3511 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
later, after extraordinary adventures, managed to reach southern Arabia, whence,
after still further adventures, they made
their way to Constantinople.
The first considerable naval battle of
the war took place on the 28th of August,
1914, in Heligoland Bight. Some light
British cruisers and destroyers managed
to entice some German vessels into a fight,
and, at an opportune moment, Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty hove in sight
with heavy battle cruisers. The Germans
suffered a loss of three cruisers and two
torpedo boats, while the British did not
lose any vessels, and their casualties were
Of the German naval vessels in the broad
Pacific a few sought refuge in neutral ports;
but the more powerful concentrated into
a squadron under the command of Admiral
von Spee. Early in October, von Spee
bombarded Papeete, on the French island
of Tahiti, and then made for the South
American coast, where he captured and
destroyed a number of Allied merchant
vessels. Meanwhile British and Japanese
vessels were searching for him, and, on
the 1st of November, Vice-Admiral Sir
Christopher Cradock, with three vessels,
sighted the Germans off Coronel, Chili.
Cradock's ships were the armored cruisers Good Hope, of 14,100 tons, and the
Monmouth, of 9,800 tons, and the lighter
cruiser Glasgow, of 4,820 tons. With the
exception of two 9.2-inch guns on the
Good Hope, Cradock had no guns heavier
than those of 6-inch calibre, of which he
had 34. The German squadron consisted
of the armored cruisers Scharnhorst and
Gneisenau, each of 11,420 tons, and the
lighter cruisers Dresden, of 3,592 tons,
the Nurnberg, of 3,396 tons, and the
Leipsic, of 3,200 tons. Each of the armored
cruisers mounted eight 8.2-inch guns and
six 5.9-inch, and were newer boats than
either the Good Hope or Monmouth.
The advantage in tonnage and heavy
guns was, therefore, decidedly in favor
of the Germans, and they were also favored
by another circumstance. The battle began soon after sunset, and, as the British
ships were to westward of the Germans,
they were shown in silhouette against
the after-glow of the sun, while the Germans themselves were hardly distinguishable. The battle was fought at long
range, and this enabled the Germans,
with their much larger number of heavy
guns, to sink both the Good Hope and the
Monmouth, with comparatively little damage to themselves. The sea was running
high, and not one of the crews was saved.
The Glasgow, being a faster ship than any
of the German vessels, managed to escape.
It and the old battleship Canopus, which
was on its way to join Cradock, made
for the south Atlantic.
News of the disaster to Cradock's two
ships caused great depression in England.
With the utmost secrecy a powerful
squadron was fitted out and sent southward to retrieve the situation.
On December 7 the squadron dropped
anchor at Port Stanley in the Falkland
Islands, in order to coal. The squadron
was commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir
F. C. D. Sturdee, and included the great
17,250 ton battle cruisers Invincible