The unrestricted U-Boat war threatened the very survival of Britain, whose reliance on imported food and war materials was her Achilles Heel. A significant element of the German submarine fleet operated from the occupied Belgian ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend. After careful planning the Royal Navy launched audacious attacks on these two ports on St Georges Day 1918. Five obsolete cruisers and two Mersey ferries supported by a flotilla of smaller vessels penetrated the near impregnable defenses, while Royal Marines and naval storming parties battle ashore in a diversionary attack. At the time of the action the concrete filled block ships were scuttled in the ports approaches.Despite being a costly and bloody affair for the participants, the survivors returned to acclaim. The raids gave a fillip to the national morale, at a time of depressing news from the Front. To underline the success of the affair no less than 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded.
On 23 April 1918 a force drawn from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines launched one of the most daring raids in history. The aim was to block the Zeebrugge Canal, thereby denying U-boat access, although this meant assaulting a powerfully fortified German naval base. The raid has long been recognised for its audacity and ingenuity but, owing to the fact that the official history took overmuch notice of the German version of events, has been considered only a partial success. The error of that view is now exposed, for in this stirring account there is evidence from many sources that the raid achieved much more than is usually credited to it. The raid is presented from a variety of viewpoints, from the airmen who took part in the preliminary bombing to the motor launches which picked up survivors. The crews of the launches and coastal motor boats were frequently 'amateur' sailors but their courage and skill were second to none. Philip Warner has talked with many of the survivors and corresponded with others, some of whom now live in distant parts of the world.
The 1918 amphibious raids on the Belgian coast After three years of grinding attrition, the First World War on the Western Front remained in a stalemate with the German and Allied armies stuck in opposing trenches divided by a barbed-wire fringed, cratered no-man's-land. When the United States of America entered the contest there could be little doubt of an ultimate allied victory. Irrespective of the introduction of fresh fighting men, war materiel and other supplies were already streaming across the Atlantic Ocean to further the allied cause. To prevent the arrival of these supplies and to disrupt shipping in general the Germans had developed a highly effective submarine counter-measure in the form of the U-Boat. These submarines were operating from bases on the western continental coast notably at Zeebrugge in Belgium. To neutralise the U-Boats the Royal Navy devised a daring raid on those bases, which if successful would not only deny the U-Boats access to safe berths, but prevent those which were not already at sea from exiting to the ocean to prosecute their war. The objective of these raids was to neutralise the greatest maritime threat in order to speed victory on the field of battle The raid was imaginative, audacious and executed with incredible courage. Perhaps predictably, however, all did not go according to plan. This book contains two riveting accounts describing that famous raid and includes diagrams and photographs. Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket; our hardbacks are cloth bound and feature gold foil lettering on their spines and fabric head and tail bands.
The thrilling biography of the brilliant British inventor and daredevil war hero whose efforts saved countless lives during WWI. Though he only lived to be 33, Wing Commander Frank Brock had accomplished much in his short life. The scion of the world-famous Brock Fireworks company, he is best known as the inventor of the Brock Bullet—the explosive bullet used to destroy German Zeppelins. He also invented the Dover Flares which lit up the sea at night and forced U-boats into deep mine fields. But his exploits went far beyond the engineering lab. As a secret agent Brock dashed to France on his wedding day, snuck into Switzerland, rowed across Lake Constance into enemy territory, and orchestrated the world’s first strategic bombing raid at the zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany. On the day of his untimely death, he led the charge in a surprise naval attack on Zeebrugge, Belgium, only made possible by the smoke screen he invented to mask their approach. Co-authored by his grandson, Gunpowder and Glory tells more than Brock’s amazing life of invention and heroism. Woven into the narrative is the dazzling history of C.T. Brock & Company Fireworks, the world-famous firm started by Frank’s five-times great-grandfather.
The Zeebrugge Raid that occurred on St George’s Day 1918 forms one of the pivotal moments of World War 1, where within a mere hour, hundreds of allied naval marines gave their lives to subjugate the mighty Flanders flotilla that threatened to starve Britain out of the war. Inspired by rare photographs taken by German naval officers on the Mole salvaged from craft fairs and flea markets, read about how and why the raid took place as well as the tragic outcome of that fateful day.
Based on gripping first-hand testimony from the archives of the Imperial War Museum, this book reveals what it was really like to serve in the Royal Navy during the First World War. It was a period of huge change – for the first time the British navy went into battle with untried weapon systems, dreadnoughts, submarines, aircraft and airships. Julian Thompson blends insightful narrative with never-before-published stories to show what these men faced and overcame. Officers and men, from admirals down to the youngest sailors faced the same dangers, at sea in often terrible weather conditions, with the ever-present prospect of being blown to pieces, or choking to death trapped in a compartment or turret as they plunged to the bottom of the sea. In their own words they share their experiences, from from long patrols and pitched battles in the cold, rough water of the North Sea to the perils of warfare in the Dardanelles; from the cat-and-mouse search for Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee in the Pacific to the dangerous raids on Ostend and Zeebrugge. We see what it was like to spend weeks in the cramped, smelly submarines of the period, or to attack U-boats from unreliable airships.
Germany's Atlantic Wall was the most ambitious military fortification program of World War II. Following its conquest of Western Europe, Germany had to defend some 5,000km of Atlantic coastline from the Spanish border to the Arctic Circle. The United States' entry into the war and the inevitability of an Anglo-American landing in Western Europe resulted in the fortification of this coastline along its entire length. Focusing on the northern Atlantic Wall in the Low Countries and Scandinavia, this title addresses the special defensive features and unique aspects of fortification in these countries, such as the early focus on fortifying Norway, due to early British commando raids; the greater use of turreted naval guns; and the establishment of first-line Flak defences in the Low Countries to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign.
This book explains both the strategic and the operational aspects of exercising control of the sea. The struggle for sea control consists of three mutually related and overlapping phases: obtaining, maintaining and exercising sea control. It is in the phase of exercising sea control when one’s strategic or operational success is exploited; otherwise, the fruits of victories achieved would be wasted. This work describes the strategy of a stronger side in wartime after a desired degree of control has been obtained, which is followed by a discussion on the objectives and main methods used in exercising sea control. The remaining chapters explain and analyze in some detail each of the main methods of exercising sea control: defence and protection of one’s own and destruction/neutralization of the enemy’s military-economic potential at sea, capturing the enemy’s operationally important positions ashore, destroying/weakening the enemy’s military-economic potential ashore and supporting one’s ground forces in their offensive and defensive operations on the coast. This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, sea power and naval history.
Belgium was once described as the 'dagger held at the throat of England', a collection of provinces that had long been a critical factor in British foreign policy, and the traditional concern was that Belgium, and especially the Flanders coast, would fall into the hands of the strongest continental power. In 1914, Germany's occupation of Belgium brought about the spectre of enemy ships only seventy miles from the British coast, and the coast of Flanders became, effectively, the naval flank of the Western Front.?Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was one of the few within the German navy who recognised the strategic potential of the three ports of Ostend, Zeebrugge and Brugges; that they were closer to England than the Helgoland Bight for access by small craft, and brought Germany to within a few hours sailing of the Thames estuary. This new book tells the story of the creation, purpose, operations and career of the MarineKorps Flandern. The Flanders harbours should have allowed the German navy to strike dangerous blows at vital British traffic in the Channel and southern North Sea but the MarineKorps was unable to fulfill the great expectations of von Tirpitz. The author not only explains how the German conducted operations, but also explains how the opportunites presented by the Flemish occupation were wasted away. A significant and insightful book on an important theatre of the War