CLIO mr brice - page 15

Admiral John Fisher
Father of the Dreadnoughts
One of the most powerful and
sophisticated machines of its day,
the HMS Dreadnought was the
first battleship to revolutionise the
British navy. It held the reign as
the world’s ultimate weapon, as
well as being the key focus of the
first arms race in the 20th century.
Due to emphasising its mightily
power, Admiral Fisher, the founder
and designer of the Dreadnought,
decided to give this warship a name
from an old English word meaning
“to fear nothing.” Undoubtedly,
this name was chosen for a reason,
as the dreadnought first fought in
the Spanish Armada in 1588 and
was the only battleship to help spark
a naval arms race, as navies around
the world, especially the German
Imperial Navy, rushed to match her
in the build-up to World War I.
Britain ruled the high seas with her
large navy and until 1904-1905, was
happy to let other navies take the
risk of innovation and simply adopt
their designs. However, with the
arms race progressing slowly, Britain
noticed competition from Germany.
The Kaiser wanted Germany to
be a major world power but he
needed a bigger navy; therefore they
decided to follow a policy known
as “Weltpolitik.” This was a more
aggressive foreign policy aimed
at increasing military strength by
doubling the size of its navy between
1900-1914. Germany was breathing
down Britain’s neck with new ships-
something needed to be done to
slow them down. The British Navy
responded by giving command to
Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher to combat
this growing German naval threat.
Often referred to as the greatest
Royal Navy Admiral, Fisher
was faced with one of the most
demanding tasks in history.
Convinced that war with Germany
was inevitable and that the Royal
Navy would play a major role in
it, he single-handedly set out to
ensure Britain had a weapon to
defeat anyone who threatened
their powerful navy. Born on
25th January 1841 in Sri Lanka
and from a military family, Fisher
entered the Royal Navy at the age
of 13, served in the Crimean War
and later took part in the capture
of Canton. After being assigned
to the task, he was determined to
modernise the fleet and to improve
its efficiency, and most notably
escalated the development of the
first Dreadnought. This new and
superior kind of battleship had ten
12-inch guns capable of launching
850 pound shells over a 12 mile
range, 18 watertight sections
and five torpedo tubes below
waterline. The dreadnought was a
revolutionary, new class of warship,
with reciprocating engines and
turbines rather than steam engines.
At 23,000 horsepower, it was bigger,
broader and heavier than any other
ship. Germany built its own version
in 1907-8, but by 1912, Britain
had a new, bigger kind, resulting in
29 dreadnoughts being produced
overall. Fisher came to be viewed as
one of the main architects of British
victory in the First World War.
For every innovative and
revolutionizing creation there always
is a magnificent and knowledgeable
creator behind it.
By Dunia Mangal
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