VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > B. World War I, 1914–1918 > 11. The War at Sea, 1916–1917 > 1917, April
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
1917, April
 
Submarine warfare reached the high point. In this month alone 875,000 tons of shipping were destroyed, more than half of it British. This figure exceeded the German estimates (600,000) and brought the British admiralty to the point of despair. Finally, owing largely to the insistence of Lloyd George, the admiralty agreed to try convoying merchant ships (first convoy, May 10). The system proved to be an unqualified success. At the same time the British increased the numbers of their destroyers and submarine chasers, and developed the depth bomb and the system of scouting with hydroplanes. Shipbuilding was pushed to the very limit.  1
By Oct. 1917 the Germans had destroyed about 8 million tons of shipping, but they had lost 50 submarines and their campaign was becoming less and less effective. By the beginning of 1918 the Allies were building more new tonnage than was being destroyed. The German gamble on the submarine had failed.  2
Naval operations during the years 1917–18 were confined largely to submarine and destroyer activities.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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