The United States Navy Meets the Grand Fleet: Americans, the British (and Australians) and the experience of the Sixth Battle Squadron 1917-1918
By James Goldrick
The attachment of American battleships to the British Grand Fleet in 1917-18 has significance beyond the relatively limited operational service which the formation experienced. The successful integration of the USN units into the much larger British formations, the harmonious working relationships which rapidly developed at all levels and the increasing understanding of common interests prefigured the way in which the two navies – and an (albeit much smaller) third, the Australian Navy, would work together in the century that followed. There were challenges, as well as occasional irritations and petty jealousies, but the Sixth Battle Squadron learnt quickly and well, while USN systems and procedures gave their coalition partners much food for thought. This lecture examines some of the operational, tactical, logistic and social issues that arose during the battleships’ year in Scottish waters, together with assessing the implications of what was learned for the years ahead.
James Goldrick is a retired two-star rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy who led Australia’s Border Protection Command and the Australian Defence College. He lives in Canberra, Australia.More on Knox Lecture Series