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The U-boat attacked the coast of Bayonne carrying up to 18 shots with its cannon deck against the Bocau factories, causing considerable damage and several victims.
We open the “closet of time” to recover stories and characters and we do not want them to be forgotten, precisely because of the passage of time. And for that, the writer Alvaro Arbina is in charge of “diving” and rescue them.
We are in February 1917, it is a gray day, with gray and calm waters, the Basque coast is close, from the sea we see the town of Bayonne. Three ships of sailors coming from Hondarribi work quietly and suddenly they see emerge from the depths of the ocean, right next to the skirts of their ships, a kind of huge sea monster, also gray as lead. They have never seen anything like this. Before them uncovers a huge submarine of the Imperial German Navy, one of those machines daughters of the industrial and technological revolution of the belle epoque, that during the years of the Great War sowed the terror of any military and merchant ship that shared route with them.
The case occurred in the month of February 1917, and was reflected in several newspapers in San Sebastian. At that time an important city for, among other reasons beyond being an elite summer resort, be the same as Bern or Stockholm. That is to say: an important capital of a neutral country in the war that had been tearing Europe apart for three years, since August 1914. The different versions of the event attract a lot of attention. The Germanophile newspapers such as “La Constancia” did not talk too much about the matter. The aliadófilos, or at least anti-Germanófilos, developed long and detailed reports, as is the case of “El Liberal Guipúzcoano”.
One of his correspondents was the first to arrive at the port of Fuenterrabía, today Hondarribia , after hearing first hand Artillery fire. There he found several deep-sea fishing patterns recently returned from the sea, those same sailors that we mentioned at the beginning. They told him about that marine beast made of steel and coal, a German U-boot.
The ” U-boat ” on this occasion only wanted to attack the coast of Bayonne. And that’s what he did, making up to eighteen shots with his cannon cover the Bocau factories, causing considerable damage and, apparently, several victims. According to “El Liberal Guipúzcoano”, the U Boot fire resulted in a small naval battle, as the coastal batteries located in Bayonne returned the shots, finally forcing the German submarine to submerge again.
So the Basque coast also became the scene of one of the thousands of combats that, together, for four years, forged, in blood, fire and steel, that historical fact that today we call ” First World War “.