Navy first leading powers of the First World War

Prior to World War majestic powers a lot of attention paid to their naval forces, was the realization of large-scale offshore programs. So when the war broke out, leading countries have had countless and powerful fleets. Particularly stubborn rivalry in building naval power went between Great Britain and Germany. The British at that time had the most massive naval and merchant fleet, which allowed to control strategic communications in the oceans, to bind together the numerous colonies and dominions.

In 1897, the German Navy significantly inferior to the English fleet. The English had 57 battleships I, II, III, classes, the Germans 14 (4:1 ratio), 15 battleships of the British coastal defenses, the Germans 8, 18, the British armored cruisers, the Germans 4 (a ratio of 4.5:1 ), the British cruisers 125 grades 1-3, the Germans 32 (4:1), gave way to the Germans and other combat units.

Arms race

The British wanted to not only maintain the advantage, and increase it. In 1889, Parliament passed the law on which the development of the fleet was allocated more funds. In the naval base of London's policy on the principle according to which the British Navy had to surpass the two navies stronger naval powers.

Berlin initially did not pay great attention to the development of the fleet and the seizure of colonies, Chancellor Bismarck beheld this enormous sense, considering that the main effort should be directed at the European policy, the development of the army. But when Kaiser Wilhelm II values have been revised, Germany began the struggle for colonies and construction of a massive fleet. In March 1898 the Reichstag perceives the "Law of the Navy," which foresaw a sharp increase in the Navy. During the six years (1898-1903 years) planned to build 11 battleships, five armored cruisers, 17 protected cruisers and 63 destroyers. Shipbuilding programs from Germany in the coming constantly adjusted in the direction of growth — 1900, 1906, 1908, 1912. By law, in 1912 the number of fleet planning to bring up to 41 battleships, 20 armored cruisers, 40 light cruisers, 144 destroyers, 72 submarines. In particular, a lot of attention paid battleships: from 1908 to 1912 in Germany once a year pledged by four battleships (in the last two years).

In London, believed that the naval forces of Germany makes a great danger the strategic interests of Britain. UK has strengthened the naval arms race. Was tasked to have 60% more battleships than the Germans. Since 1905, the British began to build battleships new type — "dreadnoughts" (under the name of the first ship of this class). They differed from the battleships that had stronger weapons, armored been better with a more powerful power plant, a huge displacement, etc.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

Battleship "Dreadnought".

Germany responded building their own dreadnoughts. Already in 1908, the British had 8 dreadnoughts, and the Germans 7 (part was in the process of completion.) The ratio for "dodrednoutam" (battleship) was in favor of Britain: 51 to 24 German. In 1909, London decided on every German dreadnought build two of your own.

Its naval power of the British tried to save and diplomatic means. At the Hague Peace Conference in 1907 they proposed to limit the scope of the construction of new warships. But the Germans, arguing that the move will be beneficial only in Britain, rejected the offer. Naval arms race between Britain and Germany lasted until the First World War. To top it tightly Germany took the second position of military sea power, ahead of Russia and France.

Other stately powers — France, our homeland, Italy, Austria-Hungary, etc., are also trying to increase its naval armament, but a number of reasons, including financial problems, failed to achieve such impressive success.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

"Queen Elizabeth" — the lead ship of a series of SDs Queen Elizabeth.

The value of the fleets

Fleets had to do a number of fundamental problems. In 1-x, protect coast states and their ports, the principal town (for example, the main purpose of the Russian Baltic Fleet — the protection of St. Petersburg). In-2, the fight against enemy naval forces, support for native land forces from the sea. B-3, protection of sea lines of communication, strategic principle Fri, especially this concerned Britain and France, they had a tremendous colonial empires. Fourth, ensure the status of the country, the most powerful navy showed the position of power in the world of informal tables of ranks.

The basis of the then naval strategy and the strategy was straight fight. In theory, the two fleets had to line up in the artillery duel to find out who the favorite. Therefore, the basis of the fleet were battleships and armored cruisers, and then dreadnoughts (from 1912-1913 and sverhdrednouty) and battle cruisers. Battle cruisers had a rather weak booking, artillery, but were faster and had a huge radius of action. Battleships (battleships dodrednoutnogo type), armored cruisers not written off, but they were put on the second plan, ceased to be the main strike force. Light cruisers had to make raids against enemy shipping. Destroyers and torpedo boats designed for torpedo attacks, the defeat of the enemy. Their damage control based on speed, maneuverability and stealth. In the Navy ships were also special purpose: mine-layers (established naval mines), minesweepers (done the minefields passes) transports for seaplanes (gidrokreysera), etc. Constantly growing role of the submarine fleet.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

Battle cruiser "Goeben"


English first war had 20 dreadnoughts, 9 battle cruisers, 45 battleships of old times, 25 armored and 83 light cruisers, 289 destroyers and torpedo boats, 76 submarines (most outdated, they could not operate in the open sea). I must say that, despite the power of the English fleet, its management differed huge conservatism. New items difficult to find the way myself (especially not on battle fleet). Another Vice-Admiral Philip Colomb, naval theorist and historian, founder of book "Maritime War, its basic principles and practice" (1891 year), Stated: "There is nothing that would indicate that the sea has long established history of the laws of war have changed in any way." Admiral prove the theory of "possession of the sea" as the base of the imperial policy of Britain. He believed that the only way to win the war merits of the sea is the complete advantages in naval forces and naval enemy destruction in a pitched battle.

When Admiral Percy Scott expressed the idea that "the era dreadnoughts and sverhdrednoutov ended forever" and advised the Admiralty to focus efforts on the development of aviation and submarines and his innovativ
e ideas panned.

Total fleet management produced the Admiralty, he was at the head of Winston Churchill and the first Sea Lord (Chief of Naval Staff brain) prince Louis of Battenberg. Based British ships in the harbors Humberga, Scarborough, the Firth of Forth and Scapa Flow. In 1904, the Admiralty saw the issue of relocation of the main forces of the Navy from the area of the English Channel to the north, in Scotland. This decision infuriated the fleet out of danger blockade a narrow strait growing German Navy, and allows you to quickly keep under the North Sea. According to the British naval doctrine, which developed shortly before the war Battenberg and Bridgeman, basing the main forces of the fleet in Scapa Flow (harbor in the Orkney Islands of Scotland), beyond the range of effective actions the German submarine fleet was to lead to the blockade of the main forces of the German Navy, which it happened during the First World War.

When the war began, the British took the time to be put to the German banks, fearing strikes submarines and minonosnyh forces. The main battle took place on the land deeds. British undercover limited communications, defense and coast with the sea blockade of Germany. To fight the British fleet was ready, if the Germans will lead to the open sea own main fleet.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

English "A large fleet."


The German Navy has 15 dreadnoughts, 4 battlecruisers, 22 battleships of old, 7 and 43 light armored cruisers, 219 destroyers and torpedo boats, 28 submarines. For a number of characteristics, such as travel speed, the German ships were better English. On the technical innovations in Germany sent a lot more attention than in the UK. Berlin has not had time to finish his naval program from, she had to run out in 1917. Although the German naval leaders were quite conservative, so Admiral Tirpitz initially thought to get involved in the construction of submarines "frivolous." A command of the sea by the number of ships of the line. Just realized that the war will start before the end of the construction of the linear programs from the Navy, he became a supporter of unrestricted submarine warfare and the accelerated development of the submarine fleet.

The German "High Seas Fleet" (German Hochseeflotte), he was based in Wilhelmshaven, was to kill the main force the British fleet ("Grand Fleet" — "Big Navy") in open battle. In addition, the naval base in Kiel were about. Helgoland, Danzig. Russian and French Navy as a worthy enemy did not accept. The German "High Seas Fleet" created a constant danger in Britain and forced the British Grand Fleet constantly be in the region of the North Sea in readiness throughout the war, despite the shortage of ships in other theaters of war. Due to the fact that the Germans were inferior to those ships, the German Navy tried to avoid open conflict with the Grand Fleet and the preferred strategy of raids in the North Sea, trying to lure the part of the English fleet, cut it off from the main force and kill. In addition, the Germans concentrated their attention on the conduct of unrestricted submarine warfare to weaken the British Navy and the removal of the naval blockade.

On the combat capability of the German Navy suffered from the lack of a factor of autocracy. The main creator of the fleet was Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849 — 1930). He was the creator of "risk theory", it was argued that if the German fleet compared with the English by force, the British will avoid conflict with the German Empire, because in the event of war, the German Navy will have a chance to cause damage to the Grand Fleet, sufficient for the loss of the English fleet command of the sea. With the onset of war, the role of Grand Admiral fell. Tirpitz was responsible for the construction of new ships and supply fleet. "High Seas Fleet" ran the Admiral Friedrich von Ingenol (in 1913-1915), followed by Hugo von Pohl (from February 1915 to January 1916, was previously the Chief of Naval Staff), Reinhard Scheer (1916-1918). In addition, the fleet was the beloved child of the ruler of the German Wilhelm, if solutions to the army he trusted to do the generals, the Navy ruled himself. Wilhelm did not dare to risk the fleet in open battle, and allowed to conduct only a "small war" — by submarines, destroyers, mine plays. Battle fleet had to stick to a defensive strategy.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

The German "High Seas Fleet"

France. Austria-Hungary

The French had 3 dreadnought, 20 ships of the line of an old type (armadillo), 18 armored and 6 light cruisers, 98 destroyers, 38 submarines. In Paris, decided to focus on "the Mediterranean front," the benefit of the British agreed to protect the Atlantic coast of France. So Makar, the French were saving expensive ships, because the Mediterranean was not much danger — Navy of the Ottoman Empire were very weak and related Russian Black Sea Fleet, Italy was at first neutral and then defected to the side of the Entente, the Austro-Hungarian Navy has chosen a passive strategy. Also in the Mediterranean and was powerful enough English squadron.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire had 3 dreadnought (4th went into operation in 1915), 9 battleships, 2 armored and 10 light cruisers, 69 destroyers and submarines 9. Vienna also elected a passive strategy and "protecting the Adriatic", practically the entire war Austro-Hungarian navy stood in Trieste, Split, Pula.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

"Tegetgof" in the prewar years. Austro-Hungarian battleship type "Viribus Unitis."

Our homeland

Russian fleet during the reign of Alexander III, second only to the Royal Navy and the French, but then lost the position. In particular, a big blow Navy of the Russian Federation received during the Russian-Japanese war was lost almost all Pacific squadron and the best ships of the Baltic Fleet sent to the Far East. Fleet needed to recover. In the period from 1905 to 1914 created several naval programs. They anticipate the completion of the previously laid 4 battleships, four armored cruisers and the construction of 8 new battleships, 4 line and 10 light cruisers, 67 destroyers and 36 submarines. But by the beginning of the war, no one program from fully implemented (a role in this was played by the State Duma, which has not supported these projects).

By the beginning of the war, the Russian Federation battleships of old times were 9, 8 and 14 light armored cruisers, 115 destroyers and torpedo boats, 28 submarines (a significant part of old times types). Already during the war in order were: the Baltic Sea — 4 dreadnought type "Sevastopol", they were laid in 1909 — "Sevastopol", "Poltava", "Petropavlovsk", "Gangut", on the Black Sea — Dreadnought type 3 &qu
ot; Empress Maria "(incorporated in 1911).

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

"Poltava" in the First World War.

Russian Empire was not a backward nation in the naval area. In some areas, even in the lead. In Russia, have developed a good class destroyers "Novik". Ship to World War I was the best-in-class destroyer, and served as a prototype for the development of the world's destroyers war and post-war generation. Specifications for it did in the Marine Technical Committee under the eminent Russian scientists shipbuilders Krylov, IG Bubnov and GF Schlesinger. The project was developed in the years 1908-1909, shipbuilding department Putilov, who led the engineers DD Dubitskiy (for mechanical parts) and BO Vasilevski (shipbuilding part). At Russian shipyards, in the years 1911-1916, in 6 types of projects, all laid the 53 ships of this class. Destroyers combined properties of a light cruiser and a destroyer — speed, agility and strong enough artillery weapons (4th 102-mm guns).

The Russian railway engineer Mikhail Petrovich Naletov first embodied the idea of a submarine with anchor mines. Already in 1904, during the Russian-Japanese war, taking part in the heroic defense of Port Arthur, raids at his own expense built a submarine with a displacement of 25 tons, capable of carrying four mines. Spent the first tests, but after the surrender of the fortress was destroyed by the machine. In the years 1909-1912 at the Nikolayev shipyard was built submarine, which received the title of "Crab". It became part of the Black Sea Fleet. During the First World War, "Crab" did some fighting with mine output performances, even went to the Bosporus.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

First in the world of underwater minelayer — Submarine "Crab" (Our Fatherland, 1912).

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War Already during the war Our homeland has become a world leader in the introduction of gidrokreyserov (aircraft carrier), the benefit of this factor contributed to the prevalence in the creation and use of naval aviation. Russian aircraft designer Dmitry Pavlovich Grigorovich, he in 1912 he worked as technical director of the plant of the First Russian Society of aeronautics in 1913 designed the first seaplane in the world (M-1) and immediately began to improve aircraft. In 1914, a flying boat built Grigorovich M-5. It was a double biplane wood construction. Seaplane entered service in the Russian Navy as a scout and spotter artillery fire, and the spring of 1915, the aircraft made its own first sortie. In 1916 he was adopted by the new aircraft Grigorovich, heavier M-9 (maritime bomber). Then the Russian nugget constructed first in the world seaplane fighter M-11.

On the Russian dreadnoughts like "Sevastopol" for the first time applied the system installation is a two-and three-gun turrets head caliber. In the UK and Germany initially reacted skeptically to the idea, but the Americans appreciated the idea and the battleships of the "Nevada" build a three-gun turrets.

In 1912, it was incorporated four battlecruisers such as "Ishmael." They were created for the Baltic Fleet. This could be the most massive in the world by artillery armament battle cruisers. Unfortunately, they never were completed. In the years 1913-1914 was laid eight light cruisers "Svetlana", four for the Baltic and Black Sea fleets. They were going to be put into operation in 1915-1916, but not in time. One of the best in the world including Russian submarines "Bars" (they have started to build in 1912). Total built a 24 "Leopard": 18 for the Baltic Fleet, and 6 for the Black Sea.

It should be noted that in the Western navies in the prewar years, not paid much attention submarine fleet. This is explained with 2 main reasons. In 1-x, the previous war have not yet identified their combat values only in the First World War, it became clear their tremendous value. In-2, then the dominant naval doctrine of the "high seas" submarine forces averted one of the last places in the fight for the sea. The domination of the seas had to grab battleships, winning a decisive battle.

Russian engineers and gunners, sailors brought a great contribution to the development of an artillery piece. Before the war, Russian factories were spent to provide improved samples of marine guns of 356, 305, 130 and 100 mm. Lock and began three-gun turrets. In 1914, engineer Putilov FF Lender and artillery V. Tarnowski became pervoprohodchikami in the creation of a special anti-aircraft gun caliber of 76 mm.

In the Russian Empire before the war have developed three new standard torpedoes (1908, 1910, 1912 years). They were superior to the same type of torpedo zabugornyh fleets in speed, range, speed, even though they had the smallest total weight and the weight of the charge. Before the war, were made multi-tubular torpedo — the first such machine built by Putilov in 1913. It provided the salvo firing fan, Russian sailors have mastered it before the war.

Our homeland has been a favorite of mine works. In the Russian Empire after the war with Japan had been built two special mine-layers, "Cupid" and "Yenisei", began the construction of special sweepers such as "Fuse". In the West, the war did not pay attention to the need for the creation of special ships posing and sweeping sea mines. This substantiates the fact that in 1914 the British were obliged to purchase from the RF ball a thousand mines to protect their naval bases. Americans have acquired not only the standards of all Russian mines, and trawls, considering them the best in the world and invited Russian professionals to teach them how to mine case. Americans have purchased and seaplanes MI-5, MI-6. Before the war in Russia have developed electric & mechanical shock and mine samples in 1908 and 1912's. In 1913, constructed a floating mine (P-13). It is held in a submerged condition at a certain depth due to the action of an electronic device swimming. Mina former models were kept at a depth due buoys that prevented greater durability, especially during storms. P-13 was elektroudarny fuse, a charge of 100 kg of TNT and could hold at a given depth for three days. In addition, the experts at the Russian made the world's first river mine "Fish" ("P").

In 1911, for service of the fleet received kite is cut down and katernogo trawls. Their use reduces the life minesweeping works, because undercutting and pop mines immediately destroyed. Earlier zatralennye mines have been towed to shallow water and destroy it.

The Russian fleet was the cradle of the radio. Radio has become a means of communication and control in battle. In addition, before the war, Russian Radio Engineering designed a radio direction, allowing the device to use for exploration.

Taking into account the fact th
at the new battleships in the Baltic Sea are not yet in operation, besides the Germans were able to complete an advantage liner fleet, Russian commanders adhered to a defensive strategy. The Baltic Fleet had to defend the capital of the empire. The basis of the naval defense were minefields — during the war at the mouth of the Gulf of Finland put 39 thousand minutes. Also on the shore and islands had massive battery. Under the guise of their cruisers, destroyers and submarines raided. Battleships were due to meet the German fleet, if he tries to break through the minefields.

Black Sea Fleet to the beginning of the war was the owner of the Black Sea, because of the Turkish Navy was only relatively few combat-ready ships — two battleships of old times, 2 protected cruisers, eight destroyers. Samples of the Turks before the war to change the situation buying new ships abroad of success did not bring. The Russian command planned with the start of the war one hundred percent, and cut off the Turkish coast of the Bosporus, to support the troops of the Caucasian front (as needed and Romanian) from the sea. Considered the question of the landing operation in the area of the Bosphorus, to capture Istanbul-Constantinople. The situation has somewhat changed the arrival of the new battlecruiser "Goeben" and the light of Breslau. " The cruiser "Goeben" was stronger than at least some of the Russian battleship of an old type, but together battleships Black Sea Fleet would have killed him, because when faced with a whole squadron "Goeben" departed, taking advantage of its own highest speed. In general, particularly after the commissioning of the dreadnoughts of the "Empress Maria", the Black Sea fleet controlled the Black Sea basin — support the troops of the Caucasian front, destroying the Turkish transports, made an attack on the enemy's coast.

Navy leading powers at the beginning of the First World War

The destroyer of the "Novik" ("Ardent").

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