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Title: Forging the shaft of the spear of victory : the creation and evolution of the home fleet in the pre-War era, 1900-1914
Author: Buckey, C.
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2013
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The Royal Navy's main—but not only—weapon at the beginning of the First World War was the Grand Fleet, whose pre-war title was the Home Fleet. The Home Fleet was brought into being in April 1907 after a controversial and confusing series of communications between Sir John Fisher at the Admiralty, the Cs-in-C. of the three main battle fleets, and Admiral Francis Bridgeman, who was Fisher's choice to command the new organization. The initial motive for this reorganization was a financial one: the new Liberal government demanded economies in naval expenditure on top of those introduced by Fisher for the now-ousted Conservatives. During the internal discussions on the proposed Home Fleet in the fall of 1906, three new motives were introduced: 1) A desire to improve on the existing reserve force structure. 2) Furtherance of a trend towards centralized Admiralty control of war operations replacing the previous independence of fleet and station commanders. 3) The shift from a primarily anti-Dual Alliance strategic posture to a primarily anti-German one. This combination of financial and strategic motives would set the stage for future Admiralty policy throughout the remainder of the Prewar Era. The developments related to these motives ensured the Home Fleet would not remain in its initial form for long. Attacks on the Home Fleet from within the Navy resulted in the accelerated demise of the Navy's previous first-line organization in home waters, the Channel Fleet, and shifting geostrategic paradigms reduced the importance of theatres outside the North Sea. Despite efforts by advocates of both those who wished to reduce naval expenditure and advocates of new technologies such as the submarine, the dreadnought-based Home Fleet remained the principal defence of the realm in July 1914, and was likely to remain so into the immediate future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Memory, Text and Place