Who's Who - Franz von Hipper

Admiral Franz von Hipper Admiral Franz von Hipper (1863-1932) gained dubious fame in Britain as the 'baby killer' of the German navy, a reputation deriving from his bold raids upon the British coast, notably at Scarborough, during the opening months of the war.

Prior to the First World War Hipper led the High Seas Fleet Scouting Forces from 1912 onwards.  With war declared Hipper often lurked in the dangerous North Sea with his Battlecruiser Squadron, and met with success during raids in the early stages of the war.

Following the raid at Scarborough in December 1914, at which the Royal Navy was, at least so far as the press and popular opinion were concerned, caught napping, a determined effort was made to find and destroy Hipper's squadron.

Having decided to try and repeat his earlier success at Scarborough, Hipper was in the process of sailing to Britain in January 1915 when, following the interception of radio traffic, the British, led by Admiral Beatty, intercepted him at the Battle of Dogger Bank.

By a combination of luck and skill Hipper escaped, and next came to prominence when his squadron opened the hostilities at the Battle of Jutland of 31 May-1 June 1916, where he succeeded in inflicting severe damage on Beatty's squadron and, towards the close of the battle, saved Admiral Scheer's fleet by a remarkably bold (and apparently suicidal) charge towards Jellicoe's battleships.

Appointed Scheer's successor as commander of the High Seas Fleet in August 1918 (Scheer himself was made head of the new German Navy Supreme Command), his final gamble, planned for October that year - pitting the High Seas Fleet against the British Grand Fleet, was abandoned following the naval mutiny at Kiel, saving Hipper from certain defeat had he succeeded in sailing to meet the British.

With the war lost Hipper oversaw the surrender of the High Fleet to the British; he retired from active service in December 1918.

Admiral Franz von Hipper died in 1932.

"ANZAC" was coined in 1915 from the initials of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

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