There are only two kinds of naval vessels – submarines, and targets.


The LUSITANIA was built in 1906 by John Brown & Co, Glasgow for the Cunard Steamship Co Ltd. She was a 31,550 gross ton ship, length 762.2 ft x beam 87.8 ft, four funnels, two masts, four screws and a speed of 25 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 563 1st, 464 2nd and 1,138 3rd class.

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Launched on the 7th of June 1906, she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Queenstown (Cobh) and New York on the 7th of September 1907. She broke both the eastbound and westbound records for the fastest passage, her fastest being 4 days 16 hours 40 mins from Queenstown to Ambrose in August 1909. Her last Liverpool – New York voyage started on the 17th of April 1915, She sailed from New York on the 1st of May and was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U.20 on the 7th of May near the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland with the loss of 1,198 lives.

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There is now more than ample evidence that the Lusitania was violating the neutrality laws and actively engaged in the starvation blockade of Germany by the British. In spite of the German efforts to break this blockade, their extraordinary warning to travellers published in American – still neutral America – papers the British persisted. What was not made public was the fact that the British government was on the brink of bankruptcy, both fiscal and military. One the one hand the United States has never had a more rabid anglophile as president than Woodrow Wilson. On the other the capitalists in the west saw the way Russia was going and made use of Wilson to try to save Britain and hence the West.

Eventually, pressures to enter the war — despite the 1916 campaign slogan “He kept us out of war” —  proved too great.  In April 1917, the United States joined the Allied and Associated Powers in the war against the Central Powers. The sinking of the Lusitania gave him the pretext to commit troops immediately – untrained and untested boys who were sent to slaughter needlessly. Further exercising his powers as Commander-in-Chief, Wilson was well aware of the Navy’s role in the “war to end wars,” and “to make the world safe for democracy,” and oversaw the biggest naval wartime buildup prior to 1942. Between 1914 and 1917, Wilson had based his appeals for peace upon the formula, “peace without victory.” Using American blood and wealth to save Europe that is exactly what he achieved. Peace – actually a 19 year truce to retool and rearm – with the final victory waiting for 1945 some 60 million lives lost later.

Masts, ventilators, and exhaust funnels are hinged or telescopic, and may be either up or down when the vessels are on the surface. One or both of the guns may be housed. A German submarine has been seen underway, submerged to base of conning tower, with her masts up. The block sketch of German submarines may be accepted as perfectly reliable, being derived from a recent photograph, except that gun may now have been removed. Alterations, particularly as regards periscopes and exhaust funnel, may have been made in some of the earlier classes since the outbreak of war. Submarine Silhouette Book No. 1   March, 1917  [Office of Naval Intelligence]

Masts, ventilators, and exhaust funnels are hinged or telescopic, and may be either up or down when the vessels are on the surface. One or both of the guns may be housed. A German submarine has been seen underway, submerged to base of conning tower, with her masts up. The block sketch of German submarines may be accepted as perfectly reliable, being derived from a recent photograph, except that gun may now have been removed. Alterations, particularly as regards periscopes and exhaust funnel, may have been made in some of the earlier classes since the outbreak of war. Submarine Silhouette Book No. 1 March, 1917 [Office of Naval Intelligence]

Immediately following the war – with the American submarine program in its infancy – the big gun, big ship admirals who were later to put Billy Mitchell to the pillory offered their evaluation of this new weapon. It is not difficult to see why so many Americans believe in Providence in light of how we continue to survive our press, politicians and bureaucracies.

Among the many terrible things used for the first time in the great World War, the airplanes and submarines attracted the most notice. On February 4, 1915, the German government proclaimed a war zone about the British Isles and declared its intention of sinking without warning any enemy merchant ships found within this zone. On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania was sunk. On February 1, 1917, Germany began her ‘ruthless submarine warfare’. Immediately, friendly relations were broken off and on April 6, 1917, the United States declared war. At first it seemed as if the Germans would win. Then it was found that the submarines could be seen from airplanes directly above; also very swift torpedo boats, destroyers, were able to drive them away. As a matter of fact, not one U.S. transport was lost on its way to Europe, and but three on the way home.

 The submarine is the weakest, most helpless of fighting craft. It cannot fight under the rules of warfare laid down by international law. Its only safety lies in swiftness and surprise. All the great nations now have submarines. They are here to stay.

A submarine may travel on the surface or under the water. It has a system of engines for surface running and for charging storage batteries. These storage batteries are the motive power when submerged. Notice the tall periscopes. In each one is a vertical system of lenses and prisms by which the observer down below is able to see on every side. There is also a sound detector which indicates the approach and motion of a ship.

The Lusitania story Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, c 2002 Mitch Peeke, Kevin Walsh-Johnson and Steven Jones World War, 1914-1918 Great Britain, Lusitania (Steamship) Hardcover. 1st American ed. xiv, 175 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes passenger and crew lists from her final voyage in 1915. Includes bibliographical references (p. 168-169) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The Lusitania is today best remembered for the controversy surrounding her loss as a result of a German submarine attack on Friday the 7th of  May 1915,  during the First World War. But this book also tells of her life before that cataclysmic event. It records the ground-breaking advances in maritime engineering that she represented, as well as a hitherto unheard of degree of opulence.

After her sea trials (which she initially failed), her seven glorious years of peacetime service are described when she captured the coveted Blue Riband for Great Britain. This book also takes a close and authoritative look at the disaster which befell her and, with the help of leading experts, the authors analyse the circumstances of her loss and try to determine why this magnificent vessel, together with 1,201 souls, was lost in a mere eighteen minutes.

After examining the subsequent public inquiries the story is brought right up to date with a brief history of the wreck of this once fabulous liner. Thanks to the help of the current owner, Gregg Bemis Junior, who has spent years and considerable resources surveying the wreck, many previously unresolved questions are answered.

The Lusitania Story is the complete story of this famous ocean liner, told for the first time in a single volume with verified passenger and crew lists as well as an accurate record of those who survived and perished. The value of this book is enhanced by its many illustrations.

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