IGCSE History: World War I – Key Events in the War at Sea

Topics: History

IGCSE History: World War I – Key Events in the War at Sea

What were the Key Events in the North Sea?

British Naval Blockade on Germany:

  • Ordered at the outbreak of the War and started in August 1914.
  • Prevented all ships from entering or leaving German waters.
  • 12 000 ships carrying supplies (oil, food, medical provisions were intercepted.)
  • Only 80 ships slipped through.

This caused a serious food shortage in Germany during 1916:

  • Caused riots in German towns.
  • Winter of this year was known as the turnip winter; potatoes ran out and turnips were the only foodstuffs left.

Battle of the Heligoland Bight: (August 1914)

First naval battle in the Great War.
What happened?

  • British destroyers approached the German coast.
  • They were pursued by the German cruiser fleet.
  • They led the Germans out to sea where a British cruiser fleet commanded by Admiral Beatty converged on them.


  • 3 German cruisers were sunk.
  • 1 German destroyer was sunk.
  • Admiral Beatty was hailed as a hero.
  • The morale of British troops was raised.

German Raids on the East Coast: (December 1914)


  1. To strike a blow against British morale.
  2. To spread the British Grand Fleet across a much larger area and so prevent them from bringing their full might to bear on the German navy.
  • The first raid was launched against Hartlepool at 8:00 am, 16th December, 1914.
  • Whitby and Scarborough were also shelled that day with 500 civilian fatalities.
  • The raid used mainly ship mounted artillery cannons.

The raids caused outrage in Britain:

  • The public criticized the Navy for not defending them properly.

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  • The outrage directed against Germany gave rise to another recruiting campaign in Britain.

Battle of the Dogger Bank: (24th January, 1915)

British forces intercepted a radio message:

  • Suggested an attack on a British fishing fleet.
  • Admiral Beatty and his fleet were sent to ambush the Germans.
  • The Germans were taken completely by surprise.


  • 2 German cruisers were sunk.
  • Admiral Beatty’s flagship, HMS Lion, was damaged; this slowed the fleet down and prevented them from giving chase.
  • The remaining German ships escaped.

Cite this page

IGCSE History: World War I – Key Events in the War at Sea. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/igcse-history-world-war-i-key-events-in-the-war-at-sea/

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