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"The Coward? The Rise and Fall of the Silver King" Topic

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825 hits since 31 Jan 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2017 11:50 a.m. PST

"Barely three days after Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Rear Admiral Ernest Troubridge – a rising star of the British Navy – made a decision that seemed inexplicable and was to dominate the rest of his life and naval career. Commanding the 1st Cruiser Squadron, heading for an engagement with the German battle cruiser Goeben in the Mediterranean and having clearly signalled his intention to engage the German ship, Troubridge suddenly changed his mind, turned his vessels away, and allowed the enemy ship to escape. At a time when the First World War was just beginning …"
From here

Anyone have read this book?. If the answer is yes… comments please?

Thanks in advance for your guidance.


Blutarski31 Jan 2017 9:37 p.m. PST

Armand – Cannot speak for "The Coward" or its author, but do offer the following document -

- for your perusal. It is lengthy and quite dense reading in places, but the author's depth of research is without equal. I went to the length of printing the entire thing out so that I would have a permanent copy in my reference library.

Best of all, it is free.


oldjarhead1 Inactive Member01 Feb 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

I believe I read in Bennet's Naval Battles of WW1 that Admiral Troubridge was persuaded to avoid action by his flag captain Fawcett-Wray.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2017 11:04 a.m. PST



CampyF Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 5:10 p.m. PST

As a series on disasters states: "Disasters don't just happen, they're triggered by a chain of critical events." Even after Troubridge ducked out, Milne had time to catch the Germans. The Admiralty's efforts to micromanage without full information also factored in. There isn't a simple answer.

4th Cuirassier10 Feb 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

In the best instance, Troubridge could have given chase and forced Goeben to retreat at a rate that would stress her machinery, burn coal prodigally and shoot off a fair bit of hard-to-replace 11" shell. Any of his ships hit and damaged, or that suffered mechanical problems, would fall behind out of range, whereas if Goeben suffered mechanical breakdown she'd fall behind into range of his 9.2".

The experience of Sturdee versus Spee with 2 BCs versus 2 CAs suggests that one BC versus 4 CAs might not have been the one-sided slaughter Troubridge expected. Of course he had no way of knowing that, and a likelier result than the above would have been that all his ships got sunk.

Ironically Troubridge's decision to preserve his cruisers resulted in the loss of cruisers anyway – just not his. It seems likely that the bile heaped on him for not offering battle persuaded Cradock to do so to Spee when, with the force he had, he should have avoided action (even, in fact especially, if he'd had Canopus with him).

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