Battle of Helgoland (1914)


January 27, 2022

The first battle of Helgoland was the very first naval battle of World War I on 28 August 1914, between the naval units of the United Kingdom and the German Empire in the south-east of the North Sea. In the raid-planned operation, the British attacked patrol destroyers and light cruisers rushing to their aid off the German coast near the island of Helgoland with considerable force, causing them significant losses by sinking three light cruisers and a destroyer. More than 700 German sailors were killed in the clash, and another 500 were captured or wounded. One British cruiser and three destroyers were seriously injured, killing only 35 dead and only 55 wounded. The battle was booked as a great British victory, welcomed by a crowd celebrating the returning ships. However, the operation could easily have turned into an ugly failure for the British if battle cruisers and light cruisers had not been ordered shortly before the start to destroy the destructive fleet, and they were not in a hurry to help the flotilla, which was distressed by only a few German light cruisers. The poor performance of the British fleet has not been made public. Due to communication deficiencies, their ships repeatedly opened fire on each other, and their artillery performance was well below that of the Germans. The main reason for the German losses was that none of their warships, or even the Helgoland base, represented the dense fog in the area, while there was clear weather in Wilhelmshaven, and the local naval command considered the weather at the battlefield to be similar. consciously issuing orders to deploy new light cruisers, several of whom had fallen victim to enemy contingents suddenly and at short distances in the fog. After the battle, the Germans reorganized the protection of nearshore waters, solving it by installing mine locks rather than patrols deemed energy-intensive and dangerous. Although for most of the battle the German cruisers fought particularly effectively against multiple excesses, Emperor William limited the fleet's room for maneuver, and major military operations could then only be initiated with his personal consent. Thereafter, the German surface fleet remained inactive until December, when a series of attacks against the British coast was launched.

History - The evolution of the naval war in the first weeks of the war

The battle took place less than a month after Britain's August 4 war message to Germany. On the mainland, the Germans made significant progress in these weeks, advancing steadily on the western battlefield in northern France and Belgium. Because of the bad news that comes regularly, the British government has turned to the Navy to show success through a more active role. The British naval tradition was accompanied by aggressive action and a close blockade of enemy ports, which kept fighting close to the enemy’s shores. The British public expected the fleet to do the same, and strategic ideas were in line until 1913. However, with the advent of torpedo submarines and mines, it has become clear that capital ships cannot be kept in front of enemy ports on a permanent basis because they are too exposed to the threat posed by these new combat assets. In addition, coal burning�

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