As the world plunged into war in August 1914, two German fleets and several cruisers lay beyond the North Sea, posing a serious threat to British merchant vessels and naval superiority. Beyond the British blockade, there was little chance of reinforcements and resupply of ammunition. Admiral Souchon crossed the Mediterranean with a superior French and British fleet in pursuit. Vice-Admiral von Spee had to decide what to do half a world away from Germany with colonies and friendly shipping rapidly being overtaken by Allied forces. With only the ammunition onboard his vessels, he had to fight his way through British lines to get his men home. Karl von Muller led the Emden on a daring campaign of commerce raiding as did the commander of the Karlsruhe. Other cruisers also carried out warfare, seriously affecting Allied merchant shipping. However, the Royal Navy spent precious resources to remove these threats and Admiral Craddock swept down the coast of North America chasing phantoms only to find what he was looking for was at Coronel and the Falklands Islands.
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Chris Sams was born in Gillingham, Kent, and studied at King Alfred's College in Winchester. While at university, he read History specialising in the Luftwaffe and the Second World War in Germany and Japan. He also studied Social History at post-graduate level. Sams continues to keep an interest in military history and is an avid reader and researcher. He also enjoys walking around ruins and local historical places of interest. He resides in Gillingham with his wife, daughter and two sons.
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