21
Nov
09

A bit of history and modern pirates

It has been an odd day, not many interesting news to really comment. I found one that is worth mentioning for the bad nightmare a couple of British are going through, but I also wanted to talk a little about history.

First out kidnapped couple. The Caribbean and the pirates seemed like part of adventurous stories with old famous Captains of pirate vessels such a Francis Drake, Calico Jack (Or Jack Rackham) and Blackbeard just to mention a few, were long gone and were part of myths along with their numerous spoils and its whereabouts, but in Africa, specially along the shores of the Indian ocean , it is clearly proven that pirates are still a real tale. The most renown modern pirates are  born and “trained” in Somalia, roaming the sea and making all other sailors question themselves if their ship will be next. The attacks are done specially around the gulf of Aqaba where many oil tankers and cargo ships have to proceed. This time the victims were a seemingly rich english couple (Paul and Rachel Chandler) that sailed from the shores of Seychelles islands for Tanzania on any given day of October and were kidnapped by Somali pirates. The pirates have asked for a ransom to the UK government of 7 million and well, that is how it goes.

One month has passed and they are getting itchy trigger syndrome. Now this piracy is no current news, they have been riding the ocean like the old days corsairs for more than 10 years now, the Indian ocean its dangerous and only either people with big cojones (That have to travel within their reach because of work) or plain innocence (or stupidity?) like the case of this couple that dare to sail in water as dangerous as if it was infested with flying sharks. And the government of course its refusing to pay ransom, after all if they do pay they will show weakness and kidnappings of enlgish citizens will rise sky-high because after all “they are soft and they pay”. It will not surprise me if instead they are preparing to raid those Somali asses with SAS troops and make a rescue of the hostages, Hollywood style.

Now for the history part. I want to remember the battle of a german ship on December of 1945, the Scharnhorst a capital ship that sailed within the Arctic sea to try and stop convoys of the english going to the Soviet Union and thanks to poor orders and  executions of the same, it lead the Scharnhorst to end up all alone like a goat in forest packed with wolves at night. It got attacked firstly up front by H.M.S. Belfast, H.M.S. Norfolk and H.M.S. Sheffield receiving extensive damage and even loosing their radar, now we have the same goat in the same dark forest but now blind as a bat. They continue to give battle against the 3 already mentioned ships when some other ships (Opportune, Virago, Musketeer, Matchless, Jamaica and the infamous Duke of York) joined the party and fired more than 2000 shells against the Scharnhorst that kept on fighting after loosing functionality of 2 of their 3 turrets, lost half of the crew, maintain fire along most of the deck, no radar, and lord know what else. Finally they sunk it (no surprise there) not before they severely damaged couple of ships of the royal fleet. The Captain Fritz Hintze in charge of the Scharnhorst died after he gave his life jacket to a cadet and well, drowned. Only 36 sailors from the vessel were rescued out of 1968.

This battle that the Scharnhorst gave until their last breath was so exemplary that Admiral Fraser from the Duke of York after the ship was sunken, gathered his crew and said, and I quote “Gentlemen, the battle against Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that if any of you are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, you will command your ship as gallantly as Scharnhorst was commanded today”.

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57 Responses to “A bit of history and modern pirates”


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