kpanago1960 ® 13-Nov-2019 04:14

The Seafarers-The Dreadnoughts

Year: 1979
Language: english
Author: David Armine Howarth
Genre: History
Publisher: Time-Life Books, Inc.
Edition: First
ISBN: 9780809427130
Format: PDF
Quality: Scanned pages
Pages count: 184
The lessons of the Battle of Tsushima during the war between Russia and Japan in 1905, where long-range fire decided the outcome, were not lost on the British Admiralty. The result was the creation of the H.M.S. "Dreadnought," a radical design that heralded the start of an epic naval arms race of battleships between Great Britain and Germany, the United States and Japan over the first four decades of the 20th century. Although she never fired her guns in battle and her only action during World War I was to ram and sink a German U-boat in the North Sea, "Dreadnought" was a pivotal ship in naval history, because she was so far advanced, that every battleship that came after her embodied her basic concept. Before her, all battleships had a main battery of four guns. The "Dreadnought" had ten, although it could fire only eight in a broadside, and it was bigger and faster than any of her predecessors.
"The Dreadnoughts," a volume in "The Seafarers" series put together by Time-Life, begins with the review of the British fleet at Spithead in 1897 and ends with the aftermath of the Battle of Jutland (known in Germany as the Battle of the Skagerrak). This was the largest naval engagement of World War I and the only one to involve battleships on a large scale. Fought May 31-June 1 1916 in the North Sea, the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, commanded by Admiral John Jellicoe, faced the Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer. Knowing that the Battle of Jutland is the climax of this volume puts the rest of this look at the Dreadnoughts in perspective.
This particular volume consists of six chapters, each with a corresponding photo aspect representing a key aspect.
Chapter 1, "A Teutonic challenge to Britannia's rule," looks at the threat of the modern German navy of dreadnoughts that Rear Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was pushing for Kaiser Wilhem's navy was countered by First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher's plan to remove obsolete ships from the British navy. In this world Alfred Thayer Mahan is the American oracle of sea power and Japan's one-sided victory in the Battle of Tsushima the operational counterpart to Mahan's theories. The photo essay is about "Training for a new ear of ships without sails."
Chapter 2, "The fabulous fleet that Jacky built," details the building of H.M.S. "Dreadnought," complete with breakaway looks at the ship and its gun turret. In 1911 a naval review marking the coronation of King George V represented a new British fleet. The photo essay looks at recruiting posters of the Royal Navy during WWI.
Chapter 3, "The long wait for Armageddon," covers the early naval engagements of the war, with the accompanying essay consisting of artwork about "Mine warfare: seeds of death planted in the sea."
Chapter 4, "A fierce skirmish of scouts at Jutland," looks at the approach of the two fleets on May 31, 1916, including a contrast of the main types of ships on both sides.
Chapter 5, "A duel of dreadnoughts: 50 minutes of fury," breaks down the height of the battle as the main fleets met that evening. A series of maps allow you to understand what is going on in general as well as the key moments of the engagement. The essay, "The drama of Jutland through a German's eyes," presents a series of watercolors by Claus Bergen, who was commissioned by the German Admiralty to depict the victory the Germans claimed (the British lost more ships and men, but the German's were denied their objective).
Chapter 6, "Dishonor and suicide for the Kaiser's Navy," is about the aftermath of the battle, the signing of the Armistice, and the surrender of the German Navy to the Royal Navy. The symmetry to the review of the old Royal Fleet at the start of the book is obvious. There are photographs of the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, but the final two-pages of the book are devoted to a photograph of the German dreadnought "Ostfriesland" being used as a bombing target for a demonstration of Billy Mitchell's gospel of the superiority of air power. Of course, this sets the stage for the next important moment of military naval history at the fate of the dreadnoughts of the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor twenty years later.
Author David Howarth served as a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy during World War II and later designed and built boats before turning to writing full time, including "The Men-of-War," an earlier volume in the Seafarers series. This book is illustrated with historic photographs, some of them actually taken during and after the battles being described in the text. By focusing on the ships rather than the war, Howarth puts the Battle of Jutland in a much better perspective. World War I might have been the Great War when it was fault, but it has become secondary to World War II and the Vietnam War in American history, and even when it is considered it is the battle in the trenches that is covered mostly by textbooks (and movies). "The Dreadnoughts" looks at the naval side of the war, but does so in the context of the larger history of military navies.



Rating: 5 / 5 (Votes: 8)

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