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public scouted the idea as being impossible of accomplishment, but the report persisted, and cities along the Atlantic Coast line had been on the watch for several days. The Deutschland eventually turned into Hampton Roads, piloted by a waiting tug, and tied up at a Baltimore dock.
The submarine, which was the largest ever seen in American waters, became a seven days' wonder. Captain Paul Koenig and his twenty-nine men and officers told some interesting stories of their trip across the ocean. It was said that the Deutschland could remain submerged for four days. When they got into the English Channel there was a cordon of warships barring exit to the Atlantic that made them extremely cautious. So Captain Koenig let his vessel lay on the bottom of the channel for a day and a night while the men enjoyed themselves with a phonograph and rousing German songs. When their enemies thinned out to some extent the submarine started again on her way and headed directly for Baltimore, which she reached without special incident.
The Deutschland immediately received the name of supersubmarine. Some thousand tons of dyes and other valuable products filled her hold. They were reported to be worth $1,000,000. The vessel was able to make twelve knots an hour on the surface and about seven knots when submerged. She traveled most of the way across on the surface, being under water about one-third of the time. In addition to her valuable cargo, she brought a special message from Kaiser Wilhelm to the president.
No other submarine, so far as known, had made a trip of such distance as the Deutschland up to that time. Longer voyages have been accredited to several British submarines, but they were either made with a convoy or broken by stops enroute. Soon after the beginning of the war, several Australian submarines journeyed from their far-away home ports to the Dardanelles, traveling 13,000 miles. They called at various points in the two Americas. Submarines built in America and assembled in Canada proceeded from Newfoundland to Liverpool before the Deutschland crossed the Atlantic, but they had another ship as convoy.
The Sultan Selim and the Midullu clashed with Russian ships in the Black Sea, July 11, 1916, sinking four merchant vessels. They also bombarded harbor works on the Caucasian Coast near Puab. Both attacking vessels made their escape without injury.
Vienna reported on the same day the sinking of five British patrol boats in the Otranto Road, between Italy and Albania, by the cruiser Novara. Only nine men were saved.
Seaham Harbor, a small coal port near Sunderland, on the British Channel coast, was shelled by a submarine the night of July 11, 1916. Thirty rounds of shrapnel started several fires and caused the death of one woman. Berlin also claimed the sinking of a British auxiliary cruiser of 7,000 tons and three patrol vessels on the night of that day. The statement was never denied in London, and no details were made public as to the fate of the crews.
The Italian destroyer Impetuoso was torpedoed in the Adriatic, July 16, 1916, with a loss of 125 lives.
In retaliation for Turkish attacks upon her hospital ships, Russia announced July 21, 1916, that she would no longer respect hospital ships of the Ottomans. It was pointed out that hitherto all vessels bearing the markings of the Red Crescent Society, which is the Turkish equivalent of the Red Cross, had been uniformly respected. This declaration by Russia implied a depth of resentment that had swept through all of the allied countries because of deeds said to have been committed by the Teutons and their Turkish cohorts. Some few reprisals were taken by France in the way of air raids in retaliation for the bombardment of open cities. But this was the first recorded step of Russia in that direction and foretold a war in which all quarter would disappear.
Two years of fighting had cost both sides heavily upon the sea. Up to August 1, 1915, according to the best available figures, the allied navies lost seventy-one warships, with a tonnage of 326,855. Great Britain was a sufferer to the extent of forty-two ships in that first year, aggregating 254,494 tons, represented by eight battleships, three armored cruisers, four protected cruisers, four light cruisers, and twenty-three smaller craft. In the same period France lost twelve ships of 28,027 tons; Russia six ships of 21,775 tons; Japan seven ships of 4,801, and Italy four ships of 17,758 tons.
The losses of Germany, Austria and Turkey in 1915 were placed at eighty-nine ships, with a gross tonnage of 262,791. Of these Germany lost sixty-nine vessels, aggregating 238,904 tons, and consisting of one battle cruiser, five armored cruisers, ten protected cruisers and fifty smaller craft. Austria lost seven ships of 7,397 tons, and Turkey thirteen ships of 16,490 tons.
Curiously enough the second year's figures show smaller losses for both sides. The Allies are accredited with forty-one ships having a tonnage of 202,600, and the Teutonic allies with thirty three ships, having a tonnage of 125,120. Thirty-four British ships were sunk, including two battleships, three battle cruisers, seven protected cruisers, two light cruisers, and seventeen smaller craft. The other losses were distributed between her partners in arms.
Germany's loss in 1916 was twenty-six ships—four battleships, one battle cruiser, six protected cruisers, and fifteen smaller craft, approximating 114,620 tons. The remaining casualties on the German side were divided between Austria and Turkey.
These figures do not take into account several vessels claimed to have been sunk by both sides but are predicated upon known sea casualties. During the two years Germany sustained a reduction of 18.5 of her strength in battleships and battle cruisers of the dreadnought era, which means ships built since 1904, and these are the units that really count in modern warfare. Britain is believed to have lost 6.6 of similar vessels. In light cruisers her loss was only 5.2 per cent, while Germany was weakened nearly 45 per cent in that class of vessel. The figures shift for vessels of an older type, showing a ratio of about two to one against Great Britain. This is due largely to the Dardanelles enterprise and because in some instances older craft were assigned to many dangerous undertakings where the newer ships were held in reserve.
In every engagement of any consequence that took place during the first two years of war, with the single exception of the fight off Chile, Britain won and Germany lost. But Germany inflicted greater injury upon her opponent than any other nation in all the years of Britain's maritime supremacy. The actual material loss to her enemies was larger than her own. Despite this and the fact of Germany's strongest efforts Britain still ruled the waves.
PART III—CAMPAIGN ON THE EASTERN
THE EASTERN FRONT AT THE
OF SPRING, 1916
Austrian, German, and Russian armies from the beginning of the war up to March 1, 1916. Although spring weather does not set in in any part of the country through which the eastern front ran until considerable time after that date, events along the western front, where the Germans were then hammering away at the gates of Verdun, had shaped themselves in such a manner that they were bound to influence the plans of the Russian General Staff. It was, therefore, not much of a surprise that a Russian offensive should set in previous to the actual arrival of spring.
As we shall see shortly, the first two weeks or so of March, 1916, saw a renewal of active fighting at many points along the entire eastern front. But most of this was restricted during this period to engagements between small bodies of troops and in most instances amounted to little more than clashes between patrols. This preliminary period of reconnoitering was followed by another short period of preparatory work on the part of the Russian armies consisting of artillery attacks on certain selected points and undertaken with a violence and an apparently unlimited supply of guns and ammunition such as had not been displayed by the Russian forces on any previous occasion, and when, after these preliminaries