Days of Palestine – Gaza
In an exclusive documentary TV program on Al-Jazeera Channel on Monday night, showed how Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement discovered two battleships belonging to British Navy, both sank on Gaza beach during World War I, 100 years ago.
Al-Qassam managed to enter the two battleships, after strenuous efforts and ensured that there was a huge number of projectiles.
A commander in Al-Qassam said that we found a large metal object with more than one type of cannons installed on it then we discovered that we were on a military shipwreck.
"We decided to expand the scope of the search, as we found another ship 800 square meter away," the commander added.
"We found on the two battleships we found fortified rooms filled with rocket-propelled projectiles," "The shells were very heavy and took a long time and effort to extract," he confirmed.
Al-Jazeera in its exclusive program held a meeting with the military expert in the British Navy, Andrew Lambert, to talk about the history and contents of the two battleships.
Andrew Lambert FRHistS (born 31 December 1956) is a British naval historian, who since 2001 has been the Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies, King's College London.
Lambert said that both battleships belonged to the British naval and they sank in front of Gaza beach during World War I, 100 years ago.
"During the Gaza battle, two battleships were missed opposite to the city of Deir Al-Balah on the coast of Palestine which was supposed to be a secure anchorage, as the British threw heavy nets to prevent the turbines from entering the anchorage," Lambert said.
"Both were from the type of Acorn-class destroyer HMS Staunch, carrying two 4-inch cannons, and two pairs of torpedoes, this destroyer is characterized by high speed, as it can sail at speeds of up to 30 knots, and move quickly to deal with threats and protect other ships," he added.
The Acorn class (officially redesignated the H class in 1913) was a class of twenty destroyers of the Royal Navy all built under the 1909-1910 Programme, and completed between 1910 and 1911. The Acorns served during World War I.
Is it possible to benefit from these battleships after all these years?
"If someone puts his hands on these two battleships, to what extent can these battleships be used after all these two years?" Al-Jazeera reporter, Tamer al-Mishal, asked Lambert.
"These weapons will be extremely difficult to recycle, as the smaller, 4-inch cannons weigh more than 4 tons," Lambert answered.
Lambert added that It is not easy to carry, extracting the contents of the two battleships would be a difficult risk to secretly carry out, and it would be easier to purchase new weapons.
Although the British expert excluded the possibility of access and use of the equipment and sunken missiles with the two battleships, the surprise was that a large number of projectiles remained in fortified rooms, and Al-Qassam succeeded in extracting them.
Video shows how Al-Qassam reached the battleships and extracting the projectiles and securing it towards the sea coast, in a verified security and military operation in the Gaza Sea, all of its stages have been completed successfully.
"These projectiles were found in very large numbers in ammunition storage rooms and in both battleships. Its presence in the depths of the sea and the sediment accumulation reduced the effect of rust on it, and this was discovered by its recycling process," a commander in Al-Qassam said.
He added that both British battleships were equipped with more than one type of cannons, the most prominent of which was the 23 mm cannon, which was loaded with steel shells weighing 138 kilograms, and they were used in bombing targets overlooking the coast.
"The thickness of the shell is 60 square millimeters of iron, this shell was manufactured in Britain to be fired from a cannon, and it is distinguished by its iron steel wall, and this type is not available in the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli blockade," he explained.
The Engineering and Development unit which belong to the military wing of Hamas succeeded in recycling the British projectiles and reusing them in new rockets and it was estimated in hundreds.
The access to British projectiles considered a gain of the resistance in light of Israel preventing the entry of iron and steel into the Gaza Strip since it imposed the blockade on it for more than 13 years.
After being recycled, Al-Qassam conducted an examination of the projectiles' destructive and penetrating ability on a fortified and defense wall left by Israel after its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
This video shows the result of successfully destroying the fortified and defense wall.
The British destroyer projectile became explosive warheads for the Palestinian resistance missiles.
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