Brittannia Rules The Waves
( Originally Published 1918 )
THE month of October, 1914, contained no important naval contests. On the 15th, the old British cruiser Hawke was torpedoed in the North Sea and nearly five hundred men were lost. On the other hand, on the 17th of October, the light cruiser Undaunted, accompanied by the destroyers, Lance, Legion and Loyal, sank four German destroyers off the Dutch coast. But the opening of November turned the interest of the navy to the Southern Pacific. When the war began Admiral von Spee, with the German Pacific squadron, was at Kiaochau in command of seven vessels. Among these was the Emden, whose adventurous career has been already described. Another, the Karlsruhe, became a privateer in the South Atlantic.
Early in August Von Spee set sail from Kiaochau with two armored cruisers, the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst and three light cruisers, the Dresden, Leipzig and Nurmberg. These ships were comparatively new, well armed, and of considerable speed. They set off for the great trade highways to destroy, as far as possible, British commerce. Their route led them to the western coast of South America, and arrangements were made so that they were coaled and provisioned from bases in some of the South American states which permitted a slack observance of the laws respecting the duties of neutrals.
A small British squadron had been detailed to protect British commerce in this part of the world. It was commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, a distinguished and popular sailor, who had under his command one twelve-year-old battleship, the Canopus, two armored cruisers, the Good Hope and the Monmouth, the light cruiser Glasgow, and an armed liner, the Otranto. None of these vessels had either great speed or heavy armament. The equipment of the Canopus, indeed, was obsolete. Admiral Cradock's squadron arrived at Halifax on August 14th, thence sailed to Bermuda, then on past Venezuela and Brazil around the Horn. It visited the Falkland Islands, and by the third week of October was on the coast of Chile. The Canopus had dropped behind for repairs, and though reinforcements were expected, they had not yet arrived. They knew that their force was inferior to that of Admiral von Spee.
One officer wrote, on the 12th of October, "From now till the end of the month is the critical time, as it will decide whether we shall have to fight a superior German force from the Pacific before we can get reinforcements from home or the Mediterranean. We feel that the admiralty ought to have a better force here, but we shall fight cheerfully whatever odds we have to face."
Admiral Cradock knew well that his enemy was superior in force. From Coronel, where he sent off some cables, he went north on the first of November, and about four o'clock in the afternoon the Glasgow sighted the enemy.
The two big German armored cruisers were leading the way, and two light cruisers were following close. The German cruiser Leipzig does not seem to have been in company. The British squadron was led by the Good Hope, with the Monmouth, Glasgow and Otranto following in order. It was a beautiful spectacle. The sun was setting in the wonderful glory which one sees in the Pacific, and the British ships, west of the German, must have appeared to them in brilliant colors. On the east were the snowy peaks of the Andes. Half a gale was blowing and the two squadrons moved south at great speed. About seven o'clock they were about seven miles apart and the Scharnhorst, which was leading the German fleet, opened fire. At this time the Germans were shaded by the inshore twilight, but the British ships must have showed up plainly in the afterglow. The enemy fired with great accuracy. Shell after shell hit the Good Hope and the Monmouth, but the bad light and inferior guns saved the German ships from much damage. The Good Hope was set on fire and at seven-fifty exploded and sank. The Mon-mouth was also on fire, and turned away to the western sea. The Glasgow had escaped so far, but the whole German squadron bore down upon her. She turned and fled and by nine o'clock was out of sight of the enemy. The Otranto, only an armed liner, had disappeared early in the fight. On the following day the Glasgow worked around to the south, and joined the Canopus, and the two proceeded to the Straits of the Magellan. The account of this battle by the German Admiral von Spee is of especial interest:
"Wind and swell were head on, and the vessels had heavy going, especially the small cruisers on both sides. Observation and distance estimation were under a severe handicap because of the seas which washed over the bridges. The swell was so great that it obscured the aim of the gunners at the six-inch guns on the middle deck, who could not see the sterns of the enemy ships at all, and the bow but seldom. At 6.20 p. m., at a distance of 13,400 yards, I turned one point toward the enemy, and at 6.34 opened fire at a distance of 11,260 yards. The guns of both our armored cruisers were effective, and at 6.39 al-ready we could note the first hit on the Good Hope. I at once resumed a parallel course, instead of bearing slightly toward the enemy. The English opened their fire at this time. I assume that the heavy sea made more trouble for them than it did for us. Their two armored cruisers remained covered by our fire, while they, so far as could be determined, hit the Scharnhorst but twice, and the Gneisenau only four times. At 6.53, when 6,500 yards apart, I ordered a course one point away from the enemy. They were firing more slowly at this time, while we were able to count numerous hits. We could see, among other things, that the top of the Monmouth's forward turret had been shot away, and that a violent fire was burning in the turret. The Scharnhorst, it is thought, hit the Good Hope about thirty-five times. In spite of our altered course the English changed theirs sufficiently so that the distance between us shrunk to 5,300 yards.
There was reason to suspect that the enemy despaired of using his artillery effectively, and was maneuvering for a torpedo attack.
"The position of the moon which had risen at six o'clock, was favorable to this move. Accordingly I gradually opened up further distances between the squadrons by another deflection of the leading ship, at 7.45. In the meantime it had grown dark. The range finders on the Scharnhorst used the fire on the Monmouth as a guide for a time, though eventually all range finding, aiming and observations became so inexact that fire was stopped at 7.26. At 7.23 a column of fire from an explosion was noticed between the stacks of the Good Hope. The Monmouth apparently stopped firing at 7.20. The small cruisers, including the Nuremburg, received by wireless at 7.30 the order to follow the enemy and to attack his ships with torpedoes. Vision was somewhat obscured at this time by a rain squall. The light cruisers were not able to find the Good Hope, but the Nuremburg encountered the Monmouth and at 8.58 was able, by shots at closest range, to capsize her, without a single shot being fired in return. Rescue work in the heavy sea was not to be thought of, especially as the Nuremburg immediately afterwards believed she had sighted the smoke of another ship and had to prepare for another attack. The small cruisers had neither losses nor damage in the battle. On the Gneisenau there were two men slightly wounded. The crews of the ships went into the fight with enthusiasm, every one did his duty, and played his part in the victory."
Little criticism can be made of the tactics used by Vice-Admiral Spee. He appears to have maneuvered so as to secure the advantage of light, wind and sea. He also seems to have suited himself as regards the range.
Admiral Cradock was much criticised for joining battle with his little fleet against such odds, but he followed the glorious traditions of the English navy. He, and 1,650 officers and men, were last, and the news was hailed as a great German victory. But the British admiralty were thoroughly roused. Rear Admirai Sir Frederick Doveton Sturdee, chief of the war staff, proceeded at once with a squadron to the South Atlantic. With him were two battle cruisers, the Invincible and the Inflexible, three armored cruisers, the Carnovan, the Kent and the Cornwall. His fleet was joined by the light cruiser Bristol and the armed liner Macedonia. The Glasgow, fresh from her rough experience, was found in the South Atlantic. Admiral Sturdee then laid his plans to come in touch with the victorious German squadron. A wireless message was sent to the Canopus, bidding her proceed to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. This message was intercepted by the Germans, as was intended.
Admiral von Spee, fearing the Japanese fleet, was already headed for Cape Horn. He thought that the Canopus could be easily captured at Port Stanley, and he started at once to that port. Admiral Sturdee's expedition had been kept profoundly secret. On December 7th the British squadron arrived at Port Stanley, and spent the day coaling. The Canopus, the Glasgow and the Bristol were in the inner harbor, while the remaining vessels lay outside. On December 8th, Admiral von Spec arrived from the direction of Cape Horn. The battle that followed is thoroughly described in the report of Vice-Admiral Sturdee from which the following extracts have been made :
"At 8 A. M., Tuesday, December 8th, a signal was received from the signal station on shore. `A four-funnel and two-funnel man-of-war in sight from Sapper Hill steering north.' The Kent was at once ordered to weigh anchor, and a general signal was made to raise steam for full speed. At 8.20 the signal service station reported another column of smoke in sight, and at 8.47 the Canopus reported that the first two ships were eight miles off, and that the smoke reported at 8.20 appeared to be the smoke of two ships about twenty miles off. At 9.20 A. M. the two leading ships of the enemy, the Gneisenau and Nuremburg, with guns trained on the wireless station, came within range of the Canopus, which opened fire at them across the lowland at a range of 11,000 yards. The enemy at once hoisted their colors, and turned away. A few minutes later the two cruisers altered course to port, as though to close the Kent at the entrance to the harbor. But at about this time it seems that the Invincible and In-flexible were seen over the land, and the enemy at once altered course, and increased speed to join their consorts. At 9.4.5 A. M. the squadron weighed anchor and proceeded out of the harbor, the Carnovan leading. On passing Cape Pembroke light, the five ships of the enemy appeared clearly in sight to the south-east, hull down. The visibility was at its maximum, the sea was calm, with a bright sun, a clear sky, and a light breeze from the northwest. At 10.20 the signal for a general chase was made. At this time the enemy's funnels and bridges showed just above the horizon. Information was received from the Bristol at 11.27 that three enemy ships had appeared off Port Pleasant, probably colliers or transports. The Bristol was therefore directed to take the Macedonia under orders, and destroy transports.
"The enemy were still maintaining their distance, and I decided at 12.20 P. M. to attack, with the two battle cruisers and the Glasgow. At 12.47 P. M. the signal to `Open fire and engage the enemy' was made. The Inflexible opened fire at 12.55 p. M. at the right-hand ship of the enemy, and a few minutes later the Invincible opened fire at the same ship. The deliberate fire became too threatening, and when a shell fell close alongside her at 1.20 P. M. she, the Leipzig, turned away, with the Nuremburg and Dresden, to the southwest. These light cruisers were at once followed by the Kent, Glasgow and Cornwall.
"The action finally developed into three separate encounters. First, the action with the armored cruisers. The fire of the battle cruisers was directed on the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. The effect of this was quickly seen, when, with the Scharnhorst leading, they turned about seven points to port, and opened fire. Shortly afterwards the battle cruisers were ordered to turn together with the Invincible leading. The enemy then turned about ten points to starboard, and a second chase ensued until, at 2.45, the battle cruisers again opened fire. This caused the enemy to turn into line ahead to port and open fire. The Scharnhorst caught fire forward, but not seriously, and her fire slackened perceptibly. The Gneisenau was badly hit by the Inflexible.
"At 8.30 P. M. the Scharnhorst turned about ten points to starboard, her fire had slackened perceptibly, and one shell had shot away her third funnel. Some guns were not firing, and it would appear that the turn was dictated by a desire to bring her starboard guns into action. The effect of the fire on the Scharnhorst be-came more and more apparent in consequence of smoke from fires and also escaping steam. At times a shell would cause a large hole to appear in her side, through which could be seen a dull, red glow of flame.
"At 4.04 P. M. the Scharnhorst, whose flag remained flying to the last, suddenly listed heavily to port, and within a minute it became clear that she was a doomed ship, for the list increased very rapidly until she lay on her beam ends. At 4.17 P. M. she disappeared. The Gneisenau passed on the far side of her late flagship, and continued a determined, but ineffectual, effort to fight the two battle cruisers. At 5.08 p. M. the forward funnel was knocked over, and remained resting against the second funnel. She was evidently in serious straits, and her fire slackened very much.
"At 5.15 p. M. one of the Gneisenau's shells struck the Invincible. This was her last effective effort. At 5.30 p. M. she turned toward the flagship with a heavy list to starboard, and appeared to stop, the steam pouring from her escape pipes, and smoke from shell and fires rising everywhere. About this time I ordered the signal `Cease fire,' but before it was hoisted, the Gneisenau opened fire again, and continued to fire from time to time with a single gun. At 5.40 P. M. the three ships closed in on the Gneisenau, and at this time the flag flying at her fore truck, was apparently hauled down, but the flag at the peak continued flying. At 5.50 `Cease fire' was made. At 6 P. m. the Gneisenau keeled over very suddenly, showing the men gathered on her decks, and then walking on her side as she lay for a minute on her beam ends before sinking.
"The prisoners of war from the Gneisenau report that by the time the ammunition was expended some six hundred men had been killed and wounded. When the ship capsized and sank there were probably some two hundred unwounded survivors in the water, but, owing to the shock of the cold water, many were drowned within sight of the boats and ships. Every effort was made to save life as quickly as possible, both by boats and from the ships. Life buoys were thrown and ropes lowered, but only a portion could be rescued. The Invincible alone rescued a hundred and eight men, fourteen of whom were found to be dead after being brought on board. These men were buried at sea the following day, with full military honors.
"Second, action with the light cruisers. About one P. m. when the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau turned to port to engage the Invincible and the Inflexible, the enemy's light cruisers turned to starboard to escape. The Dresden was leading, and the Nuremburg and Leipzig followed on each quarter. In accordance with my instructions, the Glasgow, Kent and Cornwall at once went in chase of these ships. The Glasgow drew well ahead of the Cornwall and Kent, and at 3 P. M. shots were exchanged with the Leipzig at 12,000 yards. The Glasgow's object was to endeavor to out-range the Leipzig, and thus cause her to alter course and give the Cornwall and Kent a chance of coming into action. At 4.17 P. M. the Cornwall opened fire also on the Leipzig; at 7.17 P. M. the Leipzig was on fire fore and aft, and the Cornwall and Glasgow ceased fire. The Leipzig turned over on her port side and disappeared at 9 P. M. Seven officers and eleven men were saved. At 3.36 P. M. the Cornwall ordered the Kent to engage the Nuremburg, the nearest cruiser to her. At 6.35 p. M. the Nuremburg was on fire forward, and ceased firing. The Kent also ceased firing, then, as the colors were still observed to be flying on the Nuremburg, the Kent opened fire again. Fire was finally stopped five minutes later, on the colors being hauled down, and every preparation was made to save life. The Nuremburg sank at 7.27, and as she sank a group of men were waving the German ensign attached to a, staff.
"Twelve men were rescued, but only seven survived. The Kent had four killed and twelve wounded, mostly caused by one shell. During the time the three cruisers were engaged with the Nuremburg and Leipzig, the Dresden, which was beyond her consorts, effected her escape, owing to her superior speed. The Glasgow was the only cruiser with sufficient speed to have had any chance of success, however she was fully employed in engaging the Leipzig for over an hour before either the Cornwall or Kent could come up and get within range. During this time the Dresden was able to increase her distance and get out of sight. Three, Action with the enemy's transports. H.M.S. Macedonia reports that only two ships, the steamships Baden and Santa Isabel, were present. Both ships were sunk after removal of the crews."
Thus was annihilated the last squadron be-longing to Germany outside the North Sea. The defeat of Cradock had been revenged. The British losses were very small, considering the length of the fight and the desperate efforts of the German fleet. Only one ship of the German squadron was able to escape, and this on account of her great speed. The German sailors went down with colors flying. They died as Cradock's men had died.
The naval war now entered upon a new phase. The shores of Great Britain had for many years been so thoroughly protected by the British navy that few coast fortifications had been built, except at important naval stations. Invasion on a grand scale was plainly impossible, so long as the British fleets held control of the sea. With German guns across the Channel almost within hearing it was evident that a raiding party might easily reach the English shore on some foggy night. The English people were much disturbed. They had read the accounts of the horrible brutalities of the German troops in Belgium and eastern France, and they imagined their feelings if a band of such ferocious brutes were to land in England and pillage their peaceful homes. There was a humorous side to the way in which the yeomanry and territorials entrenched themselves along the eastern coast line, but the Germans, angry at the failure of their fleets, determined to disturb the British peace by raids, slight as the military advantage of such raids might be.
On November 2d a fleet of German warships sailed from the Elbe. They were three battle cruisers, the Seydlitz, the Moltke, and the Von Der Tann; two armored cruisers, the Blücher and the York, and three light cruisers, the Kolberg, the Graudenz, and the Strassburg. They were mainly fast vessels and the battle cruisers carried eleven-inch guns. Early in the morning they ran through the nets of a British fishing fleet. Later an old coast police boat, the Halcyon, was shot at a few times.
About eight o'clock they were opposite Yarmouth, and proceeded to bombard that naval station from a distance of about ten miles. Their range was poor and their shells did no damage. They then turned swiftly for home, but on the road back the York struck a mine, and was sunk.
On the 16th of December they came again, full of revenge because of the destruction of von Spee and his squadron. Early in the morning early risers in Scarborough saw in the north four strange ships. Scarborough was absolutely without defense. It had once been an artillery depot but in recent years had been a cavalry station, and some few troops of this service were quartered there. Otherwise it was an open seaside resort. The German ships poured shells into the defenseless town, aiming at every large object they could see, the Grand Hotel, the gas works, the water works and the wireless station. Churches, public buildings, and hospitals were hit, as well as private houses. Over five hundred shells were fired. Then the ships turned around and moved away. The streets were crowded with puzzled and scared inhabitants, many of whom, as is customary in watering places, were women, children and invalids.
At nine o'clock Whitby, a coast town near Scarborough, saw two great ships steaming up from the south. Ten minutes later the ships were firing. The old Abbey of Hilda and Cedman was struck, but on the whole little damage was done. Another division of the invaders visited the Hartlepools. There there was a small fort, with a battery of old-fashioned guns, and off the shore was a small British flotilla, a gunboat and two destroyers.
The three battle cruisers among the German raiders opened fire. The little British fleet did what they could but were quickly driven off. The German ships then approached the shore and fired on the English battery, the first fight with a foreign foe in England since 1690. The British battery consisted of some territorials who stood without wavering to their guns and kept up for half an hour a furious cannonading. A great deal of damage was done; churches, hospitals, workhouses and schools were all hit. The total deathroll was 119, and the wounded over 300. Six hundred houses were damaged or destroyed, but there was a great deal of heroism, not only among the territorials, but among the inhabitants of the town, and when the last shots were fired all turned to the work of relief.
Somewhere between nine and ten o'clock the bold German fleet started for home. The British Grand Fleet had been notified of the raid and two battle cruiser squadrons were hurrying to intercept them. But the weather had thickened and the waters of the North Sea were covered with fog belts stretching for hundreds of miles. And so the raiders returned safe to receive their Iron Crosses. The German aim in such raids was probably to create a panic, and so interfere with the English military plans. If the English had not looked at the matter with common sense they might easily have been tempted to spend millions of pounds on seaboard fortifications, and keep millions of men at home who were more necessary in the armies in France. But the English people kept their heads.
Germany, perceiving the indignation of the world at these bombardments of defenseless watering places, endeavored to appease criticism by describing them as fortified towns. But the well-known excellence of the German system of espionage makes it plain that they knew the true condition of affairs. These towns were not selected as fortified towns, but because they were not, and destruction in unfortified towns it was thought would have a greater effect than in a fortified town where it would be regarded as among the natural risks of war.
During the rest of the year of 1914 no further sea fight took place in the North Sea nor was there any serious loss to the navy from torpedo or submarine. But on the first of January, 1915, the British ship Formidable, 15,000 tons, was struck by two torpedoes and sunk. The previous day she had left Sheerness with eight vessels of the Channel fleet and with no protection from destroyers. The night was a bright moonlight and for such vessels to be moving in line on such a night with-out destroyers shows gross carelessness. Out of a crew of 800 men only 201 were saved, and the rescue of this part of the crew was due to the seamanship of Captain Pillar of the trawler Providence, who managed to take most of those rescued on board his vessel.
On January 24th the German battle cruiser squadron under Rear-Admiral Hipper set sail from Wilhelmshaven. What his object was is not known. He had enlarged the mine field north of Helgoland and north of the mine field had stationed a submarine flotilla. It is likely that he was planning to induce the British fleet to follow him into the mine field, or within reach of his submarines. That same morning the British battle cruiser squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty put to sea.
According to the official report of the English Admiral he was in command of the following vessels: battle cruisers, the Lion, Princess Royal, the Tiger, the New Zealand, and the Indomitable; light cruisers, the Southampton, the Nottingham, the Birmingham, the Lowestoft, the Arethusa, the Aurora and the Undaunted, with destroyer flotillas under Commodore Tyrwhitt. The German Admiral had with him the Seydlitz, the Moltke, the Derfflinger, the Blücher, six light cruisers and a destroyer flotilla. The English Admiral apparently had some hint of the plans of the German squadron. The night of the 23d had been foggy ; in the morning, however, the wind came from the northeast and cleared off the mists.
An abridgment of the official report gives a good account of the battle, sometimes called the battle of Dogger Bank:
"At 7.25 A. M. the flash of guns was observed south-southeast ; shortly afterwards the report reached me from the Aurora that she was engaged with enemy ships. I immediately altered course to south-southeast, increased speed, and ordered the light cruisers and flotillas to get in touch and report movements of enemy. This order was acted upon with great promptitude, indeed my wishes had already been forestalled by the respective senior officers, and reports almost immediately followed from the Southampton, Arethusa, and Aurora as to the position and composition of the enemy. The enemy had altered their course to southeast; from now onward the light cruisers maintained touch with the enemy and kept me fully informed as to their movements. The battle cruisers worked up to full speed, steering to the southward ; the wind at the time was northeast, light, with extreme visibility.
"At 7.30 A. M. the enemy were sighted on the port bow, steaming fast, steering approximately southeast, distance fourteen miles. Owing to the prompt reports received we had attained our position on the quarter of the enemy, and altered course to run parallel to them. We then settled down to a long stern chase, gradually increasing our speed until we reached 28.5 knots.
"Great credit is due to the engineer staffs of the New Zealand and Indomitable. These ships greatly exceeded their speed. At 8.52 A. M., as we had closed within 20,000 yards of the rear ship, the battle cruisers maneuvered so that guns would bear and the Lion fired a single shot which fell short. The enemy at this time were in single line ahead, with light cruisers ahead and a large number of destroyers on their starboard beam. Single shots were fired at intervals to test the range and at 9.09 the Lion made her first hit on the Blücher, the rear ship of the German line At 9.20 the Tiger opened fire on the Blücher, and the Lion shifted to the third in the line, this ship being hit by several salvos. The enemy returned our fire at 9.14 A. M., the Princess Royal, on coming into range, opened fire on the Blücher. The New Zealand was also within range of the Blücher which had dropped some-what astern, and opened fire on her. The Princess Royal then shifted to the third ship in the line (Derfflinger) inflicting considerable damage on . her. Our flotilla cruisers and destroyers had gradually dropped from a position, broad on our beam, to our port quarter, so as not to foul our range with their smoke. But the enemy's destroyers threatening attack, the Meteor and M division passed ahead of us.
"About 9.45 the situation was about as follows: The Blücher, the fourth in her line, showed signs of having suffered severely from gun fire, their leading ship and number three were also on fire. The enemy's destroyers emitted vast columns of smoke to screen their battle cruisers, and under cover of this the latter now appeared to have altered course to the northward to increase their distance. The battle cruisers therefore were ordered to form a line of bearing north-northwest, and proceeded at the utmost speed. Their destroyers then showed evident signs of an attempt to attack. The Lion and the Tiger opened fire upon them, and caused them to retire and resume their original course
"At 10.48 A. M. the Blücher, which had dropped considerably astern of the enemy's line, hauled out to port, steering north with a heavy list, on fire, and apparently in a defeated condition. I consequently ordered the Indomitable to attack the enemy breaking north-ward. At 10.54 submarines were reported on the starboard bow, and I personally observed the wash of a periscope. I immediately turned to port. At 10.03 an in jury to the Lion being reported as being incapable of immediate re-pair, I directed the Lion to shape course northwest.
"At 11.20 I called the Attack alongside, shifting my flag to her, and proceeded at utmost speed to rejoin the squadron. I met them at noon, retiring north-northwest. I boarded and hoisted my flag on the Princess Royal, when Captain Brock acquainted me with what had occurred since the Lion fell out of line, namely, that the Blücher had been sunk and that the enemy battle cruisers had continued their course to the eastward in a considerably damaged condition. He also informed me that a Zeppelin and a seaplane had endeavored to drop bombs on the vessels which went to the rescue of the survivors of the Blücher."
It appears from this report that as soon as the Germans sighted the British fleet they promptly turned around and fled to the south-east. This flight, before they could have known the full British strength, suggests that the German Admiral was hoping to. lure the British vessels into the Helgoland trap. The British gunnery was remarkably good, shot after shot taking effect at a distance of ten miles, and that too when moving at over thirty miles an hour. Over 120 of the crew of the Blücher were rescued and more would have been rescued if it had not been for the attack upon the rescue parties by the German aircraft. The injury to the Lion was very unfortunate.
Admiral Beatty handed over charge of the battle cruisers to Rear-Admiral Moore, and when he was able to overtake the squadron he found that under Admiral Moore's orders the British fleet were retiring. The British squadron at the moment of turning was seventy miles from Helgoland, and in no danger from its mine fields. What might have been a crushing victory became therefore only a partial one: the Germans lost the Blücher; the Derfllinger and the Seydlitz were badly injured, but it seems that with a little more persistence the whole German squadron might have been destroyed.
The result was a serious blow to Germany. This engagement was the first between modern big-gun ships. Particular interest is also attached to it because each squadron was accompanied by scouting and screening light cruisers and destroyers. It was fear of submarines and mines, moreover, that influenced the British to break off the engagement. A Zeppelin air-ship and a seaplane also took part, and perhaps assisted in the fire control of the Germans. The conditions surrounding this battle were ideal for illustrating the functions of battle cruisers. The German warship raid on the British coast of the previous month was still fresh in mind, and when this situation off the Dogger Bank arose the timely interposing of Admiral Beatty's superior force, the fast chase, the long-range fighting, the loss of the Blücher and the hasty retreat of the enemy, were all particularly pleasing to the British people. As a result the battle cruiser type of ship attained great popularity.