[13] As the long methodical bombardments of Ostend and Zeebrugge had proved impractical, Bacon attached a large monitor to the forces which patrolled coastal barrages, ready to exploit opportunities of favourable wind and weather to bombard Zeebrugge and Ostend, which occurred several times but had no effect on the working of the ports. Zeebrugge is located on the North Sea and is connected to the city of bulges via an expressway giving it a central location on the Belgian coast. Our cruise ship berthed here primarily so that passengers could undertake shore excursions to Brugge or Brussels. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. We went to Brussels. A visit to Bruges isn’t complete without a boat trip on its canals. Keyes received a knighthood, and the heroism of the participants was rewarded with eleven Victoria Crosses. SM UB-59 was a German Type UB III submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I.She was commissioned into the Flanders Flotilla of the German Imperial Navy on 25 August 1917 as SM UB-59.. She operated as part of the Flanders Flotilla based in Zeebrugge. [18][19][d] The cruisers involved in the blockade, including HMS Vindictive, were equipped in Chatham by over 2,000 workers for the special fitting out or (in the case of the ships to be sunk) stripping out of unnecessary equipment, including their masts. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/event/Zeebrugge-Raid-1918, 1914-1918 online - International Encyclopedia of the First World War - Amphibious Raids on Ostend and Zeebrugge, Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes. Zeebrugge Raid, (22–23 April 1918), naval engagement of World War I. It was demolished in the 1950s (Bruges City Archives, Zeebruggefonds) Prelude Zeebrugge and Ostend initially not targeted The activities of Marinekorps Flandern conducted from the Belgian ports had the potential of being strategically decisive. [37], The Zeebrugge Raid was promoted by Allied propaganda as a British victory and ultimately resulted in the awarding of eight Victoria Crosses. [30] News of the raid was skilfully exploited to raise Allied morale and to foreshadow victory Possunt quia posse videntur ("They can because they think they can"). The aim was to block the Zeebrugge Canal, thereby denying U-boat access, although this meant assaulting a powerfully fortified German naval base. Zeebrugge: The Centenary ConferenceLocation: Portsmouth Historic DockyardThe National Museum of the Royal Navy is to host a symposium, held in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on the weekend of the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Navy and Royal Marine raid on the port of Zeebrugge. Another attempt was made on 23 April, with a concurrent attack on Ostend. The British intended to sink obsolete ships in the canal entrance, to prevent German vessels from leaving port. They had five tons of amatol packed into their fore-ends and were to be driven into the viaduct and then blown up, to prevent reinforcement of the German garrison on the mole. The raid began with a diversion against the mile-long Zeebrugge mole, led by the old cruiser, Vindictive, with two Mersey ferries, Daffodil and Iris II. On the night of 22–23 April little went according to plan. A simultaneous raid on Ostend was equally unsuccessful. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. St. Nazaire: Most Daring Raid Since Zeebrugge. The transfer of these resources however was threatened by the continuing war at sea and the U-Boat menace that also threatened Britain's link with the continent. [31], Of the 1,700 men involved in the operation, S. F. Wise recorded in 1981 that 300 were wounded and more than 200 killed. During the Passchendaele offensive of 1917, the Allies attempted to capture these U-boat bases by means of a land-based attack. The only vulnerable part of the German defensive system was the lock gates at Zeebrugge, the destruction of which would make the canal to Bruges tidal and drastically reduce the number of ships and submarines that could pass along it. The Zeebrugge raid to halt the U-boats would become the progenitor of commando raids in WWII. Omissions? Battered by gunfire on the approach, Vindictive reached the mole in the wrong position. It was an overwhelmingly English venture but 12 Australians were involved. Vindictive was spotted by German gunners and forced to land in the wrong place, resulting in the loss of the marines' heavy gun support. Basically this is a seaport which … Zeebrugge Things to Do. [8] At 6:00 a.m. the ships weighed anchor, just as the Kaiser Wilhelm battery opened fire. Although resolutely carried out, the raid was an almost complete failure. Zeebrugge Pitt, Barrie. [10], German destroyers were sighted east of the Ratel Bank at 1:42 a.m. by HMS Lance and HMS Lochinvar which were steering towards Ostend, to establish the range and bearing of the target from the sighting buoy. It is set during the Zeebrugge Raid of the 23rd April 1918, an operation intended to deny German access to the English Channel by blocking the Bruges-Zeebrugge canal entrance with three obsolete ships. The fleet made its rendezvous at Swin Deep, about 8 nmi (9.2 mi; 15 km) south of Clacton. [21], A second attempt was made on 23 April, in conjunction with a raid on the neighbouring harbour of Ostend. "CWGC: Cemetery Details for Dover (St James's) Cemetery", "31189: 18 February 1919, Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids, Naval Despatch dated 9 May 1918", "[Eight] Victoria Cross Awards - Zeebrugge Raid April 1918", British Pathe footage of the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918. Destroyer HMS Myrmidon attacked by U-boat 23 October 1914 (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) Contents . As ship sinkings by U-boats increased, finding a way to close the ports became urgent and the Admiralty became more willing to consider a raid. The Ostend canal was the smaller and narrower of the two channels giving access to Bruges and so was considered a secondary target behind the Zeebrugge Raid. The first opportunity for the raid was early April 1918 and on 2 April the fleet sailed and Zeebrugge was bombed by 65 Squadron from Dunkirk. A monitor, HMS Sir John Moore, was to land 1,000 troops on the mole, the monitor HMS General Craufurd was to bombard the lock gates and fortifications from short range; blockships were to enter the harbour in the confusion. Business. The blockships were sunk in the wrong place and after a few days the Germans had opened the canal to submarines at high tide. HALT U-BOATS IN ZEEBRUGGE Drawing on eyewitness accounts from survivors, expert testimony, rare photos and military documents from the battle, discover the events of April 22, 1918, when a flotilla of British warships, led by the cruiser HMS Vindictive set sail for the fortified harbor of Zeebrugge, defended by coastal batteries, a deadly mole, and a seawall bristling with guns. Share. The raid was approved in January 1918 and volunteer crews were obtained from the Grand Fleet "to perform a hazardous service". Postcard 2020-01-1229-P. Visit my store for thousands of historical photos! An attempt to raid Zeebrugge was made on 2 April 1918 but was cancelled at the last moment, after the wind direction changed and made it impossible to lay a smokescreen to cover the ships. The failure of the Battle of Passchendaele made it clear that a naval assault was the only solution. by Johan Ryheul When we talk about U-boat bases we immediately think about the enormous U-boat bunkers of the Second World War at, for example, Saint Nazaire, France. Donald Sommerville is a writer and editor specializing in military history. [27], In 1931, the official historian, Sir Henry Newbolt, wrote that before the raid, two submarines entered or left the Flanders bases each day and continued at that rate during the week after the raid. At the end of 1916 a combined operation against Borkum, Ostend and Zeebrugge had been considered by Admiral Lewis Bayly, commander of the Coast of Ireland Station. Updates? [35][36][f] German casualties were eight dead and sixteen wounded. Monohull, catamaran, powerboat, with or without crew: our team will assist you in organizing your navigation in Zeebrugge! To combat the U-boat threat, the British tried to block Zeebrugge port in April 1918 by scuttling old ships in the entry channel. The schedule in the … [1], Vice-Admiral Roger Keyes was appointed director of the Plans Division at the Admiralty in October 1917 and on 3 December, submitted another plan for the blocking of Zeebrugge and Ostend using old cruisers in a night attack in the period from 14–19 March. Articles such as this one were acquired and published with the primary aim of expanding the information on Britannica.com with greater speed and efficiency than has traditionally been possible. Able Seaman William O'Hara recalled the moment when he reported at Chatham Barracks, "There was great speculations as to what we were there for but no one could satisfy our curiosity. Directed by A.V. The raid was proposed in 1917 by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe but was not authorised until Keyes adapted Bacon's plan for a blocking operation, to make it difficult for German ships and submarines to leave the port. The unsubdued German guns also made conditions extremely difficult for the blockships. Corrections? However, before we disembarked for the Brussels tour and when we returned to the ship after the tour we had the opportunity to observe the coming and going of a number of different types of vessels from this port. Boat hire in Zeebrugge at the best price with Filovent! [8], In the first hour of the bombardment, the German response was limited to anti-aircraft fire and attempts to jam the wireless of the artillery-observation aircraft. Desperate to counter the German U-boat offensive in World War I, British Commodore Sir Roger Keyes devised a bold plan to block the Bruges Canal in occupied Belgium, which linked German submarine pens to the open sea. At that time Zeebrugge had the longest harbour mole in the world at around 1.5 miles. German submarines based in Zeebrugge were responsible for a third of all allied shipping losses during the First World War. The operation was dependent on the advance of the British armies in the Third Battle of Ypres and had no influence on events at Zeebrugge and Ostend. Snaaskerke, Belgium 3 contributions 4 helpful votes. Another problem that had to be factored into the planning were the constantly shifting sandbanks off the Belgium coast and for … [9] The Admiralty concluded that had the monitors been ready to fire as soon as the observer in the artillery-observation aircraft signalled, or if the shoot had been reported throughout, the lock gates would have been hit. Menu. Had Bacon been able to repeat the shore bombardments at short intervals, naval operations from the Flanders coast by the Germans would have been much more difficult to organise. [23] The submarines C1 (Lieutenant A. C. Newbold) and C3 were old, manned by volunteer crews of one other officer and four ratings. [c] Very few of the participants were aware of the objective. Several attempts to close the Flanders ports by bombardment failed and Operation Hush, a 1917 plan to advance up the coast, proved abortive. [24] The crews were to abandon their submarines shortly before the collision with the viaduct, leaving the submarines to steer themselves automatically. Bacon was asked to give his opinion and rejected the plan, as did the Admiralty. German submarines based in Zeebrugge were responsible for a third of all allied shipping losses during the First World War. … Once they had reached Zeebrugge, Daffodil was to push Vindictive against the Mole until she could be secured and disembark the troops. The bombardment became very accurate soon after and Marshal Soult hit the target with its twelfth shell and Erebus with its twenty-sixth. The islet its beached on is the capture zone for a flag with its name U-118. The War Illustrated, Volume 5, No. [29], Newbolt wrote that the raid on Zeebrugge was part of an anti-submarine campaign which had lasted for five months, using patrols and minefields to close the straits and which continued despite the most destructive sortie achieved by the Germans during the war. During the Passchendaele offensive of 1917, the Allies attempted to capture these U-boat bases by means of a land-based attack. Zeebrugge : Prince, Stephen. UB-59 scuttled 5 October 1918 off Zeebrugge at during the evacuation of Belgium by … Zeebrugge, joined to its historical mother city Bruges by the Baudouin Canal, is a seaport and seaside resort with potential. The marines immediately came under massed fire and suffered many casualties. The main U-boat bases in Germany were beyond striking range. ZEEHAVEN VAN BRUGGE. Activity: [30] Bacon wrote in 1931 that he was a seagoing commander with intimate knowledge of the tidal and navigational conditions in the Ostend and Zeebrugge areas; operational failures were due in part to the appointment of Keyes (an Admiralty man) and his changes to plans Bacon had laid. [2], The possibility of a landing on the Belgian coast was not abandoned, despite the number of rejected plans and early in 1917, Bacon assisted in the planning of Operation Hush, landings by the three brigades of the 1st Division around Middelkerke at the northern extremity of the Western Front. The ships came now directly over the sea from Germany to Flanders. [6], The bombardment opened late because of the need to tow Marshal Soult, slowing the armada, and also by haze off the harbour. Flanders-based U-boats proved a major thorn in the side of the Royal Navy and maritime traffic in the North Sea and Channel. 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