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Hobbs, D.
The First Pearl Harbor: The attack by British torpedo planes on the German High Seas Fleet planned for 1918
Warship 2007
Conway Maritime Press Ltd., London, 2007, pp. 29-38

Accession No.1996


Fully 24 years before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Staff of the British Grand Fleet planned a similar devastating attack on the German battlefleet at Wilhelmshaven. David Hobbs looks in detail at the proposals forwarded to the Admiralty on 11 September 1917 by Admiral Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief Grand Fleet, and at the Admiralty's response.

It is clear from their letters that Admirals Beatty and Madden believed in 1919 that the carrier-borne torpedo aircraft the Royal Navy had its most devastating weapon. No wonder the Navy fought so long and hard to recover administrative as well as operational control of its embarked aircraft, lost in 1918 when the RN Air Service was mistakenly subsumed into the Royal Air Force. It is also, perhaps not surprising that the embryonic RAF should move towards bombing and away from torpedo attack lest it be seen as subservient to the older-established Service.