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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to sites of naval actions, 17 Feb 2008
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Chris Baker "The Long, Long Trail man" (Leamington Spa, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids (Battleground Europe) (Paperback)
Stephen McGreal's task in compiling a battlefield tour guide to the sites of the famous amphibious raids at Zeebrugge and Ostend is made no easier by the fact that very little now exists of the port facilities that were under German occupation in 1918. Zeebrugge has expanded into one of the busiest container ports of northern Europe, while Ostend is a bustling commercial and tourist resort. Both seem at times to be constant building sites. It is much to the author's credit that he has managed to produce an entertaining and worthwhile book that will have many a battlefield tourist walking the concrete wharfs and paths, trying in their imagination to piece together two stirring events.

It was perhaps after the U-boat threat - having come so close to crippling British supply lines in the Atlantic - had already been overcome that it was decided to block the submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend. McGreal's work tells the story in great detail, drawing upon contemporary sources and published histories in order to do so. We meet many of the officers and men who undertook these hazardous operations and get a good feeling for what happened, placed into context on the ground by some good descriptions and maps. This is not like walking the battlefields of the Somme or Ypres. You are not in fields and woods, with cemeteries and memorials at every turn: the places of memory here are relatively few and surrounded by modern industrial and commercial development. Nonetheless, the depiction of the strength of the German batteries and defence works, and the shot and shell as the naval raids went in, helps the visitor to see past the seafront hotels and supermarkets. The author brings us the many stories of the Victoria Crosses and fates of men and ships, and a good read it is too.

As a handy starter to these actions, it can hardly be faulted. For the regular battlefield tourist looking for something new on the way to or back from the Western Front, "Zeebrugge & Ostend raids" is an excellent addition to the itinerary.
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Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids (Battleground Europe)
Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids (Battleground Europe) by Stephen McGreal (Paperback - 20 Sep 2007)
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