are successfully achieving the main duties that are expected of
us. \lie have taken some big risks, and had a few misfortunes,
but only the Navy has suffered from them and the situation now
is becoming steadily more favourable.
There is not much to record in the doings of the Grand
Fleet (even if the Censor would permit) for all the world knows
that we are still waiting for the chance that has not yet been
given us to meet the German Fleet. One new experience is
our encounter with " Admiral W i n t e r " (whom we may regard
a s the S a v a l equivalent of " General F4vrier ") and I think
most of us have been surprised t o find how comfortable we can
make ourselves in the winter months, even under war conditions,
after adequate preparation. T h e winter now has no terrors and
not many discomforts for the heavy ships. For the small craft
it is of course different. O u r destroyers and torpedo boats,
sometimes thrashing at high speed through a winter gale, must
be prepared to face a t times the worst conditions ever met by
those who sail the seas. Navigation, difficult at any time in
torpedo craft, must grapple now with conditions approaching
very near to that forbidden word " impossible." Even omitting
the active operations of the enemy, the degree of danger from
4 N.iV..\L REVIEW.
collision, grounding, striking a mine, o r being sunk at night
by a British ship, is s o considerable that the immunity from
damage in our torpedo craft seems t o reflect much credit on the
young officers responsible for their handling. I n our heavy
ships we seem largely indebted to " the little cherub that sits
u p aloft " for constant protection from hidden dangers. ;Idding
u p in one ship (and it may apply in many others) we found
that in five months of war she had steamed over 25,000 miles
in waters which the enemy have constantly endeavoured to
render impassable with mines and submarines. This shows that
our methods of locating o r removing these pests are not without
value, a n d we may hope that they will continue to improve in
Of course a t a n y time n~isfortunesmay overtake us, and it
\vould be wrong not to expect them. But we have the com-
forting thought that nothing the enemy has achieved in the last
five months has turned us one hair's breadth from the results
we are determined to obtain, a n d we are better able now to
afford not merely small losses, but losses even in our finest
ships, \\-ithout hampering in a n y \vay the attainment of our
I t has to be admitted that we are not in a position to stop
with certainty a dash across the North S e a for the purpose of
bombarding undefended towns and slaughtering civilians.
T h a t is assassination, not war, a n d it can bring no possible
benefit to German arms, but we must expect that it may be
repeated. I t might happen as many a s three o r four times, bur
the more often it is repeated the more certain it becomes that
the final ending of such strategy will be entirely in our favour.
T u r n i n g from what the Grand Fleet is doing, there is a s much
interest a n d quite a s much importance in \\hat the Grand Fleet
Ofiicers a n d men, lilte everyone else, speculate much o n
\!-hen the war will end. Not because they are tired of the war
but merely because, a s in times of peace, they are looking
for\vard to a little leave.
There is of course a certain amount of boredom and
monotony, but it is not the horedonl of the trenches where
\VITH TIIE GL<.\ND FLE11:T. 5
constant fighting makes a man hope for rest and quiet. Mere
it is the boredom of too much rest and no sufficient opportunity
for fighting. T h e wild enthusiasm aroused in a ship's company
when there is a chance of a fight; the terrific energF with which,
during a chase, the stokers wield their shovels to squeeze from
leaking boilers same incredible horse-power; these are things
scarcely to be believed until one has seen them.
Perhaps the deepest emotion that we see during these long
days of waiting is the rage and bitter disappointment which
possesses every man of a ship's company when some chance
occurs of meeting the enemy and he succeeds in eluding us.
At the moment of writing there is some interest aroused by
the presentation of the United States Government's note. They
protest against the detention or pre-emption of certain American
cargoes of contraband, notably copper and other war material.
'I'he note is of course instigated by certain American merchants
nhose profits have been curtailed, but quite apart from the fact
that our action is fully justified by international law, there
seems to be another answer which is equally conclusive. W e
might reply thus-" W e know that American trade has suffered
enormous losses, but the sole reason for this is the fact that there
is a war going on in Europe. T h e only persons who gain are
the small minority who are trading in contraband of war.
Their irade is greatly increased since war began, and we admit
that their profits n-ould be still greater if it were not for the
interference of the British S a v y . Rut the removal of that
interference cannot possibly be in the interests of the American
people. If it were doubled, or if we were to hold u p all
&lmerican cargoes of copper and other contraband, the war
would end in three months-for Germany and Austria would
be starved into submission. Beyond all doubt, every cargo of
war material that reaches Germany is lengthening the duration
of the war; and a s there can be no return of prosperity to
.%merica till the \x-ar is over, our action in holding u p these
cargoes is most certainly serving the best interests of the
-1mericanpeople." T h i s argument, based on pure utilitarianism,
is one which ought to appeal particularly to those who
organised the official protest.
6 NAVAL REVIEW
T h e chief question in everybody's mind now is " Will the
High Sea Fleet come out for battle, and if so when? "
Opinions on this point are somewhat divided. It is clear
now that our Fleet is gaining steadily in relative strength, and
therefore the Germans' best chance was to fight before the end
of 1914. On the other hand they cling still to their hopes of
gaining on us by attrition, and the danger to them of an early
decision was that if defeated the moral effect of the blow would
be disastrous; also they would simultaneously lose the com-
mand of the Baltic, which is absolutely vital to them. It seems
therefore that, for many reasons, they will prefer now to post-
pone the decisive battle until shortly before the discussion of
peace. By waiting till later in the year they will get better
chances of fog, and the weather will be more suitable for
Zeppelins. Of course there are always possibilities that an
earlier decision might be forced on them at short notice from
some unexpected cause. As regards whether or not they decide
to fight, it seems almost incredible that they should not do so.
Their original hope was to hold their Fleet back for use against
us in a subsequent war, after France had been crushed and
Calais had become German territory. But when that hope has
vanished and it is seen that the German Empire as a fighting
machine is to be utterly crushed, it seems certain that every
atom of fighting power must be thrown into the scales.
Bernhardi was a true prophet when he said that World-Empire
or downfall were the only alternatives. It can hardly be sup-
posed that utter downfall will be meekly accepted without one
effort being made by a fleet that cost it;~oo,ooo,ooo and is
manned by a personnel zealous, well-trained, and anxious to
fight. If not, it can only be for some exceptional reason such
as the sudden and complete collapse of military hopes on land,
or a part of the German Fleet having suffered a severe defeat in
some action where their whole force was not present.
Some difficulty map arise over a choice of locality, for
perhaps the Germans will only offer battle in the Heligoland
Right, or within IOO miles of Heligoland. It is well we should
clearly appreciate that to accept this would be unnecessary folly.
l i e have suffered all the disadvantages of defensive strategy,
WITH THE GRAND FLEET. i
our scattered ships have been a prey for many months to mines,
submarines, and every other form of danger: It is right now
that we should reap the benefit of its one advantage, i.e., the
enemy may choose the day for the battle but we choose the place.
W e already possess everything that sea power can give, we have
achieved everything that naval force can achieve, and to do
this our Fleets are holding constantly the maritime gateways of
the outer world.
If the Germans wish to take from us what we hold they
must come out and storm those gateways. A German Fleet
confined in the North Sea is as impotent as was the Russian
Fleet at Port Arthur after the '10th of August battle. Their
~ s ~ o o , o o o , o fleet cannot do 6 5 worth of good to Germany till
it has defeated our battle fleet and cleared the seas for German .
shipping. Therefore with perfect equanimity we can hold
steadily to our initial plans, knowing that if the German Fleet
is ever to justify its existence it can only do so by attempting
the hopeless task of fighting and beating us in the position we
see fit to select. No doubt by an attempted invasion, or by
bombarding undefended towns, they could persuade us to tight
at a point of their choosing; but that point would probably have
to be nearer to England than Germany and might suit us quite
well enough. If, however, we accept such a challenge we
should do so not because it is essential, or even necessary, as a
matter of naval strategy, but merely to gratify a selfish desire
to give ourselves the pleasure of fighting the German Fleet.
It is most important to appreciate that the axiom laid down
for land fighting-" success in war can be attained only
by the defeat of the enemy's mobile forces "-is subject to
modifications afloat. Mobile forces on shore cannot retire into
hiding and evacuate all the territory they are supposed to guard,
for that would lead to invasion followed sxviftly by national
extinction. Afloat the interests to be guarded are not quite so
vital though they may be nearly so. Hence evacuation is not
impossible, and the enemy's defeat may be either physical or
I f the German Fleet comes out and is defeated in battle it
becomes physically impossible for them to command the sea,
8 N.IV.\L REVIEW.
and success is ours. If they prefer to stay in harbour and
abandon all the maritime highways, they accept a moral defeat
\vhicl~is just a s valuable to us. I t is therefore in no way
necessarv for us to meet and fight them unless they actively
challenge our command of the sea. Otherwise our duty can be
efficiently done without fighting, and the fight becomes a luxury,
which we hope to obtain, but is not a necessity. If, conversely,
we were to accept moral defeat by retiring into harbour and
refusing to fight, it would of course mean the annihilation of
England. F o r Germany, however, the loss of sea-power is not
instantly vital; but it does lead to economic pressure which is
greater than most of us think. Not only is it constantly
sapping the foundations of their military strength but also it is
piling u p for them such a heritage of commercial depression that
their recovery in the future will be desperately slow. If the war
ceased to-morrow with the German Fleet intact, it would
probabl- have shrunk in ten years time-from shortage of
revenue-to a negligible size. Let u s hope that they will
recognise this in time and will not fail to provide for both Fleets
that opportunity for a meeting at sea which has been looked
forward to by the Germans through many years of peace, and
b y us during five months of war.
NARRATIVE O F T,HE P R O C E E D I N G S O F
H.M.A.S. S Y D N E Y .
ON Friday the 31st July 1914 the Sydney was quietly moored
alongside the wharf at Townsville, Queensland, being in the
middle of a short pleasure cruise previous to a proposed visit
of the Royal Australian Squadron to New Zealand.
The chief thought of all on board when the warning
telegram arrived, was what time should we arrive at Brisbane.
There the ship was at once filled up with coal, sights tested,
etc., and on Monday the 3rd of August we proceeded to sea with
the destroyers Warrego and Yarra, going north towards our
war station. The ship was prepared for war and darkened at
night, and the next afternoon we got the war telegram.
On Wednesday the 5th we arrived at Thursday Island,
went alongside the pier and got rid of all superfluous woodwork,
also the beautiful silver bell and shield which we had only just
received from the good citizens of Sydney-in the action with
the Emden a bulkhead was pierced by a shell at the very spot
where the shield had been hanging !
The news of the war had collected all the pearl shell
schooners and boats into the harbour, and as we were shoving
off from the pier about 30 of their Japanese crews came down
and were quite indignant because we would not take them
with us, they thought we were going straight out to fight then
and there and they were spoiling for a scrap.
On Friday 7th we proceeded to sea with the destroyers and
the Physa an oil tank steamer which we had intercepted and
taken charge of, and going down the barrier, eventually met the
Australia and Parramatta in mid-ocean. After a stop of an
hour for a conference of captains on board the flagship, we all
went off in a north-easterly direction, heading for the south-east
point of Papua.
I0 NAVAL REVIEW.
Tuesday 11th was the day of our first real thrill. At 6
p.m. the Australia stopped, and the Sydney with the three
destroyers went on ahead at full speed to make a night attack
on Rabaul, in New Britain, the seat of government of all the
German possessions in the Pacific with the exception of Apia,
It is a lovely harbour, but we knew very little about the
place and imagined it might be mined and defended by land
batteries. W e were told by the flagship to expect the
Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, and some small craft inside, with
probably the Niirnberg patrolling outside, so we were looking
forward to a busy evening, not without rather a "funny
feeling " on the part of most of us.
As we passed the Australia she " cleared lower deck " and
cheered lustily the band playing appropriate tunes as we got
away at 20 knots. There is rather a good yarn about
a stoker in one of the destroyers, who heard all the cheering
going on in the Australia, and said to his mate, " Yus, I'd
cheer too if I was in a -great ship like that ! " As soon as
it got dark things began to get a bit " nervy " ; every nigger
man's fire on shore was reported as a flashing signal, and every
little island looked like an enemy's cruiser; in fact, it was quite
a relief when we arrived off the entrance to the inner harbour
and " slipped " the destroyers for their work inside. We
waited outside watching the moon come up and expecting
every minute to hear a loud report, but nothing happened, and
presently the destroyers came back one by one having drawn
It was certain from the strength of the German wireless that
they were quite close, so we were ordered to search round the
north of the island, the moon was by now high in thy
heavens but there was nothing to be seen after a long night
looking for them. At daylight small parties were landed from
the Sydney and the destroyers to ascertain the whereabouts of
the wireless telegraphy station and destroy it, but in spite nf
threats of bombardment by the Admiral, the Germans held tn
their lies that they did not linow where the station was, and a.
the squadron was short of coal w e all had to leave the place thaj
NARRATIVE OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF H.M.A.S. SYDNEY. II
During the day off Rabaul, rather an amusing incident : '
occurred ; the X was patrolling to the southward, and suddenly
we got a call " Two German Cruisers in sight," whereupon we
proceeded to go to action stations and steamed out t o join in-
however before we had got far another signal from the X said
" Cruisers turn out to be one small British tramp " ! T h e really
amusing thing was that the X in her haste to prepare for action
had dumped over the side all the beautiful gratings and pretty
work which had taken years of patient toil to collect, also her
ladders and copper punt !
Next day the Sydney searched the south of Bougainville
Island, the flagship again supporting us outside, and then we
went off southwards to Rossel Island Lagoon, where the
NIelbourne was lying with a captured collier. There we coaled,
taking in the vilest brand of Australian coal that has ever been
seen, and after a two days stop proceeded alone to Sandy Cape
arriving there on the 22nd, and then on to Townsville which
was reached on the 24th. Once more we coaled, and were able
to give the men a much-needed change in the form of a route
march ashore, great enthusiasm being shown by the local
On the 25th the ship went out to the Palm Islands about
40 miles to the north of Townsville, where we lay in a nice pro-
tected anchorage with the Encounter and the Berrima a trans-
port with a b o u ~1,500 Australian troops and Naval Brigade on
board. Here we stayed a week, doing various exercises during
the day, and allowing the men recreation in the form of bathing
parties, boat pulling, seining, etc., while the soldiers practised
landing, musketry on shore, etc. One by one, various ships
turned up and joined us, till we eventually sailed on the 2nd of
September with Encounter, Berrima, Aorangi (store ship), one
destroyer and two submarines. On arrival at Port Moresby on
the 4th we found there our two other destroyers, the Kanowna
(transport), two colliers and two oil ships. After coaling and
oiling the squadron, the whole lot proceeded on the 7th
September, speed being very slow to allow the oilers to keep up
with us. On Wednesday the 9th we joined the Australia of f
Rossel Island, and stopped again for a conference, the Sydney
I2 NAVAL REVIEW.
and the destroyers parting company and proceeding at 5 p.m.
for another night attack on Rabaul. This time we arrived there
at 3 a.m. and again found the harbour empty, so at daylight
we landed our party of Naval Reserves which we had embarked
from the Berrima a t Port Moresby before leaving. There were
56 all told and a surgeon of the Australian Army Medical Corps,
and they landed in two parties about six miles apart. There
was also a party of 25 men from the Sydney landed at Herberts-
h6h6 to look after the stores, etc., and this was the party which
actually first hoisted the Union Jack in the German territory.
The day was spent close in to the coast standing by to
support the landing parties which were loolting for the wire-
less telegraphy station. During the forenoon the Australia and
Berrima arrived, and 500 of the Naval Brigade were landed to
assist the small parties sent earlier in the day. The Germans
were found strongly entrenched close to the wireless telegraphy
station and there was quite a brisk engagement before they
were dislodged, we losing two officers and about 10 men. The
country is thick bush, and we were much hampered by natives
armed with rifles and stationed up in cocoanut palms along the
paths; luckily their shooting was very bad or we should have
suffered heavy losses. T h e Sydney's field gun was landed, but
owing to the thick bush was not of much use only coming into
action once for a few minutes. This was Friday the 11th of
September. Next day we all proceeded into the inner harbour
of Rabaul and landed the remainder of the troops, the Sydney
coaling and taking up a billet a s guard ship at the entrance.
On Sunday the 13th the Union Jack was formally hoisted at
Rabaul and the German possessions in the Pacific annexed in
the King's name, all the native police quite cheerfully taking
the oath of allegiance, after which they were at once put on
guard over the prisoners much to their delight!
On Monday morning there was another diversion ; at day-
light we heard heavy guns firing just outside the harbour, and
slipping our cable we dashed out to find it was only the
Encounter shelling the enemy's position on shore. By the
lime we arrived she had finished so we came quietly back to
N.4RIZATIVE OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF H.>1 .A.S. SYDNEY. 13
That evening we once more got under weigh, and after
searching the north-west coast of New Britain proceeded south-
wards on Tuesday evening. Everyone in the ship was very
jubilant when it was given out that we were off to Sydney, and
great was the disgust when we met the Australia on Thursday
afternoon and turned to the northward again. However, we
thought there must be good reason for the sudden change of
plalis, and were looking forward to meeting the enemy at last,
but it was not to be just yet.
On arrival at Rabaul on Saturday the 19th we at once
coaled, and next morning proceeded to sea alone. This excur-
sion proved to be a search of the north coast of German New
Guinea, and then a visit to Angaur, one of the Pelew Islands.
Arriving there at an early hour on the 26th we landed a
party which destroyed the wireless telegraphy station without
opposition, and then started straight back for Rabaul. The
trip was quite without interest except that one morning we
heard one of the German small fry, such as the Geier, talking
quite close to us, but as we had no coal to spare we could not
go out of our way to look for her.
Arriving back at Rabaul we filled up with coal : the whole
squadron went to sea once more, and after a dull and uneventful
trip got to Suva, Fiji, on Monday the 12th-October. There we
had a few days rest, coaled ship, and on the 16th proceeded
alone under sealed orders. These took us to the southwards, and
we soon all knew that Sydney was our destination where we were
to dock, fill up with stores and coal, and then join up with the
Minotaur at Albany, Western Australia, on escort duty with the
Australian and New Zealand convoy.
All the transports were collected at Albany when we arrived
there on the morning of 31st October, so we had to coal at once
and be ready to start off early next day.
On Sunday the 1st November, we left Albany with the
convoy, 34 transports in all, with Minotaur, Melbourne, and
Sydney as escort. It was rather windy and we had pretty bad
weather round the Leeuwin and up to the latitude of Freemantle,
off which place the Japanese armoured cruiser Ibuki joined up.
I4 NAVAL REVIER'.
The convoy was very orderly and nothing of any interest
occurred until Sunday the 8th, when the Minotaur was ordered
by the Admiralty to proceed on some other service, which we
guessed to be a search for the Scharnhorst and Co. That
same night we passed the Cocos Islands about 40 miles to the
eastward of them, and an extra degree of vigilance was imposed,
the captain writing in his night orders " I consider this the most
impdrtant night of all." And that night the Emden must have
passed within 30 or 40 miles of the convoy, totally ignorant of
their presence. No high power wireless had been used for
seven days, and even the buzzer had been shut down for 48
hours prior to arrival abreast of the Cocos, and to this precau-
tion we undoubtedly owe the success which followed.
At daylight on Monday the 9th of November, a very dis-
connected message taken in b y all ships was heard from Cocos,
saying that a strange cruiser was off the entrance. As the
Melbourne was senior officer, and the Ibuki was off on the
further flank, we were ordered to investigate and at 7 a.m.
proceeded at full speed. We were then about 50 miles away
and so had comfortable time to go to breakfast and make the
At 9.15 the land and the enemy were sighted almost
simultaneously, and for a few minutes we eased down to slow
to complete our preparations, knowing that the Emden (we
recognised her at once) could not escape us. W e then went on
again, all ready to open fire. W e closed very fast, and at 9.40
much to our surprise, the Emden opened fire at 10,500 yards,
having made no real attempt to run away. Her opening fire was
a surprise because it had previously been. thought that her
extreme range was only about 9,joo yards. TVe at once opened
on her and the firjng became general. Her first shots fell well
together for range, but very much spread out for line; they
were all within zoo yards of the ship, and either their range
finders must be marvels of accuracy, or else they had great luck
in picking up the range. As soon as her tirst salvo had fallen
she began to fire very rapidly in salvos, the rate of fire being
as high a s 10 rounds per gun per minute, and very accurate for
the first 10 minutes:
NARRATIVE OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF H.M.A.S. SYDNEY. 15'
A perfect hail of shots were falling all round the ship, just
short and just over, the spray from the $plashes often coming
on board. However, owing to their very small danger space at
that range, very few actually hit, and those \vhich did hit any-
where on the side armour or gun shields did no damage at all.
It was during this first five or ten minutes that all our
casualties occurred. Two shells hit the after-control platform :
the first one did not burst, but simply knocked down all the
people there; then the second one came in while they were all
down on their hands and knees, burst, and wounded them all
in various degrees, none being really seriously hurt or killed.
Just about the same time a shell hit the rangefinder on the
fore upper bridge, killing the operator and completely wrecking
the instrument and mounting. Luckily it did not burst, and so
passed on harmlessly out through the screen and over the side.
'Two other shells burst between S.1I and P.I I guns, killing
the gunlayer of S.II (disengaged side) and one other man, and
wounding five others, besides setting fire to a lot of cordite
charges which were very pluckily thrown over the side by the
other men. The only other casualty was caused by a small
splinter of shell under the fore-bridge, which mortally wounded
the gunlayer of S.I. There were altogether 15 hits of which
only five burst; the others either broke up on impact or passed
harmlessly over the side.
T o return to the moment of opening fire : our first salvo fell
about 300 yards over, the nest short, and the third produced two
hits, although the control officer did not see them at the time.
From then onwards we continued to hit with fair frequency, and
about 15 minutes after opening fire the enemy's forward funnel
went over the side to the accompaniment of much cheering from
our men, and almost at once she caught fire badly aft and was
burning there and in other places until the end.
The next thing to go was the foremast which was carried
away close down, by a shell which also wrecked the fore-bridge
and the superstructure around it. Her primary fire control
station was on the foremast ar.d a11 the personnel there was lost
as well as in the after-c~ntrolposition on the poop.
I6 NAVAL REVIEW.
At on2 time we closed to 5,500 yards and fired a torpedo,
but unfortunately did not score a hit. This was the shortest
range in the whole action.
T h e two remaining funnels went before long, and more
fires broke out; in fact on one occasion she disappeared in the
smoke for about five minutes: most of our men thought she
had sunk and cheered heartily, but soon got back to their guns
when she appeared out of the smoke and started firing again.
However, after the first 15 minutes nothing hit us, although the
shots were still to be heard whistling overhead.
At about I hour 20 minutes after the start she was seen to
be sinking fast and making for North Keeling Island, and we
went off at full speed to try and cut her off, but she got there
first and ran up hard on the reef with her colours still flying,
after having fought most gallantly for I hour 40 minutes.
It was subsequently discovered that after the first 20
minutes the Emden had her steering gear completely wrecked
and had to steer with her screws; also her submerged torpedo
flat was put out of action, so that she could not have fired a
torpedo even if we had allowed her to get within range, which
she continually tried to do at the start, but was not allowed to
do we having the speed of her by at least four knots.
Our men behaved splendidly; this was especially notice-
able in the case of the young boys, many of them only 164
years old and just out of the training ship.
'The acconipanying plan reprinted from the Times of the
t December by the kind permission of the Editor, illustrates
the foregoing description of the action.-HON. EDITOR.
The numbers i n the above d i a g r a m indicate the res@ective fiositions of H . M . S . Sydney
2nd of the E m d e n ~ a tvarious stages of the decisive actiom on November 9 .
1-7 Port Battery.
8-1 1 Starboard Battery.
:-H'M'S' 12-76 Port Battery.
17 Starboard Battery.
Thereupon " Ceased Fire," and steered N . i n pursuit of the Emden's collier.
NAVAL WORK I N T H E CAMEROONS.
ALTHOUGH capturing of a German colony plays an infini-
tesimal part in the great war which is now being wag,ed, the
following account of the campaign from a Naval aspect may be
of interest to readers of the NAVAL REVIEW.U p to the time
of writing the colony has not yet surrendered; but as the enemy
have been driven well inland and the remainder of the fighting
is soldier's work, the writer is able to look back on the part
taken by the Navy and to show the effect it has had in assisting
the military operations. In doing so the proceedings of H.M.S.
Challenger form the basis upon which the narrative is strung
together, as it is necessary to confine the article to first hand
information in order to make it of any value.
From the commencement of the war this ship had been
employed on patrolling duties, our beat being changed at
various times each alteration taking us further from England
till the closing weeks of August found us off Madeira. Most
of us found this uneventful work monotonous and were longing
for a change and a chance to do something. Consequently
when an order arrived on Sunday August 30th detailing us to
take part in the expedition then being organised against the
Cameroons it was hailed with delight and everyone felt that at
last something more exciting was in store than the policeman's
work which has hitherto been our lot.
The state of affairs at that time was as follows. The
Cumberland had been carrying out reconnoitering work off the
Cameroon River, and preparing the way for the combined
French and British expedition, and we had heard by wireless
that they required a ship of light draft with heavy guns to get
up the river in order to bombard the town of Duala. This is the
capital of the Cameroons and the only good port.
I8 NAVAL REVIEW
It was not till September 4th that we left Madeira, our
destination being Las Palmas where we arrived on the follow-
ing afternoon. On Sunday September 6th we left Las Palmas,
and the next day the Europa arrived escorting the S.S. Appam
an Elder Dempster steamer chartered by the Admiralty to act as
transport and hospital ship for the expedition. S h e was at that
time empty with the exception of General Dobell and his staff.
After a short delay, necessitated by the transfer of a large
quantity of stores to us from the Europa, we proceeded the
Appam taking station astern of us. At Bathurst the Appam
embarked a certain number of troops, while we waited off the
fairway buoy some twenty miles from the town. Only a short
stay was made, we then continued our journey arriving at
Sierra Leone on the 12th. The French cruiser Bruix was
anchored in the harbour with her convoy of four transports.
T o relate in detail our further passage south would make dull
reading, there are however one or two points which are of
interest from a naval point of view concerning the behaviour
of the convoy and the formation which was adopted. No
further reference will be made to the French contingent as
they proceeded quite separately and arrived at the Cameroons
two days after us.
Our ports of call were Accra, Lagos, Lome (Togoland),
Forcados, and Calabar. At these different places we picked up
the various transports, Lagos being the only place we stayed at
for any appreciable time. The final strength of the convoy was
five ships, viz., Appam, Elmina, Lakoja, Niger and Boma; a
very heterogeneous collection the control of which was no mean
task as none of them had ever kept station in line before.
T h e formation assumed is best described by means of the
plan on opposite page.
T o say that they kept their appointed places throughout
would be an exaggeration, in fact at first they gave a good deal
of trouble but towards the end the station-keeping had improved
considerably. Off Calabar we lost two of our charges for some
considerable time owing to their not obeying orders when we
stopped to pick up the last transport. This happened at the
inconvenient hour of twilight. W e proceeded through the
NAVAL WORK IN TIIE CAMEKOONS. I9
night without them and in the morning were very relieved when
the truants rejoined. Kight work was the most difficult part as
the captain very rightly insisted that the convoy should be
darkened; a shaded light only was allowed, it therefore speaks
well for the merchant service captains that they did not lose
touch with each other under such novel conditions.
T h e captain of the Bruix on the other hand considered such
a maneuvre too risky and his contingent steamed every night
with all lights showing.
Soon after midnight on the 23rd we picked up the high
land of Fernando P o on our starboard bow. On our port
beam we could see the mainland very indistinctly and although
the Cameroon Mountain was only 50 miles away we could see
nothing of it. The morning found us off the Fairway buoy at
the entrance to the Cameroon River, here we were met by the
navigator of the Cumberland who had come out to pilot us in.
It was a lovely morning and the scene well merits description if
only one had the gifted pen of a Daily Mail correspondent.
In the distance, some ten miles away, we could see the
Cumberland lying at anchor. Astern of us rose the single
peak of Fernando Po, and on our port beam the still higher
Cameroon Mountain ; a blue grey pinnacle rising abruptly from
, rhe coflnLf[~
surloundjng 2 irs summ2 cornple~fe& hhidden
i banks of Aeecy c1oudss The Cumbedand was anchored just
within the entrance of the Cameroon River sheltered by a
promontory called Suelabu. This place she had named the
Naval Base. Here also were anchored the various tenders,
small launches and motor boats that had been lent by the
Nigerian Marine and had come from Lagos. Further mention
will be made of these tenders as it would be impossible to give
an accurate account of the campaign without mentioning the
valuable part played by the Nigerian Marine.
The Challenger then anchored ahead of the Cumberland
and billets were found to the south of us for our convoy. W e
were all anxious to hear from the Cumberland about their work
of the past five weeks and were by no means disappointed when
we learnt the extent of their labours. This reconnaissance as
carried out by a cruiser off the enemy's coast, is so interesting
that it deserves an article to itself and certainly should be related
by one who had taken a part in its execution; all details will
therefore be omitted from this paper and only a summary
T h e Cumberland had been sent almost at the outbreak of
war to ascertain if any of the enemy's commerce destroyers were
using Duala as a base. After searching all bays and islands
round these latitudes in vain, she investigated the Cameroon
River itself. This led on to a detailed reconnaissance. It
was supposed that the river was mined, consequently before
entering, it was necessary to sweep the channel and incidentally
to find and buoy it, all marks having been removed. She
therefore proceeded to Lagos and there obtained the assist-
ance of the Nigerian Marine in the tangible form of two
steam launches and two motor launches. With these every
inch of the channel was swept and she entered the river's
mouth. T h e long task of surveying the river and numerous
creeks which diverge into it mas begun. It was on this creek
work that many of their most exciting experiences occurred,
for they are very narrow with thick mangroves on either side.
Often were boats fired upon, and anyone who has seen her
picket boat can vouch for the fact that the bullets must at times
NAVAL WORK IN THE CA3,IEROONS. 21
have' whistled very close to the crew of the three-pounder
mounted in her bows; in fact just before we arrived a
lieutenant and a seaman had been hit and were recovering from
Meanwhile on the main river, hard work was being done
clearing away obstructions in the approach to the town. About
eight miles from Duala, whew the channel narrows near the
northern bank, the Germans had sunk eleven small merchant
ships and some lighters in order to block the entrance. Divers
were sent down and a channel eventually blown out affording
passage to a ship of ~ g f t draft at high water.
It was then that the Dwarf commenced her daring recon-
noiters which eventually brought her under fire from the +inch
guns at Yass Battery. One shell hit her, killing a Petty Officer
and wounding five men.
Accounts have appeared in the papers of how she was
rammed by the Nachtigal during one of her numerous excur-
sions up the creeks, but having said that these details must be
omitted from this narrative and left to the pen of an eye-witness,
let us return to a consideration of the problem that lay before
us on our arrival.
The Naval object was to find a landing place for the
disembarkation of the Expeditionary Force. In the Cameroons
there were only two places where this could be accomplished,
one was Duala and the other Victoria. T h e former was <deal,
provided we could overcome the obstacles placed in the river by
the Germans, and provided that some 6-inch guns could be
brought to bear on the town. There was a good pier capable
of berthing a fair sized troopship; the town would make an
admirable base for further operations; it offered a rich haul in
prizes (nine TVoermann line ships) and finally it was the only
sheltered harbour in the Cameroons. Against all these attrac-
tions Victoria had nothing to offer, being situated in an open
bay and separated from the capital by a long and circuitous
route through bush and swamps. Obviously, since Duala must
finally be captured it was best to strike there first.
On our arrival in the Cameroon River the situation was a s
follows. The approach to Duala was clear and had been sur-
22 NAVAL REVIEW.
veyed to within a distance of three miles of the town. Beyond
this is was not safe to g o as it was known that mines had
been laid though none had as yet been found. As regards the
opposition likely to be met with, it seemed probable that the
enemy would open fire from the inferior battery at Yass, but
this was not expected to be formidable as the Dwarf had only
a day or so previous to our arrival re-entered its danger zone
without being fired upon, so it was concluded that the battery
had been moved to some other position which they did not wish
It will be remembered that the main reason for sending the
Challenger south was that she should be sent up the river to
bombard the town; much doubt however existed amongst the
authorities as to whether the ship was of sufficiently light draft.
The alternative scheme proposed was that the Bruix should be
sent instead, but luckily this was not pressed. Had she gone
up the town would have suffered a very severe bombardment
which was not desirable as Duala was to serve as our base of
A s has been hinted, there was much discussion about the
choice of ship and for quite a day our fate hung in the balance.
Throughout, the captain maintained his firm opinion that the
Challenger could get up the river, and it was mainly due to his
confident attitude that he was allowed to malie the attempt.
T h e business then was to lighten the ship and to trim her till
she was on an even keel; she was at the time drawing a ~ f t . ,
and we had been told that in order to pass the wrecks the draft
must be reduced to ~ g f t . Roughly, three hundred 6-inch shell
were hoisted out from the after shell room and placed in the
ship's boats; which later filled with water due to the heavy
rains and were only saved in the nick of time. This was the
only weight taken out of the ship, the remainder of the work
consisted in flooding the forward tanks to bring her on an even
keel. There are three people who will remember that night
as one of the most tiring and tantalising they have ever spent.
Throughout the whole of it, the commander, chief engineer
and artificer engineer were busy puzzling out the eccentricities
of a ship which did exactly the opposite to what might be
NAVAL WORK IN THE CAMEROONS. 23
expected by the ordinary rules of practical mechanics. By the
morning their efforts were so far successful that they had reduced
the draft t o zoft. 6in, but a despondent feeling reigned through-
out for this was very far off the scheduled ~ g f t and further it was
known that in one place the channel gave only 18ft. of water.
After a day of suspense we were greatly relieved in the evening
when the captain was told that he was t o take the ship up at
8 a.m. the following day. By this time the draft had been
reduced to ~ g f t gin.
This brings us to September 25th. T h e journey up river
was a matter of great interest to us all for no one knew for
certain what lay ahead. Firstly, could the ship get over the
wrecks and past the shallow part in the channel? Secondly,
where were these guns from Yass Battery; were they shifted to
some position from which they could even slightly harass our
approach? And lastly, was the way entirely clear of mines?
These were thoughts which naturally entered everybody's mind
and are mentioned here to show that we did not expect a com-
plete walk over.
As it happened, we met with no resistance of any sort and
were able to advance as far as the channel had been swept,
where we anchored, about 2 miles off Yass Battery. All had
been plain sailing with the exception of the dificult passage
through the wrecks, here the ship bumped on a sunken lighter,
her bows rose, but there was sufficient way on and she cleared
the fence like a well-trained hunter, no damage being done.
Congratulatory messages then came through from the
Senior Naval Officer and the General. These were well
deserved, for although everything had gone so sinoothly it had
been an anxious time for the captain who had taken upon him-
self great responsibility.
From where we were anchored we could see Duala quite
clearly, and through a high-powered service glass men could be
distinguished moving about on the jetties. T h e town was
decorated with numerous German flags, and here and there
were Red Cross flags displayed in conspicuous positions.
The Dwarf had come up and was anchored off our port
bow, i.e., up river of us, and the sweeping boats were meanwhile
24 NAVAL REVIEW.
busy penetrating the unltnown towards Duala. U p to this lime
no mines had been found, but that afternoon the field was
discovered; seven in all were secured and it afforded us great
diversion to see them being blown up by rifle fire. The first
was a feeble explosion, a small puff of yellow smoke and that
was all; but the others detonated splendidly sending up fine
columns of water.
At about 2 p.m. the Ivy, the Governor of Nigeria's yacht,
came up river anchoring on our starboard beam, having on
board General Dobell and the Senior Naval Officer. On her
arrival the Cumberland's picket boat flying a large white flag
was sent up to Duala. When she was within a mile of the
town we saw a German motor boat come out to meet her and
the two stopped close together in mid river; from what we
heard later the following is a rough account of what took place
The General's A.D.C. conveyed the ultimatum which was
written in English and demanded the unconditional surrender
of the Cameroon Protectorate. Also, the General informed the
German authorities that their countryrnen in Togoland had
made free use of the forbidden dum-dum bullets; and if this
should occur in the Cameroons he warned then1 that no mercy
would be shown to prisoners discovered with this ammunition
on their persons.
T h e Germans discussed the ultimatum at great length
amongst themselves, their object being to waste time. At
length they turned to the A.D.C. and requested him to accom-
pany them ashore as they were unable to give a definite answer
without consulting the Governor. It was easy to see their
plan ; having got the A.D.C. on shore they could delay matters
as long a s they wished, detaining him until they were ready to
send him back. The A.D.C. very wisely refused to leave the
picket boat, whereupon one of the Germans sarcastically asked
him " You're not afraid, are you? W e won't hurt you." The
A.D.C. then turned to the naval lieutenant in charge of the
boat for support, who upheld him in his very proper
decision, and told the Germans if they did not return within
half an hour the bombardment would cornrnence. The Germans
NAVAL WORK I N THE CAMEROONS. 25
then prepared to leave but first warned the lieutenant that if he
moved the picket boat from where she was he would be instantly
blown out of the water, a threat which evoked a bland smile
from the officer in question. T h e German's final remark was
perhaps the most amusing of all; .turning again to the
lieutenant he nai'vely asked " W h a l will you do if we come out
a few minutes after the half hour is up. TVill you fire on u s ? "
T o which the latter retorted that he was not in the habit of firing
on the white flag: " No, of course," said the German, " I
forgot you were British," which compliment almost atoned for
his former behaviour.
At the end of the half hour the motor boat returned and
handed in their reply, which was brought to the Challenger
the General and Senior Naval Officer having repaired on board
us. Unfortunately, the answer was written in German, and
as the interpreter had been left at the base great difficulty was
experienced in translating it. W e endeavoured to send the
message through by wireless to the Cumberland but the
German wireless station jambed us and successfully prevented
this; it was not till the evening that the correct translation was
obtained which ran roughly as follows.
" You fired a shot into our harbour while a flag of truce
was hoisted. Our troops do not use expanding bullets." This
n7as no answer to our ultimatum; the Germans only object was
to gain time, and in this they succeeded as by then the sun had
set so that the bombardment had to be postponed till daylight.
As regards the shot fired which they referred to, this was one
of their mines which we exploded by rifle fire.
That night we fully expected some form of boat attack
such as the Dwarf had previously experienced. All hands were
at their stations throughout the night, but nothing exciting
happened to relieve the dull monotony. At 6 a.m. the bombard-
ment was commenced, the ship being swung to the flood tide
with the two quarter deck guns bearing on Duala. It is
unnecessary to describe in detail the fall of every short, reference
will therefore only be made to those parts which are instructive.
None of us had had the experience of firing at a town before
and imagined that to lay a gun at a fixed object with the ship
26 NAVAL REVIEW.
at anchor was so simple that there could be nothing in it. It
is quite true that the gun laying is elementary but the difficulties
experienced in spotting are considerable. I n the first place view-
ing a town from a distance of thiee miles and over produces a
curious conception of perspective. For example, a water tower
which to us appeared to join on to the house which we first fired
at was in reality quite 2,000 yards beyond it. This house also
appeared to us to stand at the top of a bank with a narrow
stretch of low growing bushes dividing the bank from the river;
a shot therefore falling short in the river, would in our
estimation have required a correction of IOO yards in order to
hit the house with the next round. Working on this assump-
tion we were very mystified when we could not see the fall of the
shot after we had brought them short of the house; eventually
by working up the three corrections of IOO yards the house
was hit. T h e reason for this was, that instead of the bank
being immediately on the water's edge as appeared to us, a
stretch of marshy ground quite 600 yards broad lay between the
b a k and the river. Our shells had been falling into this marsh
without exploding or if they did explode we saw no signs of
After demolishing certain Government buildings we turned
our attention to the wireless mast, a tine one made on the same
principle as those at Portsmouth. Roughly we knew the
range must be about 9,000-~o,oooyards; but we were unable
to use our only range-finder owing to the bearing. A belt of
trees about 4,000 yards distant obscured all chance of spotting
the fall of shot only half the mast appearing above the tree tops.
There were two ways of tackling this blind firing :-
(I) T o set 9,000 yards on the sights and fire a series of rounds
with increasing ranges of loo yards interval.
(2) T o put maximum range on the sights and deflection at
zero; then aiming at the right edge of the framework
to fire a series of rounds altering the deflection by a
quarter of a knot, thus traversing across the mast.
W e adopted the former but only fired ten rounds as we
could not spare more for what was really only an amusing game.
As a matter of fact one or two of our shells must have burst
NAVAL WORK I N THE CAMEROONS. 27
unpleasantly close to it as a piece of one was afterwards dis-
covered close by. Also there were two German lookouts
stationed on the platform at the top, one of whom quicklv
descended after the third shot, the other stayed there through-
T h e bombardment ended by about 8 a.m., fifty rounds
having been fired. A summary of the damage done was small
as it was not our object to raze the town to the ground, but
merely to show the Germans the futility of resisting. W e had
placed one shell in the Governor's house, one in the direction of
the Government buildings and another in the officer's quarters
at the barracks. W e had also fired several rounds and
demolished what we thought was Yass Battery; but here.we
were deceived as we afterwards discovered the battery of four
guns beautifully concealed and intact; we had really fired at
some sheds about IOO yards from the guns, which had been
made to represent a battery emplacement. T h e remainder of
the rounds with the exception of those fired at the wireless
station had been directed at the constant stream of steam and
motor launches which pushed off from the pier at Duala and
headed full speed up river; which alarmed them considerably
although the range being over 9,000 yards the chance of hitting
so small a moving target was minute. Once, several of them
turned round and started down river blowing steam from their
u*histles, but as they resumed their course again this was
probably the result of the native crews being panic stricken.
Having shown the townspeople that Duala was well within
the range of our guns it was unnecessary to continue the
bombardment, and firing was confined to the few occasions when
we saw groups of men collecting near the pier; as they might
be attempting to blow it up or remove stores from the sheds;
it was necessary to prevent them from working in safety.
This was our first taste o'f war so it can be imagined with what
uncanny feelings we searched for signs of life and then pur-
posely laid the guns so a s to disperse it.
During the forenoon we noticed a big fire in one of the
store sheds; this we afterwards learnt had been started in error
by one of the Germans; apart from this nothing of interest
28 NAVAI. REVIEW.
occurred all day. T h a t night a keen watch was again kept
with no reward, a n d after breakfast the Ivy came up river again,
bringing the General and Senior Naval Officer: it must be
borne in mind that at this time we had n o idea that the town
intending surrendering. W e were unable to carry out a further
bombardment owing to a thick mist which obscured the town;
a n d the General decided to take advantage of the fog to
carry out a reconnaissance. T h e hlarines of this ship were
ordered to land forthwith to cover the reconnoitering party, but
before this order could be carried out the fogilifted and another
signal came postponing the attempt till dark. Shortly after
this we noticed great activity on shore. A huge column of
smoke rose near the wireless mast a n d we realised that the
Germans were blowing up the plant; then the mast itself
leaned slowly over, broke in the middle a n d vanished below the
level of the trees. 'Ten minutes later another explosion in the
same direction made it clear that the town would shortly
surrender. At about 10 o'clock the white flag was hoisted and
a boat came out with a message that it did s o unconditionally.
T h a t afternoon the Challenger was ordered to land all the
Marines to occupy Duala, and to send a landing party of sea-
men to invest Bonaberi on the opposite side of the river, which
had also been evacuated.
A s the German officials undertook to show us the extent
of the mine field we weighed and proceeded u p river anchoring
a mile closer to the town. But our stay in this billet was of short
duration ; for the Cumberland's steamboat with the Germans
on board came hurriedly to inform us that we had anchored on
top of the line of mines and that if we swung we stood a good
chance of hitting o n e ; we therefore closed water-tight doors
a n d proceeded u p river till clear of them.
O n the same day a s the bombardment took place a n attempt
was made b y the military to cut off ttie enemy's line of retreat.
T h e expedition supported by two armed tugs R e m u s and
Pcrpoise, had made their way u p Lungasi Creek towards the
railway bridge a t Japoma. W e heard few facts about this
party except that it failed to achieve its object owing to the
swamps where the landing was attempted; the Germans were
NAVAL WORK IN THE CAMEROONS. 29
prepared for it and poured a heavy fire on the soldiers as they
struggled through the mud and water; it was found necessary
to re-embark the troops who could make little headway.
Although this attempt failed it may have given the Germans
a feeling of insecurity and it is thought that this hastened their
On September 28th the transports were brought up river,
each being berthed in turn alongside the Government Pier to
discharge the troops. Here ends the first phase of the Navy's
work which had procured for the Expeditionary Force not only
an ideal landing place but also a fine base from which to operate.
B E T T E R L A T E T H A N NEVER.
AFTERthe war there will be many changes, but if there is one
thing more certain than another it is that the whole service will
insist for the future on making a full and thorough study of the
art of war. After the South African war the imperative
demand of the British Army was for some means of complying
more nearly with the principle stated by Colonel Henderson
' t h u s : " Any system of education which confines the study of
strategy to a limited few, is an insult to the officers of the Army
and a danger to the State."
Whether in the Navy or Army, officers can attain their
maximum utility only when they know the main principles of
the art of war and act in conformity with them, or at least do
not violate them unnecessarily.
Among the remainder who have not made a special study
of these things there is a large majority who do not know, and
therefore frequently neglect to comply with, the principles
which should be their constant guide.
Even in a junior officer, particularly if holding a staff
appointment or flying his own pennant, any such neglect of
sound principles may have disastrous consequences.
It may seem late now to begin studying these subjects, but
to master them thoroughly is a long process. Therefore it is
impossible to start too soon, and in any case it is better late
One should begin by studying history to deduce principles ;
then, by further study and by practical training, learn how t o
apply them. T h e latter is far the most difficult. A blind
reliance on principles, unless correctly applied, may be almost
as bad as being ignorant of them, but fortunately their applica-
tion can be more easily observed and tested when illumined by
the fierce light of war. It is therefore proposed to state here
very briefly a few of those main principles which every naval
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. 3I
officer should be aware of. For the benefit of junior officers a
few explanatory notes are attached.
I . " There is only one strategy and its principles are of
2 . " Concentration of superior force at the decisive point is the
chief aim of strategy."
3. " It is impossible to be too strong for the decisive battle."
4. " It is not sufficient to make no mistakes ourselves, we must
try to make the enemy make mistakes :-
A. by secrecy and surprise.
B. by demonstrations.
C. by spreading false reports.
D. by the use of detached forces against vital points.
At the same time, strategy must not become too refined.
Anything that conflicts with the great principle of concen-
tration should be discarded. Detachments must be reduced
to a minimum, lest in1 attempting to deceive the enemy we
weaken our own forces in the decisive battle."
(NOTE.-B, C and D have been used very successfully by
the Germans. Case D does not apply much to our strategy
in the present campaign.)
5. " The attempt to be strong everywhere generally results in
having overwhelming strength nowhere."
i.e., in order to have overwhelming strength in places where
it is essential, it is often necessary to incur risks or make
sacrifices in areas of lesser importance.
. 6. When, as often happens, it is not possible to meet satis-
factorily all requirements, the greater must not be sacrificed
for the less.
7. " T h e successful issue of military operations depends
mainly upon combination and unity of effo'rt directed with
energy and determination towards a definite object."
1 Mainly compiled from the writings of various masters of the art of war. Those
in inverted commas are quotations given as nearly as possible verbatim, but they
are not exact, as many had to be quoted from memory.
The Authorities used are both Naval and Military, but a large number of the
quotations are taken from military writings, including those of Napoleon, Clause-
witz, Moltke, Stonewall Jackson, Henderson, and the Field Service Regulations
of the British Army. These had to he ~ s e d because they give an incomparably
richer choice than is to be found in Naval literature alone. The writer hopes it
will be conceded that this selection zpplies just as well to war at sea as it does to
war on land.
32 NAVAL REVIEW.
8. " Unity of control is essential to unity of effort. This con-
dition can be ensured only by vesting the supreme authority
in one man, the Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the
g. " Even a bad plan, carried through with energy and resolu-
tion, is better than a good plan executed timidly or half-
10. " It is better for all officers to think wrong together than
for everyone to think differently."
I I . Always consider every situation from the enemy's point of
view as well as your own. Re prepared for him to do what
we least desire; but do not on that account surrender the
initiative unnecessariljr or give way to passive defence.
12. " T h e best defence is offence."
13. " Passive defence is no defence."
i.e., to concentrate efforts on trying to defend ourselves
from, or ward off, the blows struck at us by the enemy, is
fatal. It is damaging to nlorale and surrenders the initia-
tive to the enemy. The proper reply is to attack by all
means in our power every force (whether it be submarines,
minelayers or transports) that the enemy sends out to
14. " T h e strategic counterstroke is the best weapon of the
defence. This counterstroke must be borne in mind
throughout the operations or it will not come off."
i.e., W h e n compelled to act on the defensive, as naval
forces often are, be always ready to strike swiftly the
moment that opportunity offers.
15. When an enemy's force is located at sea, one can very
seldom be wrong to concentrate on it and destroy it.
16. " Time is counted in war by minutes not by hours."
17. In practically every operation of war a few minutes gained
may save the situation, a few minutes lost may cause
18. In modern war, secrecy is essential to success.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. 33
19. Plans of operations, and dispositions or movements of
forces, should be guarded with more care than any secret in
the cabinets of Europe. Each subordinate directly concerned
should be given his orders for operations no earlier than
2 0 . " Better an error in judgment than a lack of initiative."
i.e., In any situation where prompt action seems desirable,
it is far better to act-even at the risk of being wrong-than
to do nothing and wait for instructions.
2 1 . Definite information in war is rare. T o be in time it is
often necessary to act on a surmise or on information that is
2 2 . " A departure from either the spirit or the letter of an order
is justified if the subordinate who assumes the responsibility
bases his decision on some fact which could not be known to
the officer who issued the order, and if he is conscientiously
satisfied that he is acting as his superior, if present, would
order him to act."
2 3 . " If a subordinate, in the absence of a superior, neglects to
depart froni the letter of his orders, when such departure is
clearly demanded by circumstances, and failure ensues, he
will he held responsible for such failure."
24. " Should a subordinate find it necessary to depart from an
order, he should at once inform the issuer of it, and the
officers commanding any neigfibouring units likely to be
2 j . " Jealousy or friction between officers in high command is
one of the most frequent causes of failure in war."
26. Wherever friction exists, or where any personal considera-
tion is put before the interests of the State, there some
officer directly or indirectly, is hazarding the welfare of his
27. " One cannot make war without taking risks."
28. " In meditation all dangers should be seen; in execution
none, unless they are very formidable."
34 NAVAL REVIEW.
29. " Never take counsel of your fears."
30. Every effort should be made to avoid or remove unnecessary
risks, but great risks should be taken cheerfully when there
is adequate reason for doing so.
3 1 . ' I T h e essence of all efficient organisation lies in due sub-
division of labour and decentralisation of responsibility
among subordinates, combined with central control and co-
ordination of subordinate parts for the attainment of the
32. In war, a General without a competent staff is almost as
helpless as a staff without a competent General.
33. " In the large majority of cases the leader of an army
cannot do without advice. ... T h e General-in-Chief will
always have, as compared with his adviser, the infinitely
weightier merit of having assumed the responsibility for
making and executing a decision."
34. " An operation order should contain just what the recipient
requires to know and nothing more. It should not give
him orders about things which he can and should arrange
for himself ."
35. " In the case of detached forces, not under the immediate
control of the authority who details them, general instruc-
tions for guidance are usually more appropriate than actual
orders. Confidential statements re information and inten-
tions, under such conditions, should be full."
36. " Order, counter-order, disorder. "
i.e., Faulty orders lead to counter-orders and thence rapidly
to disorder. This does not alter the desirability for at once
cancelling an order if it is clearly seen to be unwise and
there is still time to revoke it.
37. It is impossible to be too strong for a decisive battle."
( N o ~ ~ . - - T h i s a law of strategy, but of course it
greatly affects tactics.)
38. Practically every vessel that can carry a weapon can be
usefully employed in some part of the field of battle or its
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. 35
39. " Concentration of superior force at the decisive point is
the chief aim of tactics."
NOTE I .-This law applies a s in strategy, for the two
are similar in that strategy and tactics both deal with the
movements of forces, one in the theatre of war, the other on
the field of battle.
NOTE2.-The " decisive point " in a fleet action is the
enemy's battle line or some part of his battle line.
40. " The objective of the decisive attack should be struck
unexpectedly and in the greatest possible strength."
4 1 . " Decisive success in battle can be gained only by a
vigorous offensive . . . and by a firm determination in all
ranks to conquer at any price."
42. '' The pursuit is the decisive operation in war."
(Therefore in naval battles it is important that, to reap
the full results of victory, the enemy should not be too close
to a fortified base.)
43. The final results in a naval battle may be greatly
( a ) Good preliminary scouting and cruiser work.
(b) The bearing of the enemy relative to the direction of
(c) The distance of the battle-field from the respective
(d) T h e range of vision.
( e ) Arranging to engage at a suitable time as well as a
44. " The moral is to the physical as 3 to I ."
" It is impossible to understand anything of military affairs
if we do not take into account the moral factor."
45. Morale is highest when officers and men can be kept
cheerful, confident, anxious to attack, and determined to
46. " T h e enemy's morale may be lowered by anything which
tends to shake the mental equilibrium of their leader or the
confidence of his subordinates."
36 NAVAL REVIEW.
47. " T h e principles given in this manual have been evolved by
experience . . . . They are to be regarded by all ranks as
authoritative, for their violation in the past has often been
followed by mishap, if not disaster. They should be so
thoroughly impressed on the mind of every commander that
whenever he has to come to a decision in the field he
instinctively gives them their full weight."
48. Nearly every failure in war can be traced to the violation of
a sound principle, either in the conduct of the campaign or
in the previous preparation for it.
49. hloltke said that " all strategy is common sense." It might
be more accurate to say that sound strategy is never opposed
to common sense, but it is quite certain that common sense
alone is utterly insufficient for modern war without that
study and training which, after many years, makes the
application of sound principles instinctive.
50. " T h e fundamental principles of war are neither very
numerous nor in themselves very abstruse, but the applica-
tion of them is difficult and cannot be made subject to rules.
The correct application of principles to circumstances is the
outcome of sound military knowledge, built up by study
and practice until it has become an instinct."
The above remarks on principles show clearly that any
study of those quoted here can be no nlore than a beginning.
If, however, the desirability of such study is admitted, it is
impossible to begin too soon. That it will be admitted, and
even insisted on, is a matter of absolute certainty in the not
far distant future. In Sir William Butler's autobiography
(published 191I ) he expressed the opinion that the British Army
was totally unprepared for every war it had waged during the
last 70 years, and that in every case those responsible for its
efficiency were quite unaware of its defects. This national
tendency is one of the most tragic misfortunes of the English
people, but it is not insurmountable. During the last 10 years
the rapid improvement of the British Army has been a source
of astonishment to all who watched it. During a time of pro-
found peace it has been brought to a state of efficiency perhaps
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. 37
never before equalled in any army, with a result that it is now
adding to its past records new glory and brilliant achievements
which will be remembered till the end of time.
Of the French Army in 1870, Colonel Henderson wrote
6 & Courage, experience, and professional pride they possessed
in plenty, but one thing their generals lacked and that was
education for war. Strategy was a sealed book to them;
organisation a matter of secondary importance. It was no part
of their duty to train the judgment of their subordinates . . .9 9
It is our duty to make sure that history shall make no similar
comment on the British Navy of to-day. Let us therefore
study the true principles of the art of war and observe whether
we apply them correctly. If we do, all is well. If we do not,
then thanks to those splendid fighting qualities inherent in the
English race we still shall win. But we shall win at tremendous
cost-not only in lives and ships, but also in that which is more
bitterly to be deplored, the reputation and prestige of the
British Navy. It is imperative that such loss should be avoided
and that therefore we should do all in our power, in the time
available, to make sure that our knowledge of strategy and the
principles of war is not less than any other branch of our pro-
fessional knowledge. There is still time, if we set about it
methodically and earnestly, and the effort needed is very small
compared with the tremendous interests at stake.
W e are in the midst of the greatest upheaval that has ever
been. Before it ends it will have cost over a million lives, and
one Empire at least will be irretrievably shattered. Surely our
efforts to achieve success should be commensurate with the
magnitude of our responsibilities? Surely what has been done
by the Army will not prove impossible to the Navy? And
incidentally it may be mentioned that the study recommended,
when once begun, will prove itself of greater interest than any
other branch of our profession.
T H E DECISIVE POINT.
[ T h i s i s a reprint frorn Major Stewart Murray's work, " T h e
R e a l i t y of JVar," a small book constituting a n introduction
t o Clausewitz's " O n War." I t i s well w o r t h the study of
those w h o have n o t t h e time or opportunity t o read and digest
t h e larger book. T h e chapter i s n o t fully reproduced, certain
m i n o r sentences being omitted. T h e application of t h e prin-
ciples to naval strategy $resents n o difficulty.]
CLAUSEWITZ defines strategy as " t h e u s e of the battle to g a i n
t h e object of the war." l i a r is " a chain of battles all strung
together, one of which brings on another." The great thing
in strategy is to win those battles, one after the other, till the
enemy submits. " T h e best strategy i s always to be v e r y
strong, first generally; secondly, at t h e decisive point."
In such an aspect we grant that the superiority of numbers
is the most important factor in the result of a battle, only it
must be sufficiently great to be a counterpoise to all the other
co-operating circumstances. The direct result of all this is that
the greatest possible n u m b e r of troops should be brought i n t o
action at t h e decisive point. Whether the troops thus brought
u p are sufficient or not, we have then done in this respect all that
our means allowed. This is the first great principle of strategy,
as well suited for Greeks or Persians, or for Englishmen, or
Mahrattas, as for French or Germans."
It sounds so simple, and yet how many times has it not
been done. How many generals have been ruined in conse-
SUPERIORITY IN NUMBERS.
WHAT REQUIRED FOR STRATEGIC
Clausewitz says, " It is a fact that we may search modern
military history in vain for a battle (except Leuthen and
Rosbach) in which an army has beaten another double its own
strength, an occurrence by no means uncommon in former
times. Bonaparte, the greatest general of all modern days, in
all his great victorious battles, with one exception, that of
Dresden, 1813, had managed to assemble an army superior in
THE DECISIVE POINT. 39
numbers, or at least very little inferior, to that of his opponent,
and when it was impossible for him to do so, as at Leipzig,
Beaune, Laon, Waterloo, he was beaten." " From this we
may infer, in the present state of Europe, that .it is very
difficult for the most talented general to gain a victory over an
enemy double his strength. Now, if we see that double
numbers are such a weight in the scale against even the greatest
generals, we may be sure that in ordinary cases, in small as
well as in great combats, an important superiority of numbers,
but which need not be two to one, will be sufficient to ensure
the victory, ho\vever disadvantageous other circun~stances
The double superiority of numbers at the decisive point, is,
therefore the ideal of strategy. " T h e superiority of numbers,
i s therefore to be regarded o n the fundamental idea, always to
be aimed at, before all, and as far as possible." If strategy
has done this, then it has done its utmost duty. It is then for
the tactician to make the most of this superiority thus provided
by strategy, and win the victory. Strategy then repeats the
operation with new co~nbinationssuited to the altered circum-
stances to win the next battle, and so on, till the hostile force is
This superiority in numbers in battle is the first principle
of strategy we require, on all occasions in season and out of
season, to repeat and repeat. At present we have not got the
numbers we shall want. W e must get them. Otherwise we
are bound to be inferior in numbers, and " the best strategy "
will be possible for our enemies and impossible for us. This
rests with our statesmen.l
If the double superiority, or as near the double as possible,
at the decisive point is the ideal of strategy . . . . what i s the
decisive point ?
There we owe another debt to Clausewitz. Jomini, even
after Napoleon, confuses us with three different sorts of decisive
points in a theatre of war, but Clatlsewitz clears the air by
asserting only one.
1 This, of course, was referring to the Army, and was written before the out-
break of the present War.
4O NAVAL REVIEW.
" But whatever may be the central point of the enemy's
power against which we are to direct our ultimate operations,
still the conquest and destruction of his a r m y i s the surest com-
mencement, and, in all cases the m o s t essential."
here we have it in a nutshell. Wherever the enemy's
main force is, there is the decisive point against which we must
concentrate all our forces.
" There are," said Napoleon, " many good generals in
Europe, but they see too many things at one time. A s for m e ,
I see o n l y one t h i n g , the enemy's chief army, and I concentrate
all m y efforts to destroy it."
THESIMULTANEOUS ALL THE FORCES.
" The rule," say Clausewitz, " which we have been
endeavouring to set forth is, therefore, that all the forces that
are available and destined for a strategic object: should be
simultaneously applied to it. And this application will be all
the more complete the more everything is compressed into one
act and one moment." This he calls " T h e law of the simul-
taneous employment of the forces in strategy." " In strategy,
we can never employ too many forces." " What can be looked
upon in tactics as an escess of force must be regarded in
strategy a s a means of giving expansion to success." " No
troops should be kept back as a strategic reserve," but every
available man hurried up to the first battle field, fresh levies
being meanwhile formed in rear. As an instance of what not
to do, Prussia, in 1806, kept back 45,000 men in Brandenburg
and East Prussia; they might, if present at Jena, have turned
defeat into victory, but they were useless afterwards. A fault
so often made may be made again.
" It is impossible to be too strong at the decisive point,"
said Napoleon. T o concentrate every available man and gun
at the decisive point so as to attain superiority there, is not an
easy thing, for the enemy will be making a similar attempt."
" The calculation of time and space appears the most essential
thing to this end. But the calculation of time and space,
though it lies universally at the foundation of strategy, and is
THE DECISIVE POINT. 4I
to a certain extent its daily bread, is still neither the most
difficult nor the most decisive one." " Much more frequently
the relative superiority, that is the skilful assemblage of superior
forces at the decisive point, has its foundation in the right
appreciation of those points, in the judicious distribution which
by that means has been given to the forces from the very first,
and in the resolution t o sacrifice t h e unimportant t o t h e advan-
tage of the important. In this respect Frederick the Great and
Bonaparte are especially characteristic."
" There is no simpler and more imperative rule for
strategy than to kecp all t h e forces concentrated. N o Portion
to be separated from the m a i n b o d y unless called a w a y b y s o m e
urgent necessity. On this maxim we stand firm, and look upon
it as a fact to be depended upon."
" T h e concentration of t h e whole force (i.e., within sup-
porting distance) should be the rule, and every separation or
division i s a n exception w h i c h m u s t be justified." Of course,
this does not mean that all the troops are to be kept con-
centrated in one mass upon one road, but within supporting
distance, for he expressly states, " I t i s suficient n o w i t h e con-
centration takes place d u r i n g t h e course of t h e action." This
doctrine, qualified by the last sentence, makes Clausewitz the
germ of modern military thought, for the last sentence leaves
room for all the modern developments of new roads, railways,
telegraphs, wire and wireless, and so forth.
Therefore in war, according to Clausewitz, concentration,
concentration, concentration, and every division or detachment
i s a n evil w h i c h can o n l y be justified b y u r g e n t necessity. Here
again we find a simple truth, which, however, the history of all
wars show us to be very difficult to carry out. Hence the value
.of keeping such an imperative maxim always in our minds.
" Once the great victory is gained, the next question is cot
about rest, not about taking breath, not about reorganising,
etc., but only of pursuit, of fresh blows whenever necessary, of
the capture of the enemy's capital, of the attack of the armies
of his allies, or whatever else appears a s a rallying point for
42 NAVAL REVIEW.
SUMMARY OF STRATEGIC PRINCIPLES.
Leaving out for the sake of shortness, the rest of his
strategical thoughts, I hasten to conclude this sketch with a
glance at Clausewitz's admirable summary1 of strategic prin-
" T h e first and ~ ~ l o important maxirn wl~ichwe can set
before ourselves is to employ all the forces which we can make
available with the utmost energy. Even if the result is tolerably
certain in itself, it is extremely unwise not to make it perfectly
" T h e second principle is to concentrate our forces a s much
as possible a t the point where the decisive blow is to be struck;
the success at that point will compensate for all defeats at
" T h e third principle is not to lose time. Rapidity and
surprise are the most powerful elements of victory."
" Lastly, the fourth principle is to follow u p the success we
gain with the utmost energy. T h e pursuit of the enemy when
defeated is the onlj- means of gathering u p the fruits of victory."
" T h e first of these principles is the foundation of all the
others. If we have followed the first principle, we can venture
any length with regard to the three others without risking our
all. I t gives the means of continually creating new forces
behind us, and with new forces every disaster may be repaired.
I n this, a n d not in going forward with timid steps, lies that
prudence which may be called wise.
These great principles are everything in war, and " due
regard being paid to these principles, the form (i.e., the
geometrical element) in which the operations are carried on is
in the end of little consequence."
" Therefore I a m perfectly convinced that whoever calls
forth all his powers to appear incessantly with new masses, who-
ever adopts every imaginable means of preparation, whoever
concentrates his force at the decisive point, whoever thus armed
pursues a great object with resolution and energy, has done all
that can be done in a general way for the strategical conduct of
the war, and that, unless he is altogether unfortunate in battle,
1 Summary of instruction to H.R.H. the Crown Prince.
THE DECISIVE POINT. 43
will undoubtedly be victorious in the same measure that his
adversary has fallen short of this exertion and energy."
When we have got these great simple leading principles
of strategy firmly into our heads, the next question is horn to
make use of our knowledge. For principles are no use unless
we apply them. On consideration it appears that there are
three ways in which we can all apply these principles with
( I ) It will prove a very interesting and strengthening mental
exercise to apply these few leading principles to every
campaign we read about, to search for indications of their
application in the str'ategp of each belligerent, how far
each commander succeeded, and how far failed to carry
them out in their entirety, and where, when, and why he
succeeded or failed, and the results of doing or not doing
so. Also to search for the interaction of the political
motive of the war on the military operations, and to see
how far the belligerent statesmen gained or failed to gain
their political object, according to the comparative degree
of preparation they had made for it, and the magnitude
of effort which they made or did not make to support it
with the whole means of the nation, material, moral and
physical. Also to see how far the national spirit was
aroused or not, and the causes thereof, and to note the
greater or less energy, resolution and boldness which was
consequently infused into the war. Also to note how the
thorough application of these great simple principles of
strategy shortens the mar and thereby reduces its cost
(1866 to 1870), and how the neglect of them by statesmen,
despite their fortitude afterwards, lengthens a war and
adds to its cost enormously (South Africa, etc.). Used
thus, these principles give us a theoretically correct ground
(2) These principles will also give us a theoretically correct
ground for anticipating what the action of our opponents
in any future war will be, the measure of the forces they
will bring to bear, how they will direct those forces, and
44 NAVAL REVIEW.
the amount of energy, resolution and boldness with which
they will use them against us. It is an axiom always to
assume that the enemy will always do the best and wisest
thing, and to prepare accordingly.
(3) These principles also give us a theoretically correct ground
for our own counter-preparations. W e require to take the
most dangerous war which is probable or possible, and
make every imaginable preparation to carry out these
C R U I S E R O P E R A T I O N S IN T H E S E A
O F JAPAN.
THERE a distinct analogy between the operations of
Kamimura's cruiser squadron in the Russo-Japanese war, and
some of the problems with which we are faced in the present
war. As useful lessons can be deduced therefrom, it is thought
worth while to describe these operations in the NAVAL REVIEW,
and it will be easier to visualise them relatively to the present
situation, if the functions of cruisers are first considered in a
In maritime war, the question at issue between the opposing
Navies is the control of communications in a certain area or
areas. This is said to be established when the trade and trans-
ports of one of the belligerents can pass through the disputed
areas without serious interference, whilst the ships of the other
can only venture into them at serious risk to themselves.
Permanent control of this kind depends on the power of quickly
concentrating a superior fighting force at any threatened point,
and the battle fleet as the most powerful expression of tactical
effort is the final arbiter in this respect. The battle fleet must
however remain more or less concentrated ready to engage the
enemy, and therefore it can only exercise a potential control
within its immediate radius of action. The execution of the
control, and the actual work of protecting the communications
must therefore be delegated to cruisers and flotillas. The direct
attack and defence of communications is then one of the prin-
cipal functions of cruisers, and it will beshown that Kamimura's
cruisers were primarily employed on that work.
This, however is not their only duty for cruisers must be
used to assist and support the battle fleet on the day of battle.
This, their battle function is based on the principle of simul-
taneously employing all one's forces at the critical point. The
overpowering results of even partially successful co-operation
between artillery and infantry have been clearly demonstrated
46 NAVAL REVIEW.
in land warfare, and similarly the tactical combination and
direction of different classes of ships is the great problem of
naval warfare. It must be recognised that the result of battles
does not merely depend on battleships, and that there is a
point at which inferiority in this respect may be more than
counterbalanced by a superiority of properly handled cruisers
and torpedo craft. T h e gun by itself will merely make a noise
compared with a skilfully combined attack.
T h e other duties of cruisers may be included under the
heading of observational functions, that is to say, watch work
in some particular locality or look out and screening work with
the object of introducing the battle fleet to its opponent on
Now in the campaign under consideration, Japanese naval
operations were focussed on the defence of the maritime com-
munications of the Manchurian Army. In the present war our
Navy has to protect trade as well as transports, but the pro-
tection of the one does not differ very much from the other,
and if the communications with Manchuria be pictured as a
great trade route conveying fond and raw material to Japan,
the situation becomes comparable with our own, and the topo-
graphical conditions are also analogous (vide map). For the
Sea of Japan is an enclosed area, and just as our Western
and Channel trade is screened by the great mass of the British
Isles, so the Southern approach to Japan is screened by the
land. The Straits of Dover may be compared to Tsugaru and
La Perouse, and the Northern Channel to the Korean Straits.
The communications of the armies in Manchuria and the
Liau-Tung Peninsula radiated from the Straits of Shimonoseki,
round the South of Korea and then North. The trade to the
Northward of Fusan was not of great importance, as Hakodati
and Otaru are the only commercial ports on the West coast.
All the important foreign trade converged from the South and
East on Yokohama and the Inland Sea. Similarly British
trade in the North Sea, North of the Thames, is not of vital
importance, now that the Baltic communications are closed.
All the important foreign trade converges on the South and
West Coasts and London.
M A N C H U R I A
J A P A N
100 50 0
1 . 1
CRUISER OPERATIONS IN THE SEA OF JAPAN. 17
The Russian squadron at Vladivostock consisted of three
armoured cruisers Rossia, Gromoboi and Rurik, the first class
protected cruiser Bogatyr and ten torpedo boats. During the
early stages of the war, the Japanese opposed to them in the
Korean Straits, three old ccast defence battleships, three
so-called cruisers of the Matsushirna class and four small
cruisers. But the death of Admiral Makharoff in April enabled
Admiral Togo to detach four armoured cruisers of the Asama
class for this duty, under the command of Admiral Kamimura.
The original Korean Strait Division was then withdrawn to
guard the communications between the South of Korea and
Now Kamimura's squadron had three duties to perform.
Firstly, it had to protect the sea communications of the
Manchurian army, secondly to prevent interruption of the
South Coast trade, and thirdly to guard against raids in the Sea
of Japan and bombardment of Japanese territory. These
functions were purely defensive, but they could only be satis-
factorily performed by the destruction of the I~ladivostock
cruisers. Togo's fleet in the Yellow Sea ensured Karnimura
freedom of action in this direction.
The first of these duties was the most important, because it
was in Manchuria that the vital pressure had to be applied to
Russia, and everything depended on the army being regularly
supplied with stores and men. T h e second was not so urgent
because Japan was practically self-supporting as regards the
necessaries of life, and was not greatly dependent on foreign
trade. The third duty of protecting the country from raids
was of minor importance provided it mias not allowed to deflect
Japanese naval strategy. A couple of months before the com-
mencement of hostilities, Admiral Ito, Chief of the Admiral's
Staff, sent an appreciation of the probable course of events to
Togo. In one paragraph he said, " The Russians will make
Vladivostock into a base for four cruisers and six torpedo boats,
and take advantage of their high speed to harass the neighbour-
hood of Otaru and Hakodati." Togo's reply to this was, " I
have no special scheme for countering the enemy's plans of
harassing Hokaido wit11 his large cruisers at Vladivostock."
48 NAVAL REVIEW.
It was deliberately decided to let the Northern area look after
itself, secondary interests being thus subordinated to the main
plan of campaign. In nearly every war plan some such
decision must be made. Similarly German raids on our East
Coast should not be allowed to influence the disposition of our
fleet, unless there is a good opportunity of cutting off the raid-
ing vessels. Primarily it is the duty of the army and sub-
marines, both on our own and the enemy's coast, to deal with
such raids. If the main fleet is permanently stationed for that
purpose we shall be playing the enemy's game. T h e enemy
know that decisive results can only be obtained by success in
battle, and that raids of one kind and another are devoid of
importance except so far as they contribute to that end.
German policy up to the present has been to reduce our
superiority by mines and submarine attack without risking her
capital ships, and raids or the threat of raids are merely a
means to that end. They aim at altering our dispositions so
a s to give their submarines greater facilities for attack, or at
making us expose detachments to a superior concentration of
force. W e must then view these raids in their true perspective.
T h e tendency to exaggerate the importance of such opera-
tions cannot be better illustrated than by the attack on the
Medway in the second Dutch W a r . It is remembered, when
one of the fiercest actions of our Naval History-the Four
Day's battle-is forgotten. At the very time that the raid took
place Sir Jeremy Smith was attacking the Dutch Baltic trade
and probably doing them much more harm than they did us.
Pepys expresses the psychological effect of the raid when he says,
" This (the raid) put us at the board (Admiralty) into a tosse."
A consideration of the problem which faced Kamimura in
the Sea of Japan shows that broadly speaking he had two
alternatives before him. H e might either remain in the Straits
of Korea until the Russians threatened the transport or trade
routes, or, he might take up a position in the vicinity of
Vladivostock and endeavour to get in touch with the Russians
at their starting point.
T h e first plan was the surest means of protecting the
Manchurian communications, whilst if a raid was attempted on
CRUISER OPERATIONS I N THE SEA OF JAPAN. 49
the Yokohama trade via Tsugaru or L a Perouse, there would
be a good opportunity of intercepting the raiders on their return
journey. -4 flotilla of submarines in the vicinity of Tsugaru
would have greatly reduced the chances of such a raid, but this
was rather before their time.
T h e second plan would have required a very large force of
cruisers and torpedo craft for its execution. Amur Bay on
which Vladivostock is situated has two widely separated
entrances and a patrol line about 45 miles long would have
been the least uneconomical ~ilethodof watching the harbour,
and even then there would have been no certainty of sighting
the Russian squadron at night or in thick weather. Under the
circumstances, the first intimation of a Russian raid would
probably have been its actual presence in the Korean Straits,
after which the Japanese squadron would have required about
thirty hours to reach the vital area.
The fact that the Japanese adopted the first plan and
remained in the Straits of Korea is an interesting commentary
on the impracticability of blockading an enemy's coast line.
Under modern conditions, it is an extremely hazardous and un-
economical method of getting contact with the enemy's fleet.
The inshore flotillas must either be pushed up to the harbour
mouths, or areas to seaward must he closely patrolled, and this
means a liability to attack by concent~atedforces of the enemy at
any time of the night or day. These flotillas must then be sup-
ported by cruisers, and these again by large cruisers and battle-
ships, which in their turn will be exposed to attack by sub-
marines. 'The fact that the blockaded ships can choose t h e ~ r
own time of attack also gives them a considerable advantage,
for the personnel, guns, torpedoes and boilers of a watching
flotilla cannot be kept constantly tuned up to the highest pitc'n
The alternative to blockade is the patrol of convenient
straits or areas, between the enemy's coast and his probable
objective, and under suitable geographical conditions it has
very great advantages over blockade. T h e flotillas and cruisers
being placed some distance from the enemy's coast, the danger
of attrition from mines and torpedoes are less, and they can
50 NAVAL REVIEW.
therefore be closely supported by the battle fleet. Again, with
this sj-stem the watching cruisers are closer to the enemy's
objective and should be able to find them more quickly if thev
get through unobserved, and as the patrols are closer to their
battle fleet more cruisers and torpedo craft will be available
for the decisive battle. It was not necessary for Kamimura's
squadron to be in close touch with the Russian cruisers. It
was sufficient if touch was gained in time to prevent a raid on
the communications of the Manchurian army. A consideration
of the situation in the North Sea will show that much the same
arguments apply in the present war, the main difference being
that the protection of our trade is of vital importance, whereas
in the case of Japan, it was a secondary issue.
D E S C R I P ?ION OF OPERATIONS.
Between February 8th and August ~ z t h , the Russian
squadron made seven sorties from Vladivostock, two of which
achieved considerable effect.
T h e first two, took place on February 9th and 24th. They
were confined to the Northern area and only resulted in the
sinking of a few coasting vessels. It should be noticed how-
ever, that they were carried out previous to the detachment of
the fast armoured cruisers, and therefore had these raids been
extended to the Korean Straits, the Japanese transports might
have suffered severely. This danger was however considerably
discounted by the secrecy of the Japanese. The Russian
Admiral was not only ignorant of their naval dispositions but
he thought they mere landing their troops at Gensan, and the
second sortie was directed against that port. The extra-
ordinary inactivity of the German submarines at the beginning
of the present war and the fact that they rnade no attempt to
attack the battleships, cruisers and transports in the Eastern part
of the English Channel may have been due to the same cause.
All of which points to the importance of secrecy in the move-
ments and dispositions of our ships.
After the second raid, Kamimura's division made an attack
on Vladivostock, with the idea of enticing the Russian fleet to
sea. A large amount of ammunilion was expended, but beyond
CRUISER OPERATIONS IN THE SEA OF JAPAN. 5'
killing one woman and wounding four sailors, no damage was
done. The refusal of the Iiussians to come out on this occasion
illustrates the fact that a display of strength in front of the
enemy's ports is the least likely method of forcing a weaker fleet
to sea, whilst if submarines are taken into consideration, such
operations merely play into his hands.
During the third week of April, Kamimura again sailed
for Vladivostock but he failed to get there on account of fog.
The third Russian sortie took place at the same time and
the two squadrons appear to have passed within twenty miles
of each other without sighting. T h e Russian fleet proceeded
to Gensan where it sank one transport and two steamers.
On the morning of the 12th of June, the three Russian
cruisers sailed from Vladivostock with the intention of raiding
the Japanese transport route. Daylight on the 13th found them
in the Eastern Channel not far from the Shimonoseki Straits.
The weather was misty but at 6.0 a.m. two large merchant-
men, a small cruiser and torpedo boat were sighted. T h e
Gromoboi sank an empty transport and then overhauled the
Hitachi Maru carrying 2,000 troops and siege guns. S h e
refused to stop and was eventually sunk by a torpedo. Mean-
while the Rossia and Rurilr overhauled another transport with
1,500 troops and stores. She was hit on both sides by
torpedoes, but was towed into port on the following day. T h e
Russians than made off to the North Eastward intending to
return to Vladivostock.
At 8.0 a.m., two hours after the Russians had been sighted
by the Tsushima, Kamimura received news of their presence,
and he at once despatched torpedo boats to watch the channel
between Iki and Tsushima and to warnvessels approaching from
the Westward. Meanwhile the Tsushima kept in touch with
the enemy and signalled their position at noon. T h e weather
conditions were however growing worse, and soon afterwards
she lost sight of them in a heavy rain squall. Kamimura thus
failed to bring the Russian squadron to action, and it eventuallq-
returned to Vladivostock in safety.
On the 28th of June the three cruisers, a transport and
eight torpedo boats again left Vladivostock. The intention
52 NAVAL REVIEW.
being that the torpedo boats should make a night attack on
Gensan, and that the cruisers should raid the transports near
Quelpart the following morning. Owing to delay caused by a
torpedo boat running ashore at Gensan, it was daylight when
the Russian squadron reached the Korean Straits. The chances
of evasion were thus reduced and at 6.30 p.m. the Japanese
squadron was sighted between Tsushima and Ikishima. The
Russian squadron at once increased to full speed and tried to
escape to the Northward but soon had to reduce on account of
the Rurik being unable to keep station. The Japanese com-
menced to overhaul them rapidly but just as they were getting
within range, darkness intervened, and the two fleets lost sight
of each other. About 8.0 p.m. a Japanese torpedo boat flotilla
made an unsuccessful attack from ahead, and that was the last
they saw of the Russian squadron. T h e failure t o bring about
a decision on this occasion illustrates the vital importance of
taking full advantage of daylight hours. It appears that the
Japanese might have accelerated matters by advancing to meet
the Russians when they were sighted from the Korean coast,
instead of waiting in the Southern part of the Straits.
The Russian cruisers left Vladivostock on the 17th of July
for their sixth raid. It was directed against the trade routes
which converge on the South-east coast. They passed through
the Tsugaru Straits in safety, but were seen and reported and
were again reported as they passed down the East coast. Off
Tokio Bay, they captured two British and two German steamers
with valuable cargoes. Two were sunk and two sent into
Vladivostock. After iifteen days absence the Russian squadron
returned to Vladivostock via Tsugaru.
W h e n the Russians were reported passing down the East
coast, Kamimura received orders from Tokio to proceed to the
South-east corner of Kiu Sui Island. During the passage,
Togo signalled from the vicinity of Port Arthur that he was to
take his squadron to the Western entrance of Tsugaru Straits
so as to intercept the Russians on their return journey, but as
Kamimura was now acting under instructions from Tokio, he
had to neglect these orders. During the two days the Russian
squadron was in the vicinity of Yokohama, Kamimura was
CRUISER OPERATIONS IN THE SEA OF J.4P.4N. 53
kept well to the Westward of the threatened area. When he
was eventually ordered Eastward, it had long since departed
for the North and no trace of then1 could be found.
There can be little doubt that the correct strategy was for
Kamimura to proceed to the Tsugaru Straits during this raid,
but the question as to whether the Russians bere to be brought
to action there, or in the vicinity of Yokohama, was not so
important as rapidity and decision in carrying out whichever
policy was decided upon. T h e Japanese seem to have been
obsessed by the idea that the Russian squadron was making
for Port Arthur, but as far as available information goes, there
was no foundation for this assumption. In the five preceding
raids no attempt had been made t o reach Port Arthur, and there
was no apparent reason why it should be made after the siege
and blocking operations had progressed so far.
Togo's orders to proceed direct to' Tsugaru were a sharp
contrast to the indecision of the higher command. T h e fact
that the Commander-in-Chief issued one set of orders and Tokio
another also shows that responsibility for an important strate-
gical decision was not clearly defined. Headquarters is the
centre of policy and intelligence. It should decide and direct the
general strategy and should give the Admirals at sea all possible
information, but it should not dictate the detailed movements
of ships nor the exact methods of execution. For example, if
it issues orders to watch a certain area or channel, it should
leave the method of doing so to the man on the spot.
Kamimura was ordered to proceed to certain positions, but he
was not allotted a definite task nor was he left any freedom of
execution. Headquarters usurped his functions and completely
misjudged the situation as far as its own work was concerned.
war teaches u s that the violation of the principles of com-
mand is a continual source of failure. The strict defini:ion
and limitation of the functions of each particular rank or
department is one of these principles. Nothing destroys con-
fidence more than the orders and counter orders resulting from
different authorities trying to run the same operation at the
same time. Whether we are considering Togo and Tokio
issuing conflicting orders to Kamimura, or the Admiral of a
squadron encroaching on the responsibilities of his Captains,
the mistakes are similar, and the results are equally bad.
T h e seventh and final sortie of the Vladivostock cruisers
was an attempt to join up with the Port Arthur fleet, which left
that port on the 10th of August. As the news of its return to
Port Arthur did not reach Vladivostock until after the cruisers
had left, they steamed down to the parallel of Fusan to await
events, and at daylight on the 14th, Kamimura's squadron was
sighted about eight miles to the Northward. The Russians
tried to escape but the Japanese soon overhauled them and
opened fire. T h e Rurik was disabled and the Gromoboi and
Rossia after suffering severely in their attempts to support her,
made off for Vladivostock. In response to wireless signals, two
small cruisers, the Naniwa and Takachiho arrived on the scene,
and leaving them to finish off the Rurik, Kamimura started in
pursuit. T h e Japanese soon overtook the Gromoboi and
Rossia, and at about 10 a.m. when the Russians had abandoned
all hopes of escape, they suddenly discontinued the battle. If
the chase had been continued there is little doubt that the
Russian ships would have-been destroyed. Kamimura's action
was recognised as a serious error of judgment at the time. One
of his staff prayed him to continue the battle, and Admiral Misu
kept 'the answering pendant at the dip whilst he inquired if the
Russians were really to be allowed to escape. Kamimura seems
only to have had thoughts of the Rurik and instead of support-
ing the two small cruisers by another ship, he withdrew the
whole of his fleet. In the meanwhile the Rurik had been sunk
by the two small cruisers. Kamimura's failure to appreciate
the situation seems very extraordinary, but such mistakes often
occur in the stress and strain of action. A similar case occurred
off Toulon in I 795 when Nelson boarded the Britannia and
beseeched his Commander-in-Chief to let the frigates finish off
the Ca Ira and to press on in pursuit of the French battle fleet.
" \Ve must be content, we have done very well " was the
Commander-in-Chief's point of view. The truth of the matter
is, that in war time, we only do very badly what we have prac-
tised in peace, and if officers have no doctrines to guide them
and have never been trained to face the problem of war by study
CRUISER OPERATIONS I N THE SEA OF JAPAN. 55
or manceuvres, these kind of mistakes are sure to occur. Even
Napoleon did not pretend that the power of quick and accurate
decision was inherent and natural. H e said " It is not genius
which reveals to me suddenly and in secret what I have to say
or do in circumstances unexpected by others, it is reflection and
This was the last raid of the war, and the operations of the
Russian Cruisers may be summed up by saying, that they forced
a considerable detachment in the Japanese Fleet, thus relieving
the pressure on Port Arthur. They sank three transports, with
guns, stores, and 3,000 men and captured six merchantmen, but
their raids did not affect the course of the war in the slightest
degree. The Japanese were favoured by geographical con-
ditions and only failed to afford complete protection to their
trade and transports because no communication can be com-
pletely safeguarded from surprise attack. Their general strategy
was sound, although the execution was not so good. They did
not seek out or search for the Vladivostock squadron, but wisely
adopted a general defensive so as to retain the power of offen-
sive action in the area which it was necessary to defend.
T H E I N F L U E N C E OF T H E LONG-RANGE
T O R P E D O ON B A T T L E TACTICS.'
" MAGNA LATENT."
THEchief difficulty in dealing with this problem, as perhaps
with all our most important war problems, is that we have no
tactical or strategical doctrine. If our fleet goes out to-morrow
to fight a powerful enemy we have no knowledge of what are
the main principles of tactics by which our Commander-in-Chief
would be guided, and our research must therefore be conducted
somewhat in the dark. One can only hope that the choice of
these principles has been carefully determined, and that they
are known to, and approved by, the heads of our Admiralty
and W a r College. No doubt this has been done, but the
average junior officer seems rarely able to carry his researches
beyond the one cryptic decree that " everything would depend
on the circumstances of the moment." When analysed, this
piece of information is not really of very great value.
It may well be that the fear of dogma has restrained us
from pushing research to its logical conclusion, and no doubt
we have some historical grounds for such fear; but the result
is that at the present moment, if we judge by P.Z.s and tactical
games, there seems to be not one of the fundamental principles
of battle tactics that we can say is universally accepted by
British naval officers. W e do not " concentrate on the decisive
point," for the " doctrine of no doctrine " leaves us still argu-
ing as to where the decisive point may be. Rarely, if ever, have
we tried to make sure that every fighting unit shall be mustered
on the field of battle. And though, of course, we must do this
in war it has never yet been done in manmuvres.
S o much for our own tactical system, which at least is free
from the narrowing restrictions of dogma.
Of our possible enemies we know as much and perhaps
more. W e know the tactical doctrine enunciated by Clausewitz,
1 Written in 1912.
T H E INFLUENCE O F THE LONG-RANGE TORPEDO. 57
and we know that RiIoltke, von der Goltz, Maltzahn, and the
modern German school have unanimously endorsed it.
W e may feel certain that the German fleet will not come
out to meet us until it feels hopeful of victory; that the day and
the place will be chosen carefully in accordance with their
requirements; and that every unit of their fighting strength
will be ready and waiting to apply its utmost force at the
Further, their forces, comprising light and heavy ships,
submarines, minelayers, and great numbers of destroyers, will
be working in perfect co-operation guided by common prin-
ciples and a well-known doctrine.
S o much for the tactical outline. As regards the torpedo,
we know all that is necessary about both sides. T h e main
points may be stated briefly as follows :-
(I) hfodern torpedoes can be fired with accuracy at a target
10,ooo to 12,000 yards distant. Their range can be, and
will be, increased in the future till it exceeds the range of
heavy guns, and often of the human eye (particularly in
the North Sea).
(2) German battleships have, usuaily, double the number n~f
torpedo tubes carried by our battleships.
(3) German destroyers carry niore torpedoes than ours, and
are intended to g o into battle with the main fleet, this
being looked on as their primary duty.
(4) German submarines and minelayers are intended to be
present on the field of battle.
(5) German secondary batteries are powerful, well manned,
and protected by armour.
(6) The secondary armament in most of our modern ships is
not protected by armour and is not rnanned in battle.
(7) The range of vision in the North Sea is usually such that
torpedo craft could niake a long-range attack in broad
daylight without being sighted by the vessels attacked.
Competent authorities hold that these conditions would
exist on about three days out of five, and in any case we
may expect that the Germans would decline to fight in
58 NAV.IL REVIEW.
(8) T h e German fleet, using the torpedo as a weapon of
primary importance, could easily launch 200 at our battle
line in the space of five minutes. Theory indicates that
about one-third to a quarter of the torpedoes that reach
our line would score hits. In practical trials and exercises
the number of hits has usually exceeded this estimate, but
it is as well, in studying war, not to attach too much
importance to practical results.
T h e above facts-all, I believe, incontestible-seem to
indicate that the torpedo must be a primary factor, possibly
the determining factor, in the next g ~ e a t naval battle; particu-
larly if it is fought in the North Sea.
It will be noticed that I have abandoned the methods of
academic research, which I should have preferred, in favour of
a review of the problem as it affects ourselves and our possible
enemies. I hope I may be pardoned for thinking, perhaps
erroneously, that circumstances justify me in thus adopting the
methods recommended by von der Goltz and Napoleon.
In the short space available I have no room for a reasoned
diagnosis of the pros 'and cons and various alternatives affecting
our problem. -411 I can do here is to state bluntly the con-
clusions I would draw from a careful survey of the facts, and to
ask that my readers, after due consideration, will either endorse
or refute them-not forgetting that our final decision on these
points is a matter of vital importance.
T h e present position of the torpedo a s a tactical weapon is
this : It can be fired from as great a range as the gun, or
greater in misty weather, and its accuracy is as great at long
range as at short. (For destroyers at short range, when under
fire, have rarely been known to make 20 per cent. of hits; but
a t long range the percentage of hits is usually nearer 30, when
the target ships are in close order.)
T h e number of hits per minute therefore depends on the
number of torpedoes fired and the rate of fire, which are in
direct proportion to the number of vessels firing. Rut the gun
is the primary weapon of the battleship, also of the battle
cruiser. Therefore it is the other types of warship that we must
look to if we are to inflict on the enemy an overwhelming
THE INFLUENCE OF THE LONG-RANGE TORPEDO. 59
torpedo attack. Cruisers of every size, scouts, torpedo craft
and submarines, must all be massed on the battle field for this
object. T h e enemy should be made to feel that torpedoes are
being launched at him from every point of the horizon; even
minelayers (carrying " torpedoes " that are immobile but
deadly), should be included in our plan. This concentration
of every fighting unit on the field of battle is the first principle
The position of tactical advantage, so often discussed in
print, has now lost much of its " gunnery " value on account
of the large arc of fire possessed by modern broadsides. It is
not easy to place yourself so that some of the enemy's guns
cannot bear, besides which, a touch of the helm will always
extricate him from such a situation.
But a position on one flank of the enemy's line, after he
has deployed, has immense possibilities for the torpedo. If
you are on the enemy's bow you can pour in a steady and
deadly fire till your last torpedo is expended. If you are on the
enemy's quarter, your squadron can be attacked with torpedoes
by his whole !ine.
On his bow, therefore, your main torpedo attack must be
developed. It should be noted that the speed of the torpedo is
of no serious importance; in some respects low speed is better
than high; all that we require is long range and plenty of
rounds, for out of all the torpedoes fired a certain percentage
will always hit.
Submarines.-These craft have very great tactical possibili-
ties, but it is essential that their surface speed should at least
equal that of our slower battleships. They can then g o into
battle with the main fleet, and though their speed may not
admit of their gaining a position on the enemy's bow, they
are ideally suited for sheltering behind the battleships, in the
German fashion, and attacking through the line.
T o my mind the short range torpedo attack, if made at all,
should certainly be made with submarines. They can approach
the enemy on the surface, once his line is engaged, and the
small danger to themselves will be amply balanced b y the
immense moral effect of their being sighted by the enemy. A s
60 NAVAL REVIEW.
soon as the first shell falls near them they can dive, and then
open fire in perfect safety. Such an attack might well have
decisive results, but it can scarcely hope to achieve success in
action unless we practice it in peace.
Position of the Commander-in-Chief .-In the days of
Nelson, tactics were practically ended when close action began.
It was accepted that no Captain could be far tvrong if he laid his
ship alongside an enemy; but having done so his tactical
mobility was gone.
T h e modern parallel, perhaps, is that no Captain can be far
wrong if his ship is closely engaged with an enemy; but close
action now begins at 9,000 yards, and it does not greatly hamper
tactical mobility. Under modern conditions a Commander-
in-Chief may find himself leading into action IOO or even zoo
vessels, exercising supreme control until his flagship is closely
engaged, and then perhaps cut off from them as effectually as
if he were dead.
Making all allowances for individual initiative, decentralisa-
tion, and a doctrine that does not yet exist, one must still ask,
is it wise that we should take the immense risk of cutting all
communication with the Commander-in-Chief at the very com-
mencement of a battle ?
May it not be better to assume that the Commander-in-Chief
is too valuable to be cut off in this way, and that it is time we
decided to place him in a fast armoured vessel where he can
direct operations and obtain a good general view without expos-
ing his ship to the stress and confusion of close action ?
Defence.-Knowing well the dangers that we must run
from German torpedo attacks, an adequate defence against them
is very necessary. At the head of their line we may expect to
find several minelayers, 10 or 20 submarines, and perhaps 50
torpedo vessels, waiting to attack. They would probably be
protected by cruisers of various size, from battle cruisers down-
wards. At the head of our line there might be some similar
force, but it is clear that, unless it is strong enough to defeat
the German concentration, our battle fleet must suffer severely.
Our great need here will be cruisers ; for our destroyers, being
no larger and perhaps less numerous than the craft they are
THE INFLUENCE OF THE LONG-RANGE TORPEDO. 6I
supposed to destroy, can only d o the work at immense cost.
The policy of " dog eat dog " is always costly, and it is not
Hence our defence must lie in cruisers, and it is therefore
a great pity that our battle cruisers do not carry 6-inch guns,
for when the destroyer md6e begins at the head of the line they
are bound to be drawn into it.
S o far as the enemy's battleships are concerned, our
defence against torpedo attack must lie partly in opening out
to greater intervals, and partly in that soundest defence of all-
the ability to fire faster and more accurately than our opponent.
This really is the key of the situation, for it is no longer
possible to fight an artillery duel outside torpedo range; but
unfortunately our torpedo offensive cannot easily equal that of
the Germans so long as their ships carry twice as many tubes
as ours do.
Divided Squadrons.-The single line formation, in its main
features, is a very sound one, and it has been in use for more
than 2,000 years ; but single line in close order, with no system
of subdivision or decentralised initiative, is in many respects
bad. The tail of the line lacks mobility, it is apt to be much
hampered by smoke or casualties in ships ahead, and the whole
line is exposed to great danger from torpedoes.
Divided squadrons, containing from three to eight ships,
are the remedy usually suggested; but this introduces the
difficulty of mutual support, besides requiring considerable
initiative from subordinate leaders and frequent practice at sea.
Further, the gyro-compass and air-driven gyro have made the
modern torpedo so accurate that even three ships in close order
are exposed to considerable danger when attacked with
torpedoes. Attacks on the rear of an enemy's line will be
particularly dangerous to us on this account.
It therefore seems that, if defence is to be based on spacing,
squadrons in close order should never exceed four ships, and
so far as possible all ships exposed to torpedo attack should be
not less than four cables apart. In practice this would lead to
enormous dispersion, and therefore we may perhaps modify
the rule and state it thus : T h e spacing of our fleet must never
62 NAVAL REVIEW.
be closer than that of the enemy-we should then be content
if our attack with torpedoes can be made as effective as his.
As a tactical system, apart from the torpedo question, there
seems much merit in the divided squadrons, and as soon as it is
proved capable of overcoming the difficulties attaching to it, it
should be given the most careful consideration with a view to
Effect of the n~odern Torpedo.-It must be admitted that, so
far, the torpedo has never achieved much in war. Nor have air-
craft, for both are in their infancy. Nor had mines before the
year 1904 ; but the next naval war will be the war of the torpedo.
It is argued that one torpedo will not put a modern ship out of
action, but this is a dangerous fallacy; the ship certainly may
not sink, but her mobility will be so much impaired that she
will no longer be able to keep station in the line at high speed.
If she drops out she is lost to her side, for she is then unable to
apply pressure at the decisive point; also the moral effect, and
the possibility of masking the guns of her consorts, must not
be disregarded. It may therefore be said that, almost invari-
ably, one hit with a torpedo will have very important results.
T h e conditions necessary for obtaining hits are very simple,
for the weapon is now so accurate that all shots fired within
range of a favourable' target may be relied on to score a per-
centage of hits that will not greatly vary. Probably that per-
centage will lie between 2 0 and 30, so long as the target ships
are engaged in a gunnery duel, and therefore unable to make
large turns together.
'The conditions necessary to success are three, viz. :-
( I ) The ships firing must be suitably situated; this only re-
quires a small amount of tactical skill, and high speed in
the firing ships. Obviously those ships do not require to
(2) T h e number of torpedoes fired must be large, for the
percentage of hits to rounds fired will often be little more
than 20. But if a sufficient number are fired, there
should be every reason to anticipate decisive results.
(3) T h e range of the torpedo must be at least ~o,ooo yards,
in order that it may not be out-ranged by the gun.
1 Five or six ships in close order.
T H E INFLUENCE O F T H E LONG-RANGE TORPEDO. 63
Attacks from ahead can then be freely made by vessels
out of gun-range of the enemy, and very possibly out of
sight of them.
N.B.-It can be proved that decreasing the speed of
the older pattern torpedoes is often an advantage rather
than a disadvantage. Therefore, wherever range can be
increased at the expense of speed, it should be done with-
out hesitation and without delay.
In regard to ( z ) , I would emphasise that the primary duty
of destroyers in a fleet action should be to make long-range
torpedo attacks on the enemy's battleships. For this purpose
it is most desirable that their torpedo stowage should be as large
as possible, and that the full number should be got on board
before war begins. Unfortunately our present supply of these
very important weapons is barely sufficie,nt to complete all ships
to their authorised allowance, inadequate though that allowance
is for war requirements.
T h e Influence of Scientific D e v e l o p m e n t .-It is a platitude
to say that tactical principles do not change but their applica-
tion must vary according to the weapons employed. S o rapid,
however, is the advance of science, that the utmost watchfulness
is needed to detect every new variation at the earliest moment.
In quite recent years we have seen the death of the ram and the
boarding pike; now the torpedo threatens to break up the close
order single line which has lasted for hundreds of years.
Powerful bow and stern gunfire has recently been sacrificed to
the broadside, but this may be again reversed if ships attacking
the rear are compelled by the torpedo to keep bows on to their
enemy. In a few years' time the range and speed of the
torpedo may be so much increased that ships abaft the beam of
their enemy can use it just as effectively as if they were ahead.
In the near future submarines, mine-layers and air-craft will be
considered indispensable on the battlefield. These, and many
similar considerations, all indicate the need for steady change
and clear thinking if we are to keep abreast of our possible
In conclusion we must admit that there is more than one
important problem on which we have not sufficient data at
64 NAVAL REVIEW.
present for making a final decision. This much however we
can do. W e can state with certainty the principles which not
only control their solution, but which also will primarily
determine how our next naval battle is to be lost or won.
They are as follows :-
( I ) With the torpedo, as with the gun, we must consider how
we can employ effectively and swiftly every torpedo in
every vessel that can be placed on the field of battle.
(2) W e must arrange, as the Japanese always did, and as the
Germans most certainly will, that every possible fighting
unit is mustered on the field of battle, ready to throw its
weight, however small, into the scales of victory.
(3) W e must have a doctrine, or at least a plan of battle,
whereby the commanding officer of every vessel, whether
torpedo boat, mine-layer or battleship, shall understand
clearly where, when and how his supremeeffort is intended
to be applied.
(4) W e must decide, and decide quickly, the exact relative
merits of the single line and divided squadrons, and of all
other alternative proposals for dealing with the offensive
and defensive qualities of the primary battle weapons
(viz., gun, torpedo and mine).
(5) In all cases where expert opinion is still divided, we
should institute energetic and searching enquiry and insist
on a decisive answer. T o this end we should start,
simultaneously with tactical exercises afloat, tactical
games at the W a r College, debate and discussion among
flag officers of the widest experience, and also among
junior officers who are au fait with the latest technical
(6) In this way the whole service should devote its best brains
and its utmost energy to solving the outstanding difficul-
ties of naval tactics as one single problem. Only by so
doing can we lay the foundations of victory, and if we
neglect t o do so we may expect to fail, because we shall
deserve to fail.
NOTE.-It must be remarked that since the above waswritten
we have made large and steady progress in the right direction.
T U R K E Y A N D T H E WAR.
THEentry of Turkey into the war introduced an element of great
naval interest. The Turkish Empire is bounded by no less than
four seas. The Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the R e d Sea,
and the Persian Gulf-so that she is exposed to attack by any
power which can move troops in ,security in those waters.
Against the enemies whom she has challenged she has two land
frontiers, neither of them very favourable for military opera-
tions; the frontier of Egypt is covered first by a desert across
which the movement of any large body of troops is largely
governed by considerations of water and by the fact that no
roads, in the proper sense of the term, exist; the other, the
n~ountainousfrontier of the Caucasus is poorly provided with
railways, and for the next few months is so heavily covered with
snow as to make any operations difficult. Thus her offensive,
if it cannot be made by sea, can only be made in two regions,
each of which present natural difficulties of a very severe
character, while her defensive partakes of all the drawbacks to
which a long coast line, assailable at any part by a power in
command of the sea, is exposed.
In the Black Sea Turkey has now a fleet, largely officered
and partly manned by Germans. If the Russian Black Sea
fleet can either defeat the Turkish fleet or shut it up in the
Bosphorus, it will clearly be possible for the Russians to make
use of the command of the sea to transport troops to any part
of the Turkish territory if nlilitary considerations demand and
admit of such a movement.
The places in which sea transport would assist the Russians
can be seen on any large map. One of the main Turkish
garrisons in European Turkey is at Adrianople, and behind
this, guarding the advance to Constantinople, are the Chataldja
lines. Troops landed behind or on the flank of the Chataldja
66 NAVAL REVIEW.
lines furnish a very serious situation for Turkey. They need
not be equal in numbers to the whole Turkish force-believed
to be about a quarter of a million-in that area, for the Gallipoli
Peninsula must still be guarded. Adrianople could not be left
without a garrison lest the temptation tn Bulgaria should prove
too irresistible, nor is there room in the narrow neck of Chataldja
to use more than a certain number of men.
On the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor there are other
vulnerable spots. About 75 miles to the east of the Bosphorus
there is a long beach 27 miles in length, stretching to the
entrance of the Sakarish River. Close to the Sakarish mouth
is the village of Kara Su, from which a road runs in to the
railway which connects Scutari with the remainder of Asia
Minor. T h e prevailing winds in winter are from the south-
west, and a landing in this part is possible. If effected in force
possibilities are opened for advance to Ismid which would bring
the force to the railway; and by rail heavy guns can be taken to
the Bosphorus where Constantinople is exposed.
Further to the east is one of the few coal producing districts
in Turkey. Coal, resembling Newcastle coal, is mined in the
Heraclea region and embarked on board barges at Koslu Bay.
This supply lies largely at the mercy of the preponderant sea
power in the Black S e a ; on the other hand, if Turkey cannot
furnish coal for her ships, her fleet is useless.
Further still to the eastward the Russo-Turko frontier
touches upon the Black Sea coast close to Batoum, the great
port of embarkation of oil. A railway line connects this frontier
with the interior, but if it were required to reinforce the army in
the Caucasus with troops from the western theatre it is clear that
by embarking them at Odessa and carrying them by sea to
Batoum, such reinforcements could be effected more quickly and
with greater secrecy than by rail. Besides Odessa, Sevastopol
and r\iovorossisk are also railheads on the sea board from which
embarkation can be made. With these points in view the open-
ing moves of the Turkish and Russian squadrons in the Black
Sea become clearer.
Firstly, the importance to Germany of the move of the
Goeben and Rreslau into the Black Sea. Without them Turkey
TURKEY AND THE WAR. 67
was distinctly inferior to Russia on the sea, and until she could
l)e rendered stronger it was improbable that she could be in-
duced to furnish the diversions against Russia and England
which were required to relieve the pressure on Germany in the
other theatres of war.
Then we see the Turks, without declaration of war, sending
cruisers to attack the ports last named, each of which they
bombarded so as to endeavour to render them useless for
embarkation and disembarkation. T h e Russians, on the other
hand attacked Koslu Bay and destroyed the wharves, cranes and
shipping, and so took a step towards cutting off the native coal
supplies, those from the outer world being already stopped by
the Allied squadrons in the Dardanelles, thus taking a step to
cripple the Turkish fleet. Each navy attempted to destroy any
transports of the other. All these operations, it will be recog-
nised, were necessary to the military campaign, and were taken
at the earliest possible moment in the war. Since then we have
seen attacks upon transports made both by Russian and Turkish
ships, and also the transport of Turkish troops from the
Bosphorus to Trebizond for the invasion of Southern Russia.
EGYPT AND THE SYRIAN COAST.
Turkey having been drawn into the war for two reasons-
to embarras Russia and occupy her troops, and to drive
England out of Egypt and stop the transport of reinforcements
through the Canal. W e naturally find that one of her major
operations is the invasion of Egypt.
The sea being denied her by superior forces of the Allies,
she has to undertake the invasion by land, and she has to cross a
1 great stretch of desert in order to reach the nearest part in which
she can do any harm-namely, the Suez Canal. This denial of
the sea is a great hindrance to the invasion.
The first business of the invaders is to assemble a sufficient
army for the p1;rpose. The Turkish forces in Syria have their
headquarters at Damascus; other troops are in garrisons in
lesser places and in Mesopotamia and Arabia; those in the
former regioi~being largely- occupied with a British offensive
movement ir the Persian Gulf, and many of those in the latter
being unavailable for service elsewhere in consequence of the
65 NAVAL REVIEW.
perpetual unrest in the Hedjaz. In no parts of Arabia are the
Arabs favourable to Turkish rule, and at any time, given pros-
spects of success, a rising of the tribes against the Turks may be
looked for. W i t h the Damascus Army Corps of some 35,000
men, supplemented by troops from outlying units, the enemy
may be able to muster an army of some ~oo,ooo men. The map
shows how great a portion of the Turkish advance has to be
made without railway assistance.
There are three main lines of advance from Syria and Sinai
into Egypt. The first by the coast road from El Arish towards
Port Said ; the second from Gaza to Kantara ; and the third from
.Akaba to Suez.
On the first of these the road from Gaza, which is the
natural advanced base of any expedition, runs along the coast
not far inland for a considerable distance, then, passing behind
the off-lying strip of sandy islands, it takes a direction more in-
!and. There are wells at El Arish and Katieh, and upon these
the troops must depend, but the water is not sufficient for any
large body of men, and for the first part of the advance any
heavy artillery would need to keep to the road and would be
within shelling distance of the sea. T h e advance would thus be
made under the conditions so familiar to the navy in those cam-
paigns on the Riviera in the past, and of which we have had a
recent illustration off the Belgian coast.
T h e second line of advance is independent of the navy,
but dependent upon water. Here again there are few wells,
insufficient to water a large host. But when the troops reach
the end of their journey they find themselves at Kantara, with
the Canal in front of them, and the Bitter Lakes possibly
occupied by naval forces with guns capable of reaching them.
~ h e c b a n k s the Canal at this part are particularly high, so that
a ship cannot easily make use of her guns in the canal itself;
but an examination of the chart of the Canal shows that it is
not difficult to find a position in which a ship's guns can com-
mand the actual crossing. Thus naval force again acts as a
severe deterrent even on this route.
T h e third route starts from Akaba, and after a sharp ascent
to the high ground of the Sinai Peninsula crosses by the
TURKEY AND THE W A R . 69
Pilgrim's Road to Moses's Wells. T o reach Akaba the troops
from Damascus in the north, or R4edina in the south, must
detrain at Maan and thence march along a road, good for some
distance, to the sea. But here they are exposed to sea attack,
or to such military action as the sea power chooses and is able
to use. Xo base can be made at a place commanded by the
guns of the navy, and, on the other hand there is no other place
to form a base as there is not enough water between Akaba and
Maan. On the high plateau of the Sinai Peninsula the invaders
are secure from the sea, but water is scarce. There are wells at
Nakhl, but again these will not serve any large body. On
debouching at the Suez end of the canal there is again the
difficulty of crossing that strip of water commanded by the guns
of the ships which a sea power can place and move where she
Thus the advance of an army large enough to defeat any
force we may have in Egypt is in any case a difficult matter;
when it reaches the east bank of the canal it then has to cross
the water, and this rneans that it has to transport bridging
pontoons or bridges across the desert. This, of course, is
possible, but the operation of bridging the canal in the face of
such vessels as it may be in the power of the allies to bring to
bear, which will be supplemental to the military action, is not
It is, however, possible to protect Egypt in other ways than
by passive defence only, or by direct tactical action by shelling
from the sea. The supplies for the invading army and its rein-
forcements, must pass along the Damascus railway. T h e whole
coast of Syria lies open, and both political and military power
can be used in that area in such a way as greatly to reduce the
number of men who can be spared for the actual attack.
The Damascus railway is connected with the coast at several
places. Between Tripoli and Homs, Beirut and Rayak, Haifa
and Mezerib, the coast is connected to the Damascus line by
subsidiary railroads. It needs little imagination to appreciate the
strength which sea command confers upon the power which
possesses it, provided she has troops to take advantage of her
position. Rapidity of transport, uncertainty as to destination,
7O NAVAL REVIEW.
absence of lines of communication (which in this case are
guarded by the squadron which we must imagine prevents any
escape of the enemy from the Dardanelles) are factors which
make the situation of a sea power most suitable. The line of
communication of the Turkish army is the railway, and no
army likes its line of communication endangered. It is tempt-
ing to think of what could be done to this exposed and vulner-
able line by even a comparatively small force under the
command of a Peterborough, or of such brilliant partisan
leaders as Gillespie and Auchmuty, acting in conjunction with
a naval officer of the Cochrane type, and a political officer who
had at his fingers ends the prejudices, sentiments and political
differences which g o to make up the civil life of the populations
of the Syrian coast.
It is probable that any operation in Syria would have to be
made in conjunction with our French allies, as French interests
in Syria are predominant, especially to the northward of
Beyrout, where the Maronites look to the French as their natural
protectors. T o the southward, between Beyrout and Tyre on
the other hand, are the Druses who look towards England for
protection. Still further south, at Haifa, German interest is
strong; both there and at Jerusalem there are German colonies.
But in no part of the country has the German made himself
popular, and both German and Turk are cordially disliked by
the Syrian population, both Christian and Arab, so that given
a sufficient display of force and of determination there appears
to be every prospect of enlisting the active support of a large
body of the people. History shows that a rising of a disaffected
local faction is not to be depended upon unless success is
assured. Once this is done the populace will rise, but it is
uncommon for them to take a part until the balance has definitely
set in favour of the invader, and Syria has been so flooded with
German propaganda representing German successes and Ger-
man strength that their influence will not be quickly shaken.
Looking at the coast as a whole it is, however, evident that
it is both politically and strategically a weak point in the chain
of communication of any Turkish army operating in Egypt, and
that a power which can transport troops safely in large numbers
TURKEY AND THE WAR. 7'
by sea call influence the defence of Egypt by offensive action in
a very high degree.
T h e fourth sea which bounds the Turkish Empire is the
Persian Gulf, whither an Indian expedition has been sent and
is now engaged in ascending the Tigris. T h e value of this
operation will be best appreciated if the whole circumstances of
that part of the world are understood.
English influence has always predominated in the Persian
Gulf. It is we who have been responsible for the lighting,
charting and patrolling of the sea as well as for the controlling
of the arms traffic, which has been practically suppressed since
our blockade of the coast and our purchase' of the interest which
the French had in that business. This traffic had its head-
quarters at Koweit, whose Sheikh, Ibn Sabbah, a Turkish sub-
ject with a large measure of independence under British pro-
tection, supplied not only Arabia but also Mesopotamia up to
the borders of Kurdistan.
Our supremacy in the Gulf was threatened by the Baghdad
railway projects. T h e German scheme was to make Koweit
the terminus of this railway, Basrah being less convenient as it
is situated same way up the Shatt el Arab. This done, the
Germans would have had a footing upon the sea, and our
interests would have suffered accordingly. T h e Turks, anxious
to oblige the Germans, have attempted to exercise sovereignty
over the Sheikh of Koweit and force the line to be carried to
Koweit, but a satisfactory arrangement was reached last year
between Great Britain and Turkey which defined the territories
of the Sheikh, recognised that he was under our protection and
fixed the terminus of the railway at Basrah. Certain agree-
ments were also made concerning the navigation of the Shatt el
Arab and Tigris, which strengthened the British position.
British trade was, however, threatened by the Baghdad railway.
The Baghdad Rai1wuy.--This railway was to run from
Aleppo to Baghdad, and has advanced about half-way from
Aleppo to Mosul, and a short way from Baghdad to the north-
ward, but construction between Baghdad and Basrah has not
72 NAVAL REVIEW.
yet been begun. Parts of the railway would probably have
paid their way at once on the pilgrim traffic only.
T7ude.-'The exports from Baghdad consist mainly of grain
and wool, from Basrah of dates. T h e English firms of Messrs.
Lynch and Gray Alackenzie were well established, and were in
no fear of the competition of the one or two German firms,
which though well established, did business in articles which
the English firms did not think it worth while to touch. Their
keenest competitors were the native Jews. But it was recog-
nised by the English merchants that the Baghdad railway would
present a very disturbing factor, especially as the difficulty of
preventing the Germans from imposing differential rates,
through from Germany, was almost insuperable. Two English
directors could have been appointed on the railway board, but it
is unlikely they would have been able to exercise much control.
Between Mosul and Baghdad are the oil bearing areas.
Here our position was secure in view of our good relation with
the Sheikh of Mahammerah who owns the province of
Arabistan under a nominal Persian overlordship. His friend-
ship was our chief safeguard in the very important interests
which we have recently been engaged in developing in the
In the southern part of the Gulf, that part of the west coast
which is known as the Trucial coast had been definitely recog-
nised a s falling under our influence. Between the Trucial coast
and the territories of Koweit lies the Turkish province of the
Hasa. Turkish authority there was confined to three very small
garrisons-not more than joo or 600 men in all-posted at Qalif
and Ojair on the coast, and at the oasis of Hasa in the interior.
Behind the Hasa lies the country owing allegiance to the man
who is at present by far the most important figure in Arabian
politics, Ibn Sa'ad. Last year this chieftain drove the Turks out
of the Hasa, and occupied the province; then, having extended
his dominions to the sea, he turned to Great Britain, as the sea
power, to secure recognition and some form of protection from
us, preferably such as was enjoyed by his friend the Sheikh of
Koweit. As, however, u-e considered ourselves bound by a
previous arrangement with the Ottoman Government we refused
TURKEY AND THE WAR. 73
to interfere in Ibn Sa'ad's relation with the Turks, and he
therefore turned back to them and obtained the title o f
Mutasarrif of the Hasa, thus becoming nominally an official of
the Ottoman Empire, and consented to the reinstatement of
Turkish garrisons at Qalif and Ojair, which would leave the
collecting of customs in Turkish hands.
Ibn Sa'ad is thus a person of influence whose assistance
may not improbably be easy to enlist. Another man of the
greatest importance is Sayyid Talib, o Basrah. Sapyid Talib is
regarded by the Arab Unionist party-the Anti-Turk Nationalist
party-as their chief protagonist. H e has travelled in India
and is on friendly terms with the British merchant houses in
Basrah. H e is a man who has given the Turks unceasing
trouble. T o say that he divided their authority over Basrah is
to underestimate his position. H e ruled Basrah, the Turkish
Vali being helpless before him, and his ambition is to be
appointed Vali of the province, and, if possible, to raise himself
to a position of semi-independence such as that enjoyed tiy
Koweit. H e is by no means popular in Basrah where his hand
has lain heavy, and though the Turks have entirely failed to
intimidate him, the British Government and the Indian R a j
have more powerful arguments at their command. Koweit,
Ibn Sa'ad and Muhammerah will welcome the supplanting of
Turkish by British overlordship in hlesopotamia and the two
great Arab Chiefs, Koweit and Muhamnierah will have no
difficulty, with some small support from us, in holding in check
the Arab tribes on the western frontier of Mesopotamia.
Besides this, Ibn Sa'ad is on terms of friendship with the Sherit'
of Mecca and would be happy to assist him in ejecting theTurks,
whom he regards as infidels, from the provirlce of the Hejaz.
Such ejection would almost certainly imply the final termination
of the Khalifate of the Sultan, but this is a matter which must
be left entirely to the decision of the Arabs themselves. No
non-Moslem power can touch the Hejaz or decree who shall be
recognised as Khalif, least of all a power which bears sway over
so large a proportion of the Mohammedan world as we do.
There are thus many elements which only need full develop-
ment to procure the ejection of the Turk from this province.
74 NAVAL REVIEW.
IIis rule has alienated the Arab population, and a proper appli-
cation of force and diplomacy combined should be able to make
full use of those elements. T h e Turkish army in this region is
mainly comprised of Arab troops, and whether the German
officers can make them fight remains to be seen. In Baghdad
it is not improbable that the British will be welcomed as
deliverers. Anti-Turkish feeling is very strong, and Germany
has few admirers, while the proximity and wealth of our Indian
Empire makes us looin large in the eyes of the Baghdadi.
The potential value of the two provinces, Basrah and the
'Iraq is incalculable. With settled government and irrigation
the country mill yield as rich if not richer harvests than the
valley of the Nile. With the development of railways it will
be the key to the commerce of Mesopotamia and Southern
Persia. Its possession will imply complete security in the
great southern Persian oilfields, and yet completer security than
we have ever enjoyed in the Gulf. ?'lie road to India will be
put for ever beyond menace. When the complicated questions
of land ownership are settled-in favour, we nlay be sure, of
the present occupier, the fellah-the wide regions which will
be brought under cultivation by extended irrigation may prove
a limitless field for Indian immigration, just as the vast eco-
nomic development which may be anticipated with certainty will
provide unexampled openings for Indian comniercial enterprise.
The occupation of Mesopotamia may repay the Indian people
for all the sacrifices they have made in suppolrt of the British
R a j during the war, and its imperial aspect in providing a field
for immigration, so badly needed, will not be lost sight of by
~1 , our Colonial Governments to whom the question is of such vast
T h e possibility of invading the province lies in the fact that
the expedition was able to proceed unmolested across the sea to
its destination whither its supplies pass along a safe line of
communications over 1,200 niiles in length, secured by the
ships of the Imperial and Australian navies and the Indian
T H E ATTEMPTED INVASION O F 1745.
A s rumours of invasion have been very prevalent during the
month of November, it may not be out of place in this REVIEW
to give an outline of some of the measures taken upon an
earlier occasion of the same kind of threat, which is rather less
well known than that of the " Army of England," of which
Colonel Desbrikres has given so full an account from the French
point of view.
In 1745 this country was at war with Spain and France,
having Holland as her auxiliary. On the Continent the whole
of the European powers were at war, much as they are now, in
consequence of Prussia's ineradicable habit of extending her own
dominions at the cost of whoever appeared unprepared. T h e
French had opened the war against England in the beginning
of 1744 by a surprise attempt at invasion, the most complete
example of the " bolt from the blue " our records contain. It
had failed; and an attempt to surprise and destroy the British
Mediterranean Fleet by a conjunct Franco-Spanish Fleet from
Toulon had also failed, resulting in a loss to the enemy of one
ship burnt and several others seriously damaged.
For over a year from these initial movements the French
had undertaken no serious naval operations. Their Navy was
devoted firstly to acting on the line of communications of the
British Mediterranean Fleet and cutting off its supplies, and
secondly to the protection of their own trade. T h e former of
these operations was so successful as nearly to drive our fleet
out of the Mediterranean for want of supplies; the latter suc-
ceeded in protecting their principal trade so that it suffered
comparatively few losses.
A somewhat desultory war of trade attack and protection
had been in operation for about a year, from September, 1744,
till the time at which the episodes which follow began, relieved
only by a brilliant little combined expedition of North American
76 NAVAL REVIEW.
colonists, supported by local ships and a squadron from the
West Indies, in which the principal naval base at the mouth of
the St. Lawrence-Cape Breton-was taken; a capture which
set the seal upon the principal operations of the French Navy
for the remainder of the war. T h e trade war was marked by
one outstanding feature. The principal element in the British
system was the western squadron, which was used to observe
Brest, L'Orient and Rochefort in order to intercept the great
outgoing and homecotning convoys which were escorted by
strong forces of the French Navy. Owing, however, to a lack
of appreciation of the necessity of making this, the principal
squadron, as strong as it possibly could be, there was for a
long time a total want of success. T h e force was broken up
into several squadrons which were unable to unite at the critical
moment; nor was sufficient allowance made for ships being
absent repairing. Instead of making this squadron the centre
from which ships could be thrown off when any enemy detach-
ment was known to have escaped, force was dissipated in
endeavouring to meet the enemy everywhere, with the result
that when he did put to sea the British force was too weak to
England had also her local troubles. Ireland was quiet,
but the Jacobites provided the internal difficulties which Ireland
in the later wars, and the Chartists in 1840, furnished. Prince
Charles Edward was a refugee in France, whither he had
returned from Italy in the preceding pear; but it was known
that given a favourable opportunity, he would endeavour to
effect a landing in Scotland, and would be helped by the French
if it suited Louis XV. to help him.
There were two principal theatres of the Continental war-
in Italy and in Flanders. In the former a combined Franco-
Spanish army was endeavouring to conquer Lombardy, de-
fended by the Austrians and Sardinians with the assistance by
sea of the British hlediterranean Fleet. In the latter France
was busy overrunning Flanders. English, Austrian and Dutch
troops were defending Flanders, the fortresses of which were
falling rapidly into the hands of Marshal Saxe. The situation
was not unlike that of to-day-mutatis mutandis-and the like-
THE ATTEMPTED INVASION OF 1745. 77
ness is curiously heightened by the fact that Saxe's great and
rapid success was largely due to an abandonment of careful
advance by sap, and the adoption of a policy of battering down
the defences of the towns he beseiged with the heaviest artillery
in the greatest numbers that he could procure.
In May, 1745, the allied army was badly defeated at
Fontenoy. Eleven days later Tournai fell, and Ghent, Bruges
and Oudenarde were quickly overrun in succession. Ostend
was invested, and the allies fell back to endeavour to cover
Antwerp. There was consternation in England at these rapid
successes. Transports were sent to Ostend to bring away the
garrison directly the enemy's attack should make the place
untenable, and it was fully expected that an invasion of this
country would follow. " W e have now lost Flanders," said the
Duke o Newcastle, " we may soon lose England and Holland
too, for I don't know what can stop that victorious army."
T o meet this danger it was decided at once to collect a fleet
in the Downs. " W e are generally of opinion," wrote one of
the Lords of the Admiralty, " that great ships as a bulwark and
ships under j o guns will be the most likely to prevent an
invasion or project of that nature, as the large ships will over-
awe any fleet they are likely to be able to send out, and the
smaller ships be able to destroy any embarkation they may
think of making in boats or small craft, and prevent their
taking any advantage from their new acquisition (viz., Ostend)
by rendering it useless to them, by having a fleet of cruisers
ready to intercept them in the narrow part of the Channel."
The fears produced in England by the defeat of Fontenoy
had been noticed in France. T h e bulk of our army was now
abroad, and a small force thrown over quickly might settle the
war so far as England was concerned. S o thought d'Argenson,
the French Minister of W a r . " Never has the opportunity
been fairer for a general rising, he wrote, for there are not more
than 13,ooo men in the three kingdoms supposing all the corps
to be complete, and if they are going to send the six battalions
(abroad) as it is said they are, .. . the whole of the three
kingdoms will find themselves protected by five thousand men
at the most and no ships, all their fleet being at sea."
78 NAVAL REVIEW.
It was with matters in this state that the final stimulus was
given. Prince Charles, escaping from Nantes in the Doutelle,
landed at Moidart, where the clans flocked to his standard.
There was no French naval force to the eastward of Brest,
and the first step taken was to strengthen the squadron to the
westward. The Admiral was directed " so to dispose of the
ships under your command as according to the advices you may
get shall prevent the enemy from putting out from the ports of
Brest or West France, and defeat any designs they may have
at sea." At the same time rumours that an invasion was about
to be made from the Flemish and French channel ports was
very strong, and Admiral Vernon was appointed to command
a squadron in the narrow seas. T h e western squadron remained
observing Brest and protecting trade; the eastern squadron was
appointed to deal directly with the invasionary forces.
T h e squadron which Vernon was given consisted of five
ships of the line, six heavy frigates, and four small vessels.
This, in the Admiral's opinion, was a badly constituted force.
The great ships, he pointed out, should be to the westward so
that the force dealing with the enemy's main fleet should be as
strong as possible, and also because great ships being leewardly,
were out of place in narrow seas and shoal waters where they
had not room to drive.' Eventually the great ships were all
transferred and Vernon was given a squadron of frigates, sloops
and small craft, the last named of which grew continually in
Vernon made the Downs his headquarters and sent small
vessels out constantly to observe Ostend, Calais and Boulogne.
But notwithstanding these it was reported early in September
that some French ships had escaped with troops and gone to
Scotland. Admiral John Byng was therefore detached with a
squadron to the Scottish coast to intercept reinforcements pro-
ceeding thither, making his headquarters at Leith. The
instructions to Byng directed him " to keep a constant corre-
spondence with Marshal Wade and the Generals in Scotland,"
and it is clear that direct orders were sent both by the Duke of
1 The lee shore was the submarine of the day, the threat to the great ship
which she had to haul out to sea to keep clear of. Big ships needed sea-room.
THE ATTEMPTED INVASION OF 1745. 79
Cumberland, when he took over the Scottish command, and
the Generals, to Byng and to the commanders of the vessels
patrolling the coast. In the instructions to Byng's successor,
Captain Towry, who was appointed as Commander-in-Chief on
the coast of Scotland, a clause ran " You are to correspond
with the Earl of Albemarle and the Commander-in-Chief of his
Majesty's land forces in North Britain and to employ the ships
and vessels under your command from time to time on such
services as shall be desired by his lordship for the good of his
Majesty's service." This intimate co-operation of the Navy
and Army in defence of the kingdom can be traced through the
instructions to naval commanders for a long time. Thus the
Duke of York in 1798 was furnished with a chart of the coast
showing the disposition of the ships, together with copies of the
instructions which had been given to the Admirals and Captains.
Sir Richard Onslow who commanded the fleet and flotilla on
the east coast in that year was directed " to keep a constant
correspondence yourself, and to direct the captains under your
command to communicate with the general officers commanding
his Majesty's forces on that part of the coast where they may
be stationed, to consult with then1 on all necessary occasions,
and give the said officers every information which may enable
them more effectually to forward the service on which they are
employed, and at all times to co-operate mith them in any
measures which may prevent the success of an enemy attempting
to land on the coast."
The defeat of Sir John Cope at Prestonpans on September
21st decided the French actively to assisl the rebels with more
considerable forces. Preparations were rnade to send ro,ooo
good French troops, under the Duc de Richelieu, to land at
Bridlington Bay, where they would cut the coli~lnunicationsof
the British Army in the North, assure the success of the
Scottish rising, and, if all went well, ther, march south in com-
pany with the army of Prince Charles and seize London.
Vernon soon found that his small squadron was inadequate
to watch the French ports and guard the coast. Unable to
ensure that in the long winter nights which would soon be
coming on, no ships should escape from Dunkirk, where a
80 NAVAL REVIEW.
large number of vessels, of from 50 to 30 guns, was reported to
be collected in October, he recomnlended the formation of a light
squadron of 50 and 40 gun ships to be stationed at Hollesley
Bay, whence it should move to any point on the English Coast
where a landing was threatened. 'Inother squadron-that
under Byng-should remain about the Firth of Forth to prevent
reinforcements going in there to Edinburgh, which city was
now in the possession of the rebels, and another at Cromarty
with small vessels pentrating to the inner arms of the lochs.
Two or three small frigates were kept in the neighbourhood of
the Dogger Banli, as a likely place to intercept ships on their
In the early days of December the reports of preparedness
increased. T h e number of troops expected was now rg,ooo--
this was correct for the French ministry had increased them to
this number-and they were to be embarked in both armed
transports and the largest of the Dunkirk fishing fleet. Vernon
was now allowed to make up his Hollesley Bay Squadron,
which hitherto he had not been permitted to do. It consisted
at first of two large and three small frigates, four sloops and
six armed vessels and yachts of about eight guns each. These
were placed under Con~modoreSmith who had orders to lie at
the Gunfleet, Hollesley Bay, or Yarmouth Road, varying his
station according to the information he received, and keeping
communication with Byng in the north and Vernon in the
Downs. H e was ordered to act as he considered necessary in
taking up the buoys in the Thames and removing the naviga-
tion lights; and at the same time instructions were issued for
erecting fire beacons along the coast from Cromer to Harwich,
and for driving all cattle 20 miles inland. The Canterbury
garrison was ordered to Sheerness, and the marines at Maid-
stone, Rochester and Chatham were ordered to be held in con-
stant readiness to move to any part the Admiralty might direct.
Orders were also given to hire Folkestone cutters for scouting
work, while all boats which would carry from 50 to 60 men were
ordered to be sent at once to the Nore t o be manned and armed.
The Custom House cutters of the ports of Norfolk, Suffollr, and
Essex, were similarly taken for service, and Captain Boscawen,
THE ATTEMPTED INVASION OF 1745. 81
who commanded at the Nore, was ordered to moor his flagship,
the Royal Sovereign, so that she should act as a block ship and
prevent the passage of any vessels that might attempt to ascend
Smith considered the Gunfleet the best position to take up,
and also recommended extending the beacons as far as New-
castle. They were to be five miles apart, and he considered that
if the enemy landed, the " signal general " could be made in
two hours time, and before the enemy could have time to land,
his squadron could slip and be up with them with a fair wind,
" though at 2 0 leagues distance." His arrangements of his
ships, sloops and s i ~ ~ a l l
craft are described by himself as
follows : " I have divided the small craft as attendants to each
ship or sloop of war, and each ship of war has orders in case of
meeting with any embarkations of the enemy to attack them in
such a manner as can most effectually destroy them. I n case
the enemy call for quarter the ship or sloop of war is to proceed
on, and the small craft attending are t o take possession of them
till they have disabled their masts and thrown all their muskets
and oars, if they have any, overboard, and then make the best
of their way on to the ship or sloop they are to attend." There
were seven of these " units," consisting of a 20 gun ship or a
sloop, with two small craft-cutters, smacks, yachts, snows or
armed transports-to each, making 21 vessels in the flotilla.
This flotilla was barely constituted when the enemy began
their move. A French force escaped from Dunkirk about
December 12th, the news of their escape reaching Smith on the
I 5th. The commodore detached two small craft to verify the
news of their sailing, and, if possible, find out in which direction
they had gone. Until he knew whether they had gone north-
ward or southward he did not propose to leave his anchorage.
As it turned out the movement was a preliminary one, made to
complete the assembling of the flotilla. About 60 vessels,
mostly small with arms, stores, guns and ammunition on
board had left Dunkirk for Roulogne where the embarkation
was to take place. Off Calais this flotilla was encountered by
two of Vernon's hired vessels, Dover privateers, fast sailing and
of light draft, which he had taken up locally as additional
82 NAVAL REVIEW.
sloops. X chasing action ensued. T h e privateers dashed into
the middle of the flotilla and drove some 17 of them on shore
or otherwise destroyed them. T h e remainder reached Calais in
safety; but the shock of this action was so great that it pre-
vented any further attempt from being made. Marshal Richelieu
was not inclined to risk his troops upon the water to 6e exposed
to another such accident.
Though the invasion was abandoned in December, the
French troops were kept massed at Boulogne, with shipping in
the harbour, with the intention of preventing the English from
sending their contingent of troops to the Continent for the
campaign of 1746-a favourite threat of our enemies which has
not infrequently been successful. When, however, the battle
of Culloden in April 1746 finally settled the Jacobite cause, the
army of invasion melted away and was absorbed into the forces
T h e operations presented all the features we are accustomed
to associate with invasion. T h e main fleet remained to the west-
ward observing Brest and the western ports, whence the enemy
might send out squadrons or fleets either to assist the invasion,
attack our colonies or our trade or effect a junction with their
allies the Spaniards. The lighter vessels formed the squadron
in the narrow seas and perpetually increased in numbers as the
time passed. Beginning with a force of five of the line, six
heavy frigates, and four small vessels, the squadron in the
North Sea for coast defence in the early months of 1746 had
developed into three separate squadrons, thus :-
Line. frigates. vessels.
In the Downs, observing the coast from
the Scheldt to Boulogne . .. ... 2 I I4
At the Gunfleet and Hollesley Bay ... I I7
Off Cromarty and the Scottish Coast .. . I 9
- - -
2 3 40
- - -
T h e intimate relations between the naval and military com-
manders, the coastal flotilla kept concentrated at the Gunfleet
THE ATTEMPTED INVASION OF I 745. 83
ready to move en masse to any part, the French intention of
carrying their troops in armed transports and small craft, the
fact that arrangements were made for denuding the country of
supplies are all of interest. But whatever measures were taken,
the immunity of the kingdom depended ultimatelyon the western
squadron being constantly maintained at a strength such that
even when ships were absent for refits there was always a force
superior to whatever the enemy could bring against it.
T H E STAFF C0LLEGE.l
IN attempting to compile an essay on the Staff College there is
a great deal that ought to be explained, and n ~ u c hmore that
might be of interest, but must be omitted for want of space. I
hope, however, to succeed in describing briefly three things :-
First. T h e objects of the Stafi College, and the manner in
which those objects are attained.
Second. T h e impressions gained by a Naval Officer attached
Third. The practical utility of the lessons learnt there,
when applied to the Naval Service.
A guide-book would probably describe the Staff College
thus : " T h e Royal Military Staff College is situated at
Camberley, and is open to a limited number of officers, usually
about 50 per annum, who enter by competitive examination.
They vary in rank from major downwards, and the period of
instruction is two years. There is no minimum age limit,
subject to having completed five years service."
With this preliminary introduction we can g o on to the
objects of the Institution. It is the aim of the Staff College,
in the first place, to gather there the brains of the Army. That
is the primary consideration. If they can do that they can keep
under personal observation, for t n o years, all those officers from
whom in the course of time the highest commands in the Army
will probably be filled.
At the end of two years they can then drafl each student
to that staff or W a r Office appointment for which his capabilities
render him most suitable.
1 This paper was written five years ago, after the writer had been attached to
the Staff College for six months, but it has not brfore been printed. Particular
interest attaches to its contents in that they can now b e examined in the light
of p'actical results obtained by the Navy and the Army during war.
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 85
The syllabus of instruction for these officers will obviously
deal chiefly with the twin arts of strategy and tactics, and these
subjects are therefore exhaustively studied. But there are many
special duties for which they must also be trained. On leaving
the Staff College only a few of the students return to routine or
regimental duties ; the more successful officers are drafted either
to the W a r Office or to staff appointments, for general staff
duties. Here they would have t o undertake, both in peace and
war, a good deal of organisation and administrative work; so
this also must be provided for by the syllabus of instruction.
The two years' course is, therefore, designed to give
theoretical and practical knowledge adapted to all these require-
ments ; and everything in the syllabus-at all events during the
second year-can be divided under three heads. These are :--
STRATEGY, TACTICS, AND STAFF DUTIES.
There is a conspicuous absence of technical instruction,
which quite rightly is left to be learnt elsewhere. The general
educational system adopted is that known as the " German "
system, and might be compared to an elastic mould. It is
absolutely different from that used in our Service, and is worthy
of comment. Each system, of course, has its advantages and
disadvantages, and the naval method of teaching strategy by
induction-i.e., with lectures on naval history from which no
attempt is made to deduce academic theories or principles-has
the undoubted merit that it avoids all danger of heresy and
dogma. Comparison would be invidious, nor is it necessary.
But the Staff College goes much further than this. Campaigns
are studied, errors and their results are pointed out by the
instructors, and strategic maxims are deduced from the teach-
ings of history. The possible dangers of this process are fully
realised, and adequate steps are taken to guard against them.
In the first place, the instructors are the best men that the
Army can produce. It is therefore probable that their theories
are generally sound, and that they will not exceed the limitations
prescribed for them. Even at its worst it is probable that, at
the end of two years, the lower intellects would level up to that
o their instructors-or
f nearly so-while the higher intellects
~irouldassimilate much that was of value, but refuse to accept
86 NAVAL REVIEW.
unconditionally anything which they felt to be unsound. The
higher intellects in any students' class can always be relied
upon to do this, but in any case the dissemination of heresy is
not actually possible at the Staff College, for the students there
are specially warned that they are there to think, not to learn
formulae. It is their business to listen to the opinions and
reasoning of their instructors, weigh them with an open mind,
and then form their own conclusions. As a result, anything
in the nature of a dogmatic assertion is usually received with
a healthy and profund suspicion, and subjected to searching
criticism. This process is encouraged by the authorities, because
only in that way can they attain the great ideal of the German
system. T h e aim of this system is to form what is known a s a
" School of thought," i.e., to provide staff and general officers
with such training that, of their own free will, they may be
unanimously in agreement on all the main principles of the art
of war. This is the object of the elastic mould. Their brains
are directed to the consideration of a given line of reasoning;
and if they can find fallacies in it, or produce a better, no one
will be more pleased than their instructors. In may be thought
that this ideal is excellent in theory and doubtful in practice;
but I am assured that the highest experts, both in this country
and in Germany, find it surprisingly successful. Officers who
start with views dianletrically opposed to those of the majority,
often turn voluntarily, on reconsideration, \vithout any attempt
at coercion. It is the lack of unanimity, so often disastrous in
history, that is the terror of the General Staff. It is their ideal
that any subordinate commander, if suddenly faced with a
strategic problem requiring immediate solution, should be
able to decide exactly what his Commander-in-Chief \vould wish
done if he himself were present. Conversely the Commander-
in-Chief, if he knows that his subordinates are properly
grounded in the main principles of strategy, can confidently
allow the utmost scope to their individual initiative and dis-
cretion. S o much importance is attached to this principle of
unanimity that the military authorities definitely lay down the
following maxim : " It is better for all to think wrong together
than for everyone to think differently." Having challenged this
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 8?
statement, both at the Staff College and the W a r Office, I find
that they seriously adhere to it as an axiom of strategy. T h e
maxim is in some ways a surprising one, but if it be true it
must surely prove a serious obstacle to all systems of inductive
teaching. At all events one cannot dispute the facl that, if all
think differently, then all ?nust be wrong except one, and even
that one may be wrong too ! Hence the principle is not so
startling as it appears at first sight.
I have now described briefly the broad outlines of the Staff
College system. T h e next thing to discuss is the three different
branches of instruction (strategy, tactics, and staff duties),
Strategy.-I regret that space forbids my giving any
description of the theories and principles inculcated. It must
suffice to say that they are extremely interesting, and the subject
is taught with great thoroughness. T h e theories deduced from
history seem to be very sound, and they are supported by
numerous historical instances-usually from the blunders of
self-satisfied generals who had neglected to make a sufficient
study of the art of war. One is thus forcibly reminded of the
principle so often laid down by the greatest naval and military
commanders, namely : That the art of war cannot be mastered
even by inherent genius, but requires the additional aid of long
and arduous study. On the other hand practical experience,
even war experience, is teaching merely of an inductive type,
and must therefore rely for its value on the intellect of the
observer. Hence Frederick the Great's remark about his
The theory is therefore held that, though few things are
more valuable than practical war experience, it is none the less
possible to obtain results very nearly as good by careful training
in peace. This is proved by the fact that in 1870 the German
Army, whose Generals were trained almost exclusively on
theory, completely outwitted and outmaneuvred the French
Armies, which had the reputation of being better led, and
having more war experience, than any in Europe.
Working on this precedent the military " school of
thought " has certainly succeeded to a large extent in mould-
88 NAVAL REVIEW.
ing the art of war on scientific lines. As a result they have
enabled the Army-so far as is humanly possible-to dispense
with the guidance of a genius. Indeed, so far is the levelling-up
process successful that the clever officer, the hard-worker, and
the plodder, all can fill useful places in the general organisation.
Genius, in the majority of staff billets, is not needed. It is
naturally utilised when attainable-although more than one
authority has stated that it is undesirable ! It is certainly true
that the genius is a person for whom it is not easy to find a
suitable post; but that is unquestionably due to the fact that
those who work with him are usually not able to appreciate
his point of view or make allowances for his inevitable
It is argued by some at the Staff College that Napoleon or
Wellington would not be particularly likely to have excelled
there, and might even have failed to gain admittance! This,
however, is not the general view.
It is of interest to recall the statement of one of Nelson's
Captains, who, though an ardent admirer, said of him : " Lord
Nelson was no seaman; even in the earlier stages of the pro-
fession his genius had soared higher, and all his energies were
turned to becoming a great commander." It is difficult to
avoid the thought that if any junior officer to-day were to earn
such a reputation his career would be irretrievably ruined.
I-Iowever, this is a digression.
T h e strategic teaching of the Staff College is of particular
interest to the Naval Officer, because one sees at once that there
is no essential difference in the application of that art, whether
on shore or afloat. T h e fundamental principles apply equally
well to either service, and they have so applied for hundreds of
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that a student of
naval strategy, at the Staff College, can in some respects gain
knowledge there, of direct professional value, which he could
obtain nom-here else in the kingdom.
It is difficult to say more about the strategic instruction
without beginning to describe the lessons taught, and this is too
long a subject. It may be remarked, however, that the teach-
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 89
ing is singularly free from dogma and assertiveness, and that
the considered opinions of the students do, none the less, show
striking unanimity. The value of this can be clearly seen in
practical work, and would, no doubt, be even greater in w z ~ .
I pass now to the second subject.
Tactics.-Tactics resembles strategy in that both deal with
the movement of forces and the application of force--one in the
field of battle, the other in the theatre of war.
But strategy deals with the external factors of time and
space, while tactics is very largely dependent on changing
weapons and scientific instruments. As the weapons differ
widely on shore and afloat, so there is but little similarity in the
methods of applying them. T h e art of military tactics to a
large extent merges with strategy, and though of great intrinsic
interest it remains very different to naval tactics. As a matter
of fact the fundamental principles of the two are similar, and
there are many useful hints to be gathered from a study of land
battles, but a discussion of naval tactics is too far from the
subject of this paper. T h e tactical instruction at the Staff
College is not, on the whole, of primary importance to the
naval student, and we can therefore leave it without further
Staff Duties.-'rliis forms the third division of the Staff
College instruction. It comprises subjects of some variety, and
includes several, such as organising a strategic movement, or
the writing of orders, which should be both useful and interest-
ing to naval officers. T h e staff of a military commander-
in-chief is much larger, and has more work to do, than is the
case afloat; but the more important duties of the staff in both
cases are, or should be, practically identical. There is more
work for the military staff, because the movements of forces in
the theatre of war (i.e., strategic movements), as also on the
field of battle, are infinitely more difficult and complicated than
is the case at sea.
If an Admiral wishes to move his battle fleet 500 miles, he
merely sends for a signal-pad and writes " steam for 1 5 knots at
6 a.m. to-morrow." H e weighs anchor at daylight, and cne
hour later the fleet has vanished.
go NAVAL REVIEW.
Rut if an army is to be moved 500 miles, the staff must
work out problems in connection with transport by road and
rail, commissariat and supply, camping grounds, scouts and
pickets, lines of communication, hospitals, bases, depdts, and a
hundred other details. Orders must be drafted, submitted by
the Chief-of-Staff, and issued to all concerned. Thus the
strategic movement of a large military force is a very com-
plicated business. T h e training of officers in staff duties is
designed partly to enable them t o deal with organisation and
administrative work of this sort, and partly to qualify them for
acting as advisers, conversant with the latest theories of the
T o us it must seem ridiculous that a junior staff officer
should pose as adviser in strategy to a General who may
be double his age. But the Army holds that many a man has
done the best work of his life while under the age of 35, and
that practical experience shows the system to be sound. In
this, as in many other respects, the Army has recently brought
about striking changes : not by embarking on doubtful experi-
ments, but by adopting the theories which are gradually coming
to be accepted by the general staffs of all the Great Powers.
T h e syllabus of instruction in staff duties also devotes a
large amount of time to the study of combined operations.
These are, of course, particularly interesting to naval officers,
and one soon perceives that to embark an army and transport
it by sea is a process not only complicated but also important.
'The amount of previous organisation necessary is very large,
and one has to remember that the British Army cannot begin to
make itself useful until it has been transported overseas. Its
presence in the British Isles is needed only if the country is at
its last gasp in a defensive campaign. But no European war
can be brought to a successful end without the employment of
military force on the Continent. This is so clearly realised
that any general staff officer can point to a map of Europe and
say " If war starts to-morrow between X and Y, six divisions
of the British Army must arrive at this point on such and such a
date." T h e Staff College, therefore, pays considerable atten-
tion to all questions connected with the embarkation and sea
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 91
transport of a large force. This completes my very brief
description of the three branches of instruction into which the
syllabus is divided. I have purposely avoided giving details
of what is actually taught, because both the theory and practice
is very exhaustive and could not be shortly summarised. I can
only say that it is surprising to find how much the naval officer
can learn at Camberley that will be both interesting and useful
I propose to turn now to a few general remarks describing
an observer's impressions of miscellaneous details.
Character and Temfierament of liilitary 0ficers.-There
are, perhaps, no two bodies of men, following professions that
are fundamentally similar, who appear to differ so widely in tem-
perament and characteristics as do naval and military officers.
Comparison would be invidious, though it might indeed be flat-
tering to both ; but these differences are the natural outcome of a
different education, different manners and customs, and different
work. I might, perhaps, try to describe some features of that
military character which I think, a t times, naval officers have
found difficulty in understanding. T h e naval officer, I take it,
needs no describing-he is a product of the sea, which very
largely modifies either the Saxon or the Celtic temperament.
The military officer, on the other hand, may be described a s a
typical Englishman : externally he is quiet and impassive, and
though actually he is as cheery and light-hearted as the sailor-
perhaps even more s e t h i s fact is rarely apparent on the
surface. H e possesses all those qualities which have made the
past history of the British Army the brilliant record that it is.
And probably nothing has helped s o much a s the traditional
pluck and doggedness of the Saxon race : but there is usually
nothing of the Celt in his character, and, superficially at least,
he is somewhat more reserved than the naval officer. T h e
difference between the officers of the two services is really slight,
and exists mainly in external details, but these details may very
easily give rise to misconceptions on either side.
The main point to remember is that the difference exists,
and that it has often in the past caused the two services some
92 NAVAL REVIEW.
little difficulty in understanding one another. In any place
where they have opportunities for mixing, a clear and cordial
mutual understanding is soon arrived at. But superficially,
when brought suddenly into contact as they might be in war,
I believe that each service is seriously hampered at the outset
by lack of knowledge of the other.
A very short study of history will at once demonstrate two
(a) The great extent to which combined naval and military
operations are practised in war by an island power.
( b ) T h e disastrous results that may be, and often have been,
caused by a lack of harmony between the naval and
It has been said by Clausewitz that friction between high
commanders is one of the most frequent causes of failure in
military operations. How much more must this apply when
we are dealing with officers of two different services, who
inevitably look at any problem from totally different stand-
points. It is an unfortunate fact that seeds of possible friction
still exist, although the feeling of each service for the other
are, without exception, of the utmost cordiality ; but these seeds
are based solely on misunderstanding and lack of knowledge-
never on any kind of antipathy o r distrust. This incipient
weakness can, without doubt, be cured by obtaining a better
knowledge of one another's habits and ideas.
Criticism.-There is one new and very striking growth in
the Army to-day, brought about perhaps by staff college
teaching, or perhaps by the general staff; be this as it ma!.,
it is a new factor of no small value. I refer to the growth and
toleration of healthy criticism. T h e Army has learnt the
valuable lesson that all things must change with the times, and
that no case for reform or improvement can be properly sub-
stantiated unless it is based on criticism of the existing system.
In the old dark days (still vividly remembered) criticism of
any organisation for which a senior officer might happen to be
responsible was an unpardonable crime. A junior officer who
exercised his brain on defects in an existing system was rash
indeed if he neglected to conceal the fact. Now, all this is
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 93
changed. It is realised that an officer's tact is not always to
be measured in inverse proportion to his zeal, and that those
who criticised in the past, at their own risk and for the good of
the service, were not necessarily presumptuous firebrands. On
the subject of Tact I have heard a senior staff officer lay down
the theory that it is a quality not so much needed from a junior
officer to a senior, but often valuable the other way round. H e
points out that a junior officer can at any time be crushed if
desired, and therefore obviously tries to be as tactful as he can.
But the senior officer, he says, might well remember that tact
becomes him to an equal extent, and he might often do good to
the service by showing kindly consideration to a zealous
though perhaps misguided junior. It is a peculiar fact that
genius and tact are rarely combined, but too often in the past
high officials have been at such pains to punish some small lack
of tact, that they have entirely deprived themselves and their
country of the genius that lay behind it. 'These errors in the
British Army are dead for ever. Perhaps in the Navy the
spread of similar ideas might help to stimulate healthy criticism
within the service, and to choke that flow of acrinlonious discus-
sion which sometimes finds vent at present in the public press.
Another item of staff college training that ought to be
mentioned is the development of
Initiative.-As a counterpoise to the teaching of the mould
system, and as an indispensable aid to obtaining the highest
efficiency in war, individual initiative is encouraged to the
utmost. T o this end individuality of thought is never re-
pressed, and great stress is laid on the importance of prompt
and intelligent initiative in war whenever it appears to be called
for. Neither of these factors can be developed to their
maximum without careful study and practical training. But
clear and concise rules are laid down which indicate to every
subordinate officer when it is his duty to act on his own initia-
tive and to disobey, if necessary, his existing orders. These
rules are roughly as follows :-
(a) If a new situation arises, which does not call for immediate
action, he is to communicate with superior authority (if
94 NAVAL REVIEW.
(b) But if, in his opinion, instant action is required, he is to
act on his own discretion and take whatever steps he may
think that his Commander-in-Chief would order if he
himself were present.
(c) This initiative is not to be exercised unless circumstances
have arisen which were not known to the Commander-
in-Chief, or senior officer, at the time that his last orders
These instructions show clearly that under certain circum-
stances a junior officer is justified in acting in direct violation
of his written orders. Indeed, it is further laid down that
any officer who is required by these instructions to act on his
own initiative, and neglects to do so, will be held answerable for
the consequences. If it be permissible to draw a moral from
this theory, one might suggest that, in the Navy of to-day,
further attention paid to these two points, viz., individuality of
thought and initiative in war, would not be wasted.
At any rate it is certain that wireless telegraphy, and other
modern methods of rapid communication, must have done much
to cramp the initiative and self-reliance which in past naval wars
proved one of our most valuable assets. The evil is an insidious
one, whose effects might well escape notice until suddenly
brought to light in war. However, a little more study of this
subject would probably do much to encourage the general
acceptance and practice of that shrewd maxim :-
" Better an error in judgment than a lack of initiative."
Co-operation between the two Services.-Study at the Staff
College brings home to one very forcibly the vast gulf between
naval and military ideas that seems to exist, not only among
juniors but also at headquarters. It is an unfortunate fact that
the headquarters of both Services sometimes embark on the
solution of their strategic problems without any reference to one
another. This really is a very natural occurrence and is the
outcome of that " water-tight compartment " system which so
often grows up around the different departments of a public
service. Among the large departments of a government it
naturally flourishes more readily and is more difficult to avoid.
As a result, one finds that the two Services have produced
' THE STAFF COLLEGE. 95
strategic theories which are almost diametrically in opposition
to one another ! It is common knowledge that, in the event of
a European war, each service has certain requirements that it
would hope to see fulfilled by the other. T h e Navy would ask
of the Army that they should make no claim on naval services
until we have had time to fight for and secure the command of
the sea. W e q i g h t also, perhaps, request the Army t o assist us
in seizing some locality which naval strategy requires should be
in our hands. As, for example, in the case of Port Arthur.
But n~ilitaryrequirements are very different, and are roughly
as follows :-
First. That the Navy shall not ask the Army to expend
a portion of its strength in seizing, for the use of the
Navy, some port or island of the enemy.
Second. That the Navy shall be prepared to embark a large
army, and escort it to Europe, almost immediately
after the outbreak of hostilities.
There can be no doubt that the respective points of view are
directly in opposition, though probably both are quite sound
when viewed merely as a question of naval or of military strategy
as the case may be.
It therefore appears that, though military strategy be good
and naval strategy be good, it is possible for the two to clash.
The combination of the two, whereby imperial strategy has yet
to be evolved, is a consummation that still awaits fulfilment.
T o this end the need for closer co-operation between the two
services, at headquarters as well as among younger officers, seems
to be urged by all who have made a study of the subject. !f
this factor is lacking it is easy to foretell that dangers or difficul-
ties may result. Rut when the strategic requirements of all
parties are weighed and blended, it should be possible to devise
a scheme whereby all the fighting forces of the Crown niay work
in mutual co-operation. T h e central authorities would then be
able to prepare with confidence for every possible campaign by
removing, first, all pvssibility of internal friction either in per-lce
Such functions are to a large extent exercised by the
Imperial Defence Committee, but that body differs largely both
96 NAVAL REVIEW.
from the German General Staff and from the Japanese W a r
Council, which was so successful during the Russian war.
T h e duties of the Defence Committee at present are mainly
passive and non-executive ; but it seems safe to prophesy that its
responsibilities will gradually expand. Witliin a few years it
will perhaps, be the final arbiter in all large questions of
imperial strategy in war, as well as directing, to a considerable
extent, imperial policy in peace.
I now come to the most difficult, and perhaps I ought to
say, the most dangerous part of my paper. This consists in
stating the application to the naval service of the lessons learnt
at the Staff College. The essay could not be complete without
it, but on the other hand it has the serious disadvantage that it
leads to the thorny path of gratuitous and destructive criticism.
This may seem unnecessary, but unfortunately it is a fact
both logical and inevitable. MTe know that every Service
department has been steadily developed in the past; we may
assume that it will continue to do so in the future, for we can
hardly suppose that we have suddenly attained perfection. But
no change or improvement has ever yet been introduced with-
out shattering what preceded it, by destructive criticism, and
throwing the remnants on the scrap heap. I cannot avoid the
comforting thought that to attempt any such process here,
though presumptuous, can at least d o not possible harm to any-
one but the author, and I therefore feel that I ought to go
At the Staff College they have recently started a new
custom. Twelve months after the end of each course they ask
all the ex-students to attend a conference and state the results
of their experience. They are then invited to criticise and to
suggest improvements in the system of instruction. As a
result of the last conference the syllabus has been considerably
changed; so even the Staff College, which has 30 years' more
experience of this work than the Navy, is still learning and
i_mproving, It must be remembered that these students are
voung officers, nearly all under the rank of major; but none the
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 97
less they are listened to at least with kindly toleration and more
usually with deep interest. It may be remarked that at the
German Staff College the officers, on an average, are even
younger than they are in England. I should like to submit
now, not so much my own opinions, a s formed at the Staff
College, but those theories on naval subjects which seem to be
held, or suggested, by the highest military officers. All the
cleverest men at the Staff College look on naval affairs with
sincere interest, and I may even say with deep concern. There
are two main features on which the Army differs from us in
practice and disagrees with us in theory; these are, higher
training and headquarter organisation. T h e widest possible
difference exists between Admiralty organisation and that of
the General Staff; so also between the Staff College and our
W a r College. In the course of a lecture that I had to give a t
the Staff College I endeavoured to explain to my audience the
view that we take on those matters. I made the best case that
I could for our naval system-and I regret to say that they
laughed at it. I do not mean to imply that it was humorous,
but that they were disinclined to accept as serious the best
arguments that I could produce. They disagreed with them
almost unanimously, and they found difficulty in appreciating
them. 1 must start now to describe in detail some of the faults
that they ascribe to us, and it must be mentioned that they d o
this in no spirit of carping criticism but from pure disinterested
patriotism. I n regard to our lack of a General Staff they
simply weep tears over what they consider to be our misfortune.
They say that we have no broad outline of naval policy, because
there is no abiding department to carry on such policy.
Whether it be in ship building or in strategy, it is asserted that
every new Sea Lord comes in with totally original ideas, which
may be diametrically opposed to those of his predecessor. Per-
haps I can best dissociate myself from this criticism and explain
its features, by quoting the actual words of a General Staff
Officer at the W a r Ofice. In corresponding on this subject
I received a letter containing the following : " W h a t is wanted
in the Navy is a General Staff; a thinking department to settle
broad questions of policy, strategy and training; a body of
g8 NAVAL REVIEW.
officers who are trained, so far as human foresight can do it, to
think correctlq: and to think alike. . . . W h a t is the situation
now? In the Navy everyone has different views-only one can
be right, the rest are wrong. Under such circumstances you
cannot work together. . . . Your policy in building, organis-
ing, and distributing the fleets, is settled by one man with
whom few agree, and is continually changing-not the neces-
sary changes that follow altered situations, but complete
reversals of policy, which seem to suggest that everything done
before was quite wrong. The same remarks apply to the
organisation and administration of the personnel, and the
systems of training. . . . W h o makes your plans for war, and
who has the least idea what principles of strategy are accepted
in those plans? . . ."
I think I need quote no more to show that drastic criticisms
have been levelled at us, and this, I am sure, only in a most
loyal and friendly spirit. I d o not wish to suggest that these
criticisms are justified, or even sound; but I do think that if
they are felt so widely and so deeply as I know they are, it is at
least desirable that we should give them serious consideration.
The other points that I have heard commented on are mainly
questions of higher education. For example one is asked,
" How is it that a Commander or Captain must receive training
that extends over 15 to 20 years before he is considered fitted to
perform the duties of those ranks-which are mainly of a prac-
tical nature; while a Flag Officer, whose primary duties are
connected with vital problems of strategy and tactics, will
receive an education in those subjects which only extends over
three months? T o this I reply that Nelson and Drake had no
more training, and seemed to d o very well without. But one is
met with the answer, " Those men were trained in time of war
and came to the front by their achievements in action. Will
you rely on obtaining the guidance of a genius, in a war that
lasts 12 months, when you know that in times of peace the
genius does not often get to the front? "
Of course, the object of the Staff College is to be able to
get along comfortably without the aid of a genius, and no
doubt this is a useful educational ideal. But if our training is
THE STAFF COLLEGE. 99
curtailed, and the genius does not happen to turn up, it almost
seems that the Navy would be leaving rather a lot to intuition
or Divine Providence.
One is often asked why naval officers cannot be spared to
spend more time, say 8 or 1 2 months, at the W a r College. It
seems that, if such a fault were possible (and many experts
assert that it is,) the British Navy might almost be accused of
attaching too much importance to practice and too little to
theory. For an officer, before becoming a Captain, will have
more than 2 0 years of practical training, nearly all being work
at sea of a routine nature. But he can gain no personal
experience of the work to be done by a flag officer; nor can he
even gain facilities for learning, or teaching himself, the theory
of that work. If, however, we are to spend 2 0 years learning
the one, we should surely be willing to spare 1 2 months to pre-
pare for that other work, which is quite as difficult and vastly
more important. It must be remembered that all the greatest
Naval Powers send officers to their W a r College for at least 12
months. T h e Germans adhere to a two years' course, althougl~
they tried one year for a time and found it insufficient. They
confidently assert that though they are, perhaps, behind us in
scientific research, they are miles ahead of us in their knowledge
of the art of war. Only a practical trial can decide if they are
right, but they certainly attach due weight to the assertion of
Togo that " Victory lies in immaterial things."
It sometimes seems as though the naval brain in this
country is given scope only in certain directions. T h e brain
seems permitted to expand along one of two grooves, namely,
scientific development or practical seamanship. In these two
directions, which strangely enough are so widely different, we
can turn out officers who probably are second to none in the
world. In seamanship we have always excelled in the past;
we now lead the way in practically all branches of modern
science. Any officer who can make a name for himself in either
branch receives every encouragement and his success is assured ;
this is as it should be, and in these factors we have an asset of
great value. But when it comes to some ' I immaterial thing "
like the art of war, we find that England seems ever to have
I00 NAVAL REVIEW.
been behindhand in giving it due consideration. T h e Com-
manding Officer of any vessel, from a destroyer upwards, may
have to decide suddenly in war the solution of some vital
strategic problenl. His action nlust be in conformity with the
strategic principles adopted by his Commander-in-Chief and
the Admiralty; but how, with his present training, is he to
know what these a r e ? That great military genius, the late
Colonel Henderson, said, " Any system of education which
confines the study of strategy to a limited few, is an insult to
the officers of the Army and a danger to the State." Truly the
Navy has one advantage in the fact that all senior officers now
do a war course; but under a system of inductive training there
can be no guarantee of achieving unanimity of thought. And
of this we are solemnly assured that it is " Better all think
wrong together than all think differently " 4 If this be true,
then the Navy has not yet reached the point where we might
pride ourselves on all thinking wrong together !
On this subject we have also Napoleon's dictum-" Better
an army of deer led by a lion than an army of lions led by
a deer." Probably he thought it unnecessary to comment
on what might happen to a zoological gardens led by a
sphinx; but one can hardly suppose that they would get very
far. I only mention the mystic sphinx as emblematic of
the cloak that hides from all of us the strategic principles on
which our naval war policy is based. That such policy
should be secret is an obvious necessity, but the accepted prin-
ciples underlying it cannot be too widely known.
In the Army, textbooks on this subject are circulated
officially bj- the General Staff. But in the Navy a study of the
art of war, outside the W a r College, is practically impossible.
Junior officers are completely ignorant of all branches of the
subject, with the possible exception of tactics, and there is no
textbook, either official or otherwise, to which they can turn for
information. Not only in strategy, but also in tactics, the lack
of textbooks is equally striking.
It is very strange that, after centuries of naval warfare, we
have no book written with expert knowledge, not even a scrap
of paper, to record the principles of strategy that British
THE STAFF COLLEGE. I01
Admirals have applied and tested in the past. There are,
of course, several historical works of great value, by writers
such a s Captain hlahan; but these have the one drawback
that the gems of strategical information are imbedded in
masses of historical sawdust. T o show the difference
between the two services in regard to instructive books on
the art of war, I may quote the result of a search in the
best professional library in London. Under the heading,
" Military Strategy," I found upwards of 40 works, by authors
of all nations, and soldiers whose names are famous in history.
Under the heading, " Naval Strategy," I found five books, by
writers whom I had never heard of; one a German, one an
Italian, and three Frenchmen. i h l d that was all ! I think
then we must admit that Army Oi'ficers take these questions of
theoretical education more seriously than we do. I do not say
that they get better results, but they certainly seem to place less
reliance on the intuition of the moment or the inherent resource-
fulness of their officers. In other words they leave less to
In comparing the naval and the military system one must
remember that practical training with us is far more realistic
than is the case on shore. T h e Army can never in peace
approach so near to war conditions a s we can, and this fact is
used by many as an argument to prove that therefore we have
less need of theoretical training. This is a widespread and
dangerous fallacy; one might as well argue that an artist has
less need of theoretical training in art than has the man who
mixes his paints. The logical view is this : That the advantage
we possess should be used to test and perfect our theory, and to
prove to students that our theory is sound. Working on thkse
lines we shall soon find that those intangible, immaterial, things
which make up the art of war can never be brought to perfection
in practice without the aid of theory. Our studies of modern
science and of the art of seamanship have made our individual
warships the most efficient fighting machines in the world.
But those units are of no avail unless our fleets and squadrons
are handled with strategic insight and perfect co-operation.
For this result we are solely dependent on higher education.
102 NAVAL REVIEW.
I trust it will not be thought that anything I have said
should be read as an adverse criticism on our existing system
of higher education. That srsteln is one which has numerous
advantages. But its advantages are, perhaps, better kno\vn
than its disadvantages. I have endeavoured to draw atten-
tion to some of the latter, in order that the claims of the
rival school may at least receive fair consideration. W e
must remember that the German system is adopted by the
Navies and Armies of most of the principal powers. If their
theories are right, or if we even admit that they map be right,
then we ought at least to consider seriously the arguments that
are based on that possibility.
-. recapitulate briefly we may sumnlarise them as follows :
( a ) W e should agree that a sound kno~vledgeof strategy is
indispensable to all officers filling higher commands. It
is also of great value to every officer IT-ho flies his own
pendant in any vessel whatsoever.
( b ) This knowledge can only be achieved by careful instruc-
tion and laborious study, in addition to practical
experience at sea.
(c) Instruction of this kind \\-ill help senior officers to think
alike on all broad principles governing strategy and
policy. This would prove an asset of great value.
(d) Until the Wavy can evolve a " school of thought " based
on very careful training and study, it will never be able
to enjoy continuity of policy or unanimity of opinion.
Moreover the authorities at headquarters, and flag officers
afloat, will never be able to inspire the full confidence of
( c ) T h e training for all ranks in the Navy, up to and including
that of captain, is very thorough and extends over many
years. But flag officers, whose primary duties are con-
nected with vital problems of strategy and tactics, are
given no sort of higher education except very late in life
for a period of four months. As a consequence they must
instruct themselves with the aid of historical and other
works. Such a system, though not without advantages,
can never tend to unanimity of thought and must be
THE ST.4FF COLLEGE. IO3
These then are the views that we are asked to consider. In
stating them I fear I may seem to have ventured far in destruc-
tive criticism and yet to have suggested n o constructive policy.
But that is not my duty; if 1 have given publicity to these
criticisms it is fully as much as I am justified in doing. Were
I however to hazard a forecast in the future, I should feel no
hesitation in predicting the direction of our future progress in
these subjects. I believe that in all our study of the art of war
we shall gradually draw nearer and nearer to the methods of the
Staff College; and 1 believe that in practising, for the defence
of the Empire, the lessons learnt in our college, we shall
gradually evolve a headquarter organisation resembling the
general staff of Germany and of England.
T H E I N F L U E N C E OF OVERSEA T R A D E O N
BRITISH NAVAL STRATEGY I N T H E PAST
A N D AT PRESENT.'
" NAVIES exist for the protection of c o m m e r ~ e . " ~
This remark Captain Mahan proceeds to qualify by except-
ing those nations which keep up a navy for aggressive purposes
only, and merely as a branch of their military establishment.
W e may also except those nations, if any, whose navy is merely
a branch of the military establishment for counter-aggressive
purposes only, that is for the prevention of invasion of any
portion of the mother country or her dependencies.
T h e British Navy exists for this latter purpose, in which
is included the preservation of our scattered Empire, and the
protection of our world wide commerce.
" T h e general movement of maritime intercourse between
countries is con~monlyconsidered under two heads : commerce
and navigation. T h e first applies to the interchange of com-
modities, however effected; the second, to their transportation
from port to port. A nation may have a large commerce of
export and import carried in foreign vessels, and possess little
shipping of its own. This is the present condition of tbe
United States, and once in far gone days it was in great
measure that of England. In such a case there is a defect of
navigation, consequent on which there will be a deficiency of
native seamen, of seamen attached to the country and its
interests by ties of birth or habit. For maritime war such a
state will have but small resources of adaptable naval force : a
condition dangerous in proportion to its dependence on control
of the sea."3
1 Written before the War. Some of the deductions and assumptions may be
examined in the light of our present experience.--HON. EDITOR.
2 Mahan : "Influence of Sea Power on History."
3 Mahan : "Sea Power in its relation to the War of 1812."
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. 1°5
In the growth of maritime intercourse, commerce is to a
much greater extent than navigation the result flowing from the
natural aptitude of the nation. In English history commerce
grew and multiplied steadily from the time the country became
sufficiently quieted internally, but the growth of navigation was
not a parallel growth, and it was only by forcing that it was
eventually induced to show its true strength.
When Alfred the Great, the father of the British Navy,
came to the throne in A.D. 871 he perceived, and he was the
first to perceive, that the only way to keep the Danes out of
England and at the same time prosper the trade of Britain,
was to meet them on their own element the sea. H e therefore
built a fleet for this double purpose, and from that time forth
the British Navy has always existed, often neglected, but never
entirely obliterated; and though sometimes employed for
aggression, and sometimes for the frustration of real or
imaginary schemes of invasion, it has ever protected our com-
merce to a greater or less extent in accordance with its wise or
From the time of K i n g Alfred till 1651 the development of
English shipping by regulation of English trade was recognised
as a desirable object by many British rulers. But their efforts
were disjointed, there was no continuity in this policy, and so
it met with only a moderate measure of success. U p till the
time of the Dutch wars only one side of maritime intercourse
was really developed, namely commerce, which was carried to
a very great extent in foreign bottoms; and this commerce was
probably more due to the natural aptitude of the people than to
the efforts of their rulers.
In 1651 Cromwell passed the famous navigation acts, which
remained in force for zoo years. T h e title of the Act " Goods
from foreign ports, by whom to be imported," indicates at once
that the object of the measure was the increase of navigation
not commerce; that Cromwell recognised how much strength
and affluence would flow from a great carrying trade. The
commerce of England was already large her navigation small.
Henceforth the English began to compete with, and
eventually oust the Dutch from their position as " wagoners of
I 06 XAVAL REVIEW.
all the seas." The three Dutch wars which followed were
caused entirely by commercial quarrels; it was of the second
that Monk made the famous remark : " What matters this
reason or that, what u7e want is more of the trade the Dutch
T h e next two wars are less concerned with commerce, but
during them England increased and consolidated her naval and
commercial strength. By the end of the war of the Spanish
succession she was the greatest sea power in the world, a
position from which she has never receded.
After the ensuing peace begins a period of nearly 50 years
of almost continuous wars, all of them being coloured by one
common characteristic. They were struggles to decide what
nation should control the commerce, and therefore the wealth,
of all those distant countries discovered during this and the
preceding century. They were in fact commerce wars, embrac-
ing the whole world as their field, though the deciding struggle
was frequently fought out in European waters. During these
wars the Rritish colonial system was brought to maturity, and
through them all England rose ever greater, richer, and
stronger on the sea, despite the separation of the American
colonies from the mother country in 1781.
T h e subsequent wars of England with France became con-
cerned with the rise of the power of Napoleon, and from 1793
to 1812was carried on that mighty struggle between Napoleon
and his military genius on the one hand, and the sea power of
England on the other. Towards its close, the struggle on the
sea is reduced to one of commerce only; the determination of
Napoleon by his famous decrees to crush England through her
commerce, and the efforts of England to maintain the struggle,
and by her Orders in Council keep her own commerce alive and
entirely destroy that of 1 rance.
Sea power demands two great essentials : a large commerce
and a strong navy.
Without one or the other sea power cannot be strong and
healthy, and in time of stress will fade away. Without a large
commerce a navy cannot endure the strain of a long war, and
without a strong navy commerce will wither away at the first
'THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. 107
blast of hostilities. The history of France provides illustrations
of both these statements.
These two essentials of sea power offer two points of attack
to an enemy. H e can either attack the strong fleet, when after
destroying it he has the commerce at his mercy, or he can at
once devote all his energies to attacking the commerce without
troubling about the fleet.
If a country possessed so overwhelming a sea power as to
be able to prosecute both these endeavours at once and with
sufficient vigour, then there is no need to choose between them.
The object of the war is to bring the enemy to his knees so that
he will grant terms of peace which are presumably objection-
able to himself; and this can best be done by crushing his fight-
ing power and starving him at one and the same time. Rut no
power exists, or has existed, of such overwhelming strength as
to be able to devote sufficient energy to both these operations
at once. Undoubtedly, commerce destruction can and should
be regarded as a secondary object in warfare, as one of the
means by which an enemy is brought to terms, but it should not
be exalted to the rank of the first and primary ohject. At times
often in the history of France and once in the history of
England it has been so exalted, but always without success,
and frequently as in our own case with disastrous results.
Thanks to the fortunate or erudite administration of our
affairs, British naval strategy has nearly always been more
closely concerned with the defence of commerce, and only twice
with the attack of commerce as a primary object. On the first
occasion, when in the second Dutch W a r Charles I1 permitted
the Navy to decline in order to relieve his poverty, supporting
his action by those specious arguments which have been used
frequently throughout history; England was humbled and
insulted almost in her very capital. T h e second occasion was a
special case and will be referred to later; it is the war of com-
merce carried on by England and France from 1793 to 1812.
Otherwise the destruction of the enemy's commerce has only
entered into British naval strategy to a limited extent as befits
a secondary operation.
In earlier times, when the annual income of Spain was con-
tained in a few treasure ships, cruising for the purpose of
I 08 NAVAL REVIEW.
intercepting these ships was justifiable as a primary operation,
in that the sinews of war might be severed at one lucky blow;
but this justification fades away as commerce grows, and now
the roots of the system spread far and wide and the tree of a
nation's trade is strong enough to withstand many a shrewd
T h e conclusions to which past history points may be
admirably summed up in two quotations from a writer of great
" A cruising commerce destroying warfare, to be destruc-
tive, must be seconded by a squadron warfare, and by divisions
of ships of the line, which, forcing the enemy to unite his forces,
permit the cruisers to make fortunate attempts upon his trade.
Without such backing the result will be simply the capture of
" It is not the capture of individual ships or convoys, be
they few or many, that strikes down the money power of a
nation, it is the possession of that overbearing power on the
sea which drives the enemy's flag from it, or allows it to appear
only as a fugitive; and which by controlling the great common,
closes the highways by which commerce moves to and from the
It is the object of the second part of this paper to show by
historical illustrations the truth of the above statements in the
past; and of the third part to investigate by comparison of
conditions and material to what extent these statements may be
applied to the future of the British Empire.
Before proceeding to the examination of historical instances
it will be as well first to consider the general principles of the
attack and defence of commerce.
W h e n making an attack on anything one of the first things
to decide is where to attack. Commerce follows certain well-
defined lines which need not be expected to change very largely
in war time. Therefore it will obviously be necessary to
attack some portion of these lines. T h e best point will be that
where most shipping may be expected, and that is the
meeting point of several lines. S o the first consideration is of
Mahan : "Influence of Sea Power on History."
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. IOg
points of convergence of trade routes. Such a point is the
mouth of the English Channel, where the streams of trade from
the Mediterranean, the Cape and the Atlantic all converge.
Granted for the moment that the nation whose commerce is
being attacked has not stationed a strong guard there, it would
be an ideal position from the point of view of the numbers of
shipping to be met with.
But there are other considerations of locality which come
into the problem. It is essential for success that the point of
attack should not be very far from the base of the attacking
vessel or vessels. In the days of sailing ships, as long as there
was a friendly port at hand into which to send the prizes, the
attacker could remain on his station for a long time. With the
introduction of steam even if all the prizes are sunk, a base in the
vicinity becomes essential to success so that he may return to
fill up with coal, and so that he may not burn it all on the way
to and from his station. Coaling at sea is too uncertain to be
practicable, and the safety of the attacker lies in being able to
steam at any moment.
Again, the longer a captured prize is at sea the more likely
is the chance of recapture, so for that reason also it is desirable
to have a base near at hand into which to send the prizes. This
danger of delay will increase directly with the facility and
rapidity of communications.
It follows that the best point to attack will be on those
lines of trade which pass close to the attacker's shore. If he
has distant bases so much the better; they will enable him to
attack the enemy's trade on stations on which the enemy wlll
probably not have sufficient ships to control him thoroughly,
and thus force the enemy to detach ships for the purpose.
T o take to concrete instances. France is admirably placed
to attack British trade, flanking it as she does from the Bay of
Biscay right up to the English Channel, and she is even better
placed for attacking the trade of Germany which must pass all
along her shores or go round the North of Scotland.
Germany on the other hand, could hardly be in a worse
position. With the exception of her West African possessions,
which flank the Cape route, her bases are all beyond the home
end of the great British trade routes. '
It may here be remarked that to control a commercial
route two things are necessary : (i.) a mobile navy; and (ii.)
local ports near the route on which the navy can rest as bases
The fortification of these bases, a matter which has given
rise to much discussion should be sufficiently strong to hold out
against attack until the friendly fleet can arrive and drive off
the attackers. They need not be strong enough to withstand
a great expedition and investment, as if such are possible,
control of the sea has already been lost and the base is therefore
The conclusion then is to attack a point of convergence of
the great trade routes of the enemy, as near as may be to the
attacker's own coast.
The form of the attack may be either fleets, scluadrons, or
T o use fleets for such a purpose is a great waste of power,
and may be compared to using a sledge hammer to crack an
egg. A single ship is quite strong enough to capture unarmed
merchantmen. - T h e advantage of using a fleet is that it is
safe from interference by defending cruisers, who can
however recapture the prizes on their way to port. Still, the
fleet is not immune from interruption and defeat by a superior
fleet, and such an interruption would then bring the fleets back
to their proper occupation-that is, fighting each other
causing a complete cessation of commerce destruction while the
struggle was in progress. T h e advantage mentioned is far
outweighed by its disadvantages. If the fleet is split up the
number of captures is many times multiplied, and the number
of points of attack are increased. If the fleet is kept together
there is a possibility of many merchant ships, even on the route
under attack failing to meet it, and this possibility is largely
decreased if the fleet is scattered. W h e n the merchant ship
hears of the fleet being at a particular point she can take a
course to avoid the probability of meeting i t ; but she can never
hear of all the individual ships of a scattered fleet and could not
avoid them all even if she did.
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. 111
Some form of dispersion then appears desirable, and the
question to be settled is to what extent this dispersion is to be
carried. If it is complete, then every ship is open to capture
by an enemy's ship of equal or greater strength. But, if the
cruisers are collected into squadrons then the corresponding
disadvantage of fewer captures comes in. The probability is
that the best course lies between the extremes of complete dis-
persion and complete concentration. The factor of concentra-
tion, so valuable in any form of war, is retained by using con-
centration of effort and centralisation of command; it is present
in the 'spirit and not in the letter. Instead of letting each
cruiser g o out when and where she likes, they should be
controlled by collecting them into squadrons; it does not follow
that the ships of a squadron should necessarily be in sight of
one another, but they should be close enough for support, the
great value of this arrangement being that each ship knows
where to look for help close at hand.
It may be noted here that French privateers were never so
successful as in the W a r of the League of Augsburg and the
W a r of the Spanish Succession, when they in great part worked
A recent solution of this problem was suggested in France
the country of advocates of this form of warfare. About twenty
years ago Frttnce was building armoured cruisers for the avowed
purpose of attacking our trade. Here the idea of concentration
is retained by concentrating the strength of a squadron of small
ships in one large one; nevertheless the radius of influence of
one ship is smaller than that of a squadron however strong that
one ship may be.
The keynote of success in commerce destruction is centralisa-
tion of control and dispersion of action; but it is absolutely
essential to back up this dispersed action by the operations of
the fleet. It is necessary to keep the enemy's fleet occupied, so
that he can only devote a few ships to the protection of trade.
In the defence of commerce it is equally necessary to
employ the fleet concentrated, so as to force the enemy to con-
centrate or submit to the destruction of each of his dispersed
ships in turn by a superior force. Apart from this the defence
I I2 NAV.4L REVIEW.
of commerce in the past has been carried out in two main ways :
convoy and cruising.
Convoy is essentially concentration of force, and in that, it
is good ; but there are objections to it which have nothing to do
with its military value as a weapon of defence. They are :-
(i.) Great demurrage due to delays.
(ii.) T h e arrival of a large convoy floods the market and
sends down prices.
(iii.) T h e value of trade depends upon its rapid delivery.
(iv.) T h e speed of the convoy is the speed of the slowest ship
T o these may be added two modern objections :-
(v.) T h e vast quantity of smoke made by a convoy under
steam would render its discovery easy.
(vi.) T h e great difference in speed of modern vessels renders
convoy peculiarly unfitted to modern conditions.
Though convoy was used effectively in British wars, still
the inconveniences and disadvantages were sufficiently great to
induce the merchants to take the risk of capture and reap the
higher prices by avoiding convoy. S o much so that eventually
an Act was passed making convoy compulsory, and also impos-
ing a levy on the ships concerned in order partly to defray
W h e n in 1907 an appeal was made to the shipowners of
England for their opinion on the defence of commerce in war,
it appear that all owners were agreed that it is better to pay
insurance and risk capture than to wait for convoy.
T h e second method was cruising; cruisers are sent out to
search for the enemy's cruisers and privateers. This met with
a fair method of success in the past, mainly because the seas
were so infested with British ships as to be in most cases fairly
safe for British cruisers. But independent cruisers would not
appear to be the most efficient method of combating commerce
Supposing a man was troubled by wasps, he would not go
out into the highways and wait for a wasp to pass him and
then kill it, nor would he go out and look for wasps in the
highways for the purpose of killing them, he would destroy the
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I I3
nest and its occupants, or failing that he could meet with much
success by waiting at the mouth of the nest and killing the
wasps as they came in or out.
So' with commerce destroyers; the best thing to do is to
destroy their base, the next best thing is to wait outside and
capture them as they g o in and out or prevent them coming
out at all. An example of base destruction is Pitt's much
derided policy of capturing the " Sugar Islands." As a matter
of fact, by capturing Martinique and Guadeloupe he was destroy-
ing the bases on which the enemy's privateers depended. It
is said that 1,400 British merchantmen were captured by
privateers using Port Royal as a base prior to the fall of
Failing the destruction or blocking of the commerce
destroyers bases, the next thing is to pursue every hostile
cruiser whose whereabouts are discovered. T h e Admiralty
informed the Royal Commission on the supply of food and raw
materials that if the enemy detached one or two cruisers from
his main fleet for the purpose of harassing our commerce, we
could always spare a superior number of vessels to follow them.l
As long as a commerce destroyer is being hunted, and
knows that he is being hunted, he will not do very much
damage, he will be too concerned in looking out for himself.
The last thing he wants to do is to fight an action with another
In a modern war the place of privateers will be taken to
some extent by armed merchant cruisers. Now it is not likely
that a nation will be able to detach a large number of cruisers for
the purpose of commerce destruction pure and simple; the cost
of modern ships has reduced the numbers, there are fewer to
be spared and they will be wanted in connection with the Battle
Fleet. It is therefore probable that commerce destroyers will
be mainly merchant cruisers. They will display their greatest
activity at the commencement of hostilities before they ever
return to their home ports (if they always carry their armament
an board), and it will always be at the commencement of war
1 Speaking in the House of Co~nmons012 March 26th, 1913, the First Lord of
the Admiralty said:-"Hostile Cruisers, wherever they are found, will be
covered and met by British Ships of War."
I I4 NAVAL REVIEW.
that commerce will suffer most, because the enemy's plan is still
unrevealed and steps cannot be taken to nullify it.
T h e first defence of commerce is to employ the Navy
to occupy the capital shjps of the enemy. This forces him to
concentrate and thus effectually prevents his main fleet from
indulging in commerce destruction the essence of which in-
cludes a certain degree of dispersion. Detached cruisers and
auxiliary cruisers must now be dealt with.
T h e first should never be allowed to get out. If they start
from a naval base, which should be watched, their exit should
be at once seen and known; and if from a small port their
presence should be a matter of sufficient remark to be reported
and then they would be watched also. In short, the position of
all the enemy's cruisers should be known, and all should be
accounted for. Any cruiser which does get out should be
shadowed and chased until she is captured or driven back to
Privateers and merchant cruisers remain. The former
are abolished, but in the past their presence required cruisers on
the trade routes if their ports were so numerous or strong as to
defy destruction or blockade, as in our wars against France.
T h e merchant cruiser to a certain extent replaces the
privateer in modern war, defence against them is a difficult
problem which belongs more to the particular consideration of
our modern position than to this general discussion of the
defence of commerce.'
T h e presence of bases along the trade routes will render
easier the task of the defender. These bases give support and
supplies to cruisers and are starting points from which they
can set out t o pursue any commerce destroyer of which they
In conclusion of this consideration of commerce defence, it
appears that the first measure is to occupy and defeat the
enemy's fleet. This should be supplemented by blockading
the bases of his commerce destroyers if they cannot be
destroyed, and pursuing any of his cruisers which may get out.
1 The First Lord of the Admiralty, March 26,-" the proper reply to an
armed merchantman is another merchantman, armed in her own defence."
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TR.4DE. I IS
Stationing ships along the trade routes is an extravagant and
inefficient method of defence, but ships on distant stations are
necessary to cover any of the enemy's ships on that station, and
deal with any other form of commerce destruction which may
be adopted on these distant stations.
The first Dutch war was caused mainly by the commerciaI
jealousies of England and the United Provinces. The latter
were in full possessiori of by far the greater part of the oversea
trade of tlie world, and England was anxious to share this
monopoly. It has been frequently stated that the war was
caused by the passing of the Navigation Act in 1650;which
forbade the importation of goods in foreign vessels except from
the country of origin, but this statement must be accepted with
reserve. 'Though, undoubtedly, one of the causes contributing
to the state of tension which finally brought about the rupture,
yet the Act was designed and successfully designed for the
advantage of British commerce, and not for the disadvantage of
the Dutch on whom it fell heavily, because so much of the
shipping of the world was Dutch.
The actual excuse for declared hostilities was an action
fought by Blake and Tromp in May 1652. The collision was
brought about by the failure of Tromp to lower his flag to the
The war opened with an attack on Dutch trade; Blake with
a large fleet attacked the Dutch herring fleet, and was sufficiently
successful to ruin the fishing trade for the year. Meanwhile
Tromp was at sea with his fleet but failed to meet him.
The course of the war is marked by the number of battles
fought and the large amount of convoy work done by the rival
fleets. On several occasions in great battles the movements of
one or other of the combatants were hampered by a large
convoy. The fact of these convoys being considered necessary,
shows that a large amount of damage must have been done
both by the privateers who were guarded against by two o r
three ships, and by the great fleets, whose interference with
I 16 N:\VAL REVIEW.
trade was prevented by accompanying the convoy with its own
Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that in the United Pro-
vinces at all events, the true r81e of a fleet to defeat the oppos-
ing fleet was understood :-" News from the Hague, March the
24th, 1652. (The First Dutch W a r N.R .S.) ' The committee
of the States General for sea affairs having advised with
Admiral Tromp and other chief officers of the Navy concerning
the safe going and returning of such of their merchant ships as
are ready to g o out from hence, or to return from abroad, the
said officers are of opinion that our merchant ships should do
best to lie still and not to stir outward or homeward while the
English are strong at sea, but wait till our ships first g o to
encounter the English, and either beat them or drive them into
their harbours, which being done our merchantmen may
securely come and go with small convoys.' "
Again, in a letter from Tromp and the Admiralty Boards to
the States General the following passage occurs in a plan for
the protection of the Dutch trade : " . . . it being always
understood nevertheless, that the warships shall in no wise be
despatched to act as convoy."
In a series of great battles no very decisive result was
achieved, but the general tendency was a greater advantage
to England in each succeeding fight; but owing to their fierce-
ness, and to a certain extent the equality of results, neither side
was able to do anything very great between the battles. .I
certain number of convoys were captured and considerable
damage done to the trade by a large number of privateers.
After the battle of Portland in February 1653, the Channel
was closed to Dutch trade all of which had to g o north round
about Scotland. The strain was beginning to be felt in Holland
too, many merchants failing, but it was not really great as
both countries continued to send enormous fleets to sea, in
the next battle the fleets totalled IOO ships each.
T h e battle of the Gabbard ended in a decisive victory for
the English, and immediately after the battle their fleet
commenced to blockade the Dutch Coast. The Dutch fleet was
too shattered to trouble us for some time, the blockade was
THE INFLIJENCE OF OVERSE.4 'J'RADE. 117
maintained for a month and again resumed after the English
Fleet had stood across the North Sea for provisions. B y this
time the approaching ruin of their commerce and fisheries was
breaking the hearts of the Dutch. T h e result of the blockade
was such that " 1,500 Dutch ships were captured; the sources
of the Dutch revenue were dried u p ; workshops were closed;
work suspended; the Zuyder Zee became a forest of masts, the
country full of beggars; grass grew in the streets, and in
Amsterdam 1,500 houses were untenanted." T h i s was the
result of the last 18 months of general superiority of the English
Fleet finally ending in the absolute superiority of the blockade.
T h e Dutch fought one more great fight in which T r o m p
was killed and the English victorious. After this they made
peace a s they were quite unable to free their trade.
T h e influence of oversea trade is much more obvious in
this war than in most. A s has been said, one or other of the
fleets was frequently in company with a large convoy of mer-
chantmen, and it might be thought from this that the strategy
of the war was entirely direct commerce protection by large
fleets. T h i s is not so, the fleet usually accompanied the
convoy, not because such was the best method of protection
from the general strategic point of view, but because scouting
and the carriage of news were s o defective that a fleet could
never be certain of finding that of the enemy. If this had not
been so, the convoying fleet could have left the convoy to look
after itself while the fleet engaged that of the e n e n ~ y ,but a s it
was, the enemy's fleets would usually be found in the course of
the convoy at the time of its passage, and at no other time
could the convoying fleet be certain of finding it anywhere.
If, however, the fleet was missed, then the convoy got through,
but the same process had to be gone through next time. Had
the fleets sought each other out and engaged, a successful action
would have ensured the safety of a n y number of convoys, and
this result would be rendered more probable a s the fleet would
be unhampered b y the presence of merchantmen. An unsuc-
cessful action would cause much less immediate damage to
trade, for the merchant ships would not be at hand for capture.
After the battle of Portland, at which the Dutch fleet was accom-
I 18 NAVAL REVIEW.
panied by several hundred merchantmen, the British fleet took
60 prizes although the victory was by no means decisive.
The first of our general conclusions is well borne out by
this war. Had the English Aeet not been concentrated the
damage done to Dutch trade would have been comparatively
trivial, for a Dutcll fleet would have accompanied every large
The second is also borne out, the years in which no decisive
command of the sea was obtained by either side were not
sufficient to bring the Dutch to terms; but when, after the
battle of the Gabbard the English fleet was supreme, the result
was only a matter of a very few months.
THESECOND DUTCHW A R .
Dutch trade revived very rapidly after the reverse of the
first Dutch war. At the end of that war, Dutch trade was pros-
trated as the result of the defeat of the Dutch Navy, which per-
mitted the English Navy to drive the trade of the Dutch from
The revival of that trade, producing the old feelings of
jealousy in England, and the fact that the United Provinces
were quite unable to control their own East India Company
were the direct causes of the war. Charles I1 was for once in
sympathy with the desires of the people. H e hated the Dutch
for being a Republic, and for turning him out of the country
when he was in exile; he also had shares in the Guinea Company
which had much to lose by Dutch competition.
But the Government sought to make the United Provinces
declare war, and this they did by a method quite usual at that
time, but which seems rather strange to-day. A squadron
under the command of Sir Robert Nolmes was sent to attack
the Dutch Settlements on the West Coast of Africa. After
dealing with those settlements he stretched over to America, and
in the course of his cruise capturerd the Dutch Colony of New
Amsterdam, which under the name of New York remained in
English hands after the ensuing war. H e also did a great deal
of damage to Dutch trade. On his return he was thrown into
the Tower at the demand of the Dutch ambassador, but this
does not mean that he had exceeded his instructions.
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I1g
The Dutch did not retaliate by at once declaring war,
instead, they fitted out a similar expedition and sent it to follow
Holmes' track and undo all that he had done. In this they
succeeded admirably, with the exception that they did not
recapture New York. The damage done to our trade was very
great, and the indignation of the English at being treated by
their own method knew no bounds. Haughty and provocative
representations were made to the United Provinces, and at last
in March 1665 they declared war.
But before this, other hostile operations besides the ex-
pedition of Holmes was carried on abroad. In the Alediter-
ranean, Captain T h o n ~ e sAllen sank and captured two of the
Smprna convoy, an event which caused quite undue jubilation
After the declaration of war, disconnected commerce war-
fare continued with increased vigour. Meanwhile, the two
fleets were preparing to meet each other, but the Dutch got to sea
first and spent the time capturing many merchant ships. Our
fleet being still in harbour we had no means of checking them.
Unmolested, the Dutch fleet played havoc with our trade in the
North Sea, but as soon as our fleet was got to sea the Dutch at
once had to concentrate their energies on that fleet and confine
their commerce attack to their cruisers and privateers, the main
fleet only capturing such ships as came in its way. By reason
of the mere existence of our concentrated fleet theirs also had to
concentrate, and the motions of the two fleets became reciprocal.
It is worth noting that at the beginning of the war the
Navigation Acts were partially suspended on account of the
shortness of seamen. These Acts limited the number of foreign
seamen in English ships, and when the English crews were
pressed to man the men-of-war there were not enough left to
work the trade.
On June 13th was fought the first great battle off
Lowestoft, in which the English Navy gained a victory.
The immediate result was that the English fleet for a short
interval was able to devote its attention to commerce destruction.
A large Dutch convoy at Bergen, in Denmark, was attacked,
but the attack failed owing to lack of co-operation by the Danish
I20 NAVAL REVIEW.
Governor. Hut as soon as the Dutch fleet got to sea the English
fleet was again compelled to turn its attention to fighting.
In June of the following year the fleets met again in the
Four Days' Battle. The result was adverse to the English, but
the Dutch also suffered heavily and were forced to return to
their ports for some time before any other operations could be
commenced. As the English were at sea again in two months,
the Dutch were not able to use their main fleet for commerce
destruction before they again had to fight. At the battle of the
North Foreland the English gained a decided victory. The
Dutch fled back to their ports, and Monk swept the Dutch coast
of merchantmen. A squadron also attacked the harbour of
Terschelling, destroyed two Dutch warships and 160 merchant-
men, burned the town, and did damage to the value of
~ 1 , 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 . This was rendered possible because the English
had temporary command of the sea.
During the two years both sides had suffered very heavily
in their commerce. The main fleets, except for short intervals
after a victory were occupied with each other, and in conse-
quence the privateers were comparatively unmolested. With the
exception of convoy there was no protection of trade, and the
privateers of either side preyed on it and avoided each other.
They were out to capture merchant ships and not to fight.
Nevertheless, there is no evidence to show that the English
were suffering more heavily than the Dutch. With the money
which he could have obtained from Parliament but for which
he was loath to ask, Charles could have sent his fleet out again
next year, and perhaps have destroyed the Dutch fleet : in this
case the war would have been brought to the same conclusion
as the previous one. But instead, Charles the fleet to
decline, and urged by the poverty brought about by his own
extravagance, adopted a course which agreed with his own ideas
This course was stated as follows :-
" That as the Dutch were chiefly supported by trade, as the
supply of their navy depended on that trade, and, as experience
showed, nothing provoked the people so much as injuring their
trade, his Majesty should therefore apply himself to this, which
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I21
would effectually humble them!, at the same time that it would
less exhaust the English than fitting out such mighty fleets as
had hitherto kept the sea every summer. . . . Upon these
motives the King took a fatal resolution of laying u p his great
ships and keeping only a few frigates on the cruise."*
The Dutch on the other hand had followed the better but
more expensive policy of fitting out their main fleet. T h e
result was that on the 14th of June 1667, the Dutch fleet now
entirely unopposed, sailed up the Thames to Gravesend, took
possession of Sheerness, and burnt the unemployed shipping in
the Medway. Remaining in possession of the mouth of the
river till the end of July, they colmpletely stopped the trade
of London and threw the town into a great state of panic.
Peace was signed on July 31st, 1667.
The last incident affords a striking example of unsupported
commerce destruction, and strongly supports the first of the
two statements made in Part I. Though the trade of the United
Provinces may have suffered, in fact, probably did in 1667, yet
the damage done was not sufficient to interfere with the expen-
sive operation of fitting out a fleet of 70 ships of war, and the
gain to England was infinitesimal. This is the only case which
can be quoted in which England takes the rBle of commerce
destruction pure and simple, but it will be seen that France
does so more than once, and always with* equal lack of advan-
tage to herself, though not with such overwhelming disaster.
The position of England and Germany is very similar to the
position of England and Holland; were the German fleet to
decisively defeat ours and then place themselves at the mouth
of the English Channel, England would starve.
Another point which can be noted in this case : De Ruyter,
when entirely unopposed did not scatter his ships to attack
commerce, he concentrated on a focus of our trade routes.
During the first two years of this war both sides suffered
severely in their trade, but a s neither side was in a position of
" overwhelming power on the sea " this suffering arose from
the capture of " single ships or convoys," which was unable to
influence the war sufficiently to render it impossible to keep u p
1 Campbell : "Lives of the Admirals."
122 NAVAL REVIEW.
the great fleets. It was not the result of commerce destruction
which forced Charles to the course which he took, it was his own
extravagance and his unwillingness to meet his Parliament, and
possibly his belief in the false principles which led to the shame
of his country.
THEWAR THE LEAGUE AUGSBURG.
The aggressions of Louis X I V which were committed in
peace produced an almost universal feeling of antagonism in
the other nations of Europe. T h e Dutch, however, would not
share this while they had everything to gain from friendship
with France, but in 1687 Louis revoked certain concessions to
Dutch trade. This finally alienated the Dutch and permitted
William of Orange to carry out his expedition to England and
mount the English throne, thus uniting the two Powers of the
sea in opposition to France.
The people of England were already eager for the war,
their feelings had been repressed throughout the years of the
Meanwhile, a league was formed on the Continent between
Austria, Spain, Sweden, and some of the German princes, and
was signed at Augsburg in 1686. France entered on the war
without a single ally.
At the commencement of the war the navy of France
which had been built up by Colbert, was stronger than the
navies of England and the United Provinces combined. The
latter had been permitted to decline since their last great war,
and that of England was only just beginning to recover from
the depression of the reign of Charles, from which it was
rescued by the efforts of James 11, himself a seaman.
It is noticeable how the navy of France based on no great
commerce, declined throughout the war, while that of England,
supported by a growing trade itself grew stronger and stronger.
France is a great agricultural country whose inhabitants have
grown rich by a constant industry and thrift; so the people
never felt the want of a navy which fell into neglect unless
directly looked after by the ruler of the country; whereas in
England most of the wealth of the country was drawn from its
great oversea commerce, and this condition became more and
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. 123
more m a r k ~ d . England had both essentials of sea power,
France had but one, and when that one was neglected and
allowed to fall into decay she had neither.
The war from a naval point of view may be divided into
two parts. During the first part which lasted till the close of
1 7 9 2 the French king kept great fleets at sea; during the second
part the exhaustion of his treasury by his great efforts on land
more than any conviction of the correctness of such strategy,
caused him to lay up his ships or let them out as privateers.
The commencement of the war centred round Ireland, as
through Ireland James I1 hoped to regain the Crown, and the
object of the French king was to give assistance to James. T h e
early phases of the war afloat were thus concerned with the
landing of French troops in Ireland, and the attempts of the
English fleet to prevent this landing.
No great battle occurred until June 1690, when Torrington
with a force of 35 English and 2 2 Dutch met Tourville with 7 2
off Beachy Head. Torrington was defeated, but Tourville was
too timid to press the pursuit on the following day. H a d he
done so it is probable that defeat would have been converted
into total destruction ; as it was several Dutch and English ships
were burnt. Tourville remained in the Channel until August
and being unopposed paralysed our commerce.
The following year no great battle took place. Russell
was in command of the English fleet in place of Torrington, but
achieved little. Tourville on the other hand, with a fleet quite
strong enough to fight the Allies spent the time in avoiding
action and trying to capture the Smyrna convoy. His cruise
is known as Tourville's deep sea cruise and has become famous
in French history. His movements occupied the English Fleet
and thus permitted French privateers to harass our trade in the
Channel; nevertheless, our losses were not as great as in the
following year; beyond that he achieved nothing as he missed
the Smyrna convoy.
The following year, Louis determined to attempt a landing
on the Channel coast to be led by James in person; the rising
in Ireland had been completely defeated. Before doing so it
was judged necessary to fight and win a battle a t sea, and for
124 NAVAL REVIEW.
this purpose Tourville mas sent to sea with positive orders to
fight under certain conditions. Rut by now the French navy
was unable to muster as many ships as in the preceding year;
whereas the fleet of the Allies numbered nearly twice as many
as the French. O n the 19th Map 1692, Tourville obeyed these
orders and attacked the Allies off Cape Barfleur. The battle is
linown as the battle of La Hogue from the name of the place
where the pursuit of the French finally ended four days later.
Though the French lost only 1 5 ships, yet the impression made
was very great, and too much importance has been attached to
this victory. It was not the result of this battle but want of
money that induced Louis to lay up his ships and confine his
maritime operations to the destruction of our trade.
Before laying up his ships, 'Tourville was again sent in
1693 to interrupt the Smyrna convoy with a fleet of 71 ships.
H e surprised it near the Straits, captured or destroyed about
a hundred ships and dispersed the rest. This was the last
action of a great French fleet in this war. Henceforth, the
destruction of our trade was actively forwarded by the large
number of French privateers, whose number and strength were
increased by the custom of hiring out the King's ships.
T h e military action of the allied fleets was exerted in three
ways-in attacking French ports and the shipping in them; in
co-operation with the Spaniards in the Mediterranean; and in
protecting their own commerce.
It is with this last that we are here concerned, and in it the
Allies seem to have failed. 4 t no other time has the war against
our commerce been carried on on so large a scale, and with SO
much success, and this occurred at a time when the French
fleets were disappearing from the sea. This apparently con-
tradicts the first of the two statements made in Part I to the
effect that a cruising commerce destroying warfare to be effec-
tive must be supported by great fleets, and a careful analysis
is necessary to see how this apparent contradiction arises.
First it must be noticed that the complete withdrawal of the
French fleets was gradual, and did not take place immediately
after the battle of La Hogue. T h e excellent bearing of the
French ships on that occasion remained for some time present
'THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. 125
to the minds of the Allies, and coupled w-ith the appearance of
Tourville with a fleet in 1693 caused their ships to be kept
together in large fleets for some time. During this time the
French privateers and cruisers had the moral support of a fleet,
in that their enemy continued to concentrate.
Again, the English navy was at a very low ebb in point of
efficiency, organisation and administration ; whilst the remains
of violent political differences gave France information through
When the French ships were laid u p the seamen were per-
mitted to join privateers, and the French cruisers were even
hired out as such; in truth the seamen had nothing else to do
since French commerce was almost non-existent. Thus the
privateers were very much above the general standard both
morally and physically, and they were led by men of great
daring and ingenuity. These were the times of Jean Bart,
Forbin, and Duguay Trouin, men who though only privateers.
have been considered worthy to be represented in the French
navy by ships bearing their names.
Much of the success of this commerce warfare was due t o
the fact that it was carried out by squadrons and not by single
ships. The commerce destroying of this war was therefore
marked by the particular characteristic of cruisers acting
together in squadrons not far from their base; while the enemy
thought fit to concentrate his fleet elsewhere; and their success
was in great measure due to the inefficiency of the English
navy. As the war drew to a close and the efficiency improved
the success of the privateers was not so marked, and this is still
more observable in the next war.
One of the lessons to be drawn from the war of the League
of Augsburg is the superiority of commerce attack by divisions
rather than by single ships.
Our two main conclusions are not vitiated; the first because
exceptional efficiency on the part of the French coincided with
exceptional inefficiency on our part; the second because we were
not prevented from carrying on the war and in a large part
financing the continental war ; though the distress occasioned by
commerce destruction was a large factor in bringing about the
I 26 N.4VAL REVIEW.
peace. T h e peace was signed at a time when matters were
improving for us in this respect.
THEWAROF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION.
T h e war of the Spanish succession was with a single
exception without a naval action worthy of the name, and yet
its influence on our sea power was perhaps greater than that of
a n y preceding war. Before this, the sea power of England
which was of recent birth was not properly established. At the
beginning of the war of the League of Augsburg we had con-
cluded our struggles with the Dutch, and had come out of them
stronger both in commerce a n d in fighting power than when
we entered on them. T h e amount of commerce we had gained
from the United Provinces enabled us t o be their Allies without
undue jealousy, and we had obtained from them an acknowledg-
ment of our sea supremacy from Cape Finisterre to Norway.
O u r most serious rival then on the sea was France, who
possessed a military navy built u p by the energy of her rulers,
but very little commerce. During the war of the League of
-4ugsburg this navy faded away, which was continued during
the war of the Spanish Succession ; at the same time the com-
merce of France did not increase, thus leaving England supreme.
It has been said above that sea power requires two
essentials, a strong navy and a great commerce; at the peace of
Utrecht we had both in overwhelming degree. O u r rival
France had lost both, the United Provinces had declined steadily
throughout the war, and Spain was negligible. At the same
time we had strengthened our fleet both in numbers and in
efficiency to meet the calls following the decay of our ally the
United Provinces; a n d x-e had immeasurably strengthened our
commercial position b y treaties with Portugal, by the develop-
ment o contraband trade with Spanish South America, by our
naval preponderance in the Mediterranean and the acquisition
of bases therein, and by the capture or cession of valuable
North American Colonies. " Before this war England was one
of the sea powers, after it she was the sea power without a n y
T H E INFLUENCE O F OVERSEA TRADE. 127
The war in Europe was mainly conducted by land, being
supported, in fact maintained by the sea power of England and
the United Provinces in alliance. At the same time opera-
tions were carried out across the Atlantic, where cve captured
Nova Scotia, but these operations were secondary to the main
plan of the war.
In Europe, when the war broke out Sir George Rooke was
sent to attack Cadiz, in which he failed, but he succeeded in
capturing or destroying the Spanish West Indian galleons
lying in Vigo Harbour. A new candidate for the Spanish
throne Carlos I11 was set up, and supported by England, who
now formed a lasting alliance with Portugal. The Allied
fleet transported Carlos to Lisbon, and thenceforth devoted
itself to supporting his campaign.
On August 4th 1704 Gibraltar was captured and has
remained in our hands ever since. Almost immediately after-
wards Rooke met the French fleet at Malaga. There followcd
one of the most sanguinary encounters ever fought on the sea ;
yet it was not decisive, and the main result was that the
French fleet eventually retired to Toulon and was seen no more
during the war. T h e Allied main fleet continued to support the
war in Catalonia by bringing supplies to Barcelona, and the
war in Portugal to Lisbon.
The deepest interest for us in this war centres round the
doings of the French corsairs. Although the results were
great, yet the distress caused to England was not so great at the
end as at the beginning of the war.
When in the war of the League of Augsburg, Tourville
kept the sea with a large fleet, the doings of the privateers were
not very prominent, or perhaps they made less stir. For at
first they cruised alone as privateers usually have done and
picked up what merchant ships they met, but their activity
was limited by sending ships in convoy with two or three
men-of-war. Then the privateers took to cruising in squadrons
and became famous and their whole character altered ; instead
of going out to capture helpless merchant ships they adopted
the policy of first defeating the convoy ships of war, and thus
assumed more of the character of fighting ships. This is the
r 28 NAVAL REVIEW
form in which these French privateers have become known to
history under such men as Forbin, Du Casse, and Duguay
But as the efficiency of the English navy increased steadily
during this period, and as the opposition of the French fleets
grow less, so the distress to English merchant shipping
decreased. During the war of the League of Augsburg many
English merchants failed; during the war of the Spanish
Succession they suffered loss, but their losses were outweighed
by their gains from the alliance with Portugal which gave us
the trade of all the Portuguese Colonies. 'The Peace of Utrecht
was signed on April 11th 1713. It is to be noticed, that one of
the stipulations was that the Port of Dunkirk should be dis-
mantled; this stipulation occurs in treaty after treaty with
France, and shows that the privateers of the Channel were
nuisances to be reckoned with.
" T o sum up, looking at the war as a whole, we see that it
gives no support to the often renewed contention, that attacks
by cruisers on seaborne trade can, of themselves, bring a
maritime power to submission. 'The work often tried has never
been better done, and we may feel sure never will be better
done, than by Duguay Trouin and the men he represents. Yet
we see that it did not stop the march of the grand fleets of the
Allies for a single day, nor did it dam up the main stream of the
commerce. . . . Success in these operations must finally fall to
whichever side possesses the most numerous and the best
Space will not admit of a detailed examination of all the
wars in which England was engaged in the eighteenth century,
but we do not find anything in them to vitiate the general con-
clusions which have already been reached.
It has been calculated that our losses by capture during the
years of the wars of the French Revolution and Empire did
not exceed j& per cent of our trade. This was at a time when
the enemy's cruisers were as active as ours would permit them
to be, and the enemy's great fleets though they mostly stayed
in port still demanded the presence of our fleets off those ports.
Hannay : " A short History of the Royal Nnky."
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TR-ADE. I29
After the year 1805 Napoleon abandoned all attempt to gain
command of the sea and turned his attention to our commerce,
his object being to " conquer the sea by land." In a series of
famous decrees he declared all British goods contraband
wherever found, throughout the whole of the dominion over
which he held sway. England retaliated by declaring almost
the whole European coast to be blockaded. T h e result was
disastrous to neutrals, and disastrous to the two countries con-
cerned and brought them both to the verge of ruin. It became
a test of endurance to see whether the Continent could do longer
without English manufactures than England could do without
the continental market. Each country was supreme on her own
element, but the supremacy of England on the sea outlasted the
supremacy of the French on land.
A study of this period, though deeply interesting, is
scarcely germane to the purpose of this paper, as two conditions
render the situation impossible at the present day. First,
Europe is no longer dependent on the manufactures of England ;
second, there are not now two powers of such pre-eminent
strength as to be able to entirely disregard all neutral rights 2s
they were disregarded in this struggle. Even then, the injustice
of the measures taken; and the hardness with which they bore
on the neutral carrier, caused America to declare war against
Another thing to notice about this period is the attention
paid to commerce protection, as can be seen from the " Barham
Papers." This was necessary on account of the large numbers
of privateers in those days, and still more on account of the
excellent position of France for attacking our trade.
In the days of the sailing ship, trade was roughly confined
to certain broad paths, but owing to the dependence of the
sailing ship on the wind these paths were by no means
restricted or well defined. Now, nearly all ships are propelled
by steam power, those that are not, are mostly employed on
routes throughout which the general direction of the wind is
more or less constant and can be relied upon, Lhose which are
propelled by steam are entirely independent of the wind. This
I3O NAVAL REVIEW.
maltes the modern paths of trade very well defined and com-
Again, the volunle of trade proceeding along any given
route at any time of the year is known with great accuracy. It is
unlikely that war trade routes, that is special routes in time of
war will ever be en~ployed. They are just as difficult to protect
once the enemy has found them out which it will not take him
long to do ; and for economical reasons they cannot be made to
differ very mridely from the peace routes.
All this renders the selection of the point of attack, and the
certainty with which that attack can be delivered a very much
easier matter for the commerce destroyer of to-day ; in that he
has an advantage over his predecessor of whatever nationality. '
But when we come to consider the advantages and dis-
advantages of position held by a German commerce destroyer;
the one we have to consider at present as cornpared with the
French our constant enemy in the past, we arrive at a different
The British Isles lie right across the expanse of ocean
which narrows in to the short German coast, leaving only two
approaches to German ports; the Straits of Dover, and the
opening between Scotland and Norway. This latter is 300
miles wide, but is partially obstructed by the Orkney and
Shetland Isles. In consequence of this position, all British trade
stops zoo miles or more short of German ports, and all German
trade has to pass close to British ports or make a wide detour
round the British Isles. T h e advantage of Britain's position is
immense, and compared with the advantages possessed by
France, the disadvantages of Germany's position for attacking
British trade are very great.
Modern conlmerce destroyers are dependent on coal for their
motive power, and therefore are very much more dependent on a
base than a sailing ship which could g o for many weeks without
any supplies at all, and for months with no other than those
which could be easily transhipped at sea. Her most pressing
need was water, which could be obtained at any undefended or
uninhabited anchorage almost as easily as at her base. But a
modern ship cannot last for more than say 14 days'under steam
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I 3I
without replenishing with coal, and to do this she must return
to her base. Coaling at sea is too difficult, slow, and dangerous
to herself to be of any use.
In this respect the modern commerce destroyer of whatever
nationality compares very unfavourably with her older proto-
Turning again to the position of Germany, we find that
with the exception of her UTest African possessions she has not
a single base lying on British trade routes. Nearly all her com-
merce destroyers must return to their base in Germany itself to
replenish their bunkers, whereas the French privateers and
cruisers were mostly based on ports flanking the trade routes of
Let us examine more closely this disadvantage. Suppose
a German cruiser wants to attack our trade. If it is after the
declaration of war she has first to get out of the North Sea.
The only part of our trade she can attack without doing so is
that of the East Coast. T h e railway system of England will not
permit of this being landed at a western port, and in conse-
quence it has to get from the Straits of Dover to the mouth of
the Thames, and actually into the North Sea. But the distance
is only small, and effectual steps should be taken to render this
trade inviolate. As it is very improbable that she will risk
getting out of the Straits of Dover if they are well guarded,
she must take the longer route north about. This also will
undoubtedly be watched, and she will be lucky if she gets out
without being sighted and chased. The passage will have con-
sumed some two days coal at ordinary steaming rates. If her
coal capacity is 14 days at moderate speed this will leave her
with 1 2 days' supply. She ought to keep nearly four days'
steaming for the homeward journey, which might and probably
will have to be made at full speed. This gives her eight days'
cruising on her station after which she has to run the gauntlet
back to her base.
Again, if every prize she takes has to be safely navigated
into one of her ports it has to run the risk of recapture during
its passage into and through the North Sea. There are no
friendly ports at hand into which the prize can be sent, and
132 NAVAL REVIEW.
owing to the distance and risk she will never get her prize crew
back until she herself returns.
A modern warship cannot accommodate many more men
than are required to fight and steam her. It follows that after
sending away one or two prize crews her own fighting and
steaming value begin to fall, arid this last, her steaming value,
is most important. Inexperienced or insufficient stokers will
reduce her speed much more in proportion than did short-
handedness in a sailing ship.
In the case of one of the West African Colonies mentioned
above, in the middle of its coast is an excellent harbour
Walfisch Bay, but it is British. The German Port, Swakip-
mund is close at hand, but it is a mere open roadstead. As
long as our squadron at the Cape is strong enough to remain
in the vicinity of Swakipmund and capture all German cruisers
as they arrive, the latter will be unable to benefit by this posses-
sion. Though Walfisch Bay being undefended might be over-
come by land forces, yet that does not help them if a superior
British squadron prevents German ships from using the
harbour, and owing to its being a British possession, it cannot
be converted by the Germans into a strong port for their cruisers
a n d prizes.'
11s far, then, as the position of Germany v~ithrelation to
England is concerned, it appears that the modern German
commerce destroyer at a very great disadvantage as compared
with the French commerce destroyer.
T h e increase in rapidity of modern communications, the
introduction of wireless for instance, render the task of a
defender of a trade route much easier, and that of the attacker
more hazardous. T h e latter is always an outcast if her own
country has not command of the sea, whereas the defender under
the same circumstances is moving practically in hisown country.
Infornlation of the whereabouts of a marauder would very soon
be obtained, whereas IOO years ago the only means of communi-
cation on the sea or across it was by ship, and by a sailing ship
1 Note : The surrounding country is a desert.
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I33
The cost of individual ships has so much increased that
fewer cruisers can be built nowadays. In consequence, it
appears probable that all available cruisers will be required by
the enemy for scouting purposes with his main fleet. Few if
any can be spared for commerce destruction. \I7hat then is
going to be used for this purpose? Destroyers are likewise
required for their special purposes, the attack of the enemy's
fleet and the defence of their own, besides whicli destroyers are
particularly unsuited for the purpose of commerce destruction
possessing only a small complement and a comparatively small
Submarines for this purpose even if available are worse,
they could sink a limited number of merchant ships or make
one follow into port, but they could take possession of none,
and they are slow with a small supply of fuel.
A great deal, in fact most of the damage to our trade in the
past was done by privateers. Rut to quote the words of the
Declaration of Paris, " Privateering is, and remains, abolished."
This abolition was agreed to in return for the concession of a
point upon which England had always insisted, namely the
right to capture enemy's goods under the neutral flag. But a
greater safeguard than international law to ensure the abolition
of privateering by Germany is that prizes have small chance of
getting into port without recapture. If the privateer is going
to sink all his prizes he will be a loss to his owners instead of a
The place of the privateer is taken by the " Volunteer
Cruiser " or converted merchantman, but because they must be
maintained by the slate and not by the individual, and are in
fact warships, their numbers will be much less than the numbers
of privateers in the past.
The trade of England during the last ~ o years of maritime
peace has grown immensely. I n consequence the volume of
trade to be captured to produce the same percentage of loss
is much greater than it was. On the other hand, the greater
volume renders captures somewhat easier.
It appears that for purposes of commerce destruction,
Germany now has but two advantages over that which France
I34 NAVAL REVIEW.
had IOO years ago, and those are the greater definition of trade
routes, and the greater volume of our trade.
On the other hand, Germany's position with regard to
England compared to that of France, the dependence of modern
ships on coal and therefore the greater dependence of ships on
their bases, the greater cost of modern ships and consequent
reduction in their numbers, the greater rapidity and certainty
of transn~issionof news, and the decline and abolition of priva-
teering; all appear to show that the result of German com-
merce attack at the present day will be very much less than was
that of France in the past.
It has been assumed that the German main fleet will be
employed for its proper purpose of keeping our fleet concen-
trated, and this assumption is borne out by the types of which
that fleet consists. But supposing that this was not so, suppos-
ing the German fleet was to devote itself exclusively to com-
merce destruction. History has shown the uselessness of such
methods under old conditions, and all our investigations point
to the greater a+antage of the modern defender and the greater
disadvantage of the modern attacker. Can we therefore expect
that the latter will produce better results under worse conditions ?
There are two recent alterations in International 1,aw which
have considerable bearing on this subject.
Certain Powers claim the right to convert their merchant
ships into men-of-war whenever and wherever they like, includ-
ing the high seas. Thus the ships have more capacity for
doing harm than did the privateer, in that, by reconversion, they
can receive hospitality in the shape of coal from neutral
ports. This does not however render the ship immune from
capture. Doubtless her arrival in a neutral port would soon be
known, and with the aid of wireless it would be possible to
intercept her when she reappeared. Enemy ships are always
liable to capture if they are only merchantmen.
Again, the question of the disposal of prizes has been made
simpler for the attacker. Though it was always considered that
a belligerent captor might under certain circumstances, destroy
an undoubted enemy merchant ship without sending her into
port, yet the destruction of captured neutral ships or even ships
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. I35
of a doubtful character without trial or judgment, was for-
bidden by the law of nations, and if such a ship could not be
sent or brought in for rrial her release was the only alternative.
But the Declaration of London by Articles 48 and 49 removes
all necessity for trial or sending into port. The captor may
destroy such a ship provided that sending her into port, or
releasing her, would " involve danger to the safety of the
warship, or to the success oi the operation in which she is
engaged at the time." 'This point is only of minor importance
however, as the greater part of our trade is and must be in our
own ships. Its effect is to rid the captor of the international
complications arising on the chance destruction of neutral goods
in one of our ships.
Now to consider the two conclusions reached from past
history in the light of the comparisons we have made between
past and present conditions.
The first statement was :-
" A cruising commerce destroying warfare, to be destruc-
tive, must be seconded by a squadron warfare, and by divisions
of ships of the line, which forcing the enemy to unite his forces,
permit the cruisers to make fortunate attempts upon his trade.
Without such backing the result will be simply the capture of
The comparisons made have revealed a general advantage
to the defender and a general disadvantage to the attacker, and
we find nothing to lead us to suppose that such a course will end
in anything but the capture of the cruisers. Moreover, it may
be noted that Germany, whether she has designs on our trade or
not, has built a great fleet, from the nature and design of he
ships of which, it may certainly be deduced she has not con-
structed it for the purpose of commerce destruction.
The second statement was :-
" It is not the capture of individual ships or convoys, be
they few or many, that strikes down the money power of a
nation; it is the possession of that overbearing power on the
sea which drives the enemy's flag from it, or allows it to appear
only as a fugitive; which by controlling the great common,
closes the highways by which commerce moves to and from the
1 3 ~ NAVAL REVIEW.
It is even more true now than in the past that we could not
carry on a war if the great highways of commerce were closed
to us, because we are much more dependent on our oversea
communications for our food.
But the question is, whether the capture of individual ships
(and convoys) to the extent to which it is bound to occur, will
be sufficient to strike down the money power of the nation
and render the continuation o the war impossible.
f Can our
enemy do this without possessing that " overbearing power on
the sea which drives the enemy's flag from it, or only allows it
to appear a s a fugitive " ?
In the war of the French Revolution and Empire the
percentage of our trade lost by capture has been computed to
have been 3& per cent. T h e foregoing investigation has :lot
shown that the percentage is likely to be any higher in the
future, and the report of the Royal Commission on the supply
of food and raw material in time of war considers that this will
not be sufficient material damage to seriously inconvenience us.
T h e first answer then, is n o ; our enemy cannot by the
material damage he can do to our trade render the continuation
of the war impossible. But the moral effect of the first captures,
especially if a s is most probable they occur at the beginning
of the war, is a factor which cannot here be evaluated. It is
possible that this moral effect may be sufficient to send up
freights and insurance to an alarming extent, and produce a
fall in wages, lack of employment, a standstill in industry,
unrest, and famine. If so, great internal pressure will un-
doubtedly be brought to bear on the Admiralty to take some
action which is strategically incorrect; or it may be even that
the sufferings of the masses due to this moral effect, may be
sufficient to terminate the war at all costs. Whether this occurs
or not depends on the moral strength of the nation, and on the
working of that mysterious influence panic; further considera-
tion of which is out of place here.
But whatever the result, all our available strength must be
devoted to obtaining and maintaining a complete control of the
sea. Every enemy cruiser must be blockaded or chased by our
cruisers, and this may also apply to merchant cruisers if
THE INFLUENCE OF OVERSEA TRADE. '37
news can be had of their whereabouts. Convoy is im-
possible under modern conditions, and patrol of the trade
routes is undesirable and insufficient. T h e arming of our
merchantmen or at all events the larger ones, which by reason
of their great size form in themselves an appreciable portion
of our total trade, is desirable for their own protection from
other armed merchantmen.
S o far, we have only been considering the influence of trade
on our strategy from a defensive point of view. It may be
asked what effect can we procluce on Germany by attacking her
oversea trade, granted that we are in possession of the command
of the sea. The answer I think must be very little. By using
neutral ports and neutral shipping, and mainly by the fact of
her continental position, Germany can continue to exist in spite
of all we can do on the sea. A s regards her food supply, she
is much more self-supporting than we are, and her land frontiers
are beyond our reach. Though certain classes would suffer
individual loss, and though her shipping might be destroyed,
yet the mass of her people would still be comparatively un-
affected, and she would not therefore be subjected to that
internal pressure which we should feel in England. T o quote
the words of Mr. Balfour :-
"There are two ways in which a hostile country can be
crushed. It can be conquered, or it can be starved. If
Germany were master in our home waters she could apply both
methods to Great Britain. Were Britain ten times master in
the North Sea she could apply neither method to Germany.
Without a superior fleet Britain would no longer count a s a
power; without any fleet at all Germany would remain the
greatest power in Europe."
T H E R O Y A L A U S T R A L I A N NAVY.
ITINERARY H .M.A.S. AUSTRALIAN D NARRATIVE
OF A OF HER
Aug. 1st 11.30 a.m. S dney N.S.W. Australia..
- . ..
,, 9th 11.30a.m. d o . I Rendezvous .. .. 1535
a.m. ,, 9th 0.30 p.m.
,, ath 6.0 Rabaul. New Britain .. 815 2350 ,, 12th 3.3op.m.
,, 13th 5.0 p.m. Shortland. Hbr. Bougain-
ville Is. .. .. 270 .. 2620 ,, 13th 5.3op.m.
,, 16th 8.30 a.m. Port Morerby. New Guinea 770 3390 1284 3267 ,, 17th 7.0a.m.
,, ~ 1 s t . 8.0 a.m. Noumea. New Caledonia 1380 4770 2295 5562 ,, a31.d 11.30 a m .
,, 26th 8.0 a.m. Suva. Viti Levu. Fiji Is. 760 5530 ,, 27th 8.goa.m.
,, 30th 9.0 a.m. Apia. Upolu Id. Samoan Is. 690 6220 5562 ,, 31st noon
Sept. 2nd 0.30 p.m. Suva. Viti Levu. Fiji Is. 690 6910 1745 7307 Sept. 4th 8.0a.m.
,, 9th 10.3oa.m. Rendezvous off Rossel Is. 1540 8450 ,, 9th 5.op.m.
,, 11th 7.0 a.m. Herbertshohe. New Britain 450 8900 ,, lath 11.oa.m.
, 12th 0.30 p.m. Rabaul. New Britain 15 8915 1633 8940 ,, 15th 0.3op.m.
,, 17th g.3op.m. Lat. rs0o1SLong. 1 5 ~ ~ 3 0670 ~ ~ 1 9581 ,, 17th 1 1o.op.m.
,, 19th z.0 p.m. Rabaul. New Britaln. .. 670 10.255 1264 10.204 ,, aand j g.0a.m.
,, 24th 8.0 a.m. i Frederick Wilhelms Hafen.
Papua . .. .. 630 . 10.885 24th 5.op.m.
6 t h o m . R b a u New Britain .. 630
h d 1.0 a.m. Lat. 30 O'S Long. 1500 2 0 1 ~ 220
, 2 n d ' 1.0p.m. Rabaul. New Britai?. .. 220
,, 9 1.0 a.m.
,, r l t h 2.0 p.m. Suva. Vitl Levu. Fill Is. 2100 14.055 1653 13.350 ,, 17th i 4.3op.m.
,, ~ 3 r d 4.0 a.m. Suva. Viti Levu. Fiji Is. ,308 15.363 1041 14.397 ,, 26th 5.gop.m.
,, ~ 1 s t 7 o a.m. Suva. Vlti Levu. Fiji Is. ggo
Nov. 7th 6:o a.m. Suva. Viti Lev.. Fiji Is.
,, 1 4 t h 5.oa.m. 1 FanningIsland .. .. ~ g c a
r5.2~1 NOV. 3rd 2.3op.m.
15.941 ,. 8th / noon
17.321 ,, 14th 1o.op.m.
,, 26th 9.oa.m. ChamelaBap. Mexico .. 3337 22.340 2520 19.641 ,, 27th 8.op.m.
Dec. 3rd 9.30 a.m. Chatham 1sl:md. ~ a l a ~ a - '
gos Is. ..I 1580 23 920 1224 21.065 Dec. 5th 5.30p.m.
,, 10th 5.0 p.m. Pen& Bay. ~ o l o m b i a
25.130 ,, 10th 6ap.m.
,, 11th 7.0 a.m. Panama 0140 25.170 ,, 11th 7.3oa.m.
,, 11th 6.op.m. PenPsBay.'Colombia .. 140 a5.410 1860 22.925 ,, 5.oa.m.
, 18th 4.0 p.m. Callao. Peru.
.. .. 1260
. 1320 . 26.730 ,,
,, 24th 7.oa.m. St.FeliuIsland 27.990 ,, 24th 7.3oa.m.
- ~ - -.
7.oa.m. Valparaiso. C l ~ i b . .
7.0 p.m. St. Jago Bay.
- - ~ -
. .. .- - -
. . .
zwo 24.925 ,, 27th 8.0a.m.
1915. 1 St. Jago Bay. ~agellanl !
I:; 1 6.oa.m.
28th 2.0 a.m. 1
Straits .. .. ..
Port Stanley. Faliland IS. 380
Arbrahlas Rocks. Brazil. .. 2280
St. Vincent. c a p e verde 1%2.50
Plymouth. England . 2250
35.~60 1600 i 32.185
' 2.0 a.m.
ON August the 4th we left Sydney and proceeded to the north-
ward. On 9th picked up the Sydney and the three destroyers
1Received too late to insert except at the end.--H~N. EDITOR.
THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY. I39
Parramatta, Warrego, and Varra, at a rendezvous south of New
Guinea, proceeding from there to Rabaul the capital of New
Britain and the centre of administration of the German posses-
sions in Australasia.
W e arrived off that place on the night of the ~ r t h and sent
the Sydney and the destroyers in to investigate the harbour,
thinking the German Squadron might be there; it turned out to
be empty. The Encounter joined that night and the Melbourne
was not far away.
W e laid off and on during the 12th trying to find the w./T.
station, which we did not succeed in doing, and notwithstanding
our threat to bombard the place they refused to inform us where
Colliers having been sent to Port Moresby as the first
temporary base, we proceeded there unaccompanied, to coal,
looking in at Shortland Harbour, Bougainville Island on the
way. Arriving on 16th, we left on 17th for Noumea, where we
coaled from colliers on z ~ s t ,and met the French armoured
cruiser Montcalm, and the New Zealand contingent with the
Psyche, Philomel, and Pyramus. T h e Melbourne had joined
at sea on the 20th.
The whole squadron then proceeded to Apia, Samoa, calking
at Suva, Fiji, to coal the P Class, arriving off Apia on the ioth
at g a.m. There was no resistance and it capitulated. Before
landing troops the harbour was swept by picket boats. The
w./T. station which had attempted to send messages notifying
our arrival which we jammed, was found burning as we came up.
On the 31st, with the Melbourne and Montcalm we returned
to Suva to coal, where we found the Sealark engaged in mining
the entrances. T h e Montcalm returned to Noumea, and having
detached the Melbourne to destroy the w./T. station on Nauru
Island, we proceeded to the rendezvous off Rossel Island, New
Guinea, where we met the Sydney, Encounter, the three
destroyers, submarines A.E. I and A.E. 2 , the Australian troops
in the transport Berrima, a storeship and four colliers; and
proceeded with them again to Rabaul.
By this time they had fortified the w . 1 ~ .station, marking
all the roads with wooden pegs for range, and also mined them ;
I4O NAVAL REVIEW.
but the only mine that exploded did so in the hands of their
own men. After two days' fighting in thick bush the place
surrendered and we made it our base.
On the 14th A.E. I which was patrolling outside to the
southward and was last seen returning at 3.30, has not since
been heard of.
From there we were ordered to Sydney, with the Sydney,
presumably to convoy the Australian Expeditionary Force.
T h e Melbourne was detached with orders for a search and then
to g o on there also. The Montcalm arrived as we left. W e had
only got just south of Kossel Island, when we received news
that the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were at Samoa, and were
ordered back to Rabaul, with the Sydney, where we coaled from
colliers, a n d then proceeded to Frederick Wilhelmshaven in New
Guinea with the Encounter, Montcalm and Berrima, taking it
without resistance; all their available force having been sent to
Rabaul. T h e Sydney had meanwhile been sent to Angaur,
Pelew Islands to destroy the w./T. station.
After leaving a garrison, the ships returned to Rabaul, we
coaled and proceeded for Ponapd in the Carolines accompanied
by the Montcalm, but had only gone about 2 0 0 miles when news
reached us that the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were at Tahiti,
and once more we returned to Rabaul.
From there with the Sydney and Montcalm we shifted our
base to Suva; the Encounter, two destroyers convoying 4 . E . 2,
the storeship, and colliers to that place via Noumea. The
Berrima towed the Yarra to Sydney, owing to her having
injured one of her propellers by touching an uncharted reef.
For three weeks the trade routes hereabouts were patrolled,
ships coming in each week end t o coal.
On November 5th, being then on the N.2.-Suva trade
route we heard of the action off Coronel, and were ordered to
Suva where we picked up a fast collier, the Malina, and pro-
ceeded to Fanning Island; the rest of the ships it is believed
returned to Sydney. Luckily when we arrived the weather was
good, and a s there was no anchorage we coaled while under-
weigh and left the same night for Magdalena Bay in South
THE ROYAL AUS1'KALIAX NAVY. I4I
On May 20th we received a wireless from the Newcastle
telling us to g o to Chamela Bay in Mexico, and arrived there on
the 26th to find the Newcastle and three Japanese ships, the
Idzuma, Hizen, and Asama, waiting for us. We coaled from
a collier with this squadron, our own being sent down the coast
to Pinybs Bay, whence she later returned to Sydney taking our
superfluous gear. Owing t o the heavy swell our coaling had t o
be put off for one day, and we did not get away till p.m. on 27th.
From there the combined squadron went to the Galapagos
Island and coaled. Sending the Newcastle to search the Cocos
Islands, we proceeded to Piny& Bay in Columbia. The day
before we got there we heard of the Falkland Islands fight, so
leaving the Newcastle and Japanese ships there, we went on to
Panama with the intention of going through the Canal t o .
Jamaica, but owing to a slide we were unable to do so a n d
returned to Pinybs Bay, coaled, and saying good-bye to the
N. Pacific squadon proceeded down the coast stopping one
day in Callao for provisions. W h e n south of Iquiqui we altered
course for St. Felix Island to communicate with two Japanese
colliers which had been left there, and then went on to Valparaiso
and coaled from lighters. On arrival there we heard that the
Prinz Eitel had left the day before steering north-most
exasperating-coaling took the full 24 hours and we proceeded
south, meeting the Kent and Orama with two colliers going
north on December 29th. Early on the 31st December entered
Magellah straits, stopped and spoke the Carnarvon off Cape
Forward and anchored a t 8.0 p.m. between the First and Second
Narrows. Underweigh again at 2.0 a.m. just as it was getting
daylight and set course for Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
There we were delayed for a day (luckily a s it happened) by
propeller trouble and did not get away till the 5th. On the 6th
January about 5.0 p.m. sighted a steamer and eventually stopped
her (at 16,000 yards and with a l z n shell) at dusk. S h e turned
out to be the Elinore Woerman with coal and stores bound from
St. George's Bay to Swakopmund (German S . W . Africa) and
after taking off the crew we sank her with two 12" common and
four 4" lyddite and then proceeded to Arbrahlas Rocks, Brazil,
where we arrived at midnight on January 11th. Having coaled
142 NAVAL REVIEW.
we proceeded at j.0 p.m. 12th for S t . Vincent, Cape Verde
Islands, looking in at " Fernando Norhona Island " on the way,
in hopes of seeing the Kronprinz Wilhelm. At St. Vincent we
coaled and set course for Plymouth where we arrived on January
28th at 2.0 a.m.
ACTION OFF T H E FALKLAND ISLANDS.
SQUADRON, THE KENT'S
THE CHASEOF THE GERMAN AND
ACTIONWITH THE N U R N B E R G . ~
ON the morning of December 8th, 1914, the British South
Pacific and Atlantic Squadron was lying a t Port William,
Falkland Islands. The Squadron, consisting of Invincible (flag
of Vice-Admiral Sir F . C. D. Sturdee), Inflexible, Carnarvon
(flag of Rear-Admiral A. P. Stoddart), Cornwall, Kent,
Glasgow, Bristol, and Macedonia, had arrived the previous day.
The big ships were lying in the spacious harbour of Port
William behind a line of improvised mines laid by the Canopus.
The Bristol and Glasgow were within Stanley Harbour.
There also the Canopus was lying moored head and stern,
in such a position that she could fire her guns overland, arrange-
ments being made fo'r sighting them from the shore. From
seaward she was almost hidden, and further to increase t h i s .
effect her topmasts were housed, and her funnels painted t o
make them invisible.
It was one of the few really fine days which occur in the
Falkland Islands in summer, with a bright sun and little wind,
with every promise of a peaceful day before us, and no thought
that the Germans were close at hand.
At 8 a.m. a shore station made the signal " Two German
cruisers in sight--one four funnelled, one two funnelled."
(Note.-From any bearing near right ahead the Niirnberg
appears to have only two funnels, owing to their disposition.)
This simple signal was frankly disbelieved. On all sides one
heard it said " Another false alarm. No such luck."
The Kent was guardship with steam at short notice, and
was at once ordered to weigh and investigate, whilst the
Macedonia was withdrawn from the harbour mouth to a more
protected position. The Invincible and Inflexible ceased coaling
and began to cast off their colliers. Others began to collect the
1 Received too late to insert except at the end.-HON. EDITOL
I44 NAVAL REVIEW.
men away in boats or drawing stores. All ships commenced
a t once to raise steam in all boilers, and soon the sky was filled
with the cloud of smoke caused thereby.
At 8.30 the Kent proceeded to the harbour mouth, and as
she approached it officers in the cross trees saw to the southward
the sight for which all eyes had been hoping for weeks past.
Steaming fast towards the harbour were two German cruisers,
one obviously of the Gneisenau class, the other presently
distinguishable as the Niirnberg. W h e n about 8 miles off the
two ships slowed and turned to the north-east, apparently to
observe the harbour. At this moment they ran up three ensigns
each. They made a perfect picture, closing to 14,500 yards, the
crews going to action stations, and the guns training round as
They saw without surprise the Kent now in full view in the
harbour mouth, and then to their amazement they opened up a
great cloud of smoke at the far end of Port William, and saw
rising out of it the ominous tripod ~ n a s t s the battle cruisers.
They hesitated, apparently considering whether they could sink
the Kent then and there in the harbour mouth, and then their
second surprise came upon them.
T h e invisible Canopus fired her 12" guns. The shots fell
far short but the effect was instantaneous. Putting their helms
to port and going full speed ahead the Germans steamed out to
T h e smoke of more ships could now be seen coming over
the horizon, and ere long they could be recognised as another
large and two more light cruisers.
They were the Scharnhorst, flagship of the German
Admiral Count von Spee, the Leipsig and Dresden; and now
we had before us the whole German Pacific squadron which had
so recently sunk the Good Hope and Monmouth off Santa Maria
Island on a wild and stormy Sunday evening. T h e very ships
for whom we were seeking with but faint hope of success, for
he who has navigated the innumerable channels and winding
passages amongst the allnost uninhabited islands of Patagonia
will know how easy it is for a ship or ships to lie hid, and by
constant watching and shifting to elude pursuit for months.
ACTION OFF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS. '45
But apparently the German Admiral had thrown caution to the
winds and without hurry and without information he came to
attack the Falkland Islands. Had he done this a month earlier
he might have succeeded, but apparently he thought that the
British Navy was too supine, or perhaps too busily occupied in
the North Sea to take steps t o avenge its first defeat since
Trafalgar. And so, blindly trusting in our supposed weakness,
39 days after his victory, von Spee steamed unexpected and
uninvited to his doom.
The Kent followed out to sea, gradually working up t o full
power, and was soon passed by the Glasgow who came out of
harbour at full speed. Within half an hour the Invincible and
Inflexible were out, followed by the Carnarvon and Cornwall.
The Bristol had had her fires out in order to clean boilers, and
she and the Macedonia were ordered to " find and destroy the
enemy's transports." They took no further part in the battle,
but bore away to the south, and sank two colliers who were
following the German fleet.
As she cleared the harbour the flagship hoisted the signal
for " general chase." T h e German ships were gradually joining
forces, steaming in an easterly direction, and could now begin to
make out their opponents. As described by a survivor from the
Gneisenau, they at first tried to believe that there were no battle
cruisers, but those ominous tripod masts convinced the most
determined unbeliever : then they thought that the ships must be
Japanese; but at last they realised the precise force from which
they were running. They then went to prayers.
From the bridge of the Kent the scene was most exhilarating
to behold. The five German ships with their funnels only
showing over the horizon, a sight which still seemed almost too
good to be true; the two battle cruisers close together belching
forth smoke, their snowy wakes creeping up their sterns, a per-
fect presentiment of the spirit of modern power; away on their
port bow the little Glasgow ; close under their quarter the K e n t ;
and five miles astern the Carnarvon and Cornwall. Over all a
perfect summer's day with a chilling nip in the rushing air. No
finer sight has been seen by the British navy throughout this
1 4 ~ NAVAL REVIEW.
On the forecastle of the Kent was collected the entire ship's
company not otherwise employed. Little had to be done to
prepare for battle, and soon all hands were free except the stokers
on watch down below. The men were all cheerful, almost
hilarious, and when presently firing commenced they cheered
and clapped each shot a s it was fired, and again as each shot
fell about half a minute later. It was like a football match for
them, the finest relaxation since leaving England.
The chase started at g a.m. At I p.m. the Invincible and
Inflexible opened fire on the rearmost ships at a range of 16,000
yards. For once the Germans seemed to be out-ranged, and
there was no reply till about 2 o'clock when the Scharnhorst and
Gneisenau turned to port in line ahead to meet their fate. The
light cruisers turned to the south-east and continued to run.
The British battle cruisers turned to port and the heavy ships
on both sides opened a furious fire.
-4s a result of these movements the Kent steamed across the
stern of the battle cruisers and later that of the German cruisers
also. Being about four miles astern of the big ships at the
commencement of the action, we obtained the finest possible
view of a modern big ship action; we were, as it were, in the
front row of the stalls, so close that we could almost touch the
actors on the stage, yet so far that no stray missile disturbed the
comfort of our view. The best seats in the house at a per-
formance of one of the few remaining spectacles which cannot
be bought for money.
And well might we congratulate ourselves; it was a superb
sight. With the sun still shining on them the German ships
looked as if they had been painted for the occasion, and they
fired a s if they had but eight minutes in which to make a record
battle practice score. Never have I seen heavy guns fired with
such rapidity and yet with such control. Flash after flash
travelled down their sides from head t a stern, all their 6" and 8"
guns firing every salvo.
Of the British battle cruisers less could be seen. Their
smoke drifted from them across the range, and not only obscured
their own view but also the spectator's view of them, and it
is probable that at this stage the Kent had a much clearer view
ACTION OFF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS. '47
s the enemy than had the ships firing at them; nevertheless
the battle cruisers appeared to be firing incessantly. Their shots
could be seen hitting the German ships at intervals; whereas
all that could be seen of the German fire was that it straddled
the British ships. Five or six times in that first twenty minutes
the white puff of a bursting shell could be distinguished from
the brown cloud of cordite smoke made by the Gneisenau's
guns : once indeed she was seen to be on fire near the mainmast,
but this soon subsided.
By some trick of the wind the firing was almost inaudible,
and so this silent combat steamed away from us. Even as we
crossed the Germans' track they were seen to turn away a few
points from their enemy, and then suddenly to whip round
parallel to us. For a short time it looked as if they would try
to reach the Kent before again being overtaken, but it was only
their last effort to escape the doom awaiting them. Before they
were lost to sight we saw then1 turn at bay again.
Meanwhile, the Glasgow, Kent, and Cornwall turned t o
starboard and pursued the light cruisers without waiting for any
further orders. It was both obvious and pre-arranged. T h e
Carnarvon followed after the battle cruisers.
The three German light cruisers were widely separated in
the order Nurnberg, Leipsig, and Dresden, from port to star-
board, steering roughly S.E. T h e Glasgow first crossed over
and chased the Dresden, the Cornwall in the middle made herself
responsible for the centre " target " by signal, and the Kent
took the left hand one, the Nurnberg. T h e Leipsig was easily
the slowest of the German ships and the Glasgow was early in
action with her, abandoning the chase of the Dresden. That
ship presently vanished to the southward. T h e Cornwall and
Kent both later opened fire on the Leipsig, who turned more
to the southward, and the Cornwall, Glasgow, and Leipsig dis-
appeared to starboard, all in action.
The weather was now becoming misty and the Kent carried
on after the Niirnberg. By 5 p.m. superior speed told, and the
Nurnberg commenced the action with her stern guns. Shortlv
afterwards she burst two boilers and this reduced her speed to
1 4 ~ NAVAL REVIEW.
For this satisfactory conclusion to the eight hours' chase
thanks are due to the engine room department. In the last
hour of the chase, helped by a light ship and a clean bottom, by
the most determined stoking, by unremitting attention to her no
longer youthful boilers, in short by the devotion of every officer
and man in the engine and boiler rooms, the Kent achieved
the remarkable speed of 25 knots. W h e n it is remembered that
this ship was the lame duck of the County class, and that she
had steamed ~ o , o o omiles in the two previous months, it will
readily be conceded that this is one of the finest engine room
achievements of the war.
Thus ended the general chase ordered at g a.m. The
Scharnhorst was sunk at 4.30 p.m., losing every officer and man ;
the Gneisenau went down at 6. T h e Niirnberg struck at 6.57,
a n d sank at 7.27, only seven being saved. The Leipsig finally
vanished beneath the waves at g p.m. Had the Dresden not
shown a clean pair of heels to the Glasgow, this " most oppor-
tune victory " would have ended in the complete annihilation of
the German Pacific squadron. As it was the brave and able
Admiral Count von Spee lost his life, his two sons, and the
whole of his China squadron in one summer's day. (Note.-
T h e Dresden did not belong to the German China fleet.)
The South American continent has been well bribed and
without doubt many of the movements of British ships were
known to the German Admiral, but on this occasion the secret
was well kept. Von Spee arrived at the Falkland Islands with
his men prepared to land and overcome at once the trifling
resistance of the 150 local volunteers. H e had anticipated that
the Cornwall and Glasgow might be in the neighbourhood, he
had even thought that the Canopus might be found there, but
of battle cruisers he never dreamed.
Perhaps the best summing up of this successful encounter
is contained in a quotation from a German paper commenting
on the German success off the coast of Chili. It said " The
superiority of our fleet in no way detracts from the glory of our
victory, for the very essence of the business of a strategist is
the marshalling of a superior fleet at the right place and at the
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and German L2hf Cru/ier'NURNBERG" a
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ACTION OFF THE F.4LKL.WD ISLANDS. '49
THE ACTIONBETWEEN THE KENT AND NURNBERG.
5.0 p.m. Both ships steering approximately S.E. K e n t at
25 knots. W i n d W. by N. 3-4. Light dull, rather
misty, getting worse; visibility not above 10 miles.
Niirnberg opened fire.
5.9 p.m. Kent opened fire. Salvos from fore turret, A I.,
A 11. 11,000 yards. Common shell. No deflec-
5.35 p.m. Closing rapidly.
5.45 p.m. Niirnberg altered course 8 points to port.
Kent altered 6 points to port.
Roth ships opened a rapid fire, using " Inde-
6.2 p.m. R a n g e 3,000 yards. Niirnberg began to turn away.
Kent followed using 10 degrees of helm.
6.10 p.m. Niirnberg turned directly towards the Kent, and
then on to opposite courses. S h e had only two
g u n s firing, and fore topmast down, and was on fire.
6.13 p.m. Kent altered course 14 points to port, bringing port
g u n s to bear. Yiirnberg's speed appreciably
6.30 p.m. Kent altered course 16 points to starboard.
6.36 p.m. Niirnberg's fire had ceased. Kent ceased firing.
6.45 p.m. Kent opened fire again.
6.57 p.m. Niirnberg struck.
7.27 p.m. Niirnberg sank.
T h e action opened at 5 p.m. (local time). T h e two ships
were then steering a south-easterly course, the Niirnberg trying
to make good her escape, the Kent chasing her at 25 knots and
being then about seven miles astern.
I t had become obvious to eyes anxiously watching in the
Kent that we were gradually gaining on the enemy. For eight
hours we had been chasing, first the whole fleet, then the three
light cruisers, and now a t last we had singled out our own
opponent. T h e flash of her g u n s a s she opened fire was a
glorious relief, for then indeed we knew that we were gaining,
we knew in fact that she was caught.
IO NAVAL REVIEW.
During the afternoon the sky had clouded over, and now
it was raining lightly, and the wind was blowing cold from the
north-west. The mist too had gradually thickened and no ship
was in sight other than the Siirnberg. It was even beginning
to be difficult to see through high power glasses, and it was
obvious that she must be caught soon or stand a good chance
of escaping us.
T h e ship was vibrating terribly at this high speed and it
was impossible to get a reliable range-finder reading, so it was
with feelings of the deepest interest that we waited for the fall
of her shots. W e expected them to fall short, the usual opening
of a running fight, but to our surprise there was no splash, no
sound of falling shot, no shock of bursting shell. Where had
they fallen? l i e looked round, but we were the only ship in
sight, she must have fired at us. Where then were her shots
falling? At about the third salvo we found them. The first
had been far over us, the next few fell just over our stern. W e
had indeed expected her to outrange us but not by so much, a s
earlier in the chase we had fired a few rounds at the 1,eipsig in
answer to her fire, and our shots fell far short of her, whilst
her shots were nearly hitting us. (Note.-A prisoner stated that
the German 4.1'' guns are sighted up to 1 2 kilometres.)
Not till 5.9 did we open fire in reply from our foremost
twin turret, and then keeping away we fired salvos from our
fore twin and the two foremost starboard casemate guns. Even
then they appeared to be falling short, whilst she had found the
range, and her shots were falling with remarkable accuracy on
each side of the fore bridge. Fortunately for us they all missed
for deflection, except one, which fell on the upper deck aft.
But we were having equal difficulty in hitting her. T h e
poverty of the light was such that it was exceedingly difficult
to see the splash of the falling shot at all, infinitely more so
to say whether short or over. Only a short shot in a direct line
could have been accurately placed, and not one was obtained.
Those that could be observed were falling just to the right and
left alternately, in the same exasperating way as hers, and no
one could say \vhether she was hit or not. (Sate.-From the
statements of survivors it appears that she was hit twice during
;\CTION OFF THE FALKLAND ISWNDS. '51
the chase. One of these shell penetrated into the after steering
flat, below the water line, and killed all the men there except one.)
13ut at last the range began to close really fast. It must
have been now that she burst her boilers, and escape, even with
the aid of a lucky shot or two, became impossible.
.At 5.45 she turned to fight, much to our relief, for, until the
range began to close rapidly, it had seemed that the chase might
g o on till dark.
-4s she turned she started firing every gun that would bear
as fast as possible, and we turned also to bring our guns to
bear whilst still closing the range. Now the real fight began.
Both ships were using independent firing, and firing fast at
that, and the Kent soon began to use lyddite. Within a very
few minutes of her first turn the Niirnberg was burning near
the mainmast. Before long her topmast came down, falling
gracefully forward, and this \\-as followed by the clatter of the
Kent's fore topgallant mast, shot through the heel; fortunately
it remained suspended by the stays.
rlt first the noise was not very remarkable, and it was not
till the range was really short that the writer began to notice
anything unusual. Then it began to be borne in upon him
that there was a tremendous din. -111 the Kent's broadside was
firing in " independent," therefore nearly continuously, any
intervals were filled with the noise of the enemy's guns, and his
falling shot. From the sound they appeared to be hitting the
ship's side with the greatest frequency. Down below there was
a continual crash of broken glass and falling gratings, filled in
with the sound of bursting shell and firing guns. H a d it not
been for the cheering messages coming down through the voice
pipes, those below might have thought that the Kent was being
It was a very busy 2 0 minutes, but s o close an action is
very short as well as very sharp. By 6.j the Niirnberg was
turning away as if unable to face so heavy a fire. Her fore
topmast was down, her foretop and foremost funnel were so
riddled that they appeared to be covered with men (this was
really the metal opened out and twisted), her speed was much
Is2 NAVAL REVIEW.
reduced, she was on fire, and only two of her port guns were
At 6.10 she turned sharply towards us, as if to ram, but
continued the turn, and eventually was steering an opposite
course, still firing from her remaining guns. Whilst she was
end on during this turn two 6" shells burst together on her
forecastle, destroying the forecastle guns.
The Kent now altered course about 14 points to port, so a s
to bring the courses parallel again, and to avoid getting abaft
the Niirnberg's beam and so affording a target for her torpedoes.
Thus, to their great joy, the port guns were enabled to open fire.
By 6.25 the Niirnberg had nearly lost her way, and another
alteration of course was made in order not to leave her.
At 6.36 it was observed that she was no longer firing and
the Kent ceased fire also, and waited to observe the condition
of the enemy. She was lying 5,500 yards from us completely
stopped; a fierce fire was burning under the bridge and fore-
castle, she was showing no sign of life, and was looking some-
what of a wreck, but still she did not appear to be sinking, and
her colours were still flying. S o we opened fire again, and
slowly closed her with the intention of firing a torpedo the more
quickly to sink her. But at 6.57 as we were approaching she
hauled down her colours, and firing finally ceased.
T h e Kent was stopped near her. Only two boats were
repairable, and these were quickly patched up and lowered.
At 7.27 she turned on her starboard side and sank quite quietly
without any explosions. As she disappeared some men on her
stern were seen to be waving a German ensign lashed to a staff.
The boats continued to search for survivors until dark (g p.m.)
but few were floating, lashed to hammocks, and many of them
were dead. Even the living were being attacked by albatroses
and the water was very cold. Only seven men were saved alive.
The Kent had 16 casualties of which four were killed. Ten
of these occurred in A 111. casemate, where a lucky shell ignited
some charges and caused a fierce but short fire. Only prompt
action at the bottom of the hoist prevented a further conflagra-
tion in the ammunitio'n passages. W i t h this exception there
was no trace of fire in the ship.
ACTIOS OFF THE FALKLAND ISLASDS. I53
In the exposed fire control and range-finder positions no
one was hurt, although fragments of shell were found in both
tops, and the nose of a fuse was picked up in the conning tower.
The ship appeared to have been hit 37 times. Nearly all
these burst but the effect was generally small. There were no
holes in the armour.
This short action points clearly to the decisive nature of
short range ; to the value of a little armour, placed so as to pro-
tect the gun's crews from bursting shell; to the immense
superiority of 6" over 4.1'~guns; and to the tremendous effect of
lyddite shell (survivors from all ships testify to this).
It shows particularly the necessity for protecting the guns
crews adequately. What is the use of an armour belt if the
guns are left on an open upper deck with no better protection
than shields? It would have availed the Niirnberg nothing,
for we killed her guns crews by bursting shell, and set her on
fire long before we sank her by hits on the waterline.
One other point that is brought out is the value of our
reserves. The Kent fought on the sixty-seventh day of
her comnlission, three-fifths of her complement being Fleet
Reserve men or Royal Naval Reserves. Five men in every
seamen's 6" guns crew- were Scotch fishermen.
SINKING OF T H E NURNBERG.
FROM h LETTER FROM ~ C A P T ; \ IJ. D. ALLEN,
KENT,TO THE SECRET-~RY ASSOCIATIOX ~ I E NKENT
OF THE OF OF
. ~ X DKENTISH MEN.
December ~ z t h ,1914.
You will ha\-e heard by this time that on December 8th H.M.S.
Kent chased, engaged, and sank the German cruiser Niirnberg.
It was a single-ship action, as no other ship was in sight at the
time. T h e chase commenced at noon and the action commenced
at j p.m. -After a sharp action, during which the Kent was
struck by the enemy's shell no less than 36 times, the Niirnberg
sank at 7.26 p.m. I regret to say that four men were killed and
1 2 wounded. From the time the enemy was sighted until the
end of the action the behaviour of the officers and men of the
Kent was perfectly magnificent. Although under a very heavy
fire, they were, one and all, perfectly calm and self-possessed,
and, though the enemy fought bravely to the very end, against
such men a s I have the honour to command, they never could
have had a chance.
The Nurnberg is a faster ship than the Kent, but I appealed
to the engineers and stokers to d o all in their power to catch
her, and finally they responded to my appeal. The Kent went
faster and faster until she was going 25 knots, more than a knot
faster than she had ever been before. T h e enemy got nearer
and nearer until at last she got within range of our guns. Soon
the Kent's shell began to fall thick and fast around her, and she
was struck many times until she was in flames. T h e enemy
continued firing their guns until the ship was sinking, and as
she sank below the surface some brave men on her quarterdeck
were waving the German ensign.
No sooner had she sunk than the Kent's men displayed the
same zeal and activity in endeavouring to save life as they had
SINKISG OF THE SURNBERG. 5
done in fighting the ship. Hoats were hastily repaired and
lowered, manned by men eagerly volunteering to help. Unfor-
tunately the sea was rough and the water very cold, so we only
succeeded in picking up 1 2 men, of whom five subsequently
The silk ensign and Jack presented to the Kent by the ladies
of Kent were flying the whole time. They were both torn to
ribbons, but I have got them both safe. I carefully collected
every bit I could, as they were torn to pieces and some pieces
were caught in the rigging. I am afraid they are past repair,
but nearly all the pieces intact. They can never be flown again.
Will you be so, kind as to ask the ladies of Kent what they wish
done with them. They can be sewn up, though some pieces are
missing. Rileanwhile I will keep them here for the present.
THE HELIGOLAND ENGAGEMENT.
This is the firat letter I have written since the war began, so I kno~v
you will be interested i n all that has happened to me. Of course I
cannot give any dates or details of our movements, so I will confine
myself to two things.
Firstly, you will remember the papers said some time ago that there
was a n apparent liveliness in the southern area of the North Smea. Well,
this was true, as you will see. One (morning we were on patrol, and I was
o n watch. I sighted a lot of smoke on the horizon. I told the captain, but
this sort of thing was quite common, and he did not take much notice.
Soon I noticed two masts and then four funnels. Knowing that none of our
cruisers were about, I was satisfied what the ship was, and I sent down
to the captain again. This brought him up a t once. Sure enough the
stranger turned towards us. Now you understand what a destroyer is,
and that she is not built to fight big ships i n daytime, so you will not
d u b us as cowards when I tell you we ran. At the same time she fired
at us, and then ensued my first experience under fire. We fired at her,
of course, and I think we hlt her, a n d soon were out of range. Now the
reason why the papers s a ~ dnothing about this . . . the cruiser was not
attacked in force and consequenltly she Was allowed to get out of
sight. . . . However, " he who fights and runs away, lives to fight
another day" was o u r consoling thought. T h a n k God we were able to
vindicate ourselves, as you know, on the 28th. T h a t was our baptism
of fire, and it settled everyone down in a wonderful way.
Now I will leave out all our movements and take you straight over
to Heligoland. On the morning of the 28th, shortly after daylight o n a
misty but otherwise calm morning, a German destroyer was sighted.
Kolr before I go further you must understand that we, the destroyers,
were to attack enemy destroyers. Cruisers, from their powerful armament,
were to be left alone, and our cruisers were to do that part of the business.
All right. W e chased this destroyer, and soon found her to be closing on
other Germar. destroyers.
A fight at long range ensued. Whilst in the midst of this exhila-
rating sport through the mist appeared a German cruiser. Our destroyers
had to change their tactics. Headed by our flotilla cruiser we all attacked
the cruiser. From our position we were the rear division of boats. I n
the middle of this action we sighted another German destroyer trying to
get into Heligoland. T h i s was our prey, and so four of our boats, ours
being one. chased her. She tried to r u n away, but a well placed shot
obviously brought her speed down, and we soon had her in splendid
1 Reprinted from the Morni+zg Post of September 19th by the kind permission
of the Editor.
THE HELIGOLAND ENGAGEMENT. I57
range. T h e Germans fought splendidly, but we hammered her in no
Just a digression here is of interest; our shooting was very good
and she was hit numberless times. I say lthe G'ermans fought well, but
not a single shot of hers took effect, a c d only one of our men i n a l l four
boats was wounded by a ~ i f l ebullet. This means German gunnery is
bad o r ours is good, but whichever it is, there remains the comparison.
T o continue about the fight. I shall never forget this, the first ship I
have ever seen sunk by gunfire. It was a terrible sight. Shell after
shell was blowing her to pieces, she was enveloped in a dense cloud of
smoke and red tongues of flame wene I'icking out the hull, and yet one
or two men could be seen standing on her dbeck. How any man came
out of that ship alive absolutely defeats me, and everyone else f c r that
matter. Soon she was merely a blackened hull, very nearly under
watier, and it was obvious she had sailed her last voyage.
Immediately orders were given t o cease firing. I t was noticed that
men were swimming towards us i n the water. T h e lifeboat's crew was
called away and i n I got to try and save what survivors were left. I
pulled i n four men, one of whom was the Commodore of their flotilla.
One man was horribly wounded in the a r m 2nd head, and it was only on
account of his lifiebelt that he was afloat. T w o others were also wounded.
Then it was I czptured my booty, namely, a Mauser pistol, but I a m not
sending it blame just yet.
The Commodore whom I pulled i n tried to drawn himself, but I
managed to get him into the boat a l l right. Whilst we were In the
middle of picking u p the survivors another German cruiser put in a n
appearance and started firing o n us. T h e r e was a n immediate scramble
to get on board our ship again, which we did all right, but we had t o
leame the boat behind.
One of our ships had t o leave a boat's crew behind to thelr fate.
Their fate reads like a bit out of Grimm's " Fairy Tales," inasmuch as
they were picked up by one of our submarines which was watching t h e
whole action unseen.
Altogether we picked up eight prisoners, out of which one was badly
wounded, and two others sllghtly wounded. Of the crew oaf 97 only 2 0
could be accounted for a s prisoners.
T o continue wlth our adventures, our four boats managed t o
escape from our aggressive cruiser, and then a l l boats had a kind of
muster and reckoning up. T h i s was most sat'lsfactory, a s a l l o u r boats
were afloat, and only the Arethusa and Fearless were hit, the former
badly. W e then thought that since there were no more of the enemy
to chase it would be wiw ro make t o r home.
W e had no sooner started than another German cruiser appeared.
This was the Koln. T h e Arethusa and Fearless immediately g a v e
chase with several divlslons of destroyers. \Ye were not allowed to go,
a s the leader of our division had been hit, and had got his speed reduced,
and we were t o convoy him home. N o sooner were our shlps out of
sight than another German cruiser loomed out of the midst. We
(without any assisting cruisers) immediately attacked him.
There were eight of us all told, but yoa must understand our g u n
power totalled less than the enemy and we had n o armour. However,
God was with u s ; we were not liit, and pet we inanaged to damage t h e
J j8 N.lV.4L REVIEW.
enemy considerably, she being distinctly low i n the water forward and
o n fire. However, she n-as firing still, a n d it looked as if we were In
for a warm time, a s the range was decreasing rapidly and shots were
getting very close.
At the c r i t ~ c a lmoment three of our light " T o w n " cruisers came on
t h e scene. F o r the siecond time I saw a ship sunk by gunfire. This was
the Malnz. O u r crulsers made inost u-onderful shootin~g, and I have
never seen such a sight. I t simply cannot be described In a letter; it is
much too dramatic and horrible. T h e last I saw of her was a battered
hulk, consumed by smok\e. One c a n imagine the state on board when
you iealise that one of our destroyers which went alongside to take off
prisoners stated that of 240 men left alive only jo could walk.
After this our ship managed somehow to get out of sight of everyone
else-it was very foggy-and we were suddenly confronted by another
German cruiser. T h i s n a s by fax our most perilous action. W e had
very little ammunition left, and the cruiser was able to g i v e us her
undivided attention. One sho~ti n our engine-room or boiler-rooms would
finish us, we knew.
However, we engaged her, and a t the same t i r k headed for our
flotilla criuser (Fearless) and some of our destroyers which had hove
i n sight. T i l l we managed to get into t h e line we had a very anxious ten
mlnutes. However, we managed to get there a l l right, and proceeded
to have a set to with our foe. Again when things were looklng a bit
anxious, out of the fog loomed two battle cruisers. W e hacl a horrible
feeling for the moment, were they friends or foes? T T were soon a t
rest, for their heavy guns spoke, and, thank God, they were tralned the
right way. T h i s action we did not see. W e then proceeded to assist to
take i n tow one of our destroyers, the Laertes, which had be'en hit i n the
By this time the flotilla was very scattered, and we found that with
u s were our flotilla cruiser and five other boats, including the one being
towed. TVe then headed for home. Since 4 a.m. that morning till 2
p.m. that afternoon we had practically been continuously i n action, and
none of u s had had any food. E v e n then there was n o rest, because mfe
had the wounded prisoners to see to. T h a n k goodness none of our men
were wounded. I made use of m y first-aid a s well a s I knew, and we
made our wounded prisoners a s comfortable a s possible.
1 cannot go on to .rvrite any more details. My hand is tired already
and I could go on for ages, so, old dear, if ever I a m spared to see you
a l l again, I shall have many yarns to tell you. But we have a big task
i n front of us, and pray God we may thrash our enemy. W e have a big
job, but from Admiral down to cabin boy everyone i s a s keen and steady
a s possible. O n the 28th I am told that a l l men behaved admirably,
a n d I can vouch for this ship.
NiZRRATlVE OF THE ACTIOX OFF THE COAST
9th November, 1914.
We are a t this moment steaming gaily along at 17 knots. W e left
the day before yesterday, our five men slightly injured by pieces of shells
noa quite recovered and none the worse. W i l l now give a rksumk of
our recent moves.
W e were joined by the Good Hope, with Sir Christopher Cradock i n
command, and t h e Monmouth (Captain Brandt) off the Brazilian coast.
We then crulsed south togethei--Good Hope, Glasgow-, Monmouth, and
the armed liner Otranto-down to the cold T e r r a del F u e g o and Straits
of Magellan, making down swoops upon wild and unsurveyed bays and
places whither we had heard the enemy had gone to coal, etc., but failed
to find them there, although we heard their secret and frlendly wireless
stations talking in code. T h e land round there is covered with ice and
snow, and the many huge glaciers one sees a t e wonderful to behold.
Well, after passing and repassing Cape Horn, solmetimes twice in
one day. we were glad to get orders to proceed north on t h e Pacific coast
and to warmer weather. By this time we found that the two armoured
enemy's cruisers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, were probably coming
over from the Pacific Islands to join u p with the cruisers Leipsig,
Dresden, and Nurnberg, as they had escaped the Austalian and China
Squadrons. W e made a rendezvous farther nolth for our colliers, and
went into Comnel and on to' Valparaiso to pick u p news and receive
letters, etc., then back t o rendezvous, coaled and then got orders t o g o
to Coronel alone to send ca,bles, etc. W e left Coro11~1,Chile, on the
second occasion about g o'clock on the morning of November st, and a t
about 4 p.m. slghted the enemy i n force. W e put on speed and
approached them until R e made out four cruisers 'in line ahead, the two
big armoured cruisers leading and two three-funnelled cruisers (about
our class) following i n open order. They immediately gave chase, so
we "hopped i t " i n the direction of our own ships and the Flag. W e
advised the F l a g by wireless, but the enemy continually used their wireless
in order to jam o a r signals. W e first picked u p the Monmouth and
Otranto and ran a line ahead, Glasgow senior leading.
I n a n hour or so the Good Hope (Cradock's ship) came up and we
wheeled into line behind her, and again approached the enemy, coming
round to south when about seven miles off. T h e sun by this time was
getting low on our starboard beam; the enemy were to the east of us, all
1 Reprinted from The Times of December 11th by the kind permission of the
I 60 NAV~L
proceeding south, they having the advantage both in guns and the light;
w-e being silhouetted agai-1st the horizon. Their strategical speed being
equal to ours, it n a s ~mpossibleto improve the lights before dark. I
did not think he would engage untll next day. However, we were now
gradually closing. About 6.40 p.m. or so the foremost armoured enemy's
cruiser opened file wlth he: 81n., and shells shrieked over and short of
us. some falling about 500 yards short, glving the impression of excellent
shooting. Soon after the Otranto began to haul out of line and edge
away to the S.W., she not being fitted to fight men-0'-war. We appeared
t o close a point or two, and a t 7 p.m. opened fire. T h e enemy replied
i n rapid salvoes, making good and deadly shooting, mostly directed
against our flag, and the Monmouth, our next ahead. There was not
much doubt a s to t h e result. Shells continued to straddle us, some
bursting overhead, throwing pieces of broken shell in a l l directions.
About 10 minutes or so after this the poor Monmouth sheered off the line
to the mestward a hundred yards or so, when I saw her being hit heavily.
She appeared to heel a bit and shake, her foremost turret (the 6in. gun
shield) in flames. She fell back agaln into line and out again to thfe
eastnard, still firing her 6in. ~ntermittently.
Shortly after the Good Hope was seen to b e on fire, also about the
fore turret, and se~emedt o steer or fali away 20 the eastward or towards
t h e enemy. During this time we kept u p a continual fire from our two
6in. and port battery 4in. guns i n the direction of t h e foremost light
cruisers od th, enemy's line, the third and fourth ship, of the lines, but
owing to the big sea, our rolling, and the gathering darkness it was
impossible to spot the fall of our shells. Wo- could only fire a t the
flash of their guns, and when our heavy rolling allowed our gunlayers
to see the flashes a t all. About 7.30 p.m. I was standing near the after
6in. hand up, when I felt 3 shell strike us below deck. I t seemed to pass
oat through the ,%her side, but didn't, and I awaited the explosion,
expecting he deck planks to rise u p ; but nothing visibly occurred a t
the moment. I was second in command of the starboard battery and, as
that was the engaged side, superintended the supply of ammunition to
the port guns and generally kept a n eye for casualties, so was able to
use my binoculars to see what could be seen. Hills, a marine, carrying
ammunition t o Pg was struck behind the e a r by a fragment of shell and
was temporarily out of action, lying down near Sg hand up.
T h e Good Hope fell more and more out of line to eastward, burning
brightly forward, when suddenly a n explosion occurred about her a f t e r
funnel, blowing u p dibris and flames and sparks some zoo ft. high or so,
quite distinctly to be heard from our deck. Some of our men thought
it was the enemy's flagship, so near had she drifted toswards them.
Soon after I could see nothing of her, and she never fired her guns
again. Our speed during the action must have varied from seven or
eight to 17 knots o r so, and when the Monmouth dropped back in her
distress we had to ease i n order not to meet the doses meant for her.
T h e enemy now dropped slowly back, and the armoured cruisers directed
their fire a t u s ; we continued alone to' reply when possible, now a t about
4,500 yards. Everybody was remarkably cool, a s if a t practice. Another
shell struck our No. 2 funnel, showing large holes around the casing,
and it was this or these shells which wounded three more of our men
NARRATIVE O F T H E ACTION OF17 T H E CO-.\ST O F CHILE. 161
I cannot understand the miracle of our deliverance; none will ever.
W e were struck a t the water-line by in all five shells out of about 600
directed at us, but strangely not i n vulnerable places, our coal saving u s
on three occasions-as we are not armcuured and should not be in battle
line against armoured vessels. We only had two g u n s that would
pierce their armour-the Good Hope's old two 9-z's, one of which was
out of action 10 minutes after the start. A shell entered the captain's
pantry and continued on, bursting i n a passage, the fragments going
through the steel wall of the captain's cabin, wrecking it completely.
~ ~ a no; f r resulted.
T h e Monmouth, n,o longer firing, steamed off, to the north-west, and
we stood by her signalling. Sh'e iell off to north-east, then we-asked her
if she could steer north-west. She replied, " I want to get stern to sea
as I am making water badly forward." W e followed close by. Shortly
after I was on the flying b n d g e when I spotted t h e enemy approacliing
in line abreast, the ship to the right or southward Morsing with a n oil
lamp to the others. They were then about 6,ooo yards off or so in t h e
rain, mist, and darkness. I told the captain, who gave me orders t o
bring them astern, and put on full speed. W e drew out of range. T h e
Monmouth was silent and hidden by our smoke. About half a n hour
after we saw flashes of gun fire and the play of a searchlight which
lasted a few seconds, then disappeaied. W e went i n a west north-westerly
direction, coming gradually round to south, steering for Magellan Straits
in order t o warn our old battleship, the Canopus, who was coming up
from the southward, to turn and run. She was near 200 miles away
also and we were some hours getting through to her, because of the
continual jamming by the enemy's wireless. I t would have been a
needless and useless sacrifice of our ship and our 370 odd lives to have
remained and engaged the enemy's ships a g a i n ; some 1,600 lives had
already gone i n the G o d Hope and Monmouth. Luckily our engines
and boilers were intact, and we were able to push through the heavy
seas at 24 knolts and get away to g i v e a n account of the action, and warn
the Canopus, who, although she no doubt would have fought gallantly,
could hardly hope to successfully fight five ships. W e a l l thanked God
for our miraculous escape after a very severe action against great odds.
OFFICIAL REPORT OF ACTION WITII 'THI< EMDEN.
BY J. C . T. GLOSSOP,
R.N., H.1LI.A.S. SYDNEY.~
H.M.A.S. Sydney a t Colombo.
November rgth, 1914.
Sir,-I have the honour to report that whilst on escort duty with
.the Convoy under the charge ofi Captain S i l v e ~ ,H.M.A.S. Melbourne,
a t 6.30 a.m. on Monday 9th November, a wireless message from Cocos
was heard reporting that a forelgn warship was off the entrance. I was
ordered to raise steam for full speed a t 7.0 a.m. and proceeded thither.
I worked up to 2 0 knots, and a t 9.15 a.m. sighted land ahead and almost
immediately the smoke o a shlp, which proved to be H.I.G.M.S. Emden
conling out towards me a t a great rate. At 9.40 a.m. fire was opened,
she firing the first shot. I kept my distance as much as possible to
obtain the advantage of my guns. H e r fire was very accurate and rapid
to begin wlth, but seemed to slacken very quickly, all casualties occur-
ring i n this ship almost immediately. F i r s t the foremost funnel of her
went, secondly the foremast, and she was badly on fire aft, then the
second f u n n e i went, and lastly the third funnel, and I saw- she was
making for the beach on North Keeling Island, where she grounded a t
11.20 a.m. I gave h.er two more broadsides and left her to pursue a
merchant ship which had come u p during the action.
2. Although I had guns on this merchant ship a t odd times during
the action, I had not fired, a,n~d s she was making off fast I pursued and
overtook her a t 12.10, firing a gun acro,ss her bows, and hoisting Inter-
nat'ional code Signal t o st'op, which sh,e did. I sent a n armed boat and
found her to be t m S.S. Buresk, a captured British collier, with IS
Chinese crew, I English s t e w a d , r Norwegian cook, and a German
prize crew of 3 officers, I warrant ofticer and 1 2 men. T h e ship unfor-
tunately was sinking, the Kingston knocked out and damaged to prevent
repairing,'so I took a l l on boa,rd, fired four shells into her, and re'turnecl
to Emden, passing men swimnin'lng i n the 57-at~er,for whom I left two
boats I was towing from Buresk.
3. O n arriving again off Emden she still had her colours up a t
mainmast head. I inquired bv signal, Intmernational Code, " W i l l you
s u r r e n d e r ? " and I-eceived a reply in Morse " W h a t s i g n a l ? No signal
books.!' I then made 'in Morse " Do you surrender? " an8d subsequently
" H a v e you receive'd my zignal " to neiNther of which did I get a n
answer. T h e German officers on board gave me to understand that the
Captain -tvouid never surrendser, and therefore, though very reluctantly.
I again fired a t her a t 4.30 p.m., ceasing a t 4.35, a s sh,e showed white
flags and hauled down her ensign by sending a m8analoft.
1 I ha~e inserted this as it may hereafter be valuable and might otherwise be lost
or forgotten.-HOX. E c r ~ o a .
OFFICIAL KEPORT O F ACTION WITH THE EMDEN. 163
4. I then left E m d e n and returned and picked up the Buresk's two
boats, rescuing t w o sailors (5.0 p.m.), who had been in the water a l l
day. I returned and sent rn one boat to Emden, manned by her own
prize crew from Buresk, and one officer, and stating I would return to
their assistance next morning.
5 . I l a y a n and off a l l night and communicated with Direction
Island a t 8.0 a.m., 10th November, to find that the Emden's party oon-
sisting of 3 officers and 40 men, one launch a n d two cutters had seized and
provisioned a 70 ton schooner (the Ayesha), having four maxims with two
belts to each. They left the previous night a t six o'clock. T h e wireless
station was entirely destroyed, one cable cut, one damaged, and one
intact. I borrowed a doctor and two assistants, and proceeded a s fast a s
possible to Emden's assistance.
6. I seqt a n officer on board to see the captain, and in view of the
large number of prisoners and wounded and lack of accommodaticm, etc.,
in this ship, and the absolute impossibility of leaving them where they
were, he agreed that if I received his officers and men and a l l wountdeid,
"then a s for such time as they remained i n Sydney they would cause no
interference with ship or fittings, and would be amenable to t h e ship's
discipline." I therefore set to work a t once to tranship them-a most
difficult operation, the ship being on weather side of Island a n d the send
alongside very heavy. The conditions i n the Emden were indescribable.
I received the last from her a t 5.0 p.m., then had to go round to the
lee side to pick up 2 0 more men who had managed to get ashore frokn
7. Darkness came on before this could be accomplished, and t h e ship
again stood off and on a l l night, resuming operations a t 5.0 a.m. on
11th November, a cutter's crew havintg to land with stretchers t o bring
wounded round to embarking point. A German officer, a doctor, died
ashore the previous day. T h e ship i n the meantime r a n over t o Direction
Island t o return their doctor and assistants, send cables, a n d was back
again a t 10.0 a.m., embarked the remainder of wounded, and proceeded
for Colombo by 10.35 a.m. Wednesday, 11th November.
8. Total casualties i n Sydney: Killed 3, sevlerely wounded (sinc~e
dead) I , severely wounded 4, wounded 4, slightly wounded 4. I n the
Emden I can only approximately state t h e killed a t 7 officers and 108
men from captain's statement. I had on board 11 officers, 9 warrant
officers, and 191 men, of whom 3 officfers and 53 men were wounded, and
of this number I officer and 3 men have since died of wounds.
9. T h e damage to Sydney's hull and fittings was surprisingly s m a l l ;
in all about 10 hits seem to have been made. T h e engine and boiler
rooms and funnels escaped tentirely.
10. I have great pleasure i n stating that the behaviour of t h e ship's
company was excellent in every way, and with such a l a r g e proportion
of young hands and people under training it is a l l the more gratifying.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient Servant,
JOHN C. T. GLOSSOP,
T h e Secretary of the Admiralty.
GERMAN PACIFIC SQUADRON. 165
not get such good food a s usual. s
I t consisted mostly of spunyarn (pre-
served meat) and dried potatoes. On Sundays, however, it was somewhat
better. At first a l l on board lost weight, for the demands ma'dje of us
were always greater than i n peace time. I lost 16 pounds, but when last
weighed I had gone up four pounds again. O n e gets used to anything.
The main point is that we win the war and return home safe and sound.
I t is for our German Fatherland.
" As I said before, the Emden left us with special orders, also on
zznd August the Niirnberg.l On 27th August we reache'd the i ~ l a n d . ~ ...
After coaling and provisioning we left again o n 29th August. On 6th
September we met3 the Nurnberg again. She brought us English and
American papers from Honolulu. T h u s we go~tsome sort o,f a n idea 086
the state of affairs a t home. W e were i n the happiest frame of mind.
What, however, a r e we doing h e r e ? T h e ocean is too great to meet the
enemy here. F o r this reason we proceed for the mo'st part only with the
Gneisenau, so that w e can capture a l l h'ostile merchant steamers. Also we
are no match for superior numbers. Japan's fleet heads the list, then the
Allied Squadron and the English Australian fleet. If we a r e to believe
the English reports, the prospect is not a rosy one. There is nothing
left of our fleet, i t i s completely defeated, 19 ships are sunk, and even we,
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, have been badly damaged after a n action
with the English ships Minotaur and Hampshire. We cruise about,
h,olv,ever, still unhurt.
" I n Honolulu, 37 war volunteers, almost a l l G,erman-Americans, had
crept on board, and did not appear until at sea. On the same evening,
6th September, the Nurnberg, from somewhere nea~rPalmyra Island, left
us to destroy the English cable station.4 On 7th September we arrive,d
a t the . . 5 Islan'ds, where the Nurnberg joined us again. She was com-
pletely successful i n destroying the station. T h e buildings belonging to
it were blown up, a n d the cable cut and t'owed t o sea. W e ascertained
further that hostile forces were in Apia. After coaling we immediately
left with the Gneisenau. On 10th Septe,mber u-e crossed the Equator.
This was a little holiday, for the baptism \%-as carried out with its festivi-
ties. As we proceeded on 14th September a t daybreak to attack Apia, we
n e r e bitterly disappointed. T h e enemy had already left Apia on 29th
August, and fiad occupied it with Soo men. Tfiere had been nine war-
ships and two transports. I learnt this from two Germans who came on
board. W e were very much annoyed, a s we had done nothing so f a r .
From Apia we pro'ceeded East and only put i n a t the island of . .6 f o r
a moment on 17th September to meet a steamer. O n 21st September we
completed our supply of coal to some extent a t the French Society
I ~ l a n d s ,a~ d procured some fresh meat, which w-e had on the following
Sunday. T h i s was indeed a delicacy for us, as our canteen had gi,ven
out some days previously.
1 Nurnberg arrived at Honolulu 1st September and left on 2nd September
2 Possibly another of the Marshall Islands.
3 This may have been a meeting at sea.
4 At Fanning Island.
5 Apparently Christmas Island.
6 Palmerston or Suwarrow.
7 At Bora Bora Island.
I 66 NAVAL REVIEW.
" O n the following day we appeared off the French Island of Tahitl,
with the town Papeete. Here we wanted to prov'ide ourselves wilth coal
and provisions, and first of a l l sent a boat ashore. W e werre, however,
doomed t o disappointment. A German steamer lay in the harbour and a
French gunboat before it. T h e latter suddenly hoisted her colours, and
we were fired upon by the three forts on land. W e did not, however,
let them wait long for a n answer, and opened fire. W e fineid quite slowly;
for every shot was t o hit, and those from the shore fell short. I t was not
long before we had sllenced t h e forts. T h e French gunboat received two
hits on the waterline and sank. Further, t h e yard there was colmpletely
destroyed and t h e coal store set on fire. Since )there was nothing more
f o ~ to get, we steamed away.l
badly again now. W e have gradually
" I n general we a r e not l i v ~ n g
got used to everything. On 2nd October we steamed away2, steering a
coulse for the . . . 3 Islands, where we arrived to-day, 12th Octcber.
Here the Dresden joined us. Perhaps we may yet have a fight w ~ t h fbur
English cruisers, for they followed the Dresden. T h e Leipsig is also to
join US, the Japanese cruiser Idzumo being on her track. Well, let them
come, we shall have sonlething t o tell them about. W e are to take in a
lot more provisions, fresh meat and potatoes here. W e don't yet know
where we a r e now t o go."
1 A bit appears to have been left out here by the Censor.
2 From the Ivlarquesas Islands.
3 Easter Island.
MEMORANDUN1 BY T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E
AIR DEPARTMENT O N AERIAL ATTACK O N
17th December, 1914.
On 2151 November, 1914, Squadron Commander E. F . Briggs, Flight
Commander 5 . T . Babington, and F l i g h t Lieutenant S. V. Sippe, Koyal
Navy, carried out a n aerial attack on the Zeppelin airship sheds and
factsory :t Fri'ejdrichshai~en Lake Constance.
Leaving French tmerritory shortly befo,re 10 a.m., they arrived over
their objective a t about no'on, and, although under a very heavy rifle,
machine-gun, and shrapnel fire froim t h e m~oment they wer'e sighted,
they a l l three dived steeply to wimthin a f e hundred feet of the sheds,
when they released their bombs-~-in all eleven.
Squadron C m m a n , d e r Briggs was wounded, brought down, an,d made
a prisoner, but the othe,i- two officers regained th'eir starting-polint afiter a
flight of more than four hours across hostile country under very bad
I t is believle'd that the damage c a w e d by th'is attack includ,es the
destruction of one airship and serious damage t o the larger shed, and
also demolition of the hydrogen-producing planlt, which had o'nly lately
been complelted. Later repo,rts stated that flames of consid.e,rable
magnitude w'ere seen issuing fr,olm the factory immediately after the raid.
NARRATIVE O F ACTION OFF FALKLAND
December I I th.
" On Tuesday morning w,e were i n harbour, and had started coaling.
At about 8.30 a..m. five German cruisers were report'ed approaching by t h e
shore signal station. These turned out to be the Scharnhorst (flagship),
Gneisenau, Niirnberg, Dresden, and Leipzig.
" When they sighted u s they im,mediately turned tail .and made off
a s fast a s they could. As sojon a s they were reported we a l l ,dropped
coaling a t once, sho~vedoff ,the colliers, a n d madme o'ff after them. As we
knew we were faster than they were w'e did n,ot hurry very much to start
with, but slowly c l o s d with them, and this gave u s time t o h a v e din,ner
comfortably befme getting on with t h e work.
Ii About 12.30 the flagship and ourself,, who a r e coinsiderably faster
than the rest of our squadron, increased spee8d and went on ahead t o
attack the two big cruisers, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. At I p.m.
we opened fire on them a t a range of -- yards, the flagship taking cm
the Gneisenau and ourselves the Scharnhorst. Their light cruisers
imme,diately spread, but wse managed to get a t least one shot Into the
L,eipzi,gbefor'e they made off. W e then turned the whole of our attention
to the big cruisers and left the rest of o,ur squad,ron t o deal with their
light ~ ~ r u i s e r s .
" W e blazed away at the Scharnho'rst for thi-ee hours, and finally
she sank a t about 4 p.m. It was v~ery hard to tell wha,t damage we
had do~nelto her as there was a great dseal of smoke and we were, of
course, a considerable distance away. W e could see that she h a d thnee
funnels gone and both masts shot away. W e had v'ery little damage done
to us, as we had a n immense superiority i n gunfire. Our ~ z i n . u n s were
hitting her pretty hard all the time, but a s shae had only 8.2 in. guns her
fire was very ineffective, though I must say remarkably accurate. W h e n
she started t o g o down she went very quickly, and unfortunately we were
unable t o stop and pick u p any of her m'en a s t h e Gneisenau seemed still
to have a good deal of kick left i n her.
" We went t~ot h e flagship's assistance and started i n again a t th,e
Gneisenau. At about 4.45 p.m. she appeared t o b'e sinking and had
ceased fire. H e r cololurs ha'd been shot away several times, b u t she h a d
hoist,ed them again, and now we thought she had hauled t h e m down.
T h e only visible damage done t o her, was her foremost funnel shot away,
though a s we foan'd out afterwards she was badly knocked about.
Apparently she had n o more colours left, but was still game, for a s we
Extracts from a letter, which appeared in The Times of Jan. loth, by an
Officer of the Inflexible. Reproduced by the kind permission of the Editor.
I 68 NAVAL REVIEW.
were closing she managed to get aff one more solitary gun. W e had to
stand off again, and gave her a few more rounds, and another of our
cruisers which had come up let off a few a t her. About 5.15 she was
observed to be sinking, and we started t o close her. She heeled ovei-
very slowly till she got to about 70 degrees, then she went over with a
rush, there was a large cloud of steam, she cocked her stem up i n the
air and disappeared.
" A s so'on a s possible we got out what boats we had left to pick up the
~ u r v i v o r s , and threw lifebuoys and any available bits of wood to them.
T h e flagship and t h r other cruiser had come up and were doing the same,
bat a lot of them were drowned a s we were short of boats and the sea had
started to get choppy.
(( W e picked up the commander of the Gneisenau, seven officers, and
about 50 men, a n d betwesn the three ships managed t o save about 180.
I n the evening one of our light cruisers reported having sunk the Leipzig,
and another had sunk two of their colliers. Next morning one of our
armoured cruisers reported having sunk the Nurnberg. Our ships are
practically undamaged, and we should have finished the action much
sooner if we had gone c!oser t o then;, but, of oourse, our object was t o
sink them n i t h a s little damage to ourselves a s possible.
" One of the officers saved was telling me that towards the end of
the action he could not get along their upper deck, a s they pract'ically
had noine left; nearly every man on the upper deck had been killed, all
the guns were out of action, and one turret had been blown bodily over-
board by 121n. lyddite shell. Both their englnes were broken up, and
they had a fire in t h e after part of the ship. They would probably have
had many inore fires, but our shells striking the water near the ship
sent up columns of water flhich kept on putting out the fires.
" T h e German sailors when they got on board expected to be shot,
and were very agieeably surprised when they found they would be looked
after decently instead."
PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS.
" After the capture of Fao, I had command of the Leurs Pelly-she
was at .one time the yacht of the Resident od Koweit-a little steam yacht
of about IOO tons, capable of about 84 kr., and was arme,d from the ship
with two 3-pounders and a Maxim. On the Thursday evening a l l the
ships proceeded up to a few miles below Kurnah, where the troops were
landed. I n the morning, on Friday, t m ships steamed up a bit further,
and the troops advanced. Soon we were a t it hard, a s the enemy were
in f:orce on the left bank of the Tigris, and had several guns guarding
the river. These guns were silmenced by the Espiege and Lawrence, and
the troops carried the tnenches among t h e palm-trees, the arme.d launches
Mina and Shaitan keeping in line witb. the left wing. T h e bigger ships
had anchored out of range of the guns of Kurnah, but the launches, of
course, soon closed them, and were getting a warm time. T h e Mina got
broadside on, and was holed below the water-line. We had been told off
as intermediate ship for passing signals, but on seeing t h e Mina coming
back and apparently sinkin,g, we went u p t o her assistance, and a s she
did not ~ e q u i r eany, went on up and joine~d the Shaitan. W e went a bit
further up th'e river after chat, and shell'ed the guns and houses, which
were full o,f riflemen, frow about 1,500 yards. We silenced the guns
which were worrying us most, and had a n excellent time u p there till we
found the soldi'ers had ,t,o retire; so, after covering the retirement a s much
as possible, we returned.
" T h e next day, Saturday, I went up t o reconnoitre in th'e Leurs Pelly.
The enemy openmed fire with three gun's from Kurnah, but it was a
longish range, and we were recalled bef'ore we could clo'se them. I n the
afternoon I ianded, and burned a dhow th~eT u r k s ,evidently plalc,ed a s a
mark ftor their guns. Next day we rest'e,d while reinforcements arrived.
On Monday there was another general attack by the military, and bam-
bardment by the laager ships, the Odin being furthe8r u p this tim'e, she
t~oojoined in. All three launches went up togelther this time. T h e Mina,
which had besen repaired, we~ntaground, and s o m the Shaitan was badly
hit on the bridge, the she!l passing right thro'llgh poo~rold Elkes, who
was in oo8mmand. Shc als~o had h e r st,eering gear damaged, and
retired. The Mina was off t h e mud by thlen, and so,on ca.me u p to
suppo~rtus. W e had quite a warm time. Several shrapn,el burst over the
ship, ripping our awnings to bits, and one blew a h.ole i n the c~owl.
There was also a certain amount of rifle fire, but, apart from making a
few holes in things, ilt did n o dama,ge. After a bit we were recalled.
This timte the military remainetd u p there. T h e next morning the L.P.
1 By a naval officer in command of an armed yacht. Extracts reproduced by
the kind permission of the Editor, from The Times,z r s t January.
I70 NAVAL REVIEW.
was sent u p to reconnoitre and see if Kurnah had been evacuated. W e
steamed up a good deal further than we ever had been before. I was
told t o return a t once if fired on, and report. As soon as we opened the
Tigris, the enemy, who had evidzntly been holding their fire, started in
with guns and rifles i n a great fusillade. T h e first shott fell just short,
but the water from it upset the Maxim, and nearly drowned everybody.
I t was no very simple matter to' ' retire a t once,' a s I bald orders, since
the rive^ was very narrow, and the L.P. is a single-screw boat, with a n
enormous turning circle, also! I knew if I got broadside on, before getting
behind some trees where the enemy's fire was indirect, we wculd be holed
and probably s u ~ k .
" As a matter of fact, we had one direct hilt on the bows, but having a
glancing blow, it only bulged the plates and sheered the rlvets. T h e
ride fire ma$ very heavy, and sounded exactly like a swarm of bees,
because the T u r k s a t this time had nothing else to amuse themselves
with, so could csncentrate on us. But our luck was i n again, and no
one was hit. Their nearest g u n was some 400 yards away, but c u r
3-pounders must have worried him a bit and spoiled his a i m ; so we
got back safely, with a good many more holes through masts, awnings.
etc. At noon the L.P. was told to go up and have another look,
which we did, having much the same reoeption, only a little worse than
we had in the morning. Agam we got out of it without getting aground,
which would have been disastrous, having been hft twice more on the
side and getting a bit of a hole in the mess deck. Two mlen Rere ~ I C ,
but not badly-both we1.e from rifle bullets, which must have come
through the hammtocks we had u p a s protection (in fact, a t close range
most of 'it did come through). T h a t night the soldiers crossed higher up,
and the place surrendered a t I a.m. I went ashore next day. They
must have had a bad time of i t ; the whole place was cut up with shell
and strewn with shrapncl balls. Well, that was the end of that, and I
came back with the captain, leaving the L.P. up .there in charge of
the gunner to pat101 the river."