Battle of Dogger Bank

From Academic Kids

The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval battle in the North Sea that took place on 24 January 1915, during the First World War, involving units of the Royal Navy and the German Fleet.

With the German home fleet effectively bottled up by Admiral Beatty's success at Heligoland Bight, German Admiral Franz von Hipper decided to launch a raid upon three British North Sea coastal towns using the German Battlecruiser Squadron, comprising five battlecruisers supported by light cruisers and destroyers. The raid took place on 16 December 1914 at 9am, and resulted in the death of 18 civilians at Scarborough, causing further damage at Whitby and Hartlepool.

British public and political reaction was outraged that the German Fleet could sail so close to the British coast and proceed to shell coastal towns.

Buoyed by the success of the raid, Admiral Hipper resolved to repeat the exercise the following month. He was however intercepted by the British on 24 January 1915 at Dogger Bank, midway between Germany and Britain.

Through intercepted German radio traffic the British had learnt of Hipper's proposed sortie on 23 January. Consequently Admiral Beatty set sail with five battle cruisers to meet Hipper's three, aided by a further six light cruisers. Joined by additional cruisers and destroyers at Harwich, Beatty proceeded south before encountering Hipper's outlying vessels at 7.20am on the morning of 24 January.

Realising he was overpowered, Hipper attempted to escape, believing the British battle cruisers to be slower than his. Beatty's cruisers, however, were notably faster than their German counterparts, and succeeded in reaching their extreme firing range by 9am. Battle started half an hour later.

Missing image
The sinking SMS Blcher rolls over onto her side

The British managed to first halt and then sink the slower armored cruiser SMS Blcher, killing 782 men, and damaged Hipper's flagship, battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz (killing 192), although the Germans in turn succeeding in effectively hammering Beatty's own flagship, HMS Lion, to a standstill. Lion took no further part in the battle after 11:00.

Nevertheless, a major British success appeared likely until Beatty, believed he saw a submarine (It seems, he saw a surfacing torpedo launched by a German destroyer), and ordered a sharp turn to avoid it. Beatty sent out an order, which thanks to the destruction of Lion's electrics and the damage done to her flag hoists, was seriously vague. In following this order his remaining active battlecruisers broke off the pursuit of the German battle cruiser squadron, and rounded on the crippled Blcher, sinking her.

In the intervening time the heavily damaged main German battle cruiser squadron was able to escape.

A German zeppelin appeared over the sinking Blucher and dropped bombs on the sailors. Apparently this was the source of a German claim that a British battlecruiser had sunk.

15 British sailors had been killed in the encounter.

Although the battle was not greatly consequential of itself, it boosted British morale and concerned the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, enough to issue an order stating that all further risks to surface vessels were to be auf der Doggerbank ja:ドッガーバンク海戦 nl:Slag bij de Doggersbank (1915) pl:Bitwa na Dogger Bank


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