Last week I examined the U-boat war in the Arctic. This week I'd like to turn your attention roughly 2,000 miles to the south. There in the Black Sea, the Soviet Navy faced off against the Axis powers in a poorly understood war that nevertheless featured: amphibious landings, to big-gun fire support for ground forces, convoys, sea-control, sea-denial, anti-ship, ASW, mine, and submarine warfare.
In this article we shall look at the battle beneath the waves. More specifically, how the Germans employed U-boats in the Black Sea, and to what extent those U-boats proved effective - or not.
For naval enthusiasts and historians, there exists a unique opportunity on the Philadelphia / Camden waterfronts of the Delaware River. There one can physically walk through nearly a hundred years of naval history and technological development.
Berthed on the Pennsylvania side of the river are the cruiser USS Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna (see first picture). Just a couple hundred yards away on the New Jersey side sits the battleship USS New Jersey (see second, or bottom, picture). Having completed their service to the Navy and the nation, all three retired
There are several important milestone events in the life of a warship. Of particular importance are those proceedings surrounding the ship's launching and retirement from active service. Such events include the keel laying, launching, commissioning, decommissioning, and final disposition of the ship. On 23 May 2013 one of history's most powerful warships, the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62), will celebrate the 70th Anniversary of its commissioning.
USS New Jersey is the second of the Iowa-class fast battleships. The four Iowas (Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and
In April of 1915 soldiers from the British Army and Commonwealth, including the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps, and French Army and Empire, landed on the Gallipoli penninsula in an effort to open the route to Russia and seize Constantinople. There they faced Turkish troops from the Ottoman Empire in a brutal campaign fought in rugged terrain featuring extensive trench systems separated at certain points by as few as 10 to 20 yards. An ongoing archaeological survey has uncovered not only artificacts from ths First World War battle, but also has led to a greater understanding of how the men
Late last week the USS Iowa (BB-61), the lead ship in the final class of US battleships ever built, began a voyage from Suisun Bay, California that will ultimately end in Los Angeles - where she will serve as a floating museum.
Laid down in June 1940 and commissioned in February 1943 the Iowa weighed in at 45,000 tons, was 887 feet long and included a crew of over 2,750 officers and men. Her potent main armament of nine 16 inch (406mm) guns could rain one ton shells down onto targets over 20 miles away.
Well over 6,000 ships sunk during the Second World War sit on the bottom of oceans and seas worldwide. After roughly 70 years of exposure to the elements many are raising concerns that these distingrating wrecks could release the oil mostly still contained in their hulls. Though few of these ships contain anywhere near the oil released by the oil tanker seen sinking in this picture following a U-boat attack, when the oil from these thousands of ships is aggregated together it is estimated by some to total well in excess of the oil released by 2010's Deepwater Horizon spill.
In December of 1939 the German surface raider and "pocket" battleship Admiral Graf Spee had finally been brought to battle by three cruisers from the British Royal Navy. Operating primarily in the South Atlantic during the fall of 1939 the Graf Spee sank numerous British merchantmen. However, the Royal Navy, after mobilizing significant assets to stop the Graf Spee, finally caught up with the German warship and after a running battle in which the Graf Spee sustained serious damage the Graf pocket battleship's captain decided to scuttle his vessel rather than attempt to fight his way past the
Following Hitler's December 1941 declaration of war upon the United States German Admiral Karl Doenitz sought to take advantage of the weakly guarded sea-lanes near the American coast and pick off the highly vulnerable, solitary, merchant ships plying these waters. Hitler approved Doenitz's plan, code named Operation Paukenschlag, or drumbeat/roll the drums. Doenitz' U-boats would carry Hitler's war to America and if successful deliver the first blows designed to cripple American shipping and industry.
Scandinavia took on ample significance to both Germany and Britain late in the winter of 1939-1940. The subsequent events in Scandinavian waters during the spring of 1940 would prove even more strategically significant following France's capitulation in June of 1940. The following will explain why.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, a politically weakened Neville Chamberlain had brought one of his leading dissenters, Winston Churchill, into his cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty; in an attempt to silence Churchill's politically damaging critiques of Chamberlain's leadership.