Second Battle of Heligoland Bight

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The Second Battle of Heligoland Bight was a naval skirmish fought on 17 November 1917 near the island of Heligoland near the main German naval base at Wilhelmshaven.

Battle

At 0730, the British First Cruiser Squadron was steering 90 degrees at 22 knots with the Sixth Light Cruiser Squadron one mile to their port beam at 25 knots and the First Light Cruiser Squadron three miles astern. Ten destroyers screened the forces.[1]

As the battle was a stern chase for the Royal Navy, none of the cruisers fired torpedoes. Gallingly, three of four destroyer torpedo firings had bad impulse charges, though one of these three torpedoes got free in time, anyway. The two successful firers were Ursa and Vanquisher.[2]

The First Light Cruiser Squadron presented an unfortunately nice torpedo target which the German light cruisers leapt at with fervour from a position four points on the bow at 14-16,000 yards range. Six to eight enemy torpedoes came through the squadron or passed near it. It was felt that during this period, Galatea was hit near her bridge by a torpedo which did not explode.[3]

Caledon was hit by a 5.9-in and an 11- or 12-in shell. Cardiff was hit by four 5.9-in shells, and Calypso by a single 5.9-in shell in the conning tower that forced in an Electro-Pneumatic firing push and thereby caused her to fire a ready torpedo. This quirk inspired issuance of a Torpedo Order to keep safety pins or push covers in place until the moment before firing.[4]

[TO BE CONTINUED - TONE]

British Order of Battle

Taken from the British Official History.[5]

First Cruiser Squadron

Screened by:

Sixth Light Cruiser Squadron

Screened by:

First Light Cruiser Squadron

Screened by:

First Battle Cruiser Squadron

Screened by:

First Battle Squadron

Screened by:

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. No. 311.
  2. Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 1/5/1918, p. 40.
  3. Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 1/5/1918, p. 40.
  4. Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 1/5/1918, p. 40.
  5. Naval Operations. Vol. V. pp. 168-169.

Bibliography

  • Newbolt, Henry (1931). Naval Operations. Vol. V. London: Longmans, Green and Co..