The HMS Manica carried out her first successful spotting for the guns of HMS Bacchante. Commander John Mackworth, HMS Manica, gives a vivid picture of this day’s work.
“The enemy were not aware of the presence of a balloon-ship, and had taken no special precautions against being overlooked. The consequence was that when Manica put up her balloon, the first sight which greeted the observers was a sleeping camp, neatly arranged in a dip in the ground,out of sight of Bacchante but within easy range of her guns. Through their excellent field-glasses they could see an occasional dot moving about,but for the most part the camp was not yet astir. If there were sentries they doubtless regarded the distant balloon hanging in the sky as a harmless form of amusement for the jaded British, and saw no connection between it and the long guns of the Bacchante which were nuzzling round toward them.But the boom of the cruiser’s forward turret opened their eyes, and a rude awakening followed when the top of a hillock some hundred yards beyond the camp was hurled into the air. No reveille ever blown commanded so instant a response. Every tent burst into life, and the ground was soon swarming with running specks. A sencond shot burst on the northern most fringe of the camp, and a third right in the midst of the tents. Bacchante had the range to a nicety, and began to fire salvoes of 6-inch. A scene of indescribable confusion followed. Tents were rent to pieces and flung in to the air,dust spouted in huge fans and columns, and brightly through the reek could be seen the flashes of then bursnnngshells. Like ants from an overturned nest, the little brown dots swarmed and scattered. Across the plain galloped a few terrified mules, and in an incredibly short time the wreckage was complete. Of the once orderly camp nothing remained but torn earth and twisted canvas, and when the smoke cleared away, no movement was to be seen.”