Team GB have won bronze in the men's eight event at Eton Dorney.
In a thrilling race, Germany took an early lead but in the second half of the 2000m event the British fought back and at one stage edged into a slight lead.
However the German's, unbeaten since 2009, showed why they were the pre-race favourite's as they responded by moving well clear by the end.
Great Britain's team of Alex Partridge, James Foad, Tom Ransley, Richard Egington, Mohamed Sbihi, Greg Searle, Matthew Langridge, Constantine Louloudis and Phelan Hill appeared to have pushed too early as they faded in the final 500 and they let the silver slip to Canada but were just able to hold off the USA by three tenths of a second to win Great Britain's second rowing medal of the day following the gold success of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the women's pairs.
The Germans crossed the line in 5min, 48.75sec, with the eight whooping with delight as they clambered out of their boat, hugging the nearest crew member they could find.
Greg Searle, the 40-year-old who won a gold in Barcelona 20 years ago and came out of retirement three years ago to race in London, thought GB could take gold when they hit the front three-quarters of the way through the race.
"Yeah, I did," Searle told BBC1. "I had an amazing rush of adrenaline when Phelan [Hill, cox] said we were in the lead, that he was sitting level with the German strokeman, and I thought, 'This really could come true'.
"We raced hard from the start. The crowd was just amazing, they were so loud, but I could still focus on rowing.
"But we didn't have anything left and I guess they came back in the last bit."
Nevertheless, Searle said he had enjoyed his return to the sport.
"It's been fantastic," he said. "The whole three years has been absolutely brilliant.
"There's some good people here. It's an amazing event, the Olympic Games.
"I don't think we could have given it any more.
"We said before the race we wanted to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say we'd given everything and I think we did."