The 16th of August 1914 is an important day in the beginning of the First World War. The totality of the BEF, the British Expeditionary Force, has completed its landing in France.
But hundreds of kilometers away from French soil, in the Adriatic sea, an event will mark the start of naval warfare in the First World War.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire’s navy is blockading the coasts of the Kingdom of Montenegro, unable to oppose the naval presence of the Empire due to a lack of a navy. France, now at war with the Habsburg Empire for the last three days possess a naval force in the Adriatic. Former Minister of the Marine Auguste Boué de Lapeyrère, in charge of the naval forces in the Adriatic, is persuaded that the French navy can eradicate the presence of the Austro-Hungarians in this sea. The Admiral de Lapeyrère hopes to find the enemy’s navy. Alerted of the French presence, the Empire’s fleet went back to their harbours, unaccessible for the French because of their heavy defensive systems.
However, while patrolling the sea, the 35 strong French navy of Lapeyrère spotted an Austro-Hungarian light cruiser, the Zenta, bombing the Montenegrin city of Antivari ( today known as Bar ). Five British ships also came to the fight, but at their arrival, the Zenta was already sinking and the three other Austro-Hungarian vessels fleeing. It’s a new victory for Admiral de Lapeyrère despite that his mission is a failure. He was not able to destroy the Empire’s fleet because they stayed in their harbours, unwilling to directly fight the French and British fleets. De Lapeyrère withdrew his forces due to the lack of an enemy and supply.
In the Vosges, in France, the French army is preparing its positions. The previous combats have been mostly unsuccessful or unimportant. Belgium, the United-Kingdom and France and unable to stop the German advance. French troops are still moving, being reorganized or affected to other places. For the German leaders, the plan is to wait for the coming French offensive, and if they don’t attack then Germany would have to keep moving.