Clash of Fleets

Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18
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Binding:Hardback
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.
Clash of Fleets is an operational history that records every naval engagement fought between major surface warships during World War I. Much more than a catalog of combat facts, Clash of Fleets explores why battles occurred; how the different navies fought; and how combat advanced doctrine and affected the development and application of technology. The result is a holistic overview of the war at sea as it affected all nations and all theaters of war. A work of this scope is unprecedented.

Organized into seven chapters, the authors first introduce the technology, weapons, ships, and the doctrine that governed naval warfare in 1914. The next five chapters explore each year of the war and are subdivided into sections corresponding to major geographic areas. This arrangement allows the massive sweep of action to be presented in a structured and easy to follow format that includes engagements fought by the Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Ottoman, and Russian Navies in the Adriatic, Aegean, Baltic, Black, Mediterranean, and North Seas as well as the Atlantic, India, and Pacific Oceans. The role of surface combat in the Great War is analyzed and these actions are compared to major naval wars before and after.

In addition to providing detailed descriptions of actions in their historical perspectives, O’Hara and Heinz advance several themes, including the notion that World War I was a war of navies as much as a war of armies. They explain that surface combat had a major impact on all aspects of the naval war and on the course of the war in general. Finally, Clash of Fleets illustrates that systems developed in peace do not always work as expected in war, 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 a century ago.

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Product Details
  • Subject: World War I
  • Hardback : 376 pages
  • Illustrations: 9 Figures, 25 Maps, 26 Photos
  • 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
Praise
  • 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
  • Clash of Fleets should, after reading, find a berth on the bookshelves of naval history enthusiasts and general readers alike. It will provide an on-going ready reference for study or occasional dipping into as the mood arises and so is highly recommended.”- Australian Naval Institute
  • “The book will appeal to both those new to naval history who want a compendium of naval surface combat in the Great War as well as those with greater knowledge who need an accessible vademecum.” – Starshell
  • “This fresh work from an established naval historian reads almost like an encyclopedia of the subject, yet the clear writing weaves in an effective narrative of the battles, tactics, and technologies of the era. It is an engaging and well-written history…” – Military Heritage
  • “On the whole, this book is an excellent addition to any naval enthusiast’s collection… a wealth of information in an easily readable format. An enjoyable, well written book, it should also be considered by anyone with just a simple interest in naval affairs.” – The Northern Mariner
  • Clash of Fleets is a welcome addition to the field of naval history, which documents the naval battles of the First World War and provides an analysis of the development of tactics and strategy for each naval power.” —The Mariner's Mirror
  • "Clash of Fleets is an excellent read for anyone with an interest in naval warfare, and particularly World War I at sea." —Strategy Page

Vincent P. O'Hara is an independent scholar and the author of nine works including five published by the Naval Institute Press, most recently Torch. His articles have appeared in the Naval War College Review, Warship, MHQ, Storia Militare, and other periodicals and journals. He holds a history degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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LEONARD R. 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 holds a history degree from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

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