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11-08-2015, 16:15

The British Blockade and the First Surface Actions

German intentions were frustrated when the British instituted a novel ó and technically illegalódistant blockade. British forces would not patrol off Germany's North Sea coastline as required by international law governing blockades; they would cut off Germany from the open ocean by patrolling the English Channel and the waters between Scotland and Norway. There would be few opportunities for Germany to whittle down the number of Britain's capital ships. Correspondingly, British intentions were frustrated when the Germans, expecting a close blockade, refused to challenge the Royal Navy in the open waters of the North Sea. Small German and British task forces met off the coast of Chile and Argentina at the Battle of Coronel (October 1914) and the Battle of the Falklands (November 1914). The Germans triumphed in the first, the British in the second. But such encounters were the exception. Instead, for the first two years of the war, the two great surface fleets dueled with one another in a number of indecisive engagements in the waters separating Germany and the east coast of England. The Germans, for example, raided Britain's coastal ports, hoping to provoke a reckless pursuit that would bring part of the British fleet into contact with superior German forces. The British set traps for the Germans, seeking on a number of occasions to get between parts of the High Seas Fleet and their home ports. Neither strategy worked.

 

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