Friday, March 6, 2020

The strategic role of the Royal British Navy in the First World War The WritePass Journal

The strategic role of the Royal British Navy in the First World War Introduction The strategic role of the Royal British Navy in the First World War ). Kitchener could not take any troops from the Western Front, so he turned to naval capacities for active involvement. As a result, the best location for action would be the tapered strip of water from the Mediterranean into the Sea of Marmara. The purpose and plan, masterminded by Winston Churchill, was to avoid the Turkish capital, First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill created a complicated structure of a ‘third Allied front’ which gave tremendous assistance to Russia. The Royal Naval Division, moreover, went on to form an important part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary force (MEF), was which also included the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), the 29th Division (British Army) and the Royal Naval Division (RND) (Dupuy 1967). Responsibility for the division was given to General Sir Ian Hamilton, The marines’ first conflict was in March 1915, where they targeted Turkish citadels and 22 individuals lost their lives while several others were injured. On 25 April the Plymouth Battalion with a group of 2nd South Wales Borderers landed on Y beach where a number of soldiers lost their lives (Churchill 1940). However, these successes were not without setbacks, and it should not be concluded that the Royal Navy was unequivocally of strategic value in these cases. There had been an early problem when the navy initially landed on 25 April and this had given Turkey chance of help to organize their defenses from Germany especially on top of cliffs that gave a direct view of the neighboring beaches and into the interior of the land (Dupuy 1967). On 28th April, the Chatham Battalion landed on the Anzac shoreline in order to safeguard a beach, and they stayed there until 12th May despite many deaths and casualties. On the 29th April, the Admiralty gave control of the Royal Navy Division to the British War office and it became the 63rd Royal Naval Division. The 63rd also had control of the RM training division located at Blanford (Herwig 1987).   During May and June, Royal Marines participated in warfare at the 2nd and 3rd Battles of Krithnia. Additionally, there was action at Achi Baba on the 12th June. The MEF held their initial position at Gallipoli to try and find a conclusion to the struggle (Herwig 1987). One point of important to note about this episode is that the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), along with the Royal Navy, experienced various levels of difficulties and higher levels of casualties. This prompted MEF’s withdrawal from Gallipoli, moreover. Winston Churchill’s administration has received severe criticism for the large number of lives lost over this period, and it can reasonably be questioned whether such as campaign can be deemed of strategic value. One might even say it was a strategic folly in human terms; and as Osbourne (2004) points out, the fact that Churchill stepped down from the Admiralty as a result is damning. Following the activities of this period, more action then took place in the sea rather than on land. The Battle of Jutland was the largest wartime conflict that occurred at sea during World War I. The battle commenced on 31st May 1916 when Germany fired against the British Battle Cruiser regiments. Royal Marines proved their strategic value here, as they were involved in 10% of the most important naval attack on crafts (Osbourne 2004). This proportion comprised mainly RMA whose job during this time was to operate guns. As it got bigger, the battle looked like it was getting out of control. The next day, British demolisher vessels attacked and sunk the Pommern. However in total, the Germans lost 11 ships while the British lost 14 ships, which suggests strategic folly in numerical terms (Osbourne 2004). In May the same year, RMLI brigades arrived from Gallipoli and were repatriated to France where new resources and weapons were organised. In addition, they were given more manpower and upgraded weapons to machine guns.   In July, the RM Company was joined by companies called Howe and Anson the 188th Brigade of the re-titled 63rd RND (Herwig 1987). This group moved to a fairly quiet region of the Western Front. At this point, because of new weapons technology it was necessary to safeguard the line using three trench positions. Common Trench warfare was intended for use in heavy infantry but that was not commonly experienced through the commando tactics of RMLI (Friedman 2011). These battalions became a vital element to the Battle of Ancre Heights near Beaumont Hill. There were financial implications for this battle, as well as many casualties. On 17th April 1917 the 1st and 2nd regiments participated in armed combat at Miraumant and also during the 2nd Battle of the Scarpe later tha t month. During this armed effort, troops from the 63rd Division took over captured Gavrelle, led by General C. Lawrie.   Immediately afterward, the 63rd Division also participated in the Battle of Arleux (Friedman 2011). The RND marched to various regions including Arras and Ypres during the winter weather, carrying heavy army equipment. In Ypres, the battalions trained very hard to prepare for a key offensive on the German border, north of Ypres. When it happened, the attack would take the forces to the strategic location of the Paddebrek stream, in the north region of the canal (Randier 2006). Because of significant losses earlier that year the 1st and 2nd RMLI contingents joined together to increase their masses numbers. However, at this point, there were some signs that the war was moving towards an end and the Germans begun realizing that their momentum begun to slow down. Finally, on 8th August the British put into place their counter plan to impact on German troops, disturbing all levels of hierarchy in the army, including the German High Command. This appeared to be a possible chance for victory, although it is vital to point out that victory was not guaranteed. On 2nd to 3rd September 1918, the 1st and 3rd Armies fought at the Battle of Drocourt-Queant, alongside the 63rd (RN) division in the Third army (Morison 1942). On 27th September to 1st October 1918, the 1st and 3rd Armies also engaged in combat at the Battle of the Canal du Nord. During this time, the 63rd RN group was once again a component of the third Army (Stephenson 2011; Osbourne 2004). As has emerged through this essay, the strategic value of the Royal Navy was mixed. Many historians viewed Gallipoli as a catastrophic tragedy, facilitated by confusing tactics and problems that allowed the enemy to prepare for the attack (Stephenson 2011).   However, despite awful circumstances, the Marines still managed several successes demonstrating that they were a significant force on the ground in the capacity of infantry.   Many of the experiences acquired by soldiers in World War I were valuable resources that were applied again in the experiences they would go through in WWII (Stephenson 2011). This essay has detailed the many triumphs of the Royal Navy; however, of them all the Zeebruge campaign was arguably the most important in strategic terms (Koerver 2010). After dealing with frightful conditions and dreadful weather, the Marines still managed to carry out their responsibilities and sabotage the canal (Stephenson 2011). Their accomplishments led to an unintentional benefit of giving a confidence boost and momentum for all British soldiers involved in the conflict in other places (Knight 2006). As a final, but by no means insignificant point, the importance of the Royal Navy as a blockading force deserves a mention. The efforts of the marines and the navy kept Germany surrounded, creating barrier to many trade routes and ports, causing starvation and eventually defeat. This contributed to higher levels of bankruptcy, as Germany exhausted its finances trying to keep up with Britain (Stephenson 2011; Osbourne 2004). In conclusion, is clear that the Royal Navy was an indispensible strategic tool during WWI. It had the capacity to fight effectively in different environments and landscapes, as has been outlined in the narrative sections of this essay. It was also useful in observing and introducing a wide range of tactics, strategies, and military equipment to Britain, which helped to evolve many modern aspects of warfare that are still with us today (Knight 2006). Its versatility on land and sea, moreover, which has been outlined throughout this essay in description of campaigns, was enormously useful.   In concrete terms, the most essential raids that consolidated included Antwerp, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli, and Zeebruge, all of which involved the Royal Navy. Of course, it certainly had its shortcomings, and some of its failures and blunders have been discussed. However, this is an inevitable part of the operations of any force. In the end, while the Germans lost the war for a wide range of reason s, the impact of the British Royal Navy was certainly one of them; it was undoubtedly of great strategic value. Reference List   Benbow, T   Naval Warfare 1914-1918: From Coronel to the Atlantic and Zeebrugge. (Newbury: Amber Books Ltd, 2011) Churchill, W The Second World War. Vol. 2, Their Finest Hour ( Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949) Dupuy, T. N.   The Military History of World War I: naval and overseas war, 1916-1918. (New York: Franklin Watts, 1967) Friedman, N., Naval Weapons of World War One: Guns, Torpedoes, Mines, and ASW Weapons of All Nations: An Illustrated Directory (UK: Naval Institute Press 2011). Grove, E. Vanguard to Trident, (London: Naval Institute Press/The Bodley Head, 1987) Halpern, P.   A Naval History of World War I. The Standard Scholarly Survey. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994) Koerver, H. J. German Submarine Warfare 1914 1918 in the Eyes of British Intelligence, (Reinisch: LIS 2010) Herwig, H. H. Luxury Fleet: The Imperial German Navy,1888-1918. (Oxon: Routledge, 1987) Joll, R. Jackspeak. (UK: Maritime Books, 2000) Will Knight, UK unveils plans for a new submarine fleet. New Scientist (Environment) 2006, McMillan, M. The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914  Ã‚   (London: Profile Books Ltd, 2013) Morison, E. Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy. (UK: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942) Osbourne, E. W. Britains Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914–1919. (London and New York: Routledge 2004). Randier, J. La Royale: Lhistoire illustrà ©e de la Marine Nationale Franà §aise. (Brest: Éditions de la Cità ©, 2006) Stephenson, D. With our backs to the wall: Victory and defeat in 1918. (UK: Penguin, 2011)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.