BOMBARDMENT OF ZEEBRUGGE
In the cable messages early la.st month mention was frequently made, of the bombardment by Crilish warships of the port, of Zeebrugce, on the Belgian coast, some miles above. Ostend. Tho ' Ga.pe Times' contains many references, to the bombardment which 'woie not cabled, but which are of special interest. On Xovwnber 25 (Wednesday j the. Admiralty announced
that two j'li'itisii battleships on .Monday severely bombarded all points of military significance at. /,erbni;:r;e. The. German opposition wa.., feel.de. The extent of the damage caused by the warships is unknown. Tlie. warships returned safely. A. .special Roiik»r mc.ssa.go stated thai according to Dutch correspondents the British bombardment of. thwarted the German scheme, io make thiit port a naval base. Prior to the bombardment .British airmen reconnoitred the German gun positions on the coast, a-iid then theAJlrilish-Freneh .-squadron, of .smaller ships, bombarded them, .silencing two batteries. Simultaneously the allied infantry attacked tho enemy's trenches, while later on two battleships cannonaded Zeebiugge. mid destroyed sluices, setting fire to the power station, an hotel, and a factory. Tho Germans attempted to remove, to Unices a. qua.iilify of store;,, including- apparatus lor making hydrogen for Zeppelins, but a section of tho runway wa<; de.stroyed by shells.
The fate, of Mm six submarines, which tho Germans had asi-sernbled at Zeobrngge, is unknown : many motor boats, armed with, machine guns and intended for use, on the Ysor, were, destroyed at O.stend. The operations wore connected with the massing of German troops preparatory to a. final atiempf to reach Calais.
The. brrt account, of the. bombardment of Zoebrnggo comes from a. .Dutch Press correspondent, who witnessed tlm affair from a church tower. He says that, not a. shot missed. The first, razed the Fakiee Hotel, the. German Xaval Headquarters; tho second exploded the gas-holders, and the, third the petrol tanks. The damage was iiide.scribahie.. Peiugee.s from Zeebrugge, who have arrived in Holland, report that the liist shell fired by the, .British, warships exploded ciose to a. number of Germans working among submarines, killing 17. The Gorman Naval Staff fr.id quarters at tho Palace Hotel, which was destroyed.
The special correspondent of the ' Capo 1 Times,' telegraphing on that it was *ti!l impossible to know accurately the extent of the damacte caused by the warships during the bombardment of Zeobrngge. Many reports say that six German submarines and vast stores were, destroyed, but this is not confirmed. One report, states that the German submarines were ready in the harbor when, tho warships arrived, and boldly emerged io attack them, but failed and retreated. This is doubtful, as the submarines, which were brought overland, were probably not ready for service. The, greatest satisfaction is expressed in London that, the bombardment took place, for it show.s the impracticability of tho Germans maintaining a naval base without a fleet to keep the sea clear. Many believe that the, bombardment of Zeobru.ggft will convince oven tho Gorman War Lords of the futility of their plans in regard to Calais, should the Gorman armies ever get there, which is highly improbable. It will also convince them of the ltselessness- of German guns on shore against tha fire of warships. A week later the 'Cape Times' published the following telegram:—"The .Renter Agency's Amsterdam correspondent says there are persistent reports of another hombardment of Zeebruggo hy British warships, but details of the previous bombardment, which a.re now leaking through, indicate that another bombardment is scarcely necessary. The harbor is completely closed, the sluices are unworkable, and the German submarines are blocked in the canal a.nd useless."
The marksmanship of the British gunners has had a- depressing effect on the Germans. This is illustrated by a high German official fleeing to Slui?. When asked to return to Zeobrugge, he merely replied: "Pest thanks for your friendly .laU^iv"
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BOMBARDMENT OF ZEEBRUGGE, Evening Star, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915