Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How sea mines are swept-Danger beneath the waves...

On the afternoon of March 18 1915 at around 2:00pm, explosions rocked three of the lead battleships of one of the largest armadas of World War One. 18 battleships steamed up the Dardanelles to attack Gallipoli and eventually Constantinople, the capitol of the Ottoman Empire, (Later changed it's name to Turkey). The French battleship "Bouvet" Suffered a massive explosion, and rolled over and sank in two minutes, taking 640 of her crew with her to the bottom. Hms Irrsistable was next to suffer an explosion, and listing badly, her crew transfered to Hms Ocean, which then also exploded.

 It was obvious by now that the fleet had entered an unknown minefield, despite having swept for mines ahead of this campaign. The crews of both ships were mostly saved, but as the armada was ordered to turn back, in the ensuing chaos, two more alliad ships also hit mines, and were badly damaged. 

The night before, under cover of darkness, the Turkish mine-layer Nusaret had sneaked down the Dardanelles into allied waters, and laid mines outside the known shipping lane , in the shoal waters which lay on each side of the center lanes. The allies had already swept for mines, and despite the fact that the Turks had only 26 mines left in it's arsenal, this action literally changed the war, leading the allies to switch to plan 'B', a land invasion which would leave behind 220,000 casualties out of 570,000 allied troops and 250,000 casualties out of 315,000 Turkish troops. 

  Everyone reading this might ask " what does this have to do with me? With everything going on in the world, how does this effect me? I mean, it doesn't have anything to do with the Kardashians, or the Royal baby, or the Obamacare disaster, plane/train crashes, trials, the IRS scandal, economy, Amanda Bynes or Honey Boo Boo . Think again. Next time you turn over your car engine, and start up your "hoopdi" or your "ride" or "baby" or whatever you call your automibile... to motor on down to Starbucks to get a cup of chamomile tea with soy milk and extra stevia, imagine having no gas in the tank, and not being able to get any. (or stand in a line of 150 cars for a 5 gallon ration) It happened to my dad in 1973 and could happen again. Google search "World's biggest anti-mine naval exercise after Iranian threats to close Gulf". The following video explains the nuts and bolts of mine countermeasures, and not a whole lot has changed since Gallopoli campaign. Mines are still a dirt cheep way for one entity to bring 

shipping to a halt.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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