HMS Belfast and "Operation Neptune", June-July 1944 – Nick Hewitt article 5/08

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1830 – Present Day HMS Belfast and "Operation Neptune", June-July 1944 – Nick Hewitt article 5/08

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    Malcolm Lewis

      If you have not already done so I recommend reading Nick Hewitt’s article published in Mariner’s Mirror Vol.92 No2 (May 2008) and featured as the published article on the latest MM website Home Page. It is relevant at this time when we have just been commemorating D-Day 1944.
      With all the emphasis on the beach-head landings in the present-day media one could get the impression that the RN, with its superiority in numbers, had a relatively quiet time. Nick’s article describes vividly what it was like in the cruiser Belfast in the gun-line with accounts by many of her ship’s company.
      From the 4th June to the 8th July, with two returns to Portsmouth to replenish ammunition, she was constantly in action in the gun-line and fired a total of 5000 4” and 6” shells onto various onshore targets.
      The Germans were very active throughout this period launching E-boat and mini submarine attacks and at night laying pressure mines from aircraft, which the RN called Oyster mines. V1 flying bombs also targeted the shipping lying off-shore.
      I was not aware the Germans had mini-submarines or had developed pressure mines. These caused serious problems unless ships moved very slowly around the anchorages. Were these weapons known about before the invasion and were they in advance of allied developments?

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