Page 3514


were in the neighborhood at the time, the

Germans were able to batter down many

buildings and kill more than a hundred

men, women, and children, and then return

whence they came unscathed.

News of the bombardment of these

places aroused great enthusiasm in Germany. German papers characterized it

by such phrases as "our fleet's heroic

exploit," and editors pointed out with

much detail that the boasted British fleet

had not been able to protect their coasts

and hinted that this was only the beginning

of trouble for the enemy. The bombardment of undefended towns was, however, denounced as barbarous by the

British, while Winston Churchill, head

of the British navy department, dubbed

the German sailors who had taken part

in it "the Baby-Killers of Scarborough."

The British denied that any military

object had been served by the raid, and,

it may well be doubted whether the Germans were the gainers by the bombardment. It no doubt heartened their own

people somewhat, but, on the other hand,

it brought the horrors of war home to the

British people, stiffened their determination, and gave a great impetus to recruiting.

The British declared that only an

opportune fog had enabled the raiders to

escape their vengeance, and their anxiety

to come to blows with some such expedition

amounted to a positive pain. It so happened that they did not have to wait long

for the desired opportunity. On the night

of January 23, a .German fleet composed

of the battle cruisers Seidlitz, Derfflinger,

and Von Moltke, the big armored 15,550 ton cruiser Blucher, six light cruisers, and

a number of destroyers, steamed westward across the North Sea for the purpose

of attempting another raid. On the early

morning of the 24th, when off the Dogger

Banks, this fleet fell in with the British

First Battle Cruiser squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty, the victor of

the battle of Heligoland Bight. Besides

light cruisers and destroyers, his squadron

included the superb new battle cruisers

Lion, Tiger, New Zealand, Indomitable, and

the flagship Princess Royal.

The Germans stood not on the order of

their going, but fled homeward as fast as

their ships could steam. The great British

battle cruisers tore through the sea after

them at 28.5 knots an hour, a rate which,

in the case of the New Zealand and Indomitable, was considerably in excess of

what these two vessels were supposed to

be able to make. Gradually the gap

between fugitives and pursuers narrowed,

and, at 20,000 yards, or almost 12 miles,

one of the 13.5-inch rifles of the Lion fired

a shot which fell short. Single shots

were fired thereafter at intervals to test

the range, and presently a shell from the

Lion landed on the Blucher, the last in

line. At 18,000 yards and constantly

decreasing ranges the British fired salvos

from their guns, distributing their favors

more or less impartially but landing

oftenest upon the Blucher, which, though

supposed to be able to make 25.8 knots,

was slower than her consorts. The Germans returned the fire as best they might,