The Zeebrugge Raid

Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz's Official Report on the Zeebrugge Raid, 24 April 1918

During the night of April 22-23 an enterprise of the British naval forces against our Flanders bases, conceived on a large scale and planned regardless of sacrifice, was frustrated.

After a violent bombardment from the sea, small cruisers, escorted by numerous destroyers and motorboats, under cover of a thick veil of artificial fog, pushed forward near Ostend and Zeebrugge to quite near the coast, with the intention of destroying the locks and harbour works there.

According to the statements of prisoners, a detachment of four Companies of the Royal Marines was to occupy the Mole of Zeebrugge by a coup de main, in order to destroy all the structures, guns, and war material on it and the vessels lying in the harbour. Only about forty of them got on the Mole. These fell into our hands, some alive, some dead. On the narrow high wall of the Mole both parties fought with the utmost fierceness.

Of the English naval forces which participated in the attack the small cruisers Virginia sic, Intrepid, Sirius and two others of similar construction, whose names are unknown, were sunk close off the coast. Moreover, three torpedo-boat destroyers and a considerable number of torpedo motor-boats were sunk by our artillery fire. Only a few men of the crews could be saved by us.

Beyond damage caused to the Mole by a torpedo sic hit, our harbour-works and coast batteries are quite undamaged. Of our naval forces only one torpedo-boat suffered damage of the lightest character. Our casualties are small.

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