Shots came slowly at first. They fell ahead and over, raising vast columns of water; now they fell astern and short. The British guns were ranging. Those deadly waterspouts crept nearer and nearer. The men on deck watched them with a strange fascination. Soon one pitched close to the ship and a vast watery pillar, a hundred meters high one of them affirmed fell lashing on the deck. The range had been found. Dann aber ging's los!
Now the shells came thick and fast with a horrible droning hum. At once they did terrible execution. The electric plant was soon destroyed, and the ship plunged in darkness that could be felt. 'You could not see your hand before your nose,' said one. Down below decks there was horror and confusion, mingled with gasping shouts and moans as the shells plunged through the decks. It was only later, when the range shortened, that their trajectory flattened and they tore holes in the ship's side and raked her decks. At first they cane dropping from the skies. They penetrated the decks. They bored their way even to the stoke-hold.
The coal in the bunkers was on fire. Since the bunkers were half empty the fire burned merrily. In the engine-room a shell licked up the oil and sprayed it around in flames of blue and green, scarring its victims and blazing where it fell. Men huddled together in dark compartments, but the shells sought them out, and there death had a rich harvest.
The terrific air-pressure resulting from explosion in a confined space, left a deep impression on the minds of the men of the Blücher. The air, it would seem, roars through every opening and tears its way through every weak spot. All loose or insecure fittings are transformed into moving instruments of destruction. Open doors bang to, and jamb -- and closed iron doors bend outward like tin plates, and through it all the bodies of men were whirled about like dead leaves in a winter blast, to be battered to death against the iron walls.
In one of the engine rooms -...