Navies at the start of The Great War

Oct 2015
999
Virginia
People were interested in the strength of the naval powers at the start of WW2 and the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic Wars. How about WW1?

Royal Navy Sept 1914:

22 dreadnought battleships:
Dreadnought (1906) a revolutionary design ...10 x 12" guns, turbine engines,
3 Bellerophon class, 3 St Vincent, Neptune, 2 Colossus (1909-11, 10 x 12" guns),
4 Orion class (10 x 13.5"guns), 4 King George V, 2 Iron Duke (1912-14, 2 more joined by December)
2 ships just completed for Turkey were seized and became HMS Erin and Agincourt

10 battlecruisers:
3 Invincible class, 3 Indefatigable (1908-12, 8 x 12" guns)
4 Lion class (1912-14, 8 x 13.5" guns)

41 pre-dreadnought battleships:
Revenge/Redoubtable (1892)
9 Majestic class, 6 Canopus, 3 Formidable, 5 London, 5 Duncan (1896-01, 4 x 12" guns)
8 King Edward VII (1903-05, 4 x 12", 4 x 9.2"), 2 Swiftsure (1904, 4 x 10", 14 x 7.5") 2 Lord Nelson (1908, 4 x 12", 10 x 9.2")

49 large cruisers:
8 Edgar class, Terrible, 6 Diadem (1894-96),
6 Cressy (1901-04, 12,000 tons, 2 x 9.2", 12 x 6" guns) 4 Drake (1902-03 14,150 tons, 2 x 9.2", 16 x 6"), 9 Monmouth (1903-04, 9800 tons, 14 x 6")
6 Devonshire (1905, 10,850 tons, 4 x 7.5", 6 x 6"), 2 Duke of Edinburg (1906 12,550 tons, 6 x 9.2"), 4 Warrior (1906-7, 13,500 tons, 6 x 9.2", 4 x 7.5"), 3 Minotaur (1908-9, 14,600 tons 4 x 9.2", 10 x 7.2")

65 light cruisers:
4 "B" class scouts (1909-11), Arethusa, 17 "Town" class, 23 "Hermes", "P", "Gem", "Adventure", "Foreward", "Pathfinder" Sentinel" classes (1896-1905), 20 older types.

7 cruiser minelayers

221 destroyers:


109 torpedo boats

73 submarines

15 sloops

1 aircraft carrier
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,081
The Royal Navy of course was at its greatest strength comparable to all other navies in 1914. It had to patrol - or be able to patrol - all oceans other than the two poles, which at the time were still covered in ice.

Other navies had their roles and had fleets that reflected those roles.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,081
K.u.K. Kriegsmarine Austria-Hungary:

15 battleships and one completing (1915). nine with 9.4" (24 cm) guns; six with 12" (30.2 cm guns) + one completing.

three armored cruisers ( two modern). All with 9.4" (24 cm) guns.

seven "small" or fast cruisers.

18 destroyers.

36 ocean going torpedo boats, and 12 building.

18 coastal torpedo boats.

20 old torpedo boats, mostly used as mine sweepers and escorts for coastal merchant shipping in the island channels of the eastern Adriatic.

two old cruisers (1890s).

five torpedo 'cruisers'/gunboats (1890s).

fewer than 10 submarines, but more building.

one minelayer.

The strategic purpose of the k.u.k. navy was to secure the maritime flank of Austria's interests in the Balkans, and to deny control of the Adriatic to other navies (Italy; France; Great Britain). The Austrian navy had no war time aspirations to operate outside the Adriatic Sea. The strategy of sea denial, and of a fleet-in-being that could not be discounted by the Entente, was very successful for four years of the war. The Entente navies rarely operated in the Adriatic until very late in the war, and virtually never sent capital ships there.
 
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Oct 2015
999
Virginia
The Royal Navy of course was at its greatest strength comparable to all other navies in 1914. It had to patrol - or be able to patrol - all oceans other than the two poles, which at the time were still covered in ice.

Other navies had their roles and had fleets that reflected those roles.
True!...so great it's hard to provide details on the classes of cruisers, destroyers and torpedo boats et al, or the distribution of cruisers etc on foreign stations.
The main Fleets of course were the Home Fleet on its way to Scapa Flow and Rosyth (21 dreadnoughts, 4 battlecruisers, 12 of the newest pre-dreadnoughts, 12 armored cruisers, 12 light cruisers and two destroyer flotillas), and the Mediterreanean fleet (including 3 "I" class battlecruisers, 4 "Defense" class armored cruisers 4 light cruisers and a destroyer flotilla) at Malta
(should have said August vice September)
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,081
Only 4 of these ships were Dreadnoughts though :(
Since the OP is the start of the Great War, some perspective is in order. 🇮🇹 ⚓ 🇦🇹 :)

The main adversary of Austria was always going to be Italy (their erstwhile alliance "partner.") At the outbreak of the war A-H and Italy each had three dreadnoughts in commission. A-H had one building (comm. 1915) and Italy had three building (comm. 1915-1916). Italy entered the war in spring, 1915.

Nine of the Austrian battleships (six pre-dreadnoughts and three semi-dreadnoughts) were at least equivalent or superior to what Italy had (eight pre-dreadnoughts; no semi-dreadnoughts). By mid war though those types of ships were second line in every navy. Italy's big advantage in armored cruisers was cancelled out by the nature of the Adriatic which was not conducive to operations by that type of ship (Austria having abandoned the type a decade previously). Italy's biggest advantage was in torpedo craft but these were not used aggressively until 1918.

Despite the discrepancy in dreadnoughts, Italy kept hers at Taranto for the entire war - as Austria mostly kept hers at Pola. The Italian dreadnought Da Vinci blew up at her moorings in 1916, so the advantage for much of the war was 5/4.

As mentioned, the naval war in the Adriatic was not sexy, but it is an interesting adjunct to the naval history of WW I.
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,350
Kansas
As mentioned, the naval war in the Adriatic was not sexy, but it is an interesting adjunct to the naval history of WW I.
Though the Italian experiments with MAS boats and human torpedoes makes up for the lack of capital engagements lol
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
While there were few large scale actions, the Italians gave examples of their penchant for small craft and unconventional warfare when MAS15 torpedoed the Szent Istvan in June 1918, and frogmen mined the Viribus Unitis in Pola harbor in November 1918.
(oops, didn't see your post go up)
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,081
While there were few large scale actions, the Italians gave examples of their penchant for small craft and unconventional warfare when MAS15 torpedoed the Szent Istvan in June 1918, and frogmen mined the Viribus Unitis in Pola harbor in November 1918.
It could be argued that A-H and also German U boats had more success overall than the Italians and French. Also - I think an important consideration - Google the Adriatic campaign or Google the A-H navy. There were a number of destroyer actions during the war, and the Austrians gave better than they got in most of them. The Austrian destroyers were handled with skill and initiative throughout the war, although two were lost to mines on the same night in 1915 (at Durazzo).
 
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Apr 2018
338
Italy
Austrian marine had an huge advantage from geography their bases were protects by thousands of islands of Croatia, so allied strategy was to barrage the Otranto strait
 
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