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Battles at Sea in World War I - Heligoland Bight (1914)

Battles at Sea in World War I - Heligoland Bight (1914)

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Battles at Sea in World War I - Heligoland Bight (1914)

Länge:
204 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
13. Aug. 2016
ISBN:
9788822831606
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

The First Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first naval battle of the First World War, fought on 28 August 1914, between the United Kingdom and Germany. The battle took place in the south-eastern North Sea when the British attacked German patrols off the north-west German coast.

The German High Seas Fleet remained largely in safe harbours on the north German coast while the British Grand Fleet remained in the northern North Sea. Both sides engaged in long-distance sorties with cruisers and battlecruisers, and close reconnaissance of the area of sea near the German coast—the Heligoland Bight—by destroyer. The British devised a plan to ambush German destroyers on their daily patrols. A British fleet of 31 destroyers and two cruisers under Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt and submarines commanded by Commodore Roger Keyes was dispatched. They were supported at longer range by an additional six light cruisers commanded by William Goodenough, and five battlecruisers commanded by Vice Admiral David Beatty.
Freigegeben:
13. Aug. 2016
ISBN:
9788822831606
Format:
Buch

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Battles at Sea in World War I - Heligoland Bight (1914) - Jürgen Prommersberger

Battles at Sea in World War I

Battle of Heligoland Bight (1914)

Jürgen Prommersberger:

Battles at Sea in World War I  -  Heligoland Bight (1914)

Regenstauf August 2016

All rights reserved:

Jürgen Prommersberger

Händelstr 17

93128 Regenstauf

CHAPTER 1

THE FIRST SEA BATTLE OF WORLD WAR 1

The First Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first naval battle of the First World War, fought on 28 August 1914, between the United Kingdom and Germany. The battle took place in the south-eastern North Sea when the British attacked German patrols off the north-west German coast.

The German High Seas Fleet remained largely in safe harbours on the north German coast while the British Grand Fleet remained in the northern North Sea. Both sides engaged in long-distance sorties with cruisers and battlecruisers, and close reconnaissance of the area of sea near the German coast—the Heligoland Bight—by destroyer. The British devised a plan to ambush German destroyers on their daily patrols. A British fleet of 31 destroyers and two cruisers under Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt and submarines commanded by Commodore Roger Keyes was dispatched. They were supported at longer range by an additional six light cruisers commanded by William Goodenough, and five battlecruisers commanded by Vice Admiral David Beatty.

Three German light cruisers and one destroyer were sunk. Three more light cruisers were damaged, 712 sailors killed, 530 injured and 336 taken prisoner. The British suffered one light cruiser and three destroyers damaged, 35 killed and 40 wounded. The battle was regarded as a great victory in Britain, where the returning ships were met by cheering crowds. Publicly, Vice Admiral Beatty was regarded as a hero, although he had taken little part in the action or planning of the raid, which was led by Commodore Tyrwhitt and conceived by himself and Keyes, who had persuaded the Admiralty to adopt it. However, the raid might have led to disaster had the additional forces under Beatty not been sent by Admiral John Jellicoe at the last minute.

The effect upon the German government and in particular the Kaiser was to restrict the freedom of action of the German fleet, instructing it to remain in port and avoid any contact with superior forces for several months thereafter.

CHAPTER 2  – THE HOCHSEEFLOTTE

As Flagship: SMS Cöln

MS Cöln (His Majesty's Ship Cologne)[Note 1] was a Kolberg-class light cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) during the First World War. She had three sister ships, SMS Kolberg, Mainz, and Augsburg. She was built by the Germaniawerft; her hull was laid down in 1908 and she was launched in June 1909. Cöln was commissioned into the High Seas Fleet in June 1911. She was armed with a main battery of twelve 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns and had a top speed of 25.5 kn (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph). After her commissioning, she served with the II Scouting Group, part of the reconnaissance forces of the High Seas Fleet.

Cöln was 130.5 meters (428 ft) long overall and had a beam of 14 m (46 ft) and a draft of 5.73 m (18.8 ft) forward. She displaced 4,915 t (4,837 long tons; 5,418 short tons) at full combat load. Cöln was initially to be powered by two sets of Zoelly steam turbines manufactured by Escher Wyss & Cie. in Zürich. Her propulsion system was revised and instead consisted of two sets of Germaniawerft steam turbines driving four propellers. They were designed to give 19,000 shaft horsepower (14,000 kW). These were powered by fifteen coal-fired Marine water-tube boilers. These gave the ship a top speed of 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph). Cöln carried 960 t (940 long tons; 1,060 short tons) of coal that gave her a range of approximately 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph).

Cöln had a crew of eighteen officers and 349 enlisted men. The ship was armed with twelve 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns in single pedestal mounts. Two were placed side by side forward on the forecastle, eight were located amidships, four on either side, and two were side by side aft. She also carried four 5.2 cm SK L/55 anti-aircraft guns. She was also equipped with a pair of 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull. She could also carry 100 mines. The conning tower had 100 mm (3.9 in) thick sides, and the deck was covered with up to 40 mm (1.6 in) thick armor plate.

Service history

Cöln was ordered under the contract name Ersatz Schwalbe and was laid down on 25 May 1908 at the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel. She was launched on 5 June 1909 and christened by the mayor of Cöln, Max Wallraf, after which fitting-out work commenced. During the builders' sea trials, the Zoelly turbines were found to be poor quality and they were replaced with Germaniawerft-produced models. This work significantly delayed her completion. She was commissioned into the High Seas Fleet (the official German name of ist fleet is HOCHSEEFLOTTE) on 16 June 1911, and she began her acceptance trials. These were interrupted by a fleet parade for Kaiser Wilhelm II on 5 September. On 10 October, she was assigned to the II Scouting Group, which screened for the battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group. She participated in the normal peacetime routine of individual, squadron, and fleet exercises and cruises over the next two years without incident. Fregattenkapitän Hans Zenker served as her commander from October 1911 to September 1913.

From 28 August to 21 September, she served as the flagship for Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Franz von Hipper, then the deputy commander of the reconnaissance forces, while Hipper was temporarily displaced from his usual flagship, the battlecruiser Von der Tann. Hipper left briefly, but returned on 26 September and remained aboard through the following year. During the autumn fleet maneuvers in September 1913, Cöln attempted to warn the crew of zeppelin L 1 of the deteriorating weather conditions, but they did not receive the message. As a result, the zeppelin crashed off the island of Helgoland. After the conclusion of the maneuvers, Hipper lowered his flag, and he was replaced by Kommodore (Commodore) Leberecht Maass. The year 1914 began with the normal training routine, but as tensions rose following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June forced the cancellation of the planned fleet exercises for the end of July. Starting on 30 July, as war loomed, Cöln was stationed in the German Bight to monitor maritime traffic. After the outbreak of World War I at the beginning of August 1914, she and several other cruisers were tasked with patrol duties in the Heligoland Bight. The cruisers were divided with the torpedo boat flotillas, and assigned to rotate through nightly patrols into the North Sea. From 1 to 7 August, Cöln lay in the Schillig roadstead. She thereafter went to the mouth of the Weser, where she was joined by the cruiser Hamburg and the IV Torpedo-boat Flotilla. As part of the patrol operations, Cöln conducted a sortie on the night of 15 August with Stuttgart and the I and II Torpedo-boat Flotillas, without incident.

Battle of Heligoland Bight

At the same time, British submarines began reconnoitering the German patrol lines. On 23 August, several British commanders submitted a plan to attack the patrol line with the light cruisers and destroyers of the Harwich Force, commanded by Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt. These ships would be supported by submarines and Vice Admiral David Beatty's battlecruisers and associated light forces. The plan was approved and set for 28 August. The British forces began to leave port on the evening of 26 August, beginning with the submarines assigned to the operation. Most of the surface forces went to sea early on the following morning; the 7th Cruiser Squadron, which had been added to provide further support to the Harwich Force, left port later in the day. On the morning of 28 August, Cöln was re-coaling in Wilhelmshaven. Her sister, Mainz, was at anchor in the mouth of the Ems, and Ariadne lay in the entrance to the Weser. These three cruisers were assigned to support the cruisers Stettin and Frauenlob, and the aviso Hela, which were stationed on the patrol line that morning. At 07:57, the Harwich Force encountered the outer German torpedo boats, which fled back to the German cruisers on the patrol line. In the ensuing Battle of Heligoland Bight, Stettin engaged the British force first, and was quickly reinforced by Frauenlob. Upon receiving reports of the action, Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper, the commander of the reconnaissance forces, ordered Maass to deploy his cruisers to support the engaged vessels. At 09:30, Cöln steamed out of port. Cöln steamed to aid her sister Mainz, which was under heavy fire from several British cruisers and battlecruisers. At around 13:25, she came upon the damaged cruiser HMS Arethusa and several destroyers. Cöln engaged the British ships briefly, but was interrupted by the appearance of the British battlecruisers. At 13:37, Cöln made a 16-point turn and returned fire at the battlecruisers; the British ships turned to port to steam closer to Cöln, which in turn similarly altered course to escape. She was hit several times, however, including one hit that killed Maass. At 13:56, another German cruiser arrived on the scene, which distracted the British ships and allowed Cöln to slip away to the north. About fifteen minutes later, she turned back south-east to return to port.

The reversal of course brought her back in range of the British battlecruisers, however, which quickly opened fire and scored several damaging hits. The order to abandon ship was given, and men began gathering on the deck. Engineers set scuttling charges while the men topside prepared to go into the water. At 14:25, the ship rolled over and sank. The survivors expected the British to pick them up, but they instead departed. German ships searched the area three days later, to find only one survivor, Leading Stoker Neumann; the rest of the crew had died in the water. The wreck was moved in August 1979 to render it less of an underwater hazard. Some parts of the ship were salvaged and are now preserved in the Cuxhaven Shipwreck Museum

Sistership SMS Augsburg (Copyright Max Kranz)

SMS ARIADNE

SMS Ariadne was the fifth member of the ten-ship Gazelle class of light cruisers, built by the Imperial German Navy. She was built by the Imperial Dockyard in Danzig, laid down in 1899, launched in August 1900, and commissioned into the High Seas Fleet in May 1901. Armed with a main battery of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and two 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes, Ariadne was capable of a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph).

Ariadne served with the reconnaissance forces of the High Seas Fleet for the majority of her career. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, she was used to patrol the Heligoland Bight. On 28 August, the British Royal Navy attacked the patrol line, and in the ensuing Battle of Heligoland Bight, Ariadne was attacked and sunk by a pair of battlecruisers. Some 200 of her crew were killed in the battle, with only 59 survivors pulled from the sea.

Construction

Ariadne was ordered under the contract name D and was laid down at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen in 1899 and launched on 10 August 1900, after which fitting-out work commenced. She was commissioned into the High Seas Fleet on 18 May 1901. The ship was 105.1 meters (345 ft) long overall and had a beam of 12.2 m (40 ft) and a draft of 4.93 m (16.2 ft) forward. She displaced 3,006 t (2,959 long tons; 3,314 short tons) at full combat load. Her propulsion system consisted of two triple-expansion engines. They were designed to give 8,000 shaft horsepower (6,000 kW), for a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph). The engines were powered by ten coal-fired Marine-type water-tube boilers. Ariadne carried 560 tonnes (550 long tons) of coal, which gave her a range of 3,560 nautical miles (6,590 km; 4,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). She had a crew of 14 officers and 243 enlisted men.

The ship was armed with ten 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns in single mounts. Two were placed side by side forward on the forecastle, six were located amidships, three on either side, and two were placed side by side aft. The guns could engage targets out to 12,200 m (40,000 ft). They were supplied with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, for 100 shells per gun. She was also equipped with two 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes with five torpedoes. They were submerged in the hull on the broadside. The ship was protected by an armored deck that was 20 to 25 mm (0.79 to 0.98 in) thick. The conning tower had 80 mm (3.1 in) thick sides, and the guns were protected by 50 mm (2.0 in) thick shields.

Service history

After her commissioning, Ariadne was assigned to the reconnaissance forces of the High Seas Fleet. In 1905, she was assigned to the Cruiser Division, alongside her sisters Medusa

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