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German OB 3/11/14 and loss of Yorck
Posted by: Dave A ()
Date: July 01, 2003 07:43PM

<HTML>I have some more information about this operation and the loss of Yorck.

The German ships involved in the sortie to the English coast on 3 November 1914 were:

1st Scouting Group
Seydlitz, Kapitan zur See von Egidy. Flag of Konteradmiral Franz Hipper.
Moltke, KzS von Levetzow
Von der Tann, KzS Hahn, Flag of KA Tapken
Blucher, Freggattenkapitan Erdmann

2nd Scouting Group
Stralsund, KzS Harder (SO of 2nd SG)
Strassburg, Fk Retzman
Graudenz, Fk Pullen
Kolberg, KzS Widenmann

This was the first raid by the IGN to the British east coast, the 1st and 2nd SG were to bombard Yarmouth and lay mines off the port.

Note that no torpedo boats accompanied the force due to expected bad weather outside the Bight.

The old TGB Halcyon was minesweeping off Yarmouth when the German forces approached and fired on her, Halcyon was only slightly damaged and had only 3 wounded, the German BC gunnery was not good, due to poor fire distribution and excitement at their first target. A smoke screen by the escorting old destroyers Lively and Leopard was also very effective.

Stralsund laid 100 mines off Smiths Knoll and the submarine D5, which had sailed out from Yarmouth in an attempt to intercept the raiders struck one of these mines and sank (21 dead?, 5 survivors). Due to the misty weather, the German’s bombardment of Yarmouth was ineffective, only a few shells landing on the beaches at Gorleston.

The armoured cruiser Yorck was a member of the 3rd Scouting Group, which with a number of other German squadrons, was in support of the raiding force. These units lay, with steam up, in the Weser, Elbe and Jade estuaries, ready to sail if necessary. On the return of the raiding forces, these supporting forces started to return to harbour on 4/11/1914. However, the 3rd Scouting Group was forced to anchor in the Jade because of thick fog. On board Yorck, typhus contamination was suspected in the drinking water tanks, so her commander KzS Pieper requested from the commander of the 3rd Scouting Group, KA von Rebeur-Paschwitz, permission to make an immediate emergency return to port. According to German accounts, the reply was “Agree! But when the visibility improves”. However Yorck, for some reason only received or decoded the first word. Attempting to reach Wilhelmshaven in the poor visibility Pieper took Yorck the wrong side of a marker buoy and into a German defensive minefield, she struck 2 mines, capsized and sank. 336 men were lost, 381 survivors were rescued by the coast defence ship Hagen.

KzS Pieper, although a gunnery expert, was somewhat unfortunate as a ship handler having previously been dismissed from Blucher, for grounding her in 1913. Following the sinking of Yorck he was court martialled, but was later to successfully organise a munitions factory in Turkey.

Details from German contacts using archive materials
Various volumes of Die Deutschen Kreigschiffe,
Naval Operations vol 1


Options: ReplyQuote

Subject Written By Posted
German Squadron off Yarmouth Ron Young 06/30/2003 12:19PM
Re: German Squadron off Yarmouth Michael Lowrey 06/30/2003 01:57PM
Re: German Squadron off Yarmouth Ron Young 06/30/2003 05:17PM
Re: Loss of Yorck Brian 06/30/2003 09:19PM
Re: Loss of Yorck Ron Young 07/01/2003 07:04AM
Re: D 5 Brian 07/01/2003 10:59AM
Re: D 5 Ron Young 07/01/2003 11:09AM
German OB 3/11/14 and loss of Yorck Dave A 07/01/2003 07:43PM
Re: German OB 3/11/14 and loss of Yorck Ron Young 07/01/2003 08:28PM
Re: German OB 3/11/14 and loss of Yorck Dave A 07/02/2003 05:10PM
Re: D 5 Douglas d'Enno 12/14/2007 08:27AM
Re: German Squadron off Yarmouth James Pratt 12/27/2007 02:23AM
Re: German Squadron off Yarmouth MPC 12/27/2007 10:44AM

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