Page 3513

3513 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

therefore, chose his distance, which was

practically beyond the reach of the German guns, and proceeded methodically

to batter the enemy's vessels into junk.

Gradually the guns of the Scharnhorst,

the German flagship, were silenced, her

upper works were shot away, great fires

broke out within her vitals, and every

now and then a shell would open in her

side a gaping hole through which the

watchful British could see a dull red glow

of flame. Shortly after 4 p. m., she

suddenly listed heavily to port; and the

list rapidly increased until she lay upon

her beam ends, and soon she sank into the

depths carrying all that remained of her

crew and also Admiral von Spee. Meanwhile, the Gneisenau had suffered terribly

from the relentless fire from the British

ships, and at six o'clock she suddenly

heeled over on her side, where she lay for

a minute, with some of her crew walking

about on her, and then she joined her

consort at the bottom of the sea. About

six hundred of her crew had already been

killed or wounded, but by energetic efforts

the British were able to save over ninety

men.

Meanwhile, the Bristol and Macedonia

had overhauled the German colliers, which

were two in number instead of three as

first reported, took off their crews; and

then sunk them. A brisk battle took

place between the light cruisers, and this

lasted even longer than the main engagement. At 9 p. m., the Leipsic was finally

sunk by the Cornwall and Glasgow. Meanwhile the Kent had been chasing the

Nurnberg and sank her at 7.27 p.m. In

the course of this last chase the coal supply

of the Kent became exhausted, but the

engine-room department tore down the

cabins and, with the wood thus obtained,

managed to get up enough speed to overhaul their enemy. Of all the German

ships only one, the Dresden, managed to

escape. She succeeded in returning to

the Pacific, but some weeks later was

caught and sunk near the Island of Juan

Fernandez. To her fell the honor of being

the last German warship at large on the

high seas. A few transformed merchantmen remained at large a little longer, but

soon they were either all captured or else

took refuge in neutral ports, two of them

in Hampton Roads in the United States.

The destruction of von Spee's squadron

had not been unexpected among well

informed Germans, and yet the actual

tidings caused much depression in that

country. However much might be said

about the glorious careers which the

German cruisers had led, there could be

no denying the fact that the German

navy had now been swept off the high

seas. Partly, no doubt, to encourage

the people, the' German naval staff arranged a raid against the British coast.

On the early morning of December 16,

the inhabitants of the towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby, on the

northeast coast of England, suddenly

found themselves the target for a hail of

shells from a number of large German

cruisers off shore. As these places were

not fortified and only a few destroyers