This exciting history of the greatest war ever fought at sea radically reinterprets events, and throws new light on such characters as the Admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and on the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.
The contest between the German and British navies during World War I was the greatest naval conflict in history. In this volume, Richard Hough presents a vivid and detailed account of this sea war, beginning with the build-up to war and ending with Germany's capitulation at the end of 1918. As much a history of men as of guns and ships, this contest pitted England's Winston Churchill, an arrogant but hard-working leader; the influential ex-First Sea Lord "Jacky" Fisher; and Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet Sir John Jellicoe against Germany's autocratic Kaiser Wilhelm and the men under his command. When war broke out, in August of 1914, Britain had ruled the seas, almost uncontested, for nearly 100 years and boasted the biggest, most heavily gunned battleship in the world, the Dreadnought. German submarines and floating mines put this supremacy to the test, and forced British naval leaders to devise techniques, such as the convoy, to combat German technology. Hough describes the war's major and minor batttles--fought in the Falklands, the North Sea, and the Dardanelles--and especially its climax, the 1916 Battle of Jutland, an indecisive confrontation that bitterly disappointed the Royal Navy. Among the many insights and interpretations that Hough brings to this work is his conclusion that the Royal Navy's defeat of the Kriegsmarine was the prime factor in the surrender of Central Powers' land forces at the end of 1918. With vivid portraits of historic figures, stories of behind-the-scenes political battles, and numerous maps and photographs, The Great War at Sea offers a lively, authoritative account of a dramatic era of naval history.