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The Zeebrugge Raid (Hardback)

WWI Naval Great War at Sea

By Philip Warner
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 238
ISBN: 9781844156771
Published: 20th March 2008
Last Released: 4th March 2008

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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.

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About Philip Warner

Philip Warner (1914-2000) enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals after graduating from St Catherine's, Cambridge in 1939. He fought in Malaya and spent 1,100 days as 'a guest of the Emperor' in Changi and on the Railway of Death, an experience he never discussed. He was a legendary figure to generations of cadets during his thirty years as a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Yet he will arguably be best remembered for his contribution of more than 2,000 obituaries of prominent army figures to The Daily Telegraph.

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The 'little ships' of the Second World War - the fast and highly manoeuvrable motor torpedo boats and gunboats which fought in coastal waters all over the world - developed a special kind of naval warfare. With their daring nightly raids against an enemy's coastal shipping - and sometimes much larger warships - they acquired the buccaneering spirit of an earlier age. And never more so than in the close hand-to-hand battles which raged between opposing craft when they met in open waters. Large numbers of these small fighting boats were built by the major naval powers. The Germans called them Schnellboote…

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