Steel Fleet   Coronel and Falkland  1 November 1914 and 8 December 1915    
      Gutenberg Admiral von Spee's Movements, A History of Sea Power, p 362
Although their threat to trade was significant, the tangible impact of German surface raiders and Vice Admiral Reichsgraf von Spee's East Asia Squadron in 1914 was not nearly so serious as the later U-boat campaign.

Irrespective of von Spee's conception of his mission his East Asia Squadron was the only credible force at sea challenging British naval superiority. Inevitably forced to respond, the Royal Navy and her allies tied up several multiples of von Spee's displacement countering him; as pre-war commerce raiding theory had claimed.

Nonetheless von Spee and the Admiralstab were planning only for prompt and evasive passage home for his distant and isolated squadron; to seal themselves in port, one assumes, seemingly heedless of the relief it would afford Britain.

The Royal Navy's desperate hunt for the elusive von Spee brings only bitter defeat to both. At Coronel, in their first battle of a century, the outgunned Royal Navy suffers a stunning and tragic loss. Soon after, at Falkland Islands, von Spee's squadron is annihilated in similar circumstances.

The abundance of national prestige alleged to be at stake seems to have distracted participants and the press from the real strategic object, global command of the sea.
03 August 2014
 
IWM Coronel and Falkland The Royal Navy's desperate hunt for von Spee's elusive German East Asia Squadron brings bitter defeat to both.
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