Friday, April 28, 2017

Fullbore Friday

What is your crew ready for? Are you ready for the battle you want to have, or have you trained your crew for the battles they could face?

In your head, have you done the math on what happens if the enemy is all of a sudden "there?" What do you do as the range closes ... and closes ... and despite all the outgoing fire ... she still comes?

One such occurrence in the the Great War the night of 20/21 April 1917 in the Dover Strait to give you something to ponder;
(HMS) Broke, flotilla leader, Faulknor-class, 2,000t, 6-4in/1-1½pdr/2mg/4-21in tt, Cdr Edward Evans. Also turned to ram and fired a torpedo which seemed to hit the intended victim (alternatively this was Swift's hit on G.85), steadied, then put helm hard over to hit a destroyer further down the line - G.42 rammed amidships at 27kts. Locked together, Broke's sailors had to repel German boarders in hand-to-hand fighting and while Broke poured fire into G.42 from point blank range, the last two German destroyers poured fire into her as they steered past. Getting clear, she limped eastwards after Swift, but with boiler-rooms badly damaged, steam dropping, half of bridge on fire and decks swept with shellfire. Decided to turn back for the torpedoed G.85, stopped and in flames, and the rammed G.42, which both opened fire. Broke replied and silenced them, but then her engines gave up and she drifted towards the burning G.85. Destroyers Mentor, Lydiard, Lucifer had by now left Dover, reached Broke about 0115 and pulled her clear, taken in tow for Dover; 40 crew killed and wounded (dd - 21 killed, 36 wounded) (Rn/Cn/D/dd)

The action took place around 51.09N, 01.37E where the two German ships went down, Swift and Broke were in dockyard hands for several weeks and there were no more destroyer raids on the Dover Straits for ten months. Cdr Evans was feted in the British press as "Evans of the Broke".

Hat tip C-4

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