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Great Battles of World War Two - War at Sea

Great Battles of World War Two - War at Sea

Great Battles of World War Two - War at Sea

This second volume of a new three-part series examines the explosive encounters that shaped the war on the waves. Discover: The inside story behind the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk Why the US triumphed at the battle of Midway How the Merchant Navy remained resilient in the Atlantic The top-secret 'war game' that destroyed German U-boats

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Frequency:
One-off
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R 215,60

in this issue

2 min.
welcome

“When the first Allied troops came ashore in Normandy on the morning of 6 June 1944, it not only marked the beginning of the end for the Axis in western Europe, but a true pinnacle of naval ingenuity. From midget submarines to clever contraptions that cleared the landing beaches of obstacles, almost every aspect of planning had been shaped by lessons that the Allies had learned during their past four-and-a-half years at sea - both the glorious successes and crushing failures. But even once D-Day had passed, the conflict was far from over. The US remained at loggerheads with Japan in the Pacific, each boasting huge carrier fleets that were taking maritime warfare to new heights. This special edition of BBC History Magazine examines these crucial moments during the war on the waves…

4 min.
hell and high water

If the tank was the most impressive battlefield innovation of the First World War, then its maritime equivalent was the submarine. Although the submarine had made a fleeting appearance in the American Civil War of the 1860s, it wasn’t until half a century later that its effectiveness was truly felt with the rapid technological advances of the early 20th century. Yet, despite the fact that during the First World War a comparatively small German U-boat fleet had brought Britain to the brink of starvation by sinking supply ships from North America, the submarine was still viewed overall as a minor weapon in a nation’s naval armoury in the interwar years. Britain, America, Japan and Germany believed that surface ships held the key to maritime domination, a philosophy in part explained by a…

7 min.
face off in the south atlantic

At the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, Germany had at sea two of its so-called ‘armoured ships’ – or in German, Panzerschiffe. Generally nicknamed ‘pocket battleships’, the Panzerschiffe had been designed to be as powerful as possible within the severe restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. They had been originally built for operations against the French navy in the North and Baltic seas, but now their role was commerce raiding: sinking Allied merchantmen in the open ocean. The prototype Panzerschiff, Deutschland, was in the north Atlantic, where the rapidly introduced convoy system soon neutralised it. The other, Admiral Graf Spee, encountered only individual merchant ships as she cruised in the south Atlantic. Her captain, Hans Langsdorff, was a humane and skilful seaman with a keen sense of both honour…

2 min.
how langsdorff’s luck ran out

1 HE UNDERESTIMATED THE ENEMY'S STRENGTH Firstly, Langsdorff mistakenly thought he was only facing a light cruiser and two destroyers, rather than a heavy cruiser and two light cruisers. He was misled by the shape of Exeter’s two funnels, reminiscent of an old ‘C or 'D' class ship, and the single funnels of Ajax and Achilles, which recalled the single funnel of the latest British destroyers. He therefore considered it safe to engage what seemed an inferior force, instead of using the superior responsiveness of GrafSpee's diesel engines to speed away. 2 HE OVERESTIMATED HIS SHIP'S CAPABILITIES Langsdorff's ship was far from being as powerful as she was vaunted. GrafSpee had a strong main armament for a ship of her size - six 280mm guns - but these could only be effective on…

11 min.
the forgotten battle of britain

We’re all familiar with the story. In the summer of 1940, Royal Air Force pilots defeated Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe over the skies of southern England and saved Britain from invasion. “Our fate,” Winston Churchill wrote years later, “depended on victory in the air.” The Battle of Britain was a humiliation for the Luftwaffe, which may have lost almost 2,000 aircraft and seen well over 4,000 airmen killed, wounded, missing, and captured – undoubtedly far more than the British, although figures vary. It was a propaganda triumph for a beleaguered island, with strategic implications, in particular in the US, where Americans considered anew the UK’s will to resist. It was an important victory, and the pilots’ courage was undeniable. But, in truth, there’s little chance that Germany could have invaded England, even if…

1 min.
timeline norway, 1940: how hitler lost the edge at sea

16 February 1940 Naval forces from HMS Cossack free British prisoners held aboard German supply ship Altmark \w Norwegian waters. 8 April Polish submarine Orzet sinks clandestine German troop transport Rio de Janeiro. HMS Glowworm is sunk by German cruiser Admiral Hipper. 9 Apri Operation Weserubüng. German forces invade Norway and Denmark, overrunning Denmark in hours and seizing the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and five major ports. 10 April First naval battle of Narvik. Two German destroyers and seven supply ships are sunk, along with two British destroyers. Fleet Air Arm air strike sinks German cruiser Königsberg at Bergen. 11 April British submarine Spearfish torpedoes German pocket battleship Liitzow. 13 April The second naval battle of Narvik. The remaining eight German destroyers and U-64 are sunk. 14-19 April British and Allied troops land at Namsos and Andalsnes, near Trondheim, in central Norway, and at…