Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vorpostenboot 721



There are very low tides at the moment so, after a tip off from a local friend, we went to see a wreck that is exposed at low tide near Plozevet. According to our friend the wreck was of a German warship that ran aground after a naval battle in the bay. After some round about web searching I found out that this was a Vorpostenboot or VP, which is what I thought given the size and shape of the wreck, particularly of the boiler.



This particular patrol boat, VP721, was involved in a naval action on the night of August 22nd to 23rd 1944 with British warships, probably destoyers or coastal forces I would have thought, and was run aground on fire with the loss of fifty of the crew. The survivors were captured by the local resistance. I reckon there's some scope for a coastal forces scenario in this somewhere, although I'd need to find out the other side of the story, specifically the naval forces involved on the British side of the battle.

Postscript...

A bit more digging and I've found the answer, in the shape of Force 27 which engaged and destroyed several VP's, minesweepers and a sprerrbrecher in the Bay of Audierne on 22/23 August 1944. This was the last action that Force 27, consisting of the cruiser HMS Mauritius and the destroyers HMCS Iroquois and HMS Ursa, took part in as the final stages of Operation KINETIC.  The photo below shows HMS Mauritius in action on the night.


So, how VP721 met it's end is now clear.

'Using the radar on Iroquois, the destroyers stalked the convoy at long range until 0405, when the enemy ships were illuminated by starshell. Upon opening fire, Force 27 quickly overwhelmed the enemy, sinking two vessels and forcing two others to collide in the confusion and burst into flames as they raced for shore, with surviving crew members jumping over the side as they went. One of these vessels capsized and sank while the other drove onto the rocks at full speed and exploded'

http://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol13/tnm_13_3_33-47.pdf

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. I am assuming the one you were looking at is teh one that drove on the rocks at full speed and exploded?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes,

    As far as I can make out, it seems like the best candidate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. An amazing piece of history. Nearly the anniversary too, 69 years ago tomorrow night.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Correction to the above - 69 years ago tonight! (Tired eyes looking at the wrong day on calender).

    ReplyDelete

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