Friday, June 27, 2014

"Pleasant Journey"

WWI usually conjures up images of horrific trench warfare or colorful Abatross fighters and Flying Circuses.

The Schlieffen plan was a triumph of Imperial Duetschland's ruthlessness, discipline and industrial organization. Mobilizing an obedient army of 5 million cats by rail to sweep first west and then east. In just weeks, Germany thought  her two dangerous neighbors would be crushed. Great Britain's tiny tiny army would not be able to help and she'd sue for peace.  

At last! An infallible plan to make Imperial Deutschland master of Europa.

All that was needed was a Casus Belli


Relations betwixt Great Britain's Royal Navy and Deutschland's Kriegsmarine were never more cordial. When Kiel Canal was officially opened in June 1914, Great Britain sent her 2nd Battle Squadron with her latest greatest dreadnaughts to help celebrate -  HMS King George V, HMS Ajax, HMS Audacious and HMS Centurion.

British sailors cheered the Hoch Kaiser as he sailed past them in review on Hohenzollern and he respectfully returned the salute. British officers allowed their Germaqn counterparts to tour every inch of their ships with zero restrictions. Captain von Hase of Derflinger, would later years say "I shall ever forget the fatherly affectionate hospitality of Britain's Admiral  Warrender at Kiel and the other English officers"

Then, on June 28 the news flashed that Arch Duke Ferdinand had been assissinated. The Kaiser cancelled the yacht race and left for Berlin. Admirals Warrender and Tirpitz shook hands and said goodbye.

As the British left Kiel, German warships ran up the signal "Pleasant Journey."

The Royal Navy sent her reply by wireless:


The next time these cats met up they would be lobbing 1,000 pound shells at each other for control of the North Sea

Pic - "Kiel und Jutland"