Halcyon Class flotilla at Portland
- Nelson and Rodney in background
The three reports in this section show how the Royal Navy
gradually shrugged off the lethargy of the inter-war years and prepared
for the coming war. Mines posed a significant threat to the operation of
Britain's ports. The Germans recognised Britain's dependence on imported goods
and were preparing to use mines to strangle the country into submission.
Minesweeping was still relatively primitive and had to
meet the challenge of increasingly sophisticated mines. As the Captain
Fisheries Protection and Minesweeping, Portland said in his 1937 report:
"At present the
minesweeper is in the position of a person walking in the dark who can only feel
for obstruction by stretching his arms behind him. Modern science has done much
for the protection and improvement of the mine but at present cannot provide any
means of giving warning to the sweeper of the danger which is before him."
For an excellent study of the
technical development of mines and minesweeping, read 'Allied
Minesweeping in World War Two' by Peter Elliott.