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  1. The German command realised that their U-boot fleet forces are to week to severely disrupt British maritime transport, on the other hand, it was clear that in short time the production of submarines cannot be increased, so it was crucial for Germany to find another tool to make it so. Germans were rapidly working on finding new weapons, and that began even before the start of the war - the intention was to surprise an opponent who would be unprepared to fight that weapon. - moored magnetic mine - laid by submarine The idea was not new and has been known from the 1918th, yet in 1930th a group of experts started working on this problem. The Kiel Institute for maritime barrage worked in complete secrecy, and under the command of maritime engineer Karl Kruger and famous physics prof. Adolf Bestelmeyer (who created the heart of the mine - magnetic exploder) the mine was finished. Bottom laying mine - known as the Schildköte - turtle mine This type of mines can only be used in shallow waters - the depth can't be over 40 m, and it suited German needs because waters around England are shallow - mostly about 20 m. Finally, on the 8th November 1939 minelaying began - mines were laid around Dover isthmus (neck). Everything was mysterious - German twin engine planes were casting mines at low altitude - it looked like they were scouting, and Kriegsmarine's destroyers, under the cover of darkness, were laying mines near the coast. Mines were laid from Scapa Flow to Dung eness. http://www.cyber-her...aways/germ1.jpg In the first days 1 Italian, 1 French and 4 British merchant ships were sunk. Right by the shore, in front of coastal batteries, several navy ships were sunk- destroyer Gipsy and patrol boat Mastiff ( 21th november 1939) and new cruiser Belfast was severely damaged - along with two old destroyers and 1 big minelayer. In the short time 33 ships were sunk ( total 82000 t ) HMS Gipsy - half submerged - sunk by mine This continued until Brits found one mine, dropped by German planes, in the shallow near the Shoeburyness - lieutenant commander bravely disarmed the mine and the secret was revealed. Now it was possible to create effective defense against magnetic mines - minesweepers were equipped with strong MF devices, dragging them behind, and safely destroying mines. Merchant and navy ships were degaussed by wrapping cables around ship's hull. Later, Germans created mines with combined exploders - acoustic, magnetic and water pressure, making mines resistant to minesweepers, but those didnt have big influence on the course of war.
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