by Shawn T. Grimes
Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 264.
Maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $115.00. ISBN: 184383698X
is a ground breaking look at war planning in the Royal Navy from late-Victorian
times through the end of World War I.
Amassing a huge amount of hitherto overlooked evidence, Dr. Grimes
(Saskatchewan) takes on the notion that strategy and war planning in the Royal
Navy in this era was non-existent or at best amateurish, thus throwing a fresh
light on the entire period.
opens with a look at how the Royal Navy viewed the naval side of the Franco-Russian
alliance that began to take shape in 1888 and British strategic thought into
the 1890. He then examines the
increasing sensitivity to rising German naval power, which led to a decisive
shift in war planning, yet one which had surprising roots in earlier strategies. Grimes then discusses how planning and
strategy evolved and changed during the war itself In doing this, he makes use not only of
actual wartime experience, but also takes a good look at the lessons of fleet
maneuvers, an often overlooked element in the shaping of maritime
the course of telling this story, Grimes covers a number of other aspects of
the naval history of the period. For
example, he examines British notions of operations in cooperation in
Scandinavia, where, rather surprisingly, some of the regional nations were not
as firmly committed to neutrality as is generally thought. Grimes also gives us politicians, naval
officers, and so forth, including several interesting but now largely forgotten
minor characters who played often surprising roles.
important book for those interested in the origins of the Great War and its
conduct at sea, Strategy and War Planning
in the British Navy, 1887-1918 well also prove reward for anyone studying
the history of naval strategy.