18/1/1916 A new commander for the German fleet spells danger for Britain

After some clashes with the British fleet in 1914 and early 1915 the main German fleet has been confined to port. The British navy is more powerful and German leaders fear destruction should the two fleets end up in a straight fight. But now Germany has a new naval commander, as Admiral Reinhard Scheer succeeds the unwell Hugo von Pohl. Scheer favours a more aggressive strategy. He knows that it is the British fleet that is the source of Britain’s strategic dominance. If the British navy could be defeated then the blockade of Germany would be lifted, allowing for the unimpeded import of foodstuffs and the raw materials needed for the war effort. The way would also be open for an invasion of England itself.

How to defeat the British fleet is something of a conundrum, given Britain’s naval dominance. Scheer begins to think about combined operations in which the British will be attacked by a combination of German capital ships, U-boats and Zeppelins. If the naval balance in the North Sea can be changed then Scheer will have won the war.

image source:

Reinhard Scheer (Wikipedia)

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