On the night of 20 November 1914, everything pointed to the likelihood of invasion by a German army, whisked across the North Sea on a fleet of fast transports. The Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet prepared to sail south from remote bases in Scotland; shallow-draught monitors were moored in the Wash; and 300,000 troops stood by to repel the enemy on the beaches. Fortunately, the night passed without incident.For thirty years prior to the First World War, writers, with a variety of motivations, had been forecasting such an invasion. Britain regarded the army as an imperial police force and, despite the experience gained in military exercises involving simulated invasions, the Royal Navy was still expected to fulfil its traditional role of intercepting and destroying enemy forces. However, as the technology of warfare developed, with the proliferation of ever more powerful warships, submarines, mines, and torpedoes, alongside the added promise of aerial assault, it became obvious that these long-established notions of the Navy’s invincibility might no longer be realistic.
IF THE KAISER COMES Defence Against German Invasion of Britain in the First World War
The perceived threat of invasion, whether justified or not, persisted throughout the First World War, and this book describes the measures taken to protect Britain against enemy. Much of this book is a detailed study of approaches to, and structures of, British defence in the Great War. It at times technical in nature, going into the design and construction of fixed defence measures such as pill boxes. The role of the army and the navy also receive separate chapters, as does the role of aviation, these cover the various operational approaches to defence deployed in Britain. An interesting account, one that will appeal to those interested in the geographic and technical development of defences such as pill boxes.