Netzsperrflottille West, Gruppe Kanalküste

 

 

This unit was established as early as October 1940; It was deployed along the Belgian, French canal and Atlantik and the French Mediterrenean coasts, for which purpose it was subdivided into 3 Gruppen:

  • Gruppe 1 for the Channel coast, with Untergruppen in Boulogne, Le Havre and Cherbourg

  • Gruppe 2 for the Atlanti coast with Untergruppen in Brest, St-Nazaire, La Pallice and Le Verdon

  • Gruppe 3 for the Mediterrenean coast

 The commander of the unit throughout the entire was was Fregattenkapitän Liebig with headquarters in Nantes. The purpose of the unit was preventing enemy torpedos, submarines and other ships from entering ports and harbours, especially those containing U-boats or (small) surface ships. The unit was disestablished in May 1945.

 

In a 1944 document the unit was referred to as Netzsperrgruppe West. It also discussed the various types of Sperren:

  • Torpedoschutzsperre

    • Torpedonetzsperre

    • Torpedonetzbehang (als Sabotageschutz)

  • U-Bootnetzsperre

  • Sperre zum Schutz gegen Anlaufen feindlicher Fahrzeuge

    • Trossensperre

    • Horizontalsperre

    • elastische Flossesperre

    • Pontonsperre

    • Balkensperre

    • Hängenetz

    • Hindernissperre

The following document provides drawings of some of the above Sperren, thus providing a clear picture of what they look like:

 

 

The unit was equipped with a number of ships: Netzleger III, Netzleger IX, Netztender 9, Netztender 11, Netztender 23, Netztender 28, Netztender 29, Netztender 41, Netztender 43, Netztender 44, Netztender 55, Netztender 30, Netztender 31, Netztender 32, Netztender 33, Netztender 38.

In addition the unit possessed 25 work boats, which were converted French fishing boats. Finally, there were also Kontrollboote 1 - 8 and the old Netzprahm 1, stationed as a depot ship in the south of France.

 

In the following overview we are uniquely interested in the above-mentioned Gruppe 1, aka Grippe Kanalküste and only in those ports in the area of the Armeeoberkommando 15.

 

On 1 July 1944 the Netstender 28, Planet, was berthed in the Le Havre shipyard for repairs. Nex to the quarters a bunker cave (Bunkerstollen) was being constructed. Finally, the materials depot, which had been damaged by enemy action, was being cleared up, with material still available being recovered.

The Untergruppe Boulogne was to be transferred to Ostende. In preparation for the transfer the workshops were being cleared up, with material still available being recovered.

On 12 July 1944 the net hanging in front of the Dieppe port entrance was repaired. Also on this day, the car of the Gruppenleiter was damaged by fire in a collision following an air attack on the road Le Havre-Yverot-Rouen. Nobody was hurt.

On 13 July 1944 the Sperre in Le Touquet, which had been damaged by enemy action was repaired. Also, the Le Havre Sperre was checked and repaired, following enemy action.

On 14 July 1944 the Boulogne Sperre was checked and repaired, following enemy action.

On 21 July 1944 the 72-Grad-Sperr Aussenriegel in Boulogne was repaired with material from the Innenriegel.

On 22 July 1944 the Seesperre in Zeebrügge was damaged by storm and repaired.

On 23 July 1944 the Sperre in front of the De Mey lock in Ostende was completed and taken out.

On 24 July 1944 the infrastructure of the Blankenberge harbour was blown up by the local infantry division, thereby damaging the Sperre.

In front of the Rochemont lock in Le Havre the pontoon of the Rollbombensperre still floating was separated from the sunken pontoon by cutting the net. The pontoon was towed away, thus clearing the channel through the lock.

On 29 July 1944 the Cabourg Sperre was damaged by enemy air action.

On 30 July 1944 the canal locls of the Albert- and Leopold canals were secured by the placing of nets.  In Bruges, the Sperre, which had been damaged by a ship, was repaired. Also on this day, the Nieuwpoort Sperre was installed. Finally, in Le Havre, in front of the Citadelle lock, a torpedohängenetssperre was installed instead of a T-Netzsperre. This measure was necessary since the Citadelle lock was now a commonly used passage. Finally on this day, the Netztender Planet was fully repaired.

On 31 July 1944 the freshly-repaired Netztender 28 (Planet) was heavily damaged by enemy acir action. New repairs were estimated to take 2 months.

 

On 24 August 1944 the Gruppe West inforùmed the Hafenkommandant Rouen that OBWest had ordered the destruction of the port of Rouen, while further allowing army troops to cross the Seine. Also the blocking of the port was to continue.

On 31 August 1944 the Admiral Kanalküste  indformed the Seekommandant Pas-de-Calais that the Generalkommando LXXXIX Armeekorps had to prepare the maon door and walls of the locks, as wall as quays for destruction, and this for the ports of  Zeebrugge, Brugge, Blankenberge and Gent.