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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Kiel Canal 1914 German High Seas Fleet

Terry Carter

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I am piecing together the movements of HMS Birmingham up to when she sank U15 on 9 August 1914 (The 100th Anniversary TODAY !!!!)

With the 2nd Battle Squadron she was at Kiel for the Regatta a few days before the assassination at Sarajevo.

At the same time the newly widened Kiel Canal was officially opened by the Kaiser. This would allow the German navy a short cut into the North Sea. After the incident at Sarajevo the Kaiser left Kiel but gave permission for the British ships to return via the Kiel Canal. Vice Admiral Sir George Warrender decided not to take the battleships through the canal but allowed the three light cruisers, Southampton, Birmingham and Nottingham make the short cut.

Having subscribed to the British Newspaper Archive, I found a little snippet suggesting that the Kaiser had made a mistake in allowing the three light cruisers through the canal because soundings were taken during the journey and it was found the canal was not suitable for Germany's biggest battleships to pass through.

Was that right and did it cause a problem?



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Seems odd given that the whole purpose of the canal works were to allow German dreadnoughts through. Presumably the Gerrmans knew the dimensions of their own ships and communicated this to the civil engineers doing the work?

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The biggest battleships didn't pass through fully loaded. Before a passage they had to load off coal, ammunition and supplies to reach a certain draught.


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