Battle of Dogger Bank

Battle of Dogger Bank
Date January 24, 1915
Location Dogger Bank, North Sea
Victor British victory
Flag-of-the-United-Kingdom United Kingdom Flag_of_the_German_Empire German Empire
Unit Strength
5 battlecruisers
7 light cruisers
35 destroyers
3 battlecruisers
1 armoured cruiser
4 light cruisers
18 destroyers
Casualties and Deaths
1 battlecruiser out of action
1 destroyer out of action
15 killed
32 wounded
1 armoured cruiser sunk
1 battlecruiser heavily damaged
954 killed
80 wounded
189 captured
Part of World War I

The Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) was one of the most legendary naval battles that occurred during the Great War. The battle occurred on the North Sea by Dogger Bank and it involved the German High Seas Fleet and the British Grand Fleet.

Precursors to the Battle

Britain was able to slow down the submarine warfare Germany engaged in, so a German admiral named Hipper made the tactical decision to attack three British towns on the North Sea. On December 16, 1914, a massive shelling attack occurred that left 18 civilians dead.

The grim attack was deemed a success by the Germans. Plans were put in order to repeat a similar attack. This time, the British Navy would be better prepared.

Intercepting Radio Communications

The Russians had captured a code book and the information was shared with the Allies. The British were able to intercept and decode radio traffic thanks to the book. The information the British learned was that Hipper had set in motion plans to launch a new raid.

British Admiral Beatty took five battle cruises along with lighter cruisers and destroyers and headed south to confront Hipper and his ships. On January 24, 1915, the Battle of Dogger Bank commenced. The effects of the battle were quite significant.

Events at Dogger Bank

Batalla_de_Dogger_BankOnce Hipper saw the British fleet, he felt the numbers were too much to overcome, so he ordered a retreat. The British ships were fast enough to reach Hipper and the battle started. The German ship, Blutcher, was sunk leading to the deaths of 782 German sailors.

Hipper’s ship, the Sevdlitz, suffered fatalities numbering 192. Beatty’s ship, the Lion, was left unable to fight when German attacks limited its ability to operate.

The British likely could have destroyed the entire German fleet, but Beatty was concerned about mines and the possible presence of submarines. As a result, the German fleet was able to retreat although it did suffer massive casualties. British casualties were relatively small as only 15 sailors lost their lives. This is not to suggest the loss of life was trivial, but it was far smaller in number that the near 1,000 lost by the Germans.

Changing Tides in the War

The Battle of Dogger Bank was most definitely not a battle that changed the overall course of the war. However, the end result of the battle would have a major effect on how Germany would use its navy in engagements. Kaiser Wilhelm II issued orders that the navy was not to take any more serious risks with its surface vessels. This would limit how they would be used in the war.

The morale in Great Britain was given a major boost in the aftermath of the naval battle. Troubling losses of military and civilian personnel had made the populace war-weary and very concerned over victory. The increase in morale had a strong effect on the troops and provided them with more resolve.

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