As 1916 opened, the Adriatic was the only place in the Mediterranean where the naval surface forces of the Central Powers and the Entente were actually in contact. Italy’s Regia Marina did most of the Allies’ work—it was after all their cities, their ports, and their shipping that were at stake here—more or less assisted by the French and British, as promised. The KuK Marine stood alone.
The major units of both sides waited in port, trained, and watched each other. The lower Adriatic remained the most active area. At the Strait of Otranto—the only entrance or exit—the Allies—primarily the British—worked to block passage by the enemy—increasingly now these were submarine raiders—by means of patrols and nets. The Otranto Barrage had been begun.
The Italians daily demanded more aid, more security, but only if they retained sole command of all Allied forces committed to this narrow sea. The Allies being reluctant to release any major part of their fleets, or to turn them over to join the already many