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The Great War At Sea – A History of Naval Action 1914-18

By: A A Hoehling (718/36021)
Publisher: Arthur Baker Ltd From the John Laffin Library

For every reader whose heart stirs at the command ‘Battle Stations!’ here is the whole dramatic panorama of naval warfare on, under, and above the waves during World War I. Written with crisp authority, in a tense, documentary style it presents an unforgettable picture of the battles, the ships, and the fighting men whose blood reddened the seven seas through more than four flaming years of the Great War.

Illustrated with more than seventy photographs, drawings, newspaper facsimiles, and maps – many of them collectors’ items – The Great War at Sea ranges over all the world’s oceans, from the ice-filled waters of the Arctic to the remote coaling stations of the southern seas. It tells of the mighty lines of battleships and cruisers whose collision at Jutland resulted in the war’s vastest engagement. It describes the revolutionary entry of the dreaded submarine onto the naval scene with the exploits of Kapitanleutnanet Otto Weddigen’s U-9 against a trio of British cruisers in the North Sea. And it supplies a possible solution to one of the great maritime mysteries of all time – the baffling disappearance at sea of the collier Cyclops.

Here is heroism in the best Neslonian tradition as Captain Noel Grant’s Carmania fights to the death with the German commerce raider Cap Trafalgar in almost – unremembered battle with the longest ‘single’ engagement of the entire war.

Here, too, is deadly naval retribution as Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, welds together a fleet to utterly destroy Graf Maximilian von Spee at a distance of 5,000 miles. And, last but not least, here is the story of the ‘suicide’ of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow and its epitaph written with aerial bombs three years after the cessation of hostilities.

Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources and eyewitness testimony, the author has vividly re-created a monumental era which fully justifies his verdict that, ‘In many ways, the contest on the earth’s oceans was more vicious, more merciless, and in the end more decisive than on the battlefields’.

December 2008


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