Sunday, September 11, 2016

Documentary Review: World War I in Color: Killers of the Sea

Killers of the sea of course refers the the German U-Boats.  The struck with deadly effect, however they went too far.  The sunk the cruise ship Lusitania, which was a propaganda victory for the British and eventually lead to the entry of the United States into the war.  For a time Germany agreed to not attack merchant vessels indiscriminately, but when they returned to this policy, the United States entered the war.  However the U-Boats continued to be a problem.  Britain maintained a blockade of Germany, and Germany used the U-boats to destroy supplies headed to England.  Both these strategies proved effective.  In Germany, a population use to eating meat, they many were subsisting on turnips by the end of the war.  Rationing also went into effect in England.
This war produced ever larger naval vessels, dreadnought battleships if you will.  There was only one major naval battle, the Battle of Jutland.  In this battle the the British Grand Fleet faced the German High Seas Fleet.  The first day was a German victory, as two of the British cruisers exploded after their powder kegs were ignited.  However the British retreated to where their larger vessels were waiting, and the second day proved otherwise.  During the two days of fighting fourteen British vessels were sunk, and eleven German.  The battle continued into the night, with the British trying to cut the Germans off from their home base.  However the next morning they had escaped.  Both sides claimed victory, but the Germans new better than to try to engage the British again.  This became the last major naval battle in history involving battleships agains battleships.
The War at sea remained a desperate affair until the British gained ways to slow down the U-boats.  This took place with large air ships-balloon based which could cruise the seas for long periods of time, and then also closing in on the U-boat bases and trying to eliminate their access.  This was done partially by sinking old ships in the mouth of the bay.  Only after the U-boats were somewhat controlled could the U.S. forces travel by sea to join the fighting.

No comments:

Post a Comment