Into The Great White Open – Main Story
Line Part Four – Skagerrak
A Letterstime side story
To help new readers, to bring the old ones back in line
and to 'deconfuse' some words of the author about the mentioned German Forces.
commanded by acting Kommodore Ziethen.with AC Roon, small cruisers Berlin
and Undine and the minecruisers Arcona and Albatross, currently near the
Norvegian City of Bergen, still in the North Sea. They sail in northern
Ostsee with the PC's Victoria Louise and Vineta and
the small cruiser Amazone, Kontreadmiral Mischkes flagship plus some
Hochseetorpedoboote, they are in the Skaggerak, detached gunboat Panther
plus one Torpedoboot in the Kattegat. Both are epeiric seas of the North
Ostsee, commanded by Kontreadmiral Hopman with the
AC's Prinz Adalbert, Prinz Heinrich, the PC Kaiserin Augusta, the small
cruisers, Thetis, Niobe, Nymphe and Medusa, plus some Torpedobooten,
currently east of the Danish Baltic Island of Bornholm.
are some more German Formations active in the North Sea at the same time,
but they do not belong to 'my' story. To be precise, three more:
* Viceadmiral Letters and the HSF, multiple Dreadnoughts and two
small crusers and some Torpedobootsflottillen, now with Korvettenkapitaen
Conda and Bremen plus three Hochseetorpedobooten and Korvettenkapitaen
Borys and his two Hochseetorpedobooten,
* Kontreadmiral Hanzig, coming home, 2 BC's and 4 LC's and multipe SS's
* Kontreadmiral Necki with 2 BC's and 4 LC's plus 10 Hochseetorpedoboote
July 7th 1915, mid-morning, SMS Undine, North Sea, 17
knots, course 320
“Any corrections visible on their course“?,
Korvettenkapitaen Windmueller asked his XO. They were talking about the visible
smoke plume to their starboard bow.
'“No, Sir, they seem to stay on course, could be they are
on a course to Drontheim“, that one said immediately. “and,
they are slower then we are“.
“Signals, to Roon, recommend course change back to
345“, Windmueller commanded his signals officer.
“There is a chance that this is not a Britisher, is it“?
Windmueller kept on wondering.
In fact is was a norvegian Warship, but that became clear
only after the war.
July 7th 1915, mid-morning, SMS Panther, Kattegat, 14
knots, course 085
“Korvettenkapitaen Velten, smoke plumes bearing 180 are
at least three big vessels with accompanying Torpedobooten“, his XO, short of
breath informed him. “The first one has a heavy fighting mast“.
“Oh, another smaller vessel behind the big ones“! a
“Position of S 122“? Velten stood with raised
binocculars on the starboard bridgewing and could not see the Torpedoboot,
which had taken position off the port bow as ordered minutes earlier.
“Could that be the enemy? AC's perhaps? How had they got
behind them“? Veltens mind raced. He kept staring at those approaching vessels,
about 7 miles away. If they were enemies they would open fire soon. He would
try to buy S 122 some time. May be at least the agile TB could escape.
mid-morning, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 010
vibrating violently, running on both diesels with absolute maximum speed. The
vibrations were that violent sometimes, that the lookouts had difficulties to
watch the horizon. Relentlessly they were pushed on by their young commander.
The tower, they would not win a trophy with it. Barley had not yet ordered to
patch all holes, only those where work could be done from above the tower. He
was reluctant to order crew members done on the hull.
bearing 015”! one lookout shouted.
Lieutenant Commander Richard Barley raced over to the starboard side of the
tower and lifted his binocculars.
it”? he thought. “Ah, there was one...and another one to the east of it”!
to the admiralty, multiple plumes, add our position”!
degrees starboard, come to 015”!
July 7th 1915, mid-morning, SMS Panther, Kattegat, 14
knots, course 085
“These are three ships in line and a cruiser behind“, the
lookout stated. “At least three Torpedoboote in the van“. After a short pause, “May
be more in the back“.
“That could be no Britishers, they are likely too small
to be AC's or those dreaded Town's, aren't they“? Veltens mouth had gone dryer
as any desert.
“Lookout, can you identify them“? Velten asked, his voice
“They are one funnel ships, at least the three big ones“.
“It must be the Danish Baltic Fleet“, Velten thought. “It
Sailing to the east they could view more and more of the
“Lead ship identified as Peder Skram, the second
one seem to be....Olfert Fischer and behind her the Herluf Trolle.
The cruiser seems to be Gejser-Class“.
Shockwaves ran down Veltens spine. They had been more
than lucky. The Danes!
“Gun's prepare to fire salute, that is the Danish
flagship“, he ordered relieved. He laid his hands on the rail, hoping nobody
would see them trembling.
July 7th late
morning, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 015
were they catching up. They had repeatedly send position updates to the
admiralty, whithout positive identification of their sightings.
plume though started to get bigger and bigger, masts were visible in the
dive, but we will stay surfaced as long as possible”.
should he do if they ought to encounter a merchant? Send over a boarding
party”? Barley has not decided yet.
July 7th 1915,
SMS Roon, North Sea, late morning, course 345
Finally, just minutes before, Berlin had taken her position on the port
wing after a long pursuit. The German Arctic Squadron, or in short GAS,
was together again.
ordered: “Signals, to Berlin:
“K an K (note
), well done, congratulations, GAS has sunk their first victim”!
Stangely, it was not answered by the Berlin. May
be the range was too high? Had they not seen it? That could not be possible,
“Still occupied over there“, Ziethen thought. “Will
demand a thorough report later“.
July 7th 1915,
SMS Berlin, North Sea, late morning, course 345
speed to 17 knots, we are coming too far ahead”, Fregattenkapitaen von Buelow
had ordered minutes ago.
scowl he had received the report of his lookout about Roon's signal.
When the signals officer kept looking at him questional, he barked: “What you
keep staring at me, Luitenant, to your station, at once”!
gathered all his courage and asked: “But Captain, should we not send an
word from you and I will order to put you to brig”, von Buelow said, now
turned away and left. Silence on the bridge.
July 7th noon,
HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 015
bigger the smokeplume grew, with more plumes on the northeastern horizon. Masts
where poking out of the water and finally, Barley mentally prepared the order
to dive commando, when a lookout shouted:
“This is no
warship, more likely a freighter!”
slowly migrating into being scarecrows?” Lieutenant Commander Richard Barley
wondered. Could they not distinguish merchant masts from warship ones? Should
he stop that merchant or simply head on, keeping the course?
stop 'em?” one of his NCO's demanded.
give them something”; Barley thought. “Boarding crew on deck, prepare the
stand ready, but do not yet man the gun”.
He did not
like to have too many men on deck. But should he not order the gun to be ready,
just in case”?
July 7th noon,
SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 12 knots, course 190
Why he was
following that already controled swedish merchant west, away from his own
forces, Oberleutnant zur See Mudrich could not tell, it was just a 'feel'. His
task was to stand guard on the western flank of the northern heading german
force. V 152, commanded by his mate Oberleutnant zur See Junghans, had
controlled the SS Sveaborg, but found no contrabande, so that the Swedes
could finally sail on.
152 had reboarded her prize-crew again and started to get back underway,
which the SS Sveaborg did as well and accelerated again, Mudrich
suddenly had the urge to follow. That feeling grew until he could not resist
and decided to follow her, which he did during the last couple of minutes.
Barley nor Herr Mudrich could see each other, due to SS Sveaborg in between
them. They did not kown that they very soon will have the pleasure to meet each
July 7th noon, SMS Arcona, North Sea, 17 knotes, cource
Korvettenkapitaen von Hippel was glad that the 'family'
was together again. They had reversed to their planned daylight formation,
which means that she was currently the northernmost ship in their formation,
about 5,000 meters ahead of the flagship, which followed in her wake. Truely
Von Hippel would not admit it, but he was glad that he
had not been in Berlin's position during the early morning hours. Not
that he was afraid of a fight, but with all those mines aboard, hit could prove
extremely deadly. Once finished the minelaying operations, SMS Arcona
would actually be more capable in the cruiser role than their sister Undine.
They had above water 50 cm Torpedoetubes at least and not those shortbreathed 45
cm ones. But with 200 mines aboard you'd better receive no shell hits! The
mineroom was not at all armored.
He was not sure, for SMS Berlin was about 10 nm
west and about 6 nm ahead of them, but would not Berlin have been
hit? Later, someday he must have a chat with von Buelow. Dismissing those
thoughts, looking east he could make out their sistership, same distance away.
The only ship he could not currently see was the other minelayer, the small Albatross.
Roon was blocking their line of vision.
They had passed the latitude of the southern British line
of patrols some hours ago, in fact they were slowly aproaching the northern
patrol line, which they ought to pass, unhindered voyage assuming, between 3 pm
and 3:30 pm or about in three hours.
“Any reports from U – 19?“
“Yes, the last one arrived about 30 minutes ago, stating
no sightings. But soon Kapitaenleutnant Kolbe's boat would heading further
north, so they might not be able to scout any more“, his NO answered.
July 7th noon, U – 19, North Sea, 10 knotes, cource 015
The horizon around his boat remained strangely empty. No
sightings this far north.
“As if the whole damned English Fleet is accupied
elsewhere. Or are they just hiding out of sight until the cruisers will show
up?“ Kapitaenleutnant Kolbe was shouting. Even he had the binocculars in front
of his eyes, scanning around. They always could dive but the cruisers can not.
At least they could not resurface again, he thought, not sure if it was a joke.
They had left Wilhelmshaven in the morning hours ot the 4th
of July. Having used a very economical cruising speed they had started their
scouting mission. The signal from Norddeich (Note ) had arrived
yesterday. Then they knew that the mission had finally begun. Repeatedly they
were updating their sighting reports, which today simply were nonsighting
Kolbe did not know that much further south ships would
start to die soon. The fleets were really occupied.
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 015
Commander Richard Barley had decided last minute, in hindsight wisely, not to
board that freighter. Boarding crew already stood ready on deck. They even had
opened a hatch to get their dinghy clear. Now the Swedish flag of that merchant
finally decided against boarding due to the likeliness the freighter was
already controlled by their german 'colleagues' and it would not being outbound
into the North Sea when it had loaded german addressed contraband. And most of
all he wanted to get those Armoured Cruisers!
What he had
done in the meantime was order a close inspection of the tower and the visible
portions of the pressure hull. Therefore other hatches away from the tower were
opened as well, to get equipment clear. He did not want to have ugly surprises
if he may be forced to dive again. The diving last time went alright, but he
still was not sure about the real amount of damage. That way about 15 members
of his crew where all around, and not only on the tower, but on the hull as
well. Waves were not too high to make this a dangerous adventure, however. This
could only occur if German ships would be too near by, but this was not the
case at the moment. The weather was good and the sight brilliant. If other
plumes would show up, Barley would recall his crew. They would be ready to dive
in less than five minutes, which was fine by him.
their bow. We are ahead enough that there is no danger of a collision. We will
pass about 1000 yards west of them,” he explained to his bosun, who had the
helm, when on the tower.
the other plumes?” Just to be careful, he thought.
passing the freighter's bow.
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 12 knots, course 190
course....”, Oberleutnant zur See Mudrich stopped cold. The wiry petty officer
at the wheel noted that his captain’s mouth remained ajar; though no words
emerged, he thought to hear a slight and sibilant exhalation akin to a hiss.”
the Sveaborg's bow was a submarine, about 1500 meters away. The tower
form was very 'ungerman'.
Mudrich's personal traits was that he always could react very fast. This he had
not expected, but...
U-Boot to starboard! Alarm! Guns open fire on target! Feuererlaubnis”! his
voice shouted through the shocked silence of his bridge crew. “Full ahead, new
a surfaced U-Boot bearing 090!”
5.2 cm on the starboard bridgewing opened up. They had reacted fast. Both
centerline guns aft were turning around, crews running everywhere.
submarine caught surfaced, what an opportunity to take”, Mudrich's mind raced.
He could feel his pulse climb and his breath rasp in his throat.
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 015
first reaction was denial; he simply couldn’t help himself.
can’t be happening! Not twice in one day! Caught on the surface by German
already had its rudder over, black smokeplumes belching from both stacks. One
of his guns had already opened fire. Damnittohell, but this guy was quick!.
Whoosh! This one was an over by far. They got him once again! Had they seen him
before? Known he was here? Good God! Dive! OH-NO!! The equipment hatches!
“They’d all spend the rest of eternity breathing water on the bottom.”
E - 4 was already on maximum speed, so
they could not accelerate any further. These were the facts. He was tempted to
order a “Full reverse”, but that would make him a sitting duck. Barley made up
port rudder! This was away from the approaching destroyer. He needed to buy a
full minute, and maybe more. Hiding behind the same steamer that the damn
German had hid behind seemed his only chance.
deck!” Barley shouted. “Prepare for emergency dive!”
E – 4 was reacting on the rudder in an
instant, the deck turned instantly into a treacherous slope. The first warning
the men working topside had of the situation was the passage overhead of the
German’s first shell, followed by the splash, and then by the more distant
“boom” of the gun. They’d frozen for a moment, staring in shock at the lacy
waterspout just a few hundred yards distant. His shouted order had broken them
out of it and started them for the hatches, gaping open like mortal wounds in
the hull, which was just what they would be if they didn’t get them shut.
struggled for handholds on the tightly crowded tower. Those out on deck had
more space to regain a foothold. One sailor nearly tumbled overboard, only
caught last second by a crewmate. The ones on deck, however, were the ones
furthest from getting in a hatch, any hatch.
deck!” Barley shouted, again. “Prepare for emergency dive!”
use his bow gun? He glanced forward to find that the gun captain had made his
own decision. His chief had taken one look at the open hatches and the chaos
around them and, instead of joining the end of the struggling queues, had kept
his men in hand and already had the twelve-pounder gun starting to pivot.
ordered the water-seal cap kept in the gun to allay any concerns of the Swedes.
He remembered that fact as he saw it pulled out. The canted deck threatened to
see the ready rounds off and over the side. Numbly, Barley realized he
had not seen the piece being loaded. His chief must have had the gun loaded all
along, but not told him! Muzzle saver in place or not!
whoosh! Two more overs.
was glad that he had orderd the tube loaded after their first encounter with
the German Armoured Cruisers.
something more to be ordered. ”Open all Torpedo doors!” He wasn’t sure how this
was going to play out, let alone at what angles. “Target is a – Whoosh-splash –
destroyer, estimated speed 20 knots, distance - Whoosh-splash - 1500 yards,
dropping fast. Prepare to fire a spread with all three forward tubes”!
ready to fire”!
essentially zero chance to hit a fast, turning, alerted surface vessel,
especially with the sub in the midst of its own turn. It was like shooting a
bird on the wing while pivoting on ice skates, but there the hunter would at
least have a shotgun – Barley did not. Still, desperate times call for
desperate measures and, as bad as this was, it could get a lot worse any
whoosh! More overs.
captain came out with a loud and remarkably profane curse. They had gotten the
deck gun almost on target, despite the rudder tilt, only to have the tower wood
their arc of fire.
hurry, get below, get below”! he shouted his command repeatedly.
twenty feet away startled him. The gun captain had not been the only one to
remain alert. While most of the boarding crew members had thrown their rifles
overboard - the long guns were hardly conducive to emergency rapid passage
through hatches, after all – two near the end of the line had elected to put
their Lee-Enfields to use while they waited.
decks! Hurry!” I must be sounding hysterical, he thought. I will remain
on the tower during the manouvre. May be there would be a chance to shoot the
bow torpedoes! Where is that merchant. I have to avoid a collision but it must
pass her bow as near as possible”, adrenaline was pumping through his veins.
whoosh, splashsplash! Much nearer.
turning destroyer was wooding the firing arcs of its stern guns, but now was
firing like hell with two guns on her bridge. E - 4 had in the meantime
nearly finished his turn.
Barley realized that only few seconds had passed. It seemed to be eons for him.
make it to recline behind the merchants bow. Would they not?
amidships!”, he shouted down the hatchway.
gun commander shouted.
Crack! The twelve pounder shouted out its
One hatch slammed shut. Some of the boarding crew still had to reach the ladder
up the tower.
shell detonated close to the hull, wounding two of his crew, drenching some
more. Another shell was hitting a gun crew member without detonating! Fragments
of the body of the unfortunate were flying all about.
running depth 2 yards, maximum speed! Short running distance! Target is still
on course 270, Bow tube and side tubes, ready!”
try a lucky shot”? Barley wondered. No chance. Not on that course.
commmando was acknowledged from below. “Hold fire!”
meantime they were bracketed by the German guns. But not hit. Not yet!
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 20 knotes, accelerating, course 275
nearly impossible to understand ones own words, with both bridgewing guns
firing like there was no tomorrow. They had frequently straddled the target,
which had changed its course to port, now, barely 1000 meters away. But they
had not scored a hit, yet, as much as Mudrich could tell. He was not satisfied
with that result. Strange, too, that that enemy submarine seems not to begin
its dive! Were they reacting that slowly? Was that because crew running along
the hull? He had caught them cold. Obviously they were shoot at with rifles,
for he had heard a bullet whistle past the bridgewing. That would be a chance
for his 08 machineguns. Why did they not open up already?
The sub now
had reversed his course and was trying to hide behind the Seaborg.
suddely saw smoke erupting from the subs deck gun. The shot luckily went wild.
will ram her! Come to 280! Guns, silence that gun! Are the machineguns ready”?
just two seconds later, Crackcrack! No answers from the machinegunners.
to Amazone, engaged enemy submarine....”.
careful not to hit that merchant, understand?” The sub was racing towards the
Swede. Just let them be a bit careful”, he added mentally.
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course changing
Whack! The shell must have detonated in
the tower, below his feet, cries of pain were audible coming out of the hatch.
They were bracketed by the enemy, but that was the first direct hit, as much as
he could tell. He was drenched to the bone, by water or sweat, still not alone
on the bridge and sure now that they soon would retreat behind that Swedish
Most of the
boarding crew was below already, but still two hatches were still not closed.
“We need to hurry, our luck will not hold indefinitely”, Barley started to get
destroyer was very near now, running alongside the SS Sveaborg, which
crew was viewing a film of a special kind.
Whang! The german
had hit them again. Parts of Barley's mind wondered why that took so long. One
more hit low on the tower and the other one on deck aside the tower. “Would in
all likeliness not have hurt the pressure hull”, he was partly relieved.
Shocked he realized that Miller, who had tried to close the hatch of the
dinghy, was lying on the deck. His clothes were turning red!
Crack! The bow gun got off its second
round, which firing was delayed due to wounding of some of its gun crews.
those boys below as well, but they ought to buy me some more seconds”. Their
time was running out.
splash, Whoosh splash!
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 22 knots, accelerating, course 280
they had hit their target, hit them more than once, mostly in the tower,
unfortunately the 5.2 cm shell weight was only about 2 kilogram, so the amout
of damage was small, of course.
deck gun had shot a second time, missing them only by small a margin. “That was
more than close”, Mudrich thought.
sub was retreating behind the hull of the Sveaborg now. One shell
was detonating only about ten meters off the bow of the Swede.
fire!”! he roared. Unthinkable, should they hurt Neutrals. That would cost him
any chance of a promotion! Not to mention the loss of relationship with the
generally friendly Swedish government. And all the paperwork!
status, Verdammt noch Mal”!
tempted to turn sharp to port to pass Sveaborg's stern, but they were
too near for that kind of manouvre. The big ship was completely wooding his
line of vision. They were less than 100 meters to starboard of SS Sveaborg
had stopped. “Should I pass along the other ships hull and turn to port after
passing the bow or shall I turn three quarters of a circle and pass behind the
stern”? Mudrich tended to the last, but that would cost time. Did he have
highnoon, SS Sveaborg, Skagerrak, 8 knots, course 280
sailors aboard the Sveaborg would ever forget July 7th
least not those near the deck or able to get to the deck. 'Unlucky' as often,
were only the stockers and the machine crew. They of course were unable to
watch this developing encounter.
others had gathered along the deck, gazing at the revealing spectacular, which
had started to play on the starboard side.
submarine must be out of the field of vision of its chasing destoyer. Captain
Hansen was glad that they did not collide, for the sub just made it barely.
Their stem cut water where seconds before was good British Steel. Crew members
were poking their fingers in different directions, as if to show where the
other of the antagonists just was. The sub was turning to port, racing on a
divergent course of them. Running out to the starboard bridgewing, he saw the
German destroyer starting to turn to starboard.
they turning away from them”? Hansen wondered. Did the German try to flee?
not, for it had started to turn a circle. Would it pass behind their stern?
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course changing
made it behind the Swedish hull. The question now was, where was the goddamned
German? Would he follow them around the bow of the freighter or would it be in
view in seconds coming up behind the freighters stern?
in the meantime was 'decrowded' for aside from him only three more members of
his crew were up there. The gun crew was down to four members. One sailor has
managed to close one of the hatches, but at the one where late Miller had
worked hard to close was no replacement.
down and close this hatch, hurry. Fetch that sailor, do it together”; Barley
ordered. Has he to tell them everything?
dive!” he shouted down the voicetubes. Where was that German?
towards the Sveaborg, he was irritated by the many faces looking down on
him. What the hell were they looking for? “Hope you enjoyed the bloody show”!
he roared in anger,shacking his fist.
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 24 knots, accelerating, course changing
had finished their three-quarter circle. G 134's bow was more or less
pointing to the stern of the Swede. What were all those sailors over there
doing? He was no dance performer with an auditory, was he not? Had they no work
to do? This was a war and no event!
the English submarine would come in sight, if it still was surfaced.
prepare to engage ememy on straboard! No one, I repeat no one will fire at the
merchant. Is that clear”? he shouted through the silence.
machineguns ready to fire, captain”, one NCO was reporting.
that taken so long”? Mudrich wondered but did not ask. Only 200 more meters to
highnoon, SS Sveaborg, Skagerrak, 8 knots, course 280, more or less
Captain Hansen had enough. Could those buggers over there
please have their personal war, but not that close to his ship. The sub must
nearly have passed along their hull and the German destroyer was only few
meters away from their stern. By the way, why were they swaying?
“Helm, stay on course or I lay you in iron”! he roared into
the bridge. Unthinkable should they collide with one of those boats out there.
And only because his helmsman was unable to steer a straight course.
Swedish sailors on the portside were shouting down: “The
Germans, the Germans, they come” and other more or less unintelligent phrases
while their collegues on the starborad side were shouting words like: “Do not
collide with the sub “into the direction of the German boat.
Of course they were not audible.
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 090, more or less
down there in no time and together with the second sailor the process of
closing that last hatch was making good progress.
below the gun was closed as well, some ready to use ammunition was laying
around the gun.
“You two, hurry down”; he ordered his last tower companions
to leave their fighting station. Looking to the stern he wondered when the
destroyer would show up.
Crack! His head flipped around. He saw the detonation of the shell in the bow
of the destroyer, which had shown up behind the Seaborg's stern. Bloody hell,
they were only 400 meters away, at maximum. “Very good reaction of the gun
commander”, Barley thought.
The next round was loaded and the depression behind the bow
of the destroyer was visible now. Was there a torpedo tube? Oh!
“Bow tube and side tubes, ready to fire”, he shouted down
Crack! This time the shell hit the exhauster in front of the bridge of the
Whang! The shell of the German, fired by the gun near the
bridge had hit the base of the tower. It detonated inside after the penetration
of the plate. God, he had sent his comrades down just seconds ago.
Was that damned hatch still open?
He leaned down, to order the bow tube fired, when something
whistled above his head.
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 25 knots, accelerating, course changing
That bastard had bagged them twice before they were able to
fire back. The first shell had detonated very near the bow, abviously in the
crew's cabine, which must be empty now. The second had hit the exhauster in front
of the bridge, showering the front tube with splinters, some of which had hit
the base of the tower as well.
Crack! The first shot of the starboard bridgewing 5.2 cm
with its nice long barrel had hit back.
Tacktacktacktack, finally the first MG 08 opened fire. The
tracers were cutting above the tower at first, gliding below where they were
ricocheing off the tower and then cutting into the guncrew, stricking down two
of them. Two more crew members were climbing up the ladders both sides of the
“Hard to starboard, course 270, quick”! Be quick or be dead,
A squall of air at the U-Boots bow showed him what he had
feard most. The bastard had fired a torpedo!
the water about 250 meters away!” shouted a lookout.
So ein Mist” (Note ), Mudrich thought. “Helm, comb the
wakes, guns, try to hit the Tordedo!”
“Machinegunners, fire at the tower”! he shouted. In the
meantime both MG's had firing arcs.
The Torpedo was aproaching fast,
but G 134 was a very agile ship. She was turning fastly. Both bow guns were now
firing at the Torpedo. The firing arc of both centerline stern guns was already
Two more squalls further aft! “Side torpedo tubes“!
“Could he evade three torpedos“?
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 090, more or less
shocked. The long burst of the German machinegun nearly had got him. That was
more than luck, fate! Bender and the other sailor had finally managed to close
the dinghi hatch and were climbing up the tower.
fire”! He managed to order, fractions of a second before he ducked behind the
bridge plates. That Torpedo had a chance to activate, with a running distance
of about 250 meters. Looking up again, he saw two of his gunners laying
motionless on the deck. The other two tried to hide behind the gun.
german's guns had stopped to fire at them? No more gun hits.
“Gunners up the tower, hurry!
“Both side tubes“, he had to duck again, “Fire“! In all
likeliness the running distance will be too short but to hell with it.
“Dive, dive dive“! he shouted, crawling to the hatch,
machinegun bullets flying all around.
highnoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, 26 knots, accelerating, course changing
The first torpedo was running along, about 5 meters to port.
But the other two!
Whang! The final round of the twelvepounder had hit below
the bridge, Mudrich was falling down. He at once got up again.
He saw two men running towards the tower, the gun was
without crew. “Gott im Himmel, die Torpedos”!
One was clearly off track, but the other!
“That one will get us!“ Mudrich thought desperately. They
could impossibly evade all three.
The british sub clearly now showed sings of getting down.
Clang! That third torpedo hit the bow head
on, failing to detonate, it was deflected to port.
Both stern guns and the starboard wing 5.2 cm gun were
firing again. The bow was starting to submerge when both former gunners were
crawling up the ladder to the tower.
“Machineguns, chease fire“! No need to slaughter those
unfortunate ones. Enough bloodshed!
Barely able to decrease the elevation of the gun, the aft
gun hit the just submerging base of the tower of the, now slightly abaft
racing, submarine. She was only about 15 meters to starboard now. Had he not
lost his foothold and had there been no Torpedos, may be he could have had that
one rammed. Could have!
highnoon, SS Sveaborg, Skagerrak, 8 knots, course 280, more or less
Captain Hansen was trembling. It was notb easy to be in the
middle of a sea battle. His heart had nearly stopped to beat when he saw that
submarine fire a spread of torpedos. One had even hit the destroyer but failed
to detonate. It was deflected away from him, luckily. His ship was unhurt, as
was his crew. A nice Malt just would do now!
He admired the bravado of the German captain, who even had
apologized and asked if everything was alright.
highnoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 4 knots, submerged
Commander Richard Barley was kind of happy, kind of sad. At least they had
survived. No, their torpedo attack was unsuccessful. No detonation was heard,
not from him and not from others. But they had hit the destroyer with the
twelvepounder! He had managed, a wonder again , to get down the ladder of the
tower, unhit. Even both surviving gunners had managed to get below, closing the
tower's hatch, before they finally submerged.
He was not
able to have a look around with his periscope, for a lot of water was coming
down from their peppered tower. One thing was clear, they were not deadly hit,
but they had lost their wireless, the antenna shot away. The boat was damaged,
but not severe. Four crew members he had lost dead outside and inside the boat
two more were dying or already dead. But the rest and the boat had survived.
Some were wounded, but alive.
July 7th 1915,
early afternoon, SMS Amazone, Skagerrak
Mischke finally had made up his mind. He had just received the report of his
westernmost Torpedoboot, the G 134. It had encountered a submarine,
again, probably the same which had attacked the SMS Vineta in the
to all ships, new course 090, get back to fighting formation, speed 16 knotes.
When all ships have acknowledged, hoist course 170.”
their cruiser warefare mission was much more successful than he had imagined,
he just did not want to spoil this due to an submarine attack. Clearly this
British Commander was much more aggressive than normal ones. And G 134
had made clear, that they had not sunk that one, in all likeliness. But was that
not the source of a story?
May be they
could not only achieve a victory in the commerce warefare, but one on the
propaganda front as well.
U-Boot greift Schwedischen Frachter ohne Warnung an!” (Note ). What a header! Mischke was
rubbing his hands, smiling.
to the admirality in Kiel.” He started to dictate a W/T message.
afternoon, SMS G 134, Skagerrak, accelerating, course 175
zur See Mudrich was still in a kind of shock. They had survived that encounter
with the submarine, but that was by such a small margin. They all had been
very, very lucky. He was sure that they had not sunk that sub, but it was hit
by at least 7 shells, before it submerged. If they only have had a real heavy
gun, an 8.8 cm or a 10.5 cm, then they would have had sunk it. Or some of those
new waterbombs, he had heard of, being developed.
been hit three times, the last one had wounded three crewmembers, two of them
quite serious. On the other hand , their bow tube was not damaged by the
splinters of hit number two. Hit one had caused a very small fire, which was
extingushed quite fast.
By the way,
SS Sveaborg was really the lucky one, the deflected torpedo had not hit
the swedish vessel, which had desperately turned to starboard after the torpedo
spread. He was tempted to leave them alone, but finally he decided to contact
the Sveaborg. Repair what you can repair, was one of his mothers favorites.
seeing V 152 approaching to cover them. Together with their companion
they now proceeded on their new course. Back to guard the cruisers.
afternoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 025
surfacing again, Lieutenant Commander Richard Barley had decided to proceed on
the old course.
managed to reduce the leakage from above, but he did not dare to dive too deep.
was needing something, Barley was feeling it. Fight desperation!
encounter is more important than you can imagine. We had taken on one of those
few remaining german destroyers. After their recent losses the huns are very
short on escorts! We sure have hurt that bastard. Now lets hunt again, our
remaining two bow and two stern torpedoes are awaiting their targets. I want to
sink one of those Armored Cruisers out there”!
crew has applauded. He was so proud of them.
other hand, what should he do with the wounded? They urgently need doctors
afternoon, SMS Kaiser Karl der Grosse, Wilhelmshaven, steerage way
Knipping was watching the receeding quai. They were on their way, finally. Soon
they ought to pick up their escorts. He definitively was eager to reach Kiel in the morning hours of July 9th
latest. On another quai, in the now nearly empty harbor, he could see
their sistership, the rebuilt SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II.. Seems she
had to stay in the North Sea. The old Kaiser Friedrich III. Class battleship was used as stationary
flagship, she was likely unavailable, though Viceadmiral Letters was recently
using the SMS Grosser Kurfuerst frequently in that role. And not only
when they were out there with the other Dreadnoughts, like today, but in the
harbour as well. Once again Knipping was amazed how things had changed these
recent months. The Hochseeflotte was again out in the North Sea.
looking for a battle”? he wondered silently. “XO, can you make out our
afternoon, SMS Prinz Adalbert, Baltic, 14 knots, course 095
Hopman decided to call it a day. He adressed Prinz Adalbert's CO,
Kapitaen zur See Michelsen.
decided to cancel the planned cruise to the north. At least for today. The fuel
situation on our Torpedobooten is too aggravating to proceed with the old plan.
Michelsen, we will implement the following changes. By the way, where is my
flagofficer Kapitaenleutnant Gercke? He should help us a bit”.
arrived, Hopman continued.
Halbflottille shall escort the Gazelle-class cruisers SMS Medusa,
SMS Thethis, SMS Arcona and SMS Niobe to Libau. Kommodore
von Karpf ought to replenish coal there and stay ready”.
As was his
habit, a short hesitation followed.
Halbflottile will escort us to Danzig. I am tempted to send the boats to Libau afterwards, but we
will have to keep in mind the enemy submarines prowling around. Therefore they
will accompany the Grosse Kreuzer to Danzig. There we will replenish coal as well. Tomorrow
evening, two colliers loaded with coal will be escorted to Libau. By us,
assuming correct that SMS Prinz Heinrich and SMS Kaiserin Augusta
will be our companions”? Michelsen was entering the fray.
and I want as many of the 'yardqueens' of the 10th
Torpedoboots-Flottille as possible coming north with us as well.
Kapitaenleutnant Gercke, please make sure the Herren Oberleutnante of those
boats will understand the urgency of what I said”.
Herr Admiral”, Gercke answered.
have two Torpedobootflottillen at all in the Ostsee. One is with Kontreadmiral
Mischke and the other with us. There are plans to send us heavier units as
well, but it would be nearly suicide to send them without additional escort
units. I have made that clear with my latest reports”.
had noted frequently the many tactical and strategical thoughts of his
superieur. “He might be the right CinC of this theatre. This is not undermining
my appraisal of Prinz Heinrich”, he thought. He refocussed his thoughts, as
“My plan is
to use attached V 108 as well. She is our only true modern boat. What a
shame we lost V 107 and were not able to salvage her“. (Note )
started to smile sadly. “Yes, admiral, as you might remember, I was aboard V
107 when we struck that mine in Libau harbour.” He ommitted the fact that
he was lightly wounded during that incident (Note ). “The storm some days later
abruptly ended the salvage efforts. The boat became a total loss, even though
many parts of her equipment could be salvaged.
Michelsen, I had not forgotten that, I did not want to sound tactless”,
Kontreadmiral Hopman said with a smile. Gercke not for the first time was
amazed how good the relationship between the Admiral and his Flag Captain was.
Business. The Torpedoboote, which accompany us, will replenish coal again in
Libau. Then the whole fleet will leave Libau in the morning hours of July 9th”.
and U 9 will stay on their current positions. More details, especially
for the small cruisers , will be worked out today.
minutes later on the bridge.
to the cruisers and the 19th Halbflottille, hoist detached. When
they acknowledge, hoist course 175 for the rest of us”, Michelsen commanded.
afternoon, SMS Kaiser Karl der Grosse, German Bight, 12 knots, course
T 91, T 93 and T 94 had
taken their positions. They currently belong to the Hafenflottille Jade/Weser,
which was in fact one of the many groups of the Kuestenschutzverband Nordsee.
boats, being the earliest Grosse Torpedoboote of the German Fleet, being 1899
vintage S 90 type, had received the 'T' instead of their former 'Letter'
September 04th 1914. Ironically the escorter and the
escorted were about the same age.
Knipping did not mind one bit. At Schillig Reede they had met the Fourth
Battlesquadron, the flag of Viceadmiral Schmidt flying aboard the SMS
Wittelsbach. Obviously they stand ready to help the Hochseeflotte, should
that be necessary. But they were not heading out into the North Sea. They had just been waiting.
“Letters do not like the old battlewagons along”, Knipping reminded himself.
given the proper salute and proceeded along.
hoist 085”. They would proceed east until they will reach the Elbe estuary. Then they ought to change
the course to southeasterly directions.
afternoon, SMS Kaiser Barbarossa, Kiel, alongside quai
zur See Schlicht, a message for you”, his second officer arrived with a letter
in his hand. The SMS Kaiser Barbarossa just had returned from a short
exercise and returned to Kiel. Acting as a targetship for the
Torpedo-Inspektion currently, she was the only one of her sisters of the Kaiser
Friedrich III. class with a full crew. How chould Schlicht know that SMS
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was up to normal crew strength due to today's
transfer of SMS Kaiser Friedrich III.'s crew.
see”, he opened the envelope and started to read. He looked up and ordered.
“Kapitaenleutnant Warncke, please inform Korvettenkapitaen Schuster, that there
is a briefing in the Admiralität in 90 minutes. Herr Schuster will accompany
Herr Kapitaen”, Warncke answered and turned around. “The XO as well”, he
afternoon, St. Petersburg, Admirality
Ranga (Note ) Koltschak, chief officer of the
Russian Baltic Fleet Operations, was leaving the room. He had just finished a
lengthy discussion with his superieur, Vice-Admiral Kanin. One time after the
other he had argumented, finally begged for a more active role of their strong
fleet. But Kanin was – reluctant.
death of their former commander, Vice-Admiral Baron von Essen, May 20th,
it was much more difficult to get approval for offensive missions. And he had
planned such a brilliant move.
he thought, “I will come back tomorrow, to try it again”. This eveninig he
would have dinner with Kontre-Admiral Bachireff, the agile commander of their
First Cruiser Brigade. His flag was currently flying from the Armored Cruiser Admiral
Makaroff. He would arrive by train, bringing some of his staff with him.
Currently the First Cruiser Brigade was stationed in Reval.
discuss some of my ideas with him”. He was quite sure that Bachireff would
support his ideas.
July 7th 1915, afternoon, SMS Albatross bridge, North
Sea, course 345
“It must be
now or never”, Korvettenkapitaen West thought. Again and again he was looking
on his watch. “NO, exact position?”. Roon was still about 1000 meters
ahead of them. From time to time both their 'wing - cruisers' came in view.
we are crossing the line, Sir”, his Nautical Officer was answering.
Buehler was entering the bridge. “Captain, our fuel situation is getting worse
by the hour. This high speed is poison for our coal stocks”.
loaded coal in excess of their normal maximum of 526 tons. But SMS Albatross
was the most 'short-legged' one of the whole GAS. Already the deck load was
gone, long gone to be honest. He had hated all that crates on deck, then. “What
if we would have to enter a fight with all those obstructions”, hehad thought.
Now he whished that load back The bunkers were draining fast. The situation was
not critical, however. Not yet.
of the ship had changed in the last hours,he was sure of it. Intellectually he
knew it was probably because of the greater swells of the Atlantic. Emotionally though, he could not
help felling that their fast-emptying coal bunkers were making them bob as
July 7th 1915,
afternoon, SMS Amazone, Skagerrak, 16 knots, course 170
will leave the Skagerrak. The commerce warfare project in the Skagerrak had ended. Konteradmiral
Mischke mentaly went through the report he wanted to send to the Admiralty. About
one hour ago, they had reversed to cruising formation. Behind Amazone,
both Grosse Kreuzer were following, Vineta being the one in the middle.
Torpedoboote had taken their escort formation. So far no enemy submarine or
warship had shown up. They had received a W/T message from SMS Panther
about the Danish Fleet sailing north. At least that way no misunderstanding
afternoon, HMS E - 4, Skagerrak, 15 knots, course 135
Commander Richard Barley was frustrated. All the long afternoon hours had he
tried, try very hard to regain contact to make his promise and wish come true.
They had sailed on north-easterly directions, seeing not even a plume. Then he
had changed to course back to east. Half an hour ago he had seen a plume to the
southeast, but he could not get closer. They had escaped him. Damned!
to E – 4's tower was more severe than first expected. And the wireless
was destroyed beyond repair, that fact frustrated him most. And he had to take
care of the wounded.
to 295, reduce speed to 10 knots. Perhaps in the North Sea out there still is pray”!
He just did
not knew how right he was.
July 7th evening,
St. Petersburg, Nevski Prospect
fine restaurant”, Kapitan I. Ranga Koltschak wondered how well one could dine,
even in wartime conditions. It was just a question of available rubel. He was
dining, as planed, with Kontre-Admiral Bachireff. Bachireff had brought the
captains of all ships of the First Cruiser Brigade with him as well as Kapitan
II. Ranga Graf ( note ), the extreme agile commander of
the Nowik, his largest and best destroyer. The Nowik was used as
destroyer leader and fast minelayer frequently. She was much superieur of all
German destroyers. More like a light cruiser.
Leitenant arrived by his side. He bowed low and spoke with a hushed voice.
Vice-Admiral Kanin has an important information and wants to see you and the
other commanders as well”.
looked up. Something very important must have happened. He replied with a
Leitenant, we will arrive very soon. Please see to the cars.”
I just heard that our Commander wants to see us. I am sorry, Sirs, but we have
to interrupt the dinner.”
July 7th 1915, SMS Panther, evening, 12 knots, course 235
Korvettenkapitaen Velten had received the wireless
message from Kontreadmiral Mischke. Now he knew, that Kuestenschutzverband
Ostsee was on its way home.
Together with S 122 they had controlled two
merchants this afternoon. Their papers and load had been inspected but was
unsuspicious. Unfortunately. He had patroled on for some time, hoping for
another possible success. Now it was time.
“Signals, to S 122, asume van, shortest course to
evening St. Petersburg, Admirality
chauffeured from the restaurant to the admiralty, Kapitan I. Ranga Koltschak
and his group had entered the big conference room. Other officers were
attending there as well. Soon after their arrival, their new C in C,
Vice-Admiral Kanin had arrived.
Kanin had thought quite a long time before he had ordered his commanders to
gather. Should he really order that operation? It was quite unlike any
operation in this war. Not that there had not been operations, especialy in the
long dark nights of the last winter, before the ice made operations impossible.
But in this scope? Never! But that was the chance. His chance. The enemy was
weaker than ever. The risk was low. So he finally had made up his mind and
ordered the gathering.
thank you for arriving that fast. You may wonder what is that important, to
interrupt such a fine dinner. Well, we have a war to win. And the opportunity
to achive a significant success seems to be there”.
beginning, he thought. He had their undivided attention. All faces had turned
evening a message from the English Admirality arrived. It seems that our German
adversaries had made big a mistake. Our English collegues received a message by
one of their submarines, cruising north of the tip of Jutland”, one of his
staff officers pointed with a stick on the large map on the wall, “that two
German Armored Cruisers, small cruisers and destroyers were sighted with a
northern bound course”.
Ranga Graf briefly wondered what use this information might be good for. Operations
in the North
mattered for them.
murmurs arose from the crowd. “Armored cruisers in the Skagerrak”! The commander of the Goromoboy
stated, quite useless in Graf's point of view.
one of them was identified as SMS Prinz Heinrich “!
Graf was electrified and raised his voice: “Excellence, that means that the
Armored Cruisers belong to the Baltic Scouting Forces”!
observed, Kapitan”, Kanin continued. “Exactly. The German Scouting Forces
Baltic consist of all of German's remaining three Armored Cruisers, the
mentioned Prinz Heinrich, the Roon and the Prinz Adalbert.
If two of them are in the North Sea currently, they are weak in the Baltic. Too weak to resist
our offensive efforts. My Chief Operational Officer, Kapitan Koltschak came up
with a daring plan. I decided to go along with this plan, though I slightly
modified it. We will use all available offensive forces”.
mean you include the new Gangut-Class dreadnoughts, as well, Admiral”?
Kontre-Admiral Bachireff questioned.
Kanin looked at him. A very critical look. Mentally he shook his head.
not! They will be needed to guard the gulf. This will not change! And they are
not needed for the planned operations, eigther. As you know well, those were
finished November and December last year. Due to the ice drift the training of
their crews was interrupted mid February. We resumed operational training
only beginning of May, when the ice melted enough for exercises in the
Gulf of Finland”.
meantime the Sevastopol and Poltava have already joined our
modern Semidreadnoughts Andrei Pervozanny and Imperator Pavel I.
in Helsingfors. The Gangut and Petropavlovsk will join them soon.
Until the Borodino – Class battlecruisers will join our fleet late next
year, those are too important to risk. Without a proper defence in the gulf
approaches our capital is in danger. This is not to be allowed! By the way, Izmail
and Borodino were just launched recently, Borodino one week ago,
July 1st . Due to the unexpected outbreak of the war we have had
problems with the availability of the foreign build turbines of the other two, Kinburn
and Navarin. The Germans confiscated the Stettin built turbines of Navarin
and those being build by Parsons in England for Kinburn had delivery
problems. Those are now underway, via Archangelsk, as I just learned. We will
transport them via rail to Leningrad, as soon as they are to arrive. By the
way, the Navarin ones were reordered domestically.
come back to the plan”, Koltschak thought desperately.
was in converstion mood, now. “Next year our newbuild cruisers of the Svetlana-Class,
at least some of them, will become available. It is a shame that germany confiscated
the cruisers Muravev Amurski and Admiral Nevelskoi last summer.
They would make a difference, for they could have countered the fast German
small cruisers. We plan to build more big battleships, as soon as Germany is
subdued. The plan..”
Admiral, but what is the planned role of my Nowik”? Graf interrupted. He
was already kind of a naval hero, due to his many successful minelaying
operations this and last year. So he could dare to interrupt.
blinked. Gathering himself, he continued. “Must have been carried away”, he
the plan, gentlemen. The planned operation has multiple prongs of attack!”
all, the Engagement Brigade will consist of our big Armored Cruiser Ryurik,
accompanied by Nowik and the Half-Flotilla for Special Purposes (Note
). Those boats will load 35 mines each and the Nowik will load
50. This is quite an amount. Lots of work for Kaiser's minesweepers”, he tried
for Ryurik is to shell the German harbor of Memel, long and intensively,
the destroyers then will mine its entrances. That harbor will be rendered
unusable thereafter. Is that understood”? Kanin took his glass of wine and
drank, then he continued. “This means that the Germans have to retreat to
Danzig for a base”.
will be covered by Admiral Bachireff's First Cruiser Brigade, consisting
of the Armored Cruisers Admiral Makaroff and Bayan, and the fast
and strong Protected Cruisers Bogatyr and Oleg. Admiral
Bachireff, you will be accompanied by the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla (Note
) with its eight boats. You will
sail to the south on the eastern shore of Gotland to render assistance when necessary.
Your task however is to attack showing up German forces. Shatter any light
units you encounter. Should you encounter Battleships, a fact extremely
unlikely, you are hereby ordered to retreat. Do not endanger our best force!”
His glance was as cold as steel. He feared that Bachireff might get carried
away, unless tightly controlled.
completion of the Memel operation, Engagement Brigade will join you,
prong will be the Second Cruiser Brigade, consisting of the older Armored
Cruisers Gromoboy, my old flagship, the Rossiya, as well as
the Protected Cruisers Avrora and Diana. Accompanied by the Sixth
Destroyer Flotilla (note ), they will sail directly east,
south of the Aaland Islands to hunt for the German Iron Ore ships and other
contrabande ladden ones there. Let us interrupt that flow of supplies from
Sweden to Germany. Without that ore, there will be no guns to harras our army
collegues. When they are near the Swedish coast, they sail south.
Cruiser Brigade can be considered strategic reserve for you, Admiral Bachireff.
I do not think you need them, but who knows”. He made a short pause, looked
around, his glance finally resting on the other admiral.
encounter the missing third German Armored Cruiser, Admiral, do not hesitate,
attack that one and sink it. Use Ryurik, if you have to, she is stronger
even than the late German SMS Bluecher, though you will likely not meet
her. The English claim her sunk during that Battle in the North Sea late May. Ryurik
is by far the strongest ship in the Baltic now. The German Battlecruisers are
in the North Sea, so you need not to worry about those. The Hochseeflotte under
the command of Admiral Letters is reportedly out there as well. You all have to
make good use of our current superiority”.
is not all of the plan. The Eighth Destroyer Flottila ( Note), each of its eight boats loaded
with ten mines will lay mines at Steinort at the Courland coast. That is to
augment the minefileds which guard the entrance to the Gulf of Riga.
Furthermore it will hinder the German Forces operating in Libau. Only light
forces, are currently there, be assured”.
back that all up, properly”, he started to smile brightly, finally letting the
'Cat out of the sack', “accompanied by the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla,
(note ) our Battleships Tsesarevitch
and Slava will stand ready as an overall cover force. My flag will fly
aboard the Tsesarevitch.
murmurs from the crowd and bright glances.
battleships will leave the Gulf of Finland and sail south to the longitude of
the Baltic island of Dagoe. You see, we send out all available forces. It is
the biggest operation of our fleet in this war so far. Even our Highest had
approved this operation”.
Destroyer Flottila ( Note) will stand ready in the Gulf's
entrances. They finally are the last unit to be called upon. All other units
will not leave the Gulf”!
expect more than one German Armored Cruiser and up to three fast small
cruisers. I wonder if they have that many fast ones currently available. Surely
some slow ones and destroyers will be met. Sink those”!
operation will begin in the early morning hours of the day after tomorrow. That
way it is mandatory that we soon get underway. Detailed plans for every force
and ship will follow”.
surprised by the suddenly erupting applause.
July 7th 1915,
SMS Roon, evening, course 345
hoist 15 knots. When all have acknowledged, hoist 010”! Fregattenkapitaen
officers to the chartroom, see to it, bitte”, he addressed a runner.
Herren, as far as I can tell we are through. Well done, everyone. Please make
it clear that I am very satisfied with the performance of our crew today. For
some of them it was their first real contact with the enemy. He have to keep
that in mind. And I want this appraise send to the other ships as well.
Kapitainleutnant Kempfert, can you see to that please, when this meeting is
captain”, the stern one answered.
fuel statements from all ships as well. But most important of all is that we
finally have left the North Sea. We are out in the Atlantic. Our supporting
Forces, First Scouting and The Hochseeflotte have done their job well. We are
through, nearly unscathed. Berlin had suffered some personal losses,
unfortunately. They will bury their dead tonight, as well as some picked up
corpses of English Matrosen”. His good mood was suddenly gone.
want to reduce speed to 12 knotes, to entend our range as far as possibel. I am
not yet sure if we are to recoal before we begin the first part of our mission.
I already have ideas about two possible remote coaling places. But I am not
decided. Tomorrow we will change our course to a north-north easterly pattern.
The weather is predicted to hold tomorrow”. It is as we are on a pleasure
cruise, Ziethen thought as well.
form a cruising line with Berlin and Undine, but I would like to wait with the
beginning of commerce warfare until we will have laid our mines. On the other
hand, many coal-freighters ladden with good welsh coal sail to Archangel from
England. May be we can get our share. I would rather prefer to be sponsored
that way. Using welsh Coal will give us at least one more knot”.
Findert and Kapitaenleutnante Trapp and Hoehne, I want a conversation with you
in my rooms, when the night comes. How long can we expect darkness tonight,
minutes if you count the twilight as well”, Kempfert replied. “It will be the
last darkness for many days to come, should we proceed along as planned”.
Meine Herren, Questions”?
notes on Russian Baltic Fleet operations:
the winter 1914/1915 there were many minelying missions . Some of them by Nowik
and the special half flotilla. The first such was planned 16th
October, was abandoned and finally started October 31st. Ther were
about seven such missions. In December those were covered by Ryurik, Adm.
Makarov, Oleg and Bogatyr down to Bornholm. Another one in January 1915 with
obve mentioned ones plus Rossija and Bajan. As you can see those operations
were quite well equiped. The last such mission was February 12th
1915, then icing made missions impossible.
skirmish developed OTL July 2nd , when the German Minelayer
Albatross accompanied by Augsburg was attacked by Adm. Makarow, Bajan, Oleg and
Bogatyr. Approaching Roon came too late to save Albatross, which was beached at
Gotland, to prevent sinking.
russian task forces had missions like the one I described. Though not quite in
this scale. The Battleships T. and S were not used in a covering mission, but
in my story they are 'only' reserve.
open for discussions but I really fell that Kanin would aprove that mission
now.And even the Tzar will have nothing against it.
there is a battle brewing.
for Letterstime by Uwe Ziethen.
permitted to be placed on Jim Beall 's “Thequickbluefox.com” server.
to thank Jim very much for his encouragement and support.
Footnote 1: K an K =
Kommandant an Kommandant, commander to commander
Footnote 2: Norddeich
is the most powerful wireless station, near the german North Sea coast
Footnote 3: Mist =
Another word for shit, but not quite that obscene!
Translated as: English submarine attacks Swedish freighter without warning!
Footnote 5: V 107,
the former dutch newbuild, was sunk May 08th 1915 due to a russian
mine in the
harbor of Libau.
Footnote 6: Der Krieg
zur See, Ostsee Band 2, page 94/95
Footnote 7: Kapitan
I. Ranga = Kapitaen zur See in German, Captain in english
Footnote 8: Kapitan
II. Ranga = Fregattenkapitaen in German, Captain in English
Footnote 9: Special
Half-Flotilla: General Kondratenko, Okhotnik, Pogranichnik and
Footnote 10: Fifth Destroyer
Flotilla: Dobrovoletz, Emir Bukharski, Finn and Moskvityanin;
Ussurietz and Vsadnik (8 units)
Footnote 11: Sixth Destroyer
Flotilla: Donskoi Kazak, Kazanets, Setergushchi, Strashni,
Stavropolski, Ukraina, Vojskovoi, Zabajkaletz (8 units)
Footnote 12: Eighth Destroyer
Flotilla: Iskusni, Krepki, Legki, Likhoi, Lovki, Metki, Molodetski,
Footnote 13: Seventh Destroyer
Flotilla: Bditelni, Boevoi, Burni, Inzhener-Mekhanik Dmitriev,
Inzhener-Mekhanik Zverev, Vnimatelni, Vnushitelni, Vynoslivi (8 units)
Footnote 14: Ninth Destroyer
Flotilla: Dyelni, Dyeyatelni, Dostoini, Rastoropni, Razyahchi, Silni,
Stroini (8 units)