Navies at the start of The Great War

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,094
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
The geographical advantage cannot be overstated. ALL the best harbors were on the Dalmatian coast and the island chains had deep water channels behind them so that both the navy and coastal merchant ships could move more safely north and south. And the islands provided cover for destroyers and torpedo boats to make hit-and-run raids further from the coast. The Italian coast had few places to shelter and no particularly useful harbors at least for naval vessels.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,094
The Italian Navy (Regia Marina) at Italy's entry in May, 1915

Old Battleships:

-- Two St. Bon-class. 10,244 tons; 4 x 10" guns; comm. 1900 and 1902.

-- Two Regina Margherita-class. 14,319 tons; 4 x 12" guns; comm. 1904 and 1905.

-- Four Regina Elena-class. 14,137 tons; 2 x 12" guns and 12 x 8" guns; comm. 1907-1908.

Dreadnoughts:

-- One Dante Alighieri. 19,552 tons; 12 x 12" guns; comm. 1913.

-- Three Cavour-class. 22,800 tons; 13 x 12" guns; comm. 1914 and April, 1915.

-- One Andrea Doria-class. 22,956 tons; 13 x 12" guns; May, 1915.

Armored Cruisers:

-- Ten, all comm. before 1910.

Light Cruisers:

-- 13, eight old; five modern.

Torpedo Gun Boats:

-- 5, mostly from before 1900.

Destroyers:

-- 36, several classes; 29 comm. after 1901.

Torpedo Boats:

-- 73.

Submarines:

-- 20.

Although the Italian navy had a numerical advantage over Austria-Hungary in capital ships and in torpedo craft, Italy had far more coastline for which it was responsible, as well as colonial territory in North Africa and also islands in the eastern Med (Dodecanese) that had to be defended.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,094
The Russian Navy in 1914 🇷🇺

Old Battleships:

-- Eight ships of various classes, all too old and slow to be of much use. The most modern was Slava which was the only survivor of a class of five battleships, four of which were lost in the Russo-Japanese War. Slava. 14,400 tons; 4 x 12" guns; comm. 1905.

Semi-dreadnoughts:

-- Two Sviatitoi Evstafi-class. 13,000 tons; 4 x 12" and 4 x 8" guns; comm. 1910.

-- Two Imperator Pavel I-class. 18,580 tons; 4 x 12" and 14 x 8" guns: comm. 1910.

Dreadnoughts:

No dreadnoughts were in commission in August, 1914, however, there were twelve under construction (two delivered Nov. and Dec., 1914). Some details follow as four others were commissioned in 1915.

-- Four Gangut-class (Baltic Fleet). 25,850 tons; 12 x 12" guns; comm. 1914-1915.

-- Two Imperatritsa Maria-class (Black Sea Fleet). 24,000 tons; 12 x 12" guns; comm. 1915. (Also one more of this class was completed in mid 1917.)

There were five ships under construction but not completed. All five were launched in 1915-1916. One dreadnought was an addition to the Black Sea Fleet, and four were "super dreadnought" battle cruisers.

--Four Borodino-class. 32,500 tons; 12 x 14" guns; not completed, and all broken up in the 1920s.

Armored Cruisers:

-- One Rurik. 15,170 tons.

-- Three of 7,900 tons.

-- Two of about 12,000 tons.

Light Cruisers:

-- Six of from 5,900 to 6,700 tons (Six new CL under construction - 4,500 to 6,500 tons).

Destroyers:

-- 105 of numerous types dating from the 1890s to 1914, but most from 1904 to 1908. These were of various displacements - 240 tons to 625 tons, but most were 350-400 tons.
Of the destroyer flotillas, 72 ships were with the Baltic Fleet; 27 with the Black Sea Fleet, and six were in the Far East.

Torpedo Boats:

-- 23.

Submarines:

-- 30. 19 Baltic; 11 Black Sea.

Russia had to disperse its navy due to geography. There were naval forces in the Baltic Sea, the White Sea (Arctic), the Black Sea, the Pacific, and also on the Caspian Sea, an inland lake large enough to use naval vessels.
 
Nov 2019
338
United States
I've been too lazy to go down and pull out one of the Massie books to supply the numbers with all the other considerations like gun caliber and belt and deck armor, nor for the matter the difference in projectiles or in gun control or optics for the German and British Naval forces in WW1. So I cheated and found this on line, which doesn't due much justice to the German Navy because pure numbers, just as weight don't tell you all you ought to know.
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I'd certainly point out that the gunnery on the German ships was on average probably better than the British, though the British had huge advantages with centralized gun control and even an early "computer" for range, elevation and other necessary tidbits. The problem was that the Brits didn't seemingly take advantage of practicing gunnery as often as they should, especially that bon vivant Sir David Beatty.

Jellicoe was much more interested in making sure his ships could hit the target, and also in making sure his communication with his command was intact, and working. Unfortunately for the Brits they had projectiles that often broke up on hitting armor rather than penetrating.

The German ships tended to have much better deck armor, better water tight containment in the ships, and better optical equipment, and better projectiles. They also practiced gunnery regularly.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,094
The "Commonwealth" Navies - Canada, Australia 🇬🇧

[There is no White Ensign in the 'flag locker,' so use your imagination. The navies' were all the same ]

Imperial Defense became an issue in the passing of the Naval Defence Act of 1889. There followed several colonial and Imperial conferences from 1907 to 1911 where matters of the defense of the Empire and of the Dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand; Newfoundland and South Africa) were considered. Most of these were political in nature rather than planning for military developments. The British Empire's military establishment had been undergoing some strain since the Boer War and with the development of German naval construction. The developed components of the Empire could contribute to their prestige and to their influence with Great Britain by playing strategic roles in Imperial defense.

The Royal Australian Navy. Established July, 1911.

-- One battle cruiser, HMAS Australia (Indefatigable-class).
displacement 18,800 tons; 8 x 12" guns (4 x 2); speed 25 kt; commissioned 1911.

-- Three Chatham-class cruisers, plus one building in Australia.
displ. 5,400 tons; 8 x 6" guns; 25.5 kt; three comm. 1913-1914, one not completed during the war (1922).

-- One 2nd class cruiser.
displ. 5,880 tons; 11 x 6" guns; 21 kt; comm. 1906.

-- One light cruiser.
displ. 2,200 tons; 8 x 4" guns; 20 kt; comm. 1900.

-- Six destroyers. Three Australian built.
displ. 700-800 tons; comm. 1910-1914.

-- Two submarines building in Britain.



***********

The Royal Canadian Navy. Established August, 1911.

-- One 1st class cruiser, 11,000 tons; 16 x 6" guns; comm. 1899.

-- One 2nd class cruiser, 3,600 tons; 2 x 6" guns, plus smaller; comm. 1893.