Between 1914–18 the focus of British naval action was in the North Sea and control of the Mediterranean was handed over to the French. Germany had detached itself from the Austro-Hungarian naval force and in 1914 moved from the Austrian Adriatic to the Sea of Marmara, where they operated under the Turkish flag. The French, preoccupied with establishing naval bases in North Africa and transporting troops to the region, failed to heed the increasing mobilization of enemy forces around Turkey, poised to attack Russian ports in the Black Sea. Italy, originally a neutral member of the Alliance, shifted sides in 1915. With the French, they blocked the entrance to the Adriatic and in 1917 and 1918 capsized two Austrian warships. German submarines were a menace in the region. Meanwhile Austria-Hungary intercepted ships carrying supplies to Montenegro. British Malta was used as an antisubmarine base and a hospital island.
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