Page 3500

3500 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

mans to come out. These boats were

equipped with wireless telegraph outfits,

and were thus able to report in a moment

to vessels hundreds of miles away any

threatening movement of the enemy's ships.

The British operations were also hampered in other ways. For one thing they

had not enough destroyers. In the early

days of the war after other requirements

had been attended to, there were only

42 destroyers available to act as a screen

for the Grand Fleet, whereas the German

High Seas Fleet might be able to have 88

of these vessels. In a book published

after the war Admiral Jellicoe says:

"The fuel capacities of destroyers was

only sufficient for them to remain at sea

in company with a fleet for some three

days and nights, whereas the fleet itself

could remain out for three or four times

that period. Moreover, the destroyers

could not be kept nearly so constantly

at sea as the large ships, owing to their

requirements in the way of boiler cleaning

and the refit and adjustment of their more

delicate machinery, and the necessity for

giving not only the machinery but the

personnel periods of rest. The heavy

ships then had two alternatives-either

to remain at sea without a destroyer

screen, or to return to harbor with the

destroyers. In the early days, the first

alternative was adopted, the risk being

accepted but minimized as far as possible

by keeping the ships in the northern part

of the North Sea."

Furthermore, the British were lacking in

docks and in secure naval bases. Their chief

bases for the Grand Fleet were the Firth of

Forth in Scotland, the harbor of Scapa

Flow in the Orkneys, and Lough Swilly on

the northeast coast of Ireland. The danger

of a sudden attack by German destroyers

and submarines on the High Fleet in these

inadequately defended bases was so great

that for a time the Grand Fleet actually