TimelineMaps

Follow us through the World War I centennial on Follow wwitoday on Twitter

Oil

Map of Syria, Palestine, Turkey, and Mesopotamia from the Baedeker 1912 travel guide Palestine and Syria with Routes through Mesopotamia and Babylonia and with the Island of Cyprus.

Map of Syria, Palestine, Turkey, and Mesopotamia from the Baedeker 1912 travel guide Palestine and Syria with Routes through Mesopotamia and Babylonia and with the Island of Cyprus.

Image text

Other views: Detail, Front, Larger, Larger

In it naval program of 1912, -13, and -14, the British Navy turned decisively from coal to oil. Oil delivered more power and was needed for the faster ships Britain was building.

Within a ship itself, coal was transported by men who had to go further and further into the bowels of the ship to retrieve it. Oil could be delivered to the engines by pipe, and fewer men were required.

At sea, coal was not easily transferred from ship to ship, and ships needed to land to get coal. Oil was readily available on ship, and was easily replenished at sea.

Britain had sources of supply in Mesopotamia and Persia. Securing those sources from the Turks was a major consideration in its campaign in Mesopotamia.