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Remembered Today:

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Such books as I have are packed away pending house move, but I'd thought HMS Hampshire hit a mine that had drifted westward from a lay that was intended to catch RN ships leaving Scapa through the eastward exits for the Jutland battle.

 

I've just done a catchup on the More4 'World's Greatest Shipwrecks', and this programme implied that U75 had intentionally laid mines to the westward, and that there may have been a second strike - surely very unlikely if the first was adrift. So the case seemed to be being made that Hampshire ran into a prepared minefield. There was even a brief view of a map showing the alleged course of U75 along westward passages.

 

Since by many accounts Scheer had deliberately run a mining programme in advance of the HSF sortie that resulted in Jutland, it would presumably have made sense to concentrate this on the eastward exits. 

 

Anyone know if the westward minelaying theory stands up, and if so why the eastward minelaying was diluted in this way?

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Michael Lowrey

There’s no mystery here: U 75 under Kplt. Curt Beitzern was instructed to and did in fact lay mines off Marwick Head. HMS Hampshire ran into one of these mines in rough weather. I haven't seen the show, but U 75's Kriegstagebuch (KTB, war diary) survives and it includes both the submarine's orders and its plot map.

 

A book recommendation on the sinking of HMS Hampshire would be: HMS Hampshire: a Century of Myth and Mysteries Unravelled. I’m one of the authors but all proceeds go to the Orkney Heritage Society.

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Thanks very much for the answer - the facts look clear. 

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