This is the start of a three part series, the story of two harbor defense organizations, how one, already at war, well trained and well armed, failed to stop a small force, while another, ostensibly at peace, facing a vastly stronger force, and in many ways poorly prepared, managed to stop their enemy.
I’ll put both stories in context, but what I found most interesting and most relevant to current Coast Guard missions was the means employed and the relative success of each in stopping a hostile ship from reaching its objective inside a port. The third part will talk about implications for the Coast Guard.
First, the St Nazaire raid
. This is normally told from the prospective of the heroic British sailors and commandos who successfully ran a small ship (about the size of a 210) into the gates of the only dry dock on the Atlantic coast of occupied Europe where major German warships, including the Battleship Tirpitz, could be serviced. There the four and a half tons of explosive packed into the bow of the ship, exploded, wrecking the dry dock gates and disabling it for the remainder of the war. Continue reading →
A bit more information about the Korean sinking here.
The South Koreans are in a very awkward situation. It will be interesting (as in the old Chinese curse) to see how this plays out.
Another question is, what kind of craft was used to launch the torpedo? The North Koreans have a wide range of platforms, from early Cold War Era Russian conventional sub designs, to midgets, planning hull semi-submersibles, torpedo boats, and “human torpedoes.” The more unconventional of these craft may make it to Iran and possibly on to terrorist groups.