One great war. Two nations facing each other across the North Sea. Two mighty fleets each waiting for the chance to annihilate the other.
At Scapa Flow, the British Grand Fleet blocked Germany’s exit to the Atlantic. From the German ports, the High Seas Fleet waited to pounce on any British ship that left the safety of its home port.
But did these great fleets have great commanders to match the challenge they faced?
This book tells the story of how admirals Beatty, Hipper, Jellicoe and Scheer struggled to find strategic success in the new world of high-speed ships and long-range gunnery. They expected one almighty battle at the start of the war. Instead they found skirmishes and raids.
In this brilliant history of the First World War at sea, we see the main events of the naval war – Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank, Jutland, the east coast raids and the U-boat war – through the eyes of the participants. There is dash and caution, courage and feint-heartedness, feats of brilliance and tales of missed opportunities.
Never before has the naval war been seen as here. We meet the dashing Beatty, the cautious Jellicoe, the disciplined Scheer and the single-minded Hipper as they struggle to bring their adversary to battle. We read of their hopes, fears and rivalries. And we see how each faced the disappointments and disasters that are the nature of war at sea.
Each man saw his command as his one chance to prove his greatness and to gain glory and honour for his country.
But which one was the greatest?
Richard Freeman graduated in mathematics before following a career in distance education. He now writes on naval history. His other books include ‘Britain’s Greatest Naval Battle’ and ‘A Close Run Thing: The Navy and the Falkland War’.