The Blocking of Zeebrugge - Operation Z-O 1918 by Stephen Prince

By Stephen Prince

At the evening of 22-23 April 1918 the Royal military performed a raid at the German held ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend - Operation Z-O. below the canopy of clouds and smoke, over 70 ships and an attack strength of 1,800 Royal Marines launched into a bold project which concerned a vicious conflict of great depth. in spite of the fact that, regardless of the gallant and brave efforts of the attackers, eleven of whom have been later provided the Victoria go, the raid used to be in basic terms partially winning. realize the successes and screw ups of this dramatic raid during this in-depth account, entire with in particular commissioned battlescene art. the writer unearths how regardless of failure, the raid verified to Germany that Britain was once nonetheless able to offensive motion, at the same time its armies have been being pressured again.

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Sample text

Again the special navigation buoys were laid but soon the weather was too rough for the minor craft or to allow boarding ships to lie alongside the Mole. Keyes ordered the force to sail anyway in the hope that conditions might improve but was forced to again issue the recall, this time after only two hours, when the weather did not abate. There was now the prospect of trying to maintain both the force and surprise until the next window of possibly suitable conditions in May. Keyes’ thoughts on the initial cancellation show he was well aware of the difficulties of maintaining security for three weeks now that the force had been assembled and widely briefed.

The only operational drawback was that some personnel would need to wear gas masks while smoke was being produced. However the volume of smoke required for the raid needed 82 tons of acid and there was just one manufacturer in the United Kingdom. It could only provide the acid if it ceased production of the related product, saxin, a synthetic substitute for sugar used in the management of diabetes. Ultimately a War Cabinet decision was required to secure priority for the requirements of the raid.

Keyes was faced with the dilemma of whether to proceed. He later wrote: Vice-Admiral Keyes’ flagship for both raids, the destroyer HMS Warwick. Built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1917, this ship displaced approximately 1,500 tons, could achieve over 30 knots and had a crew of 135. Warwick was armed with four 4in guns and six torpedo tubes, as well as a minelaying capacity. Though badly damaged by a mine during the return from Ostend in May 1918, Warwick was successfully repaired and served into World War II.

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