Clash of Fleets

Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18
Published:April 15, 2017
By Vincent P. O'Hara (Author), Leonard R. Heinz (Author)

Clash of Fleets is an operational history that records every naval engagement fought between major surface warships during the First World War. The book is organized into seven major chapters. The first introduces the technology, the weapons, the ships, and the doctrine that governed naval warfare in 1914. The next five chapters treat each year of the war and are subdivided into sections corresponding to major geographic areas. The elements of these geographic chapters are the battles themselves. This organization allows the massive sweep of action to be presented in a structured and easy to follow format. The book includes engagements fought by the Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Ottoman, and Russian Navies and covers actions fought in the Adriatic, Aegean, Baltic, Black, and North Seas as well as the Atlantic, India, and Pacific Oceans. A conclusion analyzes and summarizes the role of surface combat in the Great War and compares these actions to those fought in the major naval wars before and after. Clash of Fleets is concerned with the questions of why battles occurred; how the different navies fought, and how combat advanced doctrine and affected the development and application of technology. Certain key or interesting battles are described in greater detail to give better insight into the period’s naval warfare. Moreover, every battle is placed in context. The result is a holistic overview of the war at sea as it affected all nations and all theaters of war. A work with this content and format has never been produced.

In addition to providing detailed descriptions of actions and setting them in their historical contexts, the book develops several themes. It shows that World War One was a war of navies as much as a war of armies. The Entente Powers would have lost the war had they lost control of the sea, while the Central Powers faced slow strangulation due to the Entente naval blockade. It shows that surface combat and the ability to impose surface combat power had a major impact on all aspects of the naval war and on the course of the war in general. This work also shows that systems developed in peace do not always work as expected; that some are not used as anticipated; and that others became unexpectedly important. There is much for today’s naval professional to consider in the naval conflict that occurred one hundred years ago.

List Price: $34.95
Spring 2017 Catalog Price$20.97
Product Details
  • Subject: World War I
  • Hardback : 384 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 15, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1682470083
  • ISBN-13: 9781682470084
  • Product Dimensions: 6.12 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 22.88 oz
  • Clash of Fleets is an essential companion for anyone with an interest in First World War naval history. It is a highly readable masterpiece, a tour d’horizon of the naval war. An added pleasure is that the book’s basic premise of keeping the smaller, but still significant, actions on the radar, encourages the reader to go into further exploration. No doubt, I will be returning to the pages of Clash of Fleets for many years.” — NICHOLAS JELLICOE, author of Jutland: The Unfinished Battle
  • “This encyclopedic work describes the naval surface engagements of World War I, from major fleet actions (the Battle of Jutland is neatly summarized) to minor skirmishes. For each calendar year, a concise strategic overview introduces vivid accounts of each action with, as appropriate, perceptive analysis of its strategic consequences and how its outcome depended on leadership, signals, tactics, gunnery, torpedoes and mines.” — JOHN BROOKS, author of The Battle of Jutland
  • “O'Hara's book is a valuable corrective to the widespread idea that World War I surface actions were limited to three North Sea battles. He emphasizes other theaters of operations which many have neglected.” — NORMAN FRIEDMAN, author of Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology and Naval Weapons of World War One: Guns, Torpedoes, Mines, and ASW Weapons of All Nations-An Illustrated Directory
  • Clash of Fleets is a master-class in how to present an extensive subject within the limitations of a single volume. Unlike the majority of works on the naval battles of the Great War, which tend to concentrate on the major battles between the British and German Navy, it reflects the global nature of the naval conflict. Clash of Fleets covers the majority of naval surface actions in sufficient detail to provide a real understanding of not only the actions themselves but the background of naval strategy, tactics, ships and equipment from which they developed. There is also clear analytical coverage of the evolution of the naval war and of the importance of the actions themselves. It is also a very good read and well removed from the dry prose that war histories often produce.” — JOHN ROBERTS, author of British Warships of the Second World War: Detailed in the Original Builders’ Plan and British Battlecruisers, 1900-1920; and a former editor of Warship

Vincent P. O'Hara is an independent scholar and the author of eleven books and many articles. He is the Naval Institute Press 2015 Author of the Year for his most recent work, Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory. O’Hara holds a history degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Chula Vista, California.

More by this Author

Struggle for the Middle Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia and Africa meet. It was the...Read More
On Seas Contested
A team of naval historians have pooled their expertise for this definitive single-volume reference...Read More
The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945
The German Fleet at War relates the little-known history of the Kriegsmarine's surface fleet...Read More
To Crown the Waves
The only comparative analysis available of the great navies of World War I, this work studies the...Read More

Related Content

None found for this author.

Events and Conferences

Meet the Authors & Book Signing
WEST 2016 - San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA - U.S. Naval Institute Booth #1125 - Check... Read More
Meet the Authors & Book Signing
WEST 2016 - San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA - U.S. Naval Institute Booth #1125 - Check... Read More

Leonard Heinz is a retired financial services lawyer with a strong interest in naval affairs. He has designed and published many wargames with an emphasis on tactical naval simulations. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico with his wife Meg.

More by this Author

Clash of Fleets
Clash of Fleets is an operational history that records every naval engagement fought between major...Read More

Related Content

None found for this author.

Events and Conferences

None found for this author.

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Reviews


Conferences and Events

View All

From the Press

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Sat, 2017-02-25

Capt. Alec Fraser, USN (Ret.)

"Brownbag Talk"

Tue, 2017-02-28

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership