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Geregistreerd op: 17-7-2005
Woonplaats: Jabbeke, Flanders - Home of the Marine Jagdgeschwader in WW I
|Geplaatst: 22 Apr 2008 10:34 Onderwerp: Dover Patrol, the RNAS and the U-boat war
|Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon
Was in charge of Dover Patrol till the end of 1917
A number of mines were laid in the Channel, known as the Dover Barrage
Early mines were not working that good and so results were minor in the early war years
For the Germans it would become evident that it was a high risk to try to cross the Dover Barrage by day and under water
So the solution was simple, make the pass by night and on the surface, as there was little chance of getting caught
Also floating nets were laid in the North Sea, even in the proximity of the Flemish harbours if possible
Drifters were on patrol mostly in the Channel area, trying to surprise enemy submarines
In the early year they had little success
Before the depth charge also other methods were tried to attack submarines from ships. Next to the gun there was the bomb lance, some kind of giant grenade stuck on a pole
Needless to say it didnít result in destroying or even damaging a submarine
Important for the orientation of the ships were the light vessels
Sometimes they were also used as a temporarily shelter for seaplane crews who had to land at sea or even for other rescue missions
Felixstowe F2a flying boats and their US counterpart Curtiss small and large Americaís patrolled the North Sea daily in a pattern that was known to the pilots as the Spiders Web
The purpose was to find enemy shipping and submarines
Regular visitors to the Belgian coast were the monitors. They fired most of the time on the harbours of Zeebrugge and Oostende, generally not causing much destruction to the installations
ĎVisitsí were short as the coastal batteries reacted immediately
Curious thing is that the transport ships for the troops were very well protected with destoyers and torpedo boats and that concoys were formed in that way.
Curious is that nobody was convinced before 1918 of the advantages of doing this also for the cargo ships
Combined with 3rd Ypres there were plans to have a landing on the coast near Westende, and do an attack from the trenches near Nieuwpoort.
3rd Ypres ended at Passendale and the eastern side of the Yser mouth was taken by the Germans during Operation Strandfest on 10 July 1917
So the landing was also cancelled.
What was more, von SchrŲder expected a landing at the coast or just over the border with the Netherlands in a part known as Zeeuws Vlaanderen, but this never happened
Sir Roger Keyes
At the end of 1917 Roger Keyes came in command of Dover Patrol.
The way this happened has become an interesting debate for historians
He had the idea of attacking the harbours of Zeebrugge and Oostende and to block them once and for all.
In order to do so a number of block ships were constructed from older absolete ships from the Royal Navy.
On the list : HMS Sirius, Brilliant, Thetis, Intrepid and Iphigenia
They were Ďconvertedí for their job at Chatham
There also was to happen an attack on the Mole defences, and for this, troops would be landed on the Mole itself, destroying the guns and other installations of military importance such as the seaplane base and the Friedrichsort Leitstand. The ships that would land most of the troops was HMS Vindictive
They were also looking for other ships to assist HMS Vindictive in landing the troops on the Mole
Daffodil and Iris II, two ferry boats on the Mersey river at Liverpool seemed to be ideal for the job and were also converted for this
11 April 1918
first attempt to raid the enemy harbours was made, but weather conditions were bad and they had to return to the shore
One CMB was lost and ended up on the beach of Oostende, on board were the plans for the blocking of Oostende, the Germans were warned
Special alert for Oostende
Von SchrŲder immediately placed the troops around Oostende on a special alert.
Some say this alert was given for the entire coast, but somehow it didnít reach the CO and crew of the Mole battery at Zeebrugge
After the raids
It was clear that Zeebrugge was not completely blocked, and for that reason the RAF bombed very regularly the lock doors at Zeebrugge.
In the night of 27/28 May one of the lock doors was hit and repairs lasted till the 4th of June at 23.00
On the 9th of June again damages by one of the monitors and repairs would last till the 1st of July !
It was only after this day that the German Marinekorps Flandern could get back at sea with all of itís forces
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