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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.
The Tripartite class is a class of mine warfare vessel used by the navies of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, as well as Pakistan, Indonesia, Latvia, and Bulgaria. Céphée Class overview Name: Tripartite Operators: French Navy Belgian Navy Royal Netherlands Navy Naval Jack of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Navy Indonesian Navy Latvian Naval Forces Bulgarian Navy Built: 1981-1989 In service: 1981- In commission: 1981 Completed: 45 Retired: 0 General characteristics BNS Primula Description A joint venture of the navies of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the Tripartite class of minehunters were conceived in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. France built the mine-hunting equipment, Belgium provided the electronics, and the Netherlands constructed the propulsion train. France and the Netherlands originally bought 15, with Belgium buying 10. All three countries' Tripartite ships contribute at times to NATO's Standing Maritime MCM capability groups (SNMCMG1 or SNMCMG2). Belgium Originally 10 ships were built for the Belgian navy. All remaining Belgian vessels have undergone an extensive upgrade during 2004-2008 involving replacement of the anti-mine warfare equipment. Also called "CMT" for Chasseur de Mines Tripartite, all are named after flowers and are thus sometimes called the "Flower" class in international literature.