With the onset of WWI came advancements in several facets of warfare. With new advancements came new opportunities for schemers to flex their muscles in the world of espionage and offensive action. This research will focus on the relevant intelligence operations of the offensive and espionage in naval warfare of WWI. It will concentrate primarily on the German and British naval initiatives, but will not overlook those of Russia, France, and the United States. Any and all conjectures made throughout will be made with the consideration of a given party’s incentives to misrepresent as well as the anticipated payoffs ascribed with each initiated action.
The First World War produced a vast increase in the flow of diplomatic as well as military and naval intelligence. Perhaps more interesting, is how little attention the Foreign Office paid to it. The greatest intelligence advance of the war was the revival of British code breaking after a gap of seventy years —a revival with which the Foreign Office had nothing to do. The initiative came from the Director if Naval intelligence, Admiral Reginal ‘Blinker’ Hall, who founded a diplomatic annex to the wartime Admiralty sigint unit, Room 40, under personal control in the summer of 1915. During the Dardanelles campaign in 1915 he sent secret emissaries to Constantinople with authority to offer up to £4 million to secure the passage of the British Fleet.
Hall’s actions surrounding the Irish Easter Rising in 1916 prove to be something worth a second look. Hall learned of Germanys plans to land both German arms and The Irish nationalist sir roger casement on the west coast of Ireland. Hall failed to inform wither the foreign office or the Irish government. Dublin castle acquired the knowledge only through an accidental indiscretion of the naval commander in Queenstown. This suggests that he was anxious for the Rising to commence in order to force the government to respond with the repression he thought necessary. He deliberately suppressed intelligence that he feared might allow the Rising to be halted. Regarding the Zimmermann telegram, Hall showed up unannounced at the Foreign Office and asked permission to show the newly decrypted telegram to the American embassy. However, he had already done so the previous day.
The goal of these initiatives was usually to attack enemy ships and/or submarines. At the beginning of the Great War, the German Empire had warships dotting the seas. Many of these cruisers were utilized in the attacks on Allied merchant ships and submarines. The British Royal Navy continually responded by hunting them down.
“During 1917 the following successful attacks on enemy submarines by British Submarines have taken palce:-
March 9th G.13 North on Mukle Flugga
April 5th C.7 Off Schouwen Bank (Flanders Flotilla)
May 12th D.7 Off N. of Ireland
September 12th D.7 Off N. of Ireland
However, this was...