Friday, May 3, 2013

World War II's Longest Fight--The Battle of the Atlantic

Officers on the bridge.jpg
The bridge of a British escort

The Battle of the Atlantic ran from the outbreak of World War II in 1939 until the German surrender in 1945. It pitted the Germans on one side against primarily the British and Canadian navies on the other. At stake was the blockade of German ports by the Allies, and the blockade by the Germans of shipping to the UK and Russia. It was a near-run thing for the Allies, with the balance of success shifting one way or the other with technical advances often a determining factor. Radar, air cover, and code-breaking all played a part in the Allied victory.
But at the heart of the victory were the merchantmen running the deadly U-boat wolfpacks, escorted by the little ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Navy.
There are fewer survivors of the longest battle of the war still with us every year. This weekend is dedicated to them. Church ceremonies, dinners, naval and Legion observances are the order of the day. Please attend, or spare a thought for the men and women who defended us all through those dark days. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)


Pat and Marcus said...

Often missed in the story of World War Two is that casualty numbers amongst merchant sailors were enormous. It was as extremely dangerous service during the war.

Robert Mackay said...

Thank you for your comment. One in seven Canadian and Newfoundland merchant navy personnel were wounded or killed, a higher casualty rate than any other Canadian service in WW II. The bravery of the men at sea in merchant ships, especially tankers, is almost beyond belief.

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