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Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:59 pm
by Jeroen
Close to The Hague at the Dutch coast, at 12 May 1942 about 03:00 hours, the German navy reported a fight at sea between two of their Raumboote and two small British ships, identified by the Garmans as Motor Gun Boats. The Germans stated that hits were seen on the bridge of at least one of the British MGB's. After the hits the Germans reported seeing heavy smoke rising up from the ship that headed off with great speed.

Somehow I can not find any British casualties that might have to do with this fight and as far as i know, no ship was lost that night in the area.

Does anyone know which British MGB's were operating close to the Dutch coast, at that time and if any of those ships got damaged?

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:45 pm
by Admin
Hello Jeroen

Thank you for your enquiry to the forum. I've not been able to turn up any event so far in that part of the North Sea. If there were Coastal Forces units involved they would have likely come out of HMS Beehive at Felixstowe, and May 1942 is a bit too early for the Dog Boats that later operated out of Mantis and Midge at Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Peter Dickens in his book Night Action is usually quite good for actions in the North Sea, but he was based in the Channel at first and his story doesn't really get going on the East coast until later in 1942. There's no reference in Home Waters MTBs & MGBs for that timeframe either unfortunately, so it may just have gone down as a minor skirmish, or the German account may be confused. From my experience it's seldom the case that Royal Navy and German Navy accounts concur with each other. Hichens in his book Gunboat Command speaks of escorting MLs in minelaying operations during that period off of Ijmuiden, which is just to the north, as well as conducting Naval Intelligence Division (NID) missions, so again it could have been one of those which was sighted. Sorry not to be of any further assistance at this point but someone else may know something specific.

Admin

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:56 pm
by Jeroen
Hello Admin,

Thank you for your reply and information. It does help finding out what happened during that night.

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:05 pm
by Jeroen
About this action: There was at least one MGB close to the Dutch coast at that moment.The MGB reported a skirmish with German boats. There were no casualties or serious damage.

The MGB left Felixtowe the day before with R.B.14 as destination. Does someone know what R.B.14 stand for? Can i find it on a Royal Navy map?

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:39 am
by Admin
Hello Jeroen

Two possibilities come to mind with regards to R.B.14. First, the Royal Navy operated a grid system for the North Sea which was encoded, so it might be an area of sea, but it could be a misprint also, and may refer to F.B.14, F.B. being one of the designators used for patrol units, usually consisting of two or three boats. So it could just be the unit it was assigned to on that night.

I'm still working on the Nore material and will send it you later this week. There are hand written digests held in the National Archives which note activities and patrols for each night — Coastal Forces Logs — of which I have quite a few, but I don't have May 1942, if that exists.

Admin

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:52 pm
by Stephen
There is indeed a log for May 1942, which I've attached. Not my best photo I'm afraid, and some of the words are a bit illegible, but I hope it helps. It appears that several MGBs were out on the night of 11/12, but I suspect MGB 67 is the one you're interested in. She was part of Hichens' flotilla at this point I believe.

I've also looked in German Coastal Forces of World War II by M. Whitley, and Hitler's Forgotten Flotillas by Lawrence Paterson, but couldn't find anything in them I'm afraid.

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:12 pm
by Jeroen
Hello Stephen,

Thank you very much for posting the log for this day!

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:47 pm
by Admin
Jeroen, my interpretation of the log book is that MGB 67 was engaged by E-boats off the Dutch Coast, just north of The Hague, according to the coordinates given. MLs 100 & 106 are shown as on an operation and were Fairmile ‘A’ minelayers, presumably on a minelaying operation somewhere, with MTBs 14 & 72 as protection. MGBs 320 & 323 and 315 & 321 are shown as for patrol, but interestingly are Fairmile ‘C’s, three of which were involved in clandestine missions from the River Helford to the south of France and Brittany, in addition to MGB 325 of the 15th MGB Flotilla. Ordinarily I would expect a special operation to be noted within the log, and careful coordination within Coastal Forces would have seen to it, that no other patrol ran the risk of interfering with such an operation. I also suspect the smoke reported by the German source was the Royal Navy vessel making smoke as a protective measure whilst withdrawing. So all in all a bit of a mystery, as I would expect the C-Class gunboats to more likely be used for a mission of this type and not the British Power Boats, not least because they had the deck space to store surf boats, but the Power Boats are the ones down for an operation, which could have been in support of the minelayers too.

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:20 pm
by Jeroen
Hello Admin,

Thank you again for your information and interpretation of what could have happened that night.
Probably these operations were supposed to be a mystery, at least at that time. So I am not sure if these were usually noted in the logs.

I still hope to find out where R.B.14 could have been. Attached a map with some R.B.-locations. Maybe one of the readers know what kind of locations it are (minefields?) and where R.B. 14 could have been.
0012-klein.jpg
0012-klein.jpg (114.23 KiB) Viewed 1640 times
I am having some research done in the national archives to hopefully find out a little more about this kind of operation and the coordination of them. I don't expect much result though.

Thanks again for helping!

Re: Battle at 12 May 1942

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:50 am
by Admin
Jeroen, I've not been able to come up with much I'm afraid. The Kriegsmarine certainly seem to have listed off the Royal Navy's defensive 'Z' line positions fairly accurately, and the area to their right that has the RB markings appears to accord with the area of the mine barrier. I would imagine they are abbreviations for something in German beginning 'R' and 'B', and are both joined up tracks and separate ones, so cannot be buoys, or anything of the kind. They are well outside the East Coast convoy corridor, whose marker buoys are the inner markings left, so the RB points are unlikely to be German minefields, so I can only think them their own patrol or tracking stations possibly. Going by the map, RB 14 would seem to have been further north, possibly at Immingham, or the Humber.