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The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany$
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Matthew S. Seligmann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574032.001.0001

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Churchill's DAMS

Churchill's DAMS

(p.132) 7 Churchill's DAMS
The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914

Matthew S. Seligmann

Oxford University Press

Winston Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty in October 1911. One of the first problems he sought to tackle was how to protect British trade from the threat posed by Germany's armed liners. His solution was to arm selected cargo ships. There were many obstacles. Defensively armed merchant ships (DAMS) represented a major reversal of British policy, which for the previous half century had encouraged the disarmament of merchantmen. There was also some anxiety that in wartime the Germans would hang the crews of such vessels as pirates if they were captured. Finally, it required a major revision of the system of naval training to ensure that the crews of all DAMS contained naval reservists capable of using the installed weaponry. Yet, despite requiring considerable time and energy to implement, numerous DAMS were available when war broke out.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, defensively armed merchant ships, DAMS

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