The First Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first naval battle of the First World War, fought on 28 August 1914, between ships of the United Kingdom and Germany. The battle took place in the south-eastern North Sea, when the British attacked German patrols off the north-west German coast. The German High Seas Fleet was in harbour on the north German coast while the British Grand Fleet was out in the northern North Sea. Both sides engaged in long-distance sorties with cruisers and battlecruisers, with close reconnaissance of the area of sea near the German coast—the Heligoland Bight—by destroyer.
The British devised a plan to ambush German destroyers on their daily patrols. A British flotilla of 31 destroyers and two cruisers under Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt, with submarines commanded by Commodore Roger Keyes, was dispatched. They were supported at longer range by an additional six light cruisers commanded by William Goodenough and five battlecruisers commanded by Vice Admiral David Beatty.
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