|Steel Fleet||Scouring the Seas The hunt for the Kaiser's cruisers|
The cruise of the Emden 1
Sep 1914 - 9 Nov 1914, A
History of Sea Power, p 369
Scouring the seven seas for real and supposed threats to global trade preoccupied considerable portions of the Royal Navy at the outset of the war. In spite of Churchill's dismissal of the powerful German East Asia Squadron as "a cut flower" which must wither the Admiralty were rightfully alarmed; shown is the disruptive career of the light cruiser SMS Emden when loosed on British Indian Ocean trade. Emden seems to have been more reliably sustained solely by coal seized at sea than von Spee's larger East Asia Squadron managed in similar circumstances.
Both 'lone raider' and concentration of force commerce warfare doctrines can be observed in Kaiserliche Marine service during this brief period, the daring yet scrupulous von Müller of Emden on one hand and von Spee's coal-hungry yet powerful squadron on the other. It is arguable that while Emden caused disruption out of all proportion to her displacement the East India Squadron convincingly defeated the first force it opposed. Nevertheless both commands soon exhausted whatever peacetime planning governed their respective strategies, not to mention their dwindling supplies of coal, and Churchill was to be proved right in the end.
Similarly hindsight strongly recommends HMS Invincible and Inflexible should probably have been sent to Port Stanley before defeat forced the decision. It's also puzzling that the pursuing battlecruiser HMAS Australia, a vessel von Spee must surely have dreaded as it dogged him across the Pacific, was held back near Suva while Cradock's intercepting squadron was inadequately reinforced even though von Spee's strength was well known.
IWM Coronel and Falkland The Royal Navy's desperate hunt for von Spee's elusive German East Asia Squadron brings bitter defeat to both.
Scouring the Seas
Great War campaigns
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