- Atlas V (boat)
The Atlas V (Atlas 5) was a Belgian
tug boatwhich was armed by resistance forcesunder the command of Jules Hentjensduring the First World War. On the night of 3 and 4 January, 1917, the boat arrived in The Netherlandswith 107 people aboard, from Liege, Belgium, which was occupied by German troops.
Belgium had been invaded in August 1914 by German troops, and Liege, except for the
strengthened belt of Liege, was taken following this. Only the North-West of the country was still under Belgian rule, and under command of King Albert.
Many Belgians sought to join the still active Belgian army. Others attempted to escape the country. For the inhabitants of Liège, this was generally done via
Maastricht, in the Netherlands, who were neutral. The city was only 30 kilometres from the Dutch border.
*length: 23.5 metres
*width: 5.5 metres
*height: 3.5 metres
*power: 35 HP
The Atlas V arrived at about midnight, at the beginning of
Coronmeuse, on the left bank in the north of the city. It was carried by the current, passing through the populated localities of Herstaland Jupillewithout encumberment. The boat was discovered only near Argenteau/ Hermalle-under-Argenteau, and attacked by a car-boat. This sank in its wake. The Atlas V then proceeded at 45km/h, and encountered heavy fire all along the river, lit by powerful lights. Later, the tug boat broke the railway bridge downstream of Visé, then tore off the electrified chain and wire which barred the river. It ran into a pontoon armed with machine-guns and escaped from intense fire. It approached the right bank of the Meuseat Eisdenin the Netherlands (opposite Ében-Émael) around one in the morning, with the sound of Brabançonneand Belgian flag to the wind.
The boat was recovered by its owner in Liege 4 days later.
The family of
Jules Hentjens, suspected of assisting in the escape, were arrested and given long prison sentences.
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