Book Review-‘Blockade: Cruiser warfare and the starvation of Germany in World War One’ by S. R. Dunn

By Steve Cobb, published December 2020


The publisher’s blurb promises a ‘fast-paced story of . . . the operations of the 10th Cruiser Squadron’, using ‘first-hand accounts, the book . . . lays before the reader . . . a much neglected aspect of the First World War’. Fast-paced it certainly is, but it is an episodic account of the maritime blockade. An account of the economic ‘blockade, it is not. While it is quite well-written, it is not a work of research-based scholarship.

What we do have is an account of the 10th Cruiser Squadron, which formed the Northern Patrol between Scotland and Iceland, and, more particularly, an account of (some of) the Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMCs). The author makes no bones about wanting ‘to understand what made the men who fought the war act as they did’, and he therefore concentrates on the men –the Dramatis Personae (p. 7) – rather than the matériel. Thus, he is led to focus on those AMCs that saw action or where memoirs are available, and to those that weren’t even part of the Northern Patrol, such as the action on 13 September 1914 between the AMCs HMS Carmania and SMS Cap Trafalgar off Trinidade Island, Brazil. There are chapters on other German raiders: Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Kronprinz Wilhelm, Moewe, Leopard


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    Filed under: WW1
    Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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