What happened to the WWI U-boat pens in Belgium?

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Sewer King
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What happened to the WWI U-boat pens in Belgium?

Post by Sewer King » 07 Oct 2004 03:54

Does anyone know what became of the U-boat pens in Bruges, Belgium, after World War I?

The later World War II pens get most of the historical and technical attention and still stand, even to appearing in popular films. But the earlier pens at Bruges were made with colonnaded fronts and housed the boats for German submarine command, Flanders. This was the port for the hard-luck "haunted submarine" UB-65 lost in July 1918, and her sister UB-68 skippered by a then-unknown officer named Karl Doenitz.

Were the Bruges pens torn down between the wars? Like other large German fortifications, weren't they fairly hard to demolish? If not, did the Belgians take them over whole? What if anything remains today?

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 11 Oct 2004 05:21

Well, I have tried finding the answer on my own before asking here, but if I couldn't find it in print or elsewhere maybe no one else could either. Imperial U-boats seem to get comparatively less history attention than those of the Nazi period.

There is a recent Arms & Armour Press book called Hitler's U-Boat Bases but it doesn't go into much of the WW1 precedent for the great pens built in WW2. Mallory and Ottar's book The Architecture of War (also published as Architecture of Aggression in the UK, both 1973) show representative photos of the Bruges pens.

I had hoped there was someone who knew about German or Belgian naval sources, or actually been to Bruges and heard something about the subject.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 11 Oct 2004 05:40

Imperial U-boats seem to get comparatively less history attention than those of the Nazi period
Good Luck, but what you wrote above is precisely the problem.

Bestens,
~D, the EviL

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stril
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Post by stril » 11 Oct 2004 12:58

Hello
As a answer to your question about what happened to the uboatpens this might help you out
By the end of September 1918 the subs from the U-Flottille Flandern 1 and II started indeed to return to Germany. Shortly afterwards the installations of the ports of Zeebrugge, Oostende and Brugge were destroyed by the German's while retreating.

The above comes from uboat.net
http://uboat.net/articles/?article=48

regards
stril

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 11 Oct 2004 14:51

Thanks! That at least tells the minimum of what happened. I will look at the site you referred to.

I wondered a little about this because of how hard it was to tear down some of the German AA flak towers (Flakturme) after WW2. Of course the WW2 U-boat pens were even more indestructible by comparison. And the Germans did not, so far as I know, even consider trying to demolish them in retreat from France.

Somehow, I wonder if the outrage and condemnation of WW1 U-boat warfare might have moved the Germans to demolish the earlier Belgian bases in retreat. Look at what happened to the Paris Guns in 1918 -- no one really knows what happened to those monsters, except that only the concrete foundations were left. The German Army officers involved may have feared Allied retribution.
Imperial U-boats seem to get comparatively less history attention than those of the Nazi period ... Good Luck, but what you wrote above is precisely the problem.
But why that is so, I'm not sure. Maybe the biggest thing is that there are virtually no remnants of the surrendered Kaiser's Navy and U-boat fleet. I have also heard that WW2 air raids destroyed many official records of WW1 as well.

ducatim901
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Post by ducatim901 » 26 Sep 2005 20:07

hi there sewer king (nice name by the way),
the bunkers are gone, demolished, and i think you mean zeebrugge in place of brugge.
Greetings Jack Koorneef

Jempie
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Bruges U boat bunkers

Post by Jempie » 27 Sep 2005 16:42

Would be here better Regulusone answering this in fact!
He knows all about!

But the those bunker at Bruges intérior harbour situated at the end of the Canal Zeebrugge -Brugge , are for sofar can remember a number of years ago blown up and demolished, but if this was now ten or twenty years ago, I don't know!
But was sofar I remember after WWII and +/- perhaps 1906's-1970's?
But theose bunkers were still intact!



vbr

Jempie

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