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Zeebrugge & Ostend Raids

Zeebrugge & Ostend Raids
Autor: Stephen McGreal
Data publikacji: 2007-06
ISBN: 9781844156085
Wydawca: PEN & SWORD
Język: angielski
Wymiary: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
Oprawa: miękka
Liczba stron: 220
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Opis produktu:

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 defences, 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.

Stephen McGreal's task in compiling a battlefield tour guide to the sites of the famous amphibious raids at Zeebrugge and Ostend is made no easier by the fact that very little now exists of the port facilities that were under German occupation in 1918. Zeebrugge has expanded into one of the busiest container ports of northern Europe, while Ostend is a bustling commercial and tourist resort. Both seem at times to be constant building sites. It is much to the author's credit that he has managed to produce an entertaining and worthwhile book that will have many a battlefield tourist walking the concrete wharfs and paths, trying in their imagination to piece together two stirring events.

It was perhaps after the U-boat threat - having come so close to crippling British supply lines in the Atlantic - had already been overcome that it was decided to block the submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend. McGreal's work tells the story in great detail, drawing upon contemporary sources and published histories in order to do so. We meet many of the officers and men who undertook these hazardous operations and get a good feeling for what happened, placed into context on the ground by some good descriptions and maps. This is not like walking the battlefields of the Somme or Ypres. You are not in fields and woods, with cemeteries and memorials at every turn: the places of memory here are relatively few and surrounded by modern industrial and commercial development.

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