OUR MENTAL PICTURE of the Great War is dominated by the mud of Flanders, barbed wire, whizz-bangs, Tommy Atkins cheerfully swilling down cheap red wine behind the lines at Pozières and the rows upon rows of white crosses at Tyne Cot. If we do not forget that the war was also fought at sea, we expend very little consciousness on the memory of it. Nearly a million British and Empire men died on land: the losses at sea were measured in thousands. It is understandable, therefore, that the weighting should be so different between the two theatres of action.
Yet Britain was the greatest naval power in the world in 1914: and Germany the second "greatest. An arms race through the first years of the twentieth century had ensured that the Royal Navy remained ahead of its potential enemy when it came to building dreadnoughts. Any combat between the