The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
23rd January 1915On this day:
- 23rd Jan 1915 On the Move
- 23rd Jan 1915 2nd Queens inspected
- Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) Dogger Bank is an area off the North Sea lying around 62 miles off Britain's East cost. The area used to be inhabited by early man and woolly mammoths, 1000s years later when the sea rose it became an important fishing ground and remains important to this day.
Fishing continued during the Great War and the German navy believed that the British fishing fleet was being used to spy on German naval movements. Admiral Franz Hipper decided to put an end to this, unfortunately for him telecommunications relating to his proposed attack has been intercepted and decoded by room 40 of British naval intelligence. Vice Admiral Beatty's battle cruiser squadrons would be lying in wait.
On 23rd January 1915, a force of German battlecruisers under the command of Admiral Hipper sortied to clear Dogger Bank of any British fishing boats or small craft that might be there to collect intelligence on German movements. Alerted by decoded German transmissions, a larger force of British battlecruisers, including HMS New Zealand, sailed under the command of Admiral Beatty to intercept. Contact was initiated at 0720 on the 24th, when Arethusa spotted the German light cruiser SMS Kolberg. By 0735, the Germans had spotted Beatty's force and Hipper ordered a turn south at 20 knots, believing that this speed would outdistance any British battleships to the north-west. He planned to increase speed to the armoured cruiser SMS Blücher's maximum of 23 knots if necessary to outrun any battlecruisers.
Beatty ordered his battlecruisers to make all practical speed to catch the Germans before they could escape. HMS New Zealand and HMS Indomitable were the slowest of Beatty's ships and gradually fell behind the newer battlecruisers. Despite this, New Zealand was able to open fire on Blücher by 0935 and continued to engage the armoured cruiser after the other British battlecruisers had switched targets to the German battlecruisers.
After about an hour, New Zealand had knocked out Blücher's forward turret, and Indomitable began to fire on her as well at 1031. Two 12-inch shells pierced the German ship's armoured deck and exploded in an ammunition room four minutes later. This started a fire amidships that destroyed her two port 8.3 inch turrets, while the concussion damaged her engines so that her speed dropped to 17 knots and jammed her steering gear. At 1048, Beatty ordered Indomitable to attack her, but the combination of a signalling error by Beatty's flag lieutenant and heavy damage to Beatty's flagship Lion, which had knocked out her radio and caused enough smoke to obscure her signal halyards, caused the rest of the British battlecruisers, temporarily under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Gordon Moore in New Zealand, to think that that signal applied to them. In response, they turned away from Hipper's main body and engaged Blücher. New Zealand fired 147 shells at Blücher before the German ship capsized and sank at 1207 after being torpedoed by Arethusa. Captain Halsey had again worn the piupiu over his uniform during the battle, and the lack of damage to New Zealand was once more attributed to its good luck properties.
- 23rd Jan 1915 Submarine Bombed
- 23rd Jan 1915 Truce Controversy
- 23rd Jan 1915 Trenches Flooded
- 23rd Jan 1915 Bathing
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