Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

From the birth of the Dreadnought to the period immediately after the end of World War I.
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tommy303
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Postby tommy303 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:20 pm

Actually, an engagement where a couple of British armored cruisers had blown up at that stage of the war might have been beneficial to the RN, as they might have been prodded into looking into the problem and avoided worse disasters at Jutland.


If I recall, the RN did investigate following the action at Coronel following the loss of Good Hope to a magazine explosion and came to the mistaken conclusion that the ammunition handling arrangements in the armoured cruisers was adequate. I believe Campbell mentions this in his book on Jutland.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Ersatz Yorck
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Postby Ersatz Yorck » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:26 pm

Yes I recall that too. But no one survived from the Good Hope or the Monmouth, so it must have been hard to investigate.

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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Postby SteveFutcher » Wed May 27, 2015 10:42 pm

I believe he was correct to refuse action. His ships were slower & had a far less effective gun range. Theoretically 16000 yards but had never hit anything over 8ooo. Also far less well armoured. Consider this, Milne`s battlecruisers, Indefatigable - sunk at Jutland, Inflexible, sister ship Invincible sunk at Jutland - both due to magazine explosions. Troubridge`s armoured cruisers, Defence & Black Prince, sunk at Jutland due to magazine explosions & Warrior sunk due to serious flooding. At Jutland, German battlecruisers proved wonderfully resistant to British 12", 13.5" & 15" shells. Where did they think that 9.2 & 7.5" shells would do the job. Churchill was callous & infantile when he said that the four armoured cruisers would have been wonderfully employed in being sunk whilst consuming Goeben`s ammunition.
Regarding Harwood 25yrs later. His ships were faster & had an equally effective gun range. The armour on Graf Spee was easily penetrable by 6 & 8" shells & her poor main armament disposition only allowed her to engage two targets at once. War games carried out pre war in both Britain & the USA had predicted a British victory in that scenario.

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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Postby Byron Angel » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:48 am

..... Welcome aboard, sir.

I agree that Troubridge faced an extremely dicey situation. Apart from the gun/armor/speed inferiority he faced, he was facing a formation speed problem, with Duke of Edinburgh not capable of making 20 knots; His destroyers were so extremely short of coal that they were historically unable to accompany the cruisers to sea. What he needed in order to have any real chance of success was a position astride Goeben's route of retreat and very short visibility. IMO, that spelled (a) a winning bet upon Souchon's true destination, and (b) a night interception from a down moon position.

What would the Admiralty have thought if Troubridge had opted to leave the lame duck Duke of Edinburgh behind and filled the bunkers of his destroyers with her coal? Eight destroyers with 21in torpedoes at night would pose a real concern for Goeben.

I have not read the Troubridge court of inquiry proceedings, but I wonder if anyone raised the fact that no training in four ship concentration fire had ever been undertaken in the navy at that time - two ship concentration fire only. How would Troubridge have been able to make use of four ships firing upon a single target without incurring interference?

A fascinating topic.

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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Postby LeopardTooth » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:07 am

This discussion looks to me to have focused on the tactical more than the strategic.

As most people on this board probably know, it is said the British seizing Agincourt and Erin for their own purposes, instead of delivering them to their original purchasers the Ottomans, cheesed off the Turks. But it was Souchon's ships reaching Constantinople, and "joining the Ottoman navy", more-or-less as replacements for the missing battleships, and then Souchon's self-initiated attacks in the Russians in the name of the Ottomans, that firmly and conclusively brought Turkey into the war on the Central Powers side.

A few years later, the Gallipoli campaign produced approximately a quarter million casualties for each side

So, if Troubridge's cruisers had engaged Goeben and Breslau, and all four armored cruisers had been destroyed with all hands lost, but they had slowed down the German ships long enough for Milne's three battlecruisers to have caught up and sank them both without them ever reaching the Dardinelles, then, in the big picture, the British nation would have been the better off.

In fact, I think that a case could have been made that if Souchon's ships had both been sunk but they had first somehow sunk the entire twenty-five ship British Mediterranean fleet - battlecruisers, armored cruisers, and all - even that might have been an overall more favorable strategic outcome for the Allies than what actually happened IRL.


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