As should be clear by now, neither of the two opponents most directly involved in the Adriatic over the last three-plus years— Austria-Hungary and Italy—had had any urgent, immediate interest in fighting an all-out Mahanian battle there for command of the sea. As things had been, both of their fleets were providing them that which was wanted by them most: in Vienna’s case, control of the Adriatic’s north and east coasts to enable it to defend the north and to project its power south into the Balkans; in Rome’s case, security of its east coast. There was no point in risking a major battle, one that just might somehow be lost. The original blockade at Otranto cost little and bothered no one very much.
But more and more other powers were concerned, now. Unrestricted, the U-boat war was costing the Allies too much, especially in the Mediterranean. This war demanded, in Austria’s case, that the boats be able to pass the Otranto Barrage in and