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By Mike Westrop

"No.10 Squadron of England's Royal Naval Air provider used to be shaped at St. Pol, a suburb of Dunkerque, in February 1917, as a part of the speedy naval aviation growth programme required via the Royal Naval Air Service's dedication to aid the Royal Flying Cor"

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The German gunners couldn’t fail to hit their target, the shells tearing into the already stricken ship, which began to heel ever farther to port and slowly capsized a little after 2100hrs, her proud ensigns remaining defiant to the last. Even as the British warship sank beneath the waves, the alarm bells rang out on Nürnberg’s decks as her lookouts spotted at least one unidentified four-funnelled ship closing on their position and von Schönberg immediately gave orders for evasive action to be taken.

From the time of its establishment, the Ostasiengeschwader was viewed as a prestige appointment. Its vessels were perhaps not the most modern in the Kaiserliche Marine – both Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were amongst the last of their type to be built – nonetheless it was a highly drilled, elite unit, led by capable officers. Its ships proved their worth both in peacetime with their superlative performance in the annual Kaiser’s Cup and in wartime with their conduct in victory and defeat at both Coronel and the Falklands.

It was a wise decision and the only realistic one to be made in the circumstances – in less than an hour, the enemy had reduced the two most powerful ships in the squadron to burning wrecks and the best testament to the accuracy and skill of the gunners aboard the German heavy cruisers is to compare them with the achievements of Dresden and Leipzig who – between them – fired over 600 shells at Glasgow and scored only five hits, only one of which was to cause significant damage when it struck the hull near the port outer propeller.

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