This is a major new naval history of the First World War which reveals the decisive contribution of the war at sea to Allied victory. In a truly global account, Lawrence Sondhaus traces the course of the campaigns in the North Sea, Atlantic, Adriatic, Baltic and Mediterranean and examines the role of critical innovations in the design and performance of ships, wireless communication and firepower. He charts how Allied supremacy led the Central Powers to attempt to revolutionize naval warfare by pursuing unrestricted submarine warfare, ultimately prompting the United States to enter the war. Victory against the submarine challenge, following their earlier success in sweeping the seas of German cruisers and other surface raiders, left the Allies free to use the world's sea lanes to transport supplies and troops to Europe from overseas territories, and eventually from the United States, which proved a decisive factor in their ultimate victory.
The overriding image of the First World War is the bloody stalemate of the Western Front, but although much of the action did occur on land, the overall shape of the war _ even the inevitability of British participation _ arose out of its maritime character. It was essentially a struggle about access to worldwide resources, most clearly seen in the desperate German attempts to deal with the American industrial threat, which ultimately levered the United States into the war, and thus a consequence of British sea control.rn This radical new book concentrates on the way in which each side tried to use or deny the sea to the other, and in so doing it describes rapid wartime changes not only in ship and weapon technology but also in the way naval warfare was envisaged and fought. Combat produced many surprises: some, like the impact of the mine and torpedo, are familiar, but this book also brings to light many previously unexplored subjects, like creative new tactical practices and improved command and control.rn The contrast between expectation and reality had enormous consequences not only for the course of the war but also for the way navies developed afterwards. This book melds strategic, technical, and tactical aspects to reveal the First World War from a fresh perspective, but also demonstrates how its perceived lessons dominated the way navies prepared for the Second.
Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea
Author: Robert K. Massie
Publisher: Random House
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great. In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War. The predominant image of this first world war is of mud and trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, and slaughter. A generation of European manhood was massacred, and a wound was inflicted on European civilization that required the remainder of the twentieth century to heal. But with all its sacrifice, trench warfare did not win the war for one side or lose it for the other. Over the course of four years, the lines on the Western Front moved scarcely at all; attempts to break through led only to the lengthening of the already unbearably long casualty lists. For the true story of military upheaval, we must look to the sea. On the eve of the war in August 1914, Great Britain and Germany possessed the two greatest navies the world had ever seen. When war came, these two fleets of dreadnoughts—gigantic floating castles of steel able to hurl massive shells at an enemy miles away—were ready to test their terrible power against each other. Their struggles took place in the North Sea and the Pacific, at the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax when Germany, suffocated by an implacable naval blockade, decided to strike against the British ring of steel. The result was Jutland, a titanic clash of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each the home of a thousand men. When the German High Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat warfare, which, in its indiscriminate violence, brought a reluctant America into the war. In this way, the German effort to “seize the trident” by defeating the British navy led to the fall of the German empire. Ultimately, the distinguishing feature of Castles of Steel is the author himself. The knowledge, understanding, and literary power Massie brings to this story are unparalleled. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are stunning in their veracity and artistry. Castles of Steel is about war at sea, leadership and command, courage, genius, and folly. All these elements are given magnificent scope by Robert K. Massie’ s special and widely hailed literary mastery.
While the bloody stalemates of Verdun and the Somme have attracted most attention, it was the war at sea that decided the fate of the German Empire at the end of the First World War. Strangled by economic blockade, Germany in 1918 was a spent and beaten power. It was the attempts of the Central Powers to break that crippling blockade which dictated their strategy, from the U-Boat war which brought America into the conflict, through the battle of Jutland, to Ludendorff's final effort on the Western Front. But the naval war went beyond even that in terms of importance. To both Germany and Britain their fleets, at the cutting edge of technology, were a symbol of status. Driven by a great arms race, fuelled by science, the great battleships of the Grand Fleet and the High Seas Fleet represented total war in a way never before seen.
From the sinking of the British passenger liner Athenia on September 3, 1939, by a German U-boat (against orders) to the Japanese surrender on board the Missouri on September 2, 1945, War at Sea covers every major naveal battle of World War II. "A first-rate work and the best history of its kind yet written".--Vice Admiral William P. Mack, U.S.N. (Ret.). 30 photos.
"In the vast literature of the Second World War there has never been a naval atlas showing graphically the complexities of the war at sea, a war which spread across every ocean. This new book will fill the gap. With more than 225 beautifully-designed maps and charts, the atlas sets out to visualise the great campaigns and major battles as well as the smaller operations, amphibious landings, convoys, sieges, skirmishes and sinkings. While whole sections are given over to the Pacific war, the battle of the Atlantic and the campaigns in the Mediterranean, smaller but crucial events such as the landings at Dieppe receive in-depth treatment. The maps depict the dynamics of campaigns and battles but also include extensive information on the opposing forces, their ships and equipment and the strategic significance of events. General thematic maps, for instance, on ship losses, aerial strengths or convoy routes, give the reader an understanding of the many contributing factors that shaped the tactics and strategies of the Allied and Axis forces. No other work has attempted such an ambitious coverage of the war at sea in this period and it is destined to become a definitive reference work for naval enthusiasts and historians as well as general readers fascinated by the naval war that extended from the coldest arctic seas to the tropical islands of the Pacific."--Back cover.
In the vast literature about World War I there has never been a naval atlas that depicts graphically the complexities of the war at sea, and puts in context the huge significance of the naval contribution to the defeat of Germany. With more than 125 beautifully designed maps and charts, The Great War At Sea is the only atlas to present all of World War I's great sea battles as well as the smaller operations, convoys, skirmishes, and sinkings. The atlas looks at the many scarcely covered, historically significant events at sea which impacted the land war. This book gives a new and exciting presentation to things such as, the impact of the United States Navy in Europe, operations in the Baltic and northern Russia, and Japanese naval contributions in the Middle East.
Author of Lincoln and His Admirals (winner of the Lincoln Prize), The Battle of Midway (Best Book of the Year, Military History Quarterly), and Operation Neptune, (winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature), Craig L. Symonds has established himself as one of the finest naval historians at work today. World War II at Sea represents his crowning achievement: a complete narrative of the naval war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world's oceans and seas, between 1939 and 1945. Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina-at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world-and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders-FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history, from small-scale assaults and amphibious operations to the largest armadas ever assembled. Many have argued that World War II was dominated by naval operations; few have shown and how and why this was the case. Symonds combines precision with story-telling verve, expertly illuminating not only the mechanics of large-scale warfare on (and below) the sea but offering wisdom into the nature of the war itself.
When the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, America’s sailors were immediately forced to engage in the utterly new realm of anti-submarine warfare waged on, below and above the seas by a variety of small ships and the new technology of airpower. The U.S. Navy substantially contributed to the safe trans-Atlantic passage of a two million man Army that decisively turned the tide of battle on the Western Front even as its battleship division helped the Royal Navy dominate the North Sea. Thoroughly professionalized, the Navy of 1917–18 laid the foundations for victory at sea twenty-five years later.
A gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century’s first great arms race, from Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie With the biographer’s rare genius for expressing the essence of extraordinary lives, Massie brings to life a crowd of glittery figures: the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz; the young, ambitious Winston Churchill; the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow; Britain’s greatest twentieth-century foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey; and Jacky Fisher, the eccentric admiral who revolutionized the British navy and brought forth the first true battleship, the H.M.S. Dreadnought. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in this powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, Dreadnought is history at its most riveting. Praise for Dreadnought “Dreadnought is history in the grand manner, as most people prefer it: how people shaped, or were shaped by, events.”—Time “A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era . . . engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters.”—Chicago Sun-Times “[Told] on a grand scale . . . Massie [is] a master of historical portraiture and anecdotage.”—The Wall Street Journal “Brilliant on everything he writes about ships and the sea. It is Massie’s eye for detail that makes his nautical set pieces so marvelously evocative.”—Los Angeles Times
The thrilling story of Britain's death-struggle with Revolutionary France, wherein Napoleon is checkmated by Nelson's brilliant naval exploits. In February 1793 France declared war on Britain, and for the next twenty-two years the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars raged. This was to be the longest, cruelest war ever fought at sea, comparable in scale only to the Second World War. New naval tactics were brought to bear, along with such unheard-of weapons as rockets, torpedoes, and submarines. The war on land saw the rise of the greatest soldier the world had ever known—Napoleon Buonaparte—whose vast ambition was thwarted by a genius he never met in person or in battle: Admiral Horatio Nelson.Noel Mostert's narrative ranges from the Mediterranean to the West Indies, Egypt to Scandinavia, showing how land versus sea was the key to the outcome of these wars. He provides details of ship construction, tactics, and life on board. Above all he shows us the extraordinary characters that were the raw material of Patrick O'Brian's and C. S. Forester's magnificent novels.
An engrossing compendium of high-seas military disasters From the days of the Spanish Armada to the modern age of aircraft carriers, battles have been bungled just as badly on water as they have been on land. Some blunders were the result of insufficient planning, overinflated egos, espionage, or miscalculations; others were caused by ideas that didn't hold water in the first place. In glorious detail, here are thirty-three of history's worst maritime mishaps, including: The British Royal Navy's misguided attempts to play it safe during the American Revolution The short life and death of the Imperial Japanese Navy The scuttling of the Graf Spee by a far inferior force The sinking of the Nazi megaship Bismarck "Remember the Maine!"—the lies that started the Spanish-American War Admiral Nelson losing track of Napoleon but redeeming himself at the Nile The ANZAC disaster at Gallipoli Germany's failed WWII campaign in the North Atlantic Kennedy's quarantine of Cuba Chock-full of amazing facts and hilarious trivia, How to Lose a War at Sea is the most complete volume of nautical failures ever assembled.
Continuing in the vein of the Lincoln-prize winning Lincoln and His Admirals, acclaimed naval historian Craig L. Symonds presents an operational history of the Civil War navies - both Union and Confederate - in this concise volume. Illuminating how various aspects of the naval engagement influenced the trajectory of the war as a whole, The Civil War at Sea adds to our understanding of America's great national conflict. Both the North and the South developed and deployed hundreds of warships between 1861 and 1865. Because the Civil War coincided with a revolution in naval techonology, the development and character of warfare at sea from 1861-1865 was dramatic and unprecedented. Rather than a simple chronology of the war at sea, Symonds addresses the story of the naval war topically, from the dramatic transformation wrought by changes in technology to the establishment, management, and impact of blockade. He also offers critical assessments of principal figures in the naval war, from the opposing secretaries of the navy to leading operational commanders such as David Glasgow Farragut and Raphael Semmes. Symonds brings his expertise and knowledge of military and technological history to bear in this essential exploration of American naval engagement throughout the Civil War.
This powerful collection, depicting the events of the Great War at sea, showcases the work of the contemporary combat artists and illustrators from the Great War era. The result is a stunning and vivid graphic record of life and death on the high-seas from 1914-18, as reported to contemporary audiences at a time when the events of the Great War were still unfolding. During the Great War artists and illustrators produced a highly accurate visual record of the fleeting moments the bulky cameras couldn't reproduce. These works form a body ofÊwar reportage that are as valid as the written word. Today, the work of the combat illustrators and the official war artists from the Great War era is overlooked by historians in favour of photographs, but these illustrations are nonetheless important, as they provide a contemporary record of hand-to-hand fighting, trench raids, aerial dogfights, sea battles, desperate last stands, night actions and cavalry charges.
This compelling book explores Germany’s campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare in World War I, which marked the onset of total war at sea. Noted historian Lawrence Sondhaus shows how the undersea campaign, intended as an antidote to Britain’s more conventional blockade of German ports, ultimately brought the United States into the war. Although the German people readily embraced the argument that an “undersea blockade” of Britain enforced by their navy’s Unterseeboote (U-boats) was the moral equivalent of the British navy’s blockade of German ports, international opinion never accepted its legitimacy. Sondhaus explains that in their initial, somewhat confused rollout of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1915, German leaders underestimated the extent to which the policy would alienate the most important neutral power, the United States. In rationalizing the risk of resuming the unrestricted campaign in 1917, they took for granted that, should the United States join the Allies, German U-boats would be able to stop the transport of an American army to France. But by bringing the United States into the war, while also failing to stop the deployment of its troops to Europe, unrestricted submarine warfare ultimately led to Germany’s defeat. Because US manpower proved decisive in breaking the stalemate on the Western Front and securing victory for the Allies, Sondhaus argues that Germany’s decision to stake its fate on the U-boat campaign ranks among the greatest blunders of modern history.
A thrilling story of the Cold War, told by a former navy secretary on the basis of recently declassified documents. When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the United States and NATO were losing the Cold War. The USSR had superiority in conventional weapons and manpower in Europe, and had embarked on a massive program to gain naval preeminence. But Reagan already had a plan to end the Cold War without armed conflict. Reagan led a bipartisan Congress to restore American command of the seas by building the navy back to six hundred major ships and fifteen aircraft carriers. He adopted a bold new strategy to deploy the growing fleet to northern waters around the periphery of the Soviet Union and demonstrate that the NATO fleet could sink Soviet submarines, defeat Soviet bomber and missile forces, and strike aggressively deep into the Soviet homeland if the USSR attacked NATO in Central Europe. New technology in radars, sensors, and electronic warfare made ghosts of American submarines and surface fleets. The United States proved that it could effectively operate carriers and aircraft in the ice and storms of Arctic waters, which no other navy had attempted. The Soviets, suffocated by this naval strategy, were forced to bankrupt their economy trying to keep pace. Shortly thereafter the Berlin Wall fell, and the USSR disbanded. In Oceans Ventured, John Lehman reveals for the first time the untold story of the naval operations that played a major role in winning the Cold War.
An in-depth series of military history studies, written by leading authorities in the field, combines important insights into each era; detailed analyses of battlefield campaigns, strategies and tactics, technology, weaponry, leadership, and the implications of the era in terms of global history; and numerous photographs, maps, diagrams, and illustrations.