VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > Military Summary > The War at Sea, 1914–1915
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
The War at Sea, 1914–1915
Aug. 28
British cruisers, supported by battle cruisers (Adm. Sir David Beatty), raided Heligoland Bight. The German cruisers came out and drove the British fleet off, but Beatty was able to sink three enemy ships.  1
When the war broke out, there were eight German cruisers on foreign stations, mostly on the China station. When Japan declared war (See Aug. 23), the German commander, Adm. Maximilian von Spee, left for the South American coast with the cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Nürnberg. He bombarded Papeete (Sept. 22) and destroyed the British cable station at Fanning Island. At Easter Island (Oct. 12–18) Spee was joined by the cruisers Dresden (from the West Indies) and Leipzig (from the California coast). Together they proceeded to the Chilean coast. Meanwhile Adm. Sir Christopher Cradock, with three old ships, had been ordered to hunt down Spee.  2
Sept. 10–Nov. 9
The Emden (Capt. Karl von Müller) left the China station for the Indian Ocean, bombarding Madras (Sept. 22) and capturing several ships before being sunk at Cocos Island.  3
Sept. 22
The U.9 sank three old cruisers, Hogue, Cressy, and Aboukir.  4
Oct. 18
After an attempted German submarine raid on Scapa Flow, the Grand Fleet was withdrawn from that base and concentrated, for a time, on the west coast of Scotland.  5
Nov. 1
Naval action off Coronel. Spee destroyed two of Cradock's ships (the Monmouth and the Good Hope; the Glasgow escaped). To meet the danger from the German squadron, all available Allied warships were assembled off the southeast coast of South America. Three battle cruisers were hastily dispatched from the Grand Fleet to the South Atlantic.  6
Nov. 3
Adm. Franz von Hipper raided Yarmouth.  7
Dec. 8
Battle of the Falkland Islands. Spee made the fatal decision to attack the Falklands on his way homeward. The British squadron (Adm. Sir Frederick Sturdee) came upon the Germans unexpectedly and sank four of their five ships (Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Leipzig, and Nürnberg). A total of 1,800 men died, including Spee and his two sons. The Dresden, having escaped from the Falklands, engaged in commerce-destroying until cornered at Juan Fernandez, where the ship was blown up by its own crew (March 1, 1915).  8
Dec. 16
German forces bombarded Scarborough and Hartlepool.  9
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.