There is a translation of the German communiqué on pp.159-160 of Deborah Lake's 'The Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids 1918' (Pen & Sword, 2002). If the text you have names the first of the light cruisers sunk as Iphigenia, the communiqué may have been updated/corrected at some stage, as the initial version mistakenly named the ship as Virginia.
Thanks, Mick. I plan to get Ms. Lake's book, Amazon peddles it for a fair price. I did not set to translating the communique, as a quick skim does not suggest anything too exciting. These communiques usually have some very specific info, like POWs, MGs captured, etc. that check well against other sources. But in this case, obviously the people in Berlin did not have a clear picture 24 hours later, not surprising, as we don't seem to have one almost 90 years later.
Dom has kindly sent me the official report of the R.N.A.S.'s commander on the spot (Correct?) on their participation in the raid. Their participation focused on Flammenwerfer and phosphorus grenades, and the provision of four "gun bearers" (Lewis guns?). The report identifies six landing parties, and the R.N.A.S. men that joined them:
Captain Halahan's party: Two gun bearers, one phosphorus grenadier.
Commander Brock's party: as above
Marines' party: A NCO commander, four flammenwerfer* bearers, one phosphorus grenadier.
Seamen's party: as above
H.M.S. Iris' party: as above
H.M.S. Daffodil's party: as above
* The British seemed to have universally used the German term.
The text of the report seems to imply that the first four parties were from the Vindictive.
The report and a couple of supporting statements from a flammenwerfer bearer and a grenadier give a mixed report on the use of the flammenwerfer. Supposedly "Considerable difficulty was occasioned with the portable flammenwerfers, several being hit and losing all pressure before leaving the ship." Frankly, I find this statement problematic. I have a lot of detail on about 300 of the 653 plus German flame attacks in WW I (including all units with FW, probably about 750), and I have, after reading literally hundreds of sources, mostly German, only two or three verifiable cases where a FW "exploded" (that could cover a variety of incidents; fire?, an explosive loss of pressure?, etc.) due to enemy fire, although that supposed event is a staple of Allied writing on the topic of FW.
The Hayes unit the British used here seems to have used standard compressed gasses tanks, which would be several times as heavy and strong as needed and used by the Germans. The "hosing" used was entirely iron or steel piping, and 98% of the time would not be under pressure, except for a 6" piece. It would be extremely unlikely that small-arms fire or reasonably-sized shell fragments would puncture these devices; all surfaces are sharply curved.
The Hayes was a very simple and, IMHO, a bad design. (I am a mechanical engineer, and am familiar with 20-30 FW designs, and have blueprints of a number of them.) Aside from being heavy, their ergometrics was very bad, and a to my mind design flaw would lead to an instantaneous discharge of all propellant gas without oil if held at the wrong angle, a possibility increased by the bad ergometrics. The above quote from the report continued: "Thewy were also very awkward to handle on the Mole, and some were damaged getting over the top." Air-Mechanic W. H. Gough, seemingly the most successful wielder of a FW, said in his report: "as the flammenwerfer I carried was very unwieldly, I could not keep up with the platoon - - -"
The report also stated: "Exceptionally good work, however, was done with the few (note - FWs) that got ashore intact, especially in one instance, where Air Mechanic Gough was able to play the fire on men who were endevouring to land from the German destroyers." Gough's own report was a bit ambiguous, and states that the men he fired flame at were dispached by other raiders on the mole.
So it seems that some FW were brought onto the mole, but played a minor role. My preliminary info from the German sources suggests that they did not mention the FW in action, a suggestion that they were not effective.
The British airmen were certainly very brave, but were hampered by a very hard to handle, heavy design of flawed functionality. Aside for Livins' work on FW, most British FW design was conducted by self-appointed men that I would characterize as "gentlemen tinkerers", who made some astonishing mistakes, for example, using air and even compressed oxygen as a propellant, causing spontaneous explosions within the device, embarrasingly at formal demonstrations before high officers. A professional engineer would never make such a mistake. The German design work was started in 1901 by a professional chemical engineer working on high pressure spraying-nozzle design, and in 1907 by a published scientist and fire-fighting director. The final light German FW, the Wex, out early in 1917, if not earlier, was, to my mind, a more elegant design than the WW II German FWs, and light enough for, upon occasion, for a man to wear two of them. Fully loaded with oil and nitrogen, they were lighter than the standard infantry pack.
(I know, I know: "If you were so smart, why did you lose the war?" I hear it all the time from my wife.)
As I get more info from the German side, I will keep us posted.
Dom; can you provide a more formal citation? You have kindly provided the Kew "address"; does the document have a title, was it presented to the head of the R.N.A.S. (What is R.N.V.R.? R.N. Volunteer Reserve?) Many thanks!