HMS 'Vindictive' at Zeebrugge, 23 April 1918
The Zeebrugge Raid, which took place on the night of 23 April 1918, was a British attempt to neutralise this key Belgian port, then in use by the German navy as a base for their U-boats and light shipping, and consequently posing a threat in the North Sea and Channel. It was first proposed in 1917 but only effected (after an aborted first attempt) in late April 1918 based on a plan devised by Admiral Sir Roger Keyes. The intention was to prevent use of the harbour by sinking three old cruisers filled with concrete in it ('Thetis', 'Intrepid' and 'Iphigenia') and also doing this to block the entrance to the feeder canal from Bruges. The 'Vindictive' was intended to make a diversionary attack against the Mole enclosing the harbour, then land a force of marines and cover them in an attempt to silence German guns, while two old submarines were exploded under the landward causeway to the Mole to prevent its reinforcement. Because a change of wind made a planned smokescreeen ineffective, 'Vindictive' came under very heavy fire and was forced to put men ashore in the wrong place with the result that German artillery was not silenced either by the marines or her own guns (the ship having been refitted with mortars, flame-throwers and howitzers for such close-range action).
Object number: BHC0669
Artist: Charles John de Lacy
Size: 840 mm x 990 mm
Date: circa 1918
- Image reference: BHC0669
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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