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174

So I want to know, did the Japanese Navy have the ability to destroy it in a surprise attack, let's say on 1941 Dec 7? I'm asking if the Japanese Navy had the ability. I'm not asking if it was a viable strategy or sound war plan. Well, you're getting both. :) Evaluating it as a war plan is WAY more interesting. Yes, but... It would be fixed in six months. ...


105

SHORT ANSWER The short answer is that this was considered by the British to be the simplest and most economical way of disposing of the German U-boat fleet. The decision to sink the U-boats rather than salvage or divide them up among the ‘Big Three’ (the UK, the US, the Soviet Union) was part of the Potsdam Agreement (August 1945). It was agreed that the ...


65

It is far easier to sink than capture, especially when your main tool is the submarine. If you go further back in history, capture was indeed often the name of the game. But in a WW2 context Germany could not go head-to-head with the Royal Navy, hence submarines being the primary tool. Beyond this, ships were far more traceable and could be avoided; once ...


61

That's a good question. As far as we know, most ancient voyages didn't venture that far from land. Ships like the Bronze Age Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya shipwrcks are thought to have been coastal traders. They simply plied their trade around the coast of the Mediterranean, probably never getting far out of sight from the shore. This would mean that they ...


47

The options that submarines had were, in practice, limited to sinking Allied shipping and leaving the area as quickly as possible to avoid detection. U-boats had a disadvantage compared to destroyers (not to mention airplanes) when it came to speed, especially when submerged. They were also poorly equipped to fight surface warships as their deck guns were no ...


40

The US Navy certainly had ocean-going tugs during the Second World War. One example you mentioned was the Navajo-class, or Cherokee-class ocean-going fleet tugs (ATF), another were the Abnaki-class fleet tugs. These vessels should not be confused with harbour tugs which perform a completely different function. There are a number of sites that list US ...


33

The general answer, "It's easier to sink than capture," has already been given. Now consider the specifics. In the early stages of the war: In two words - "Prize crew". Having captured a ship, it is necessary to plant on it a sufficiently large crew to either operate it by themselves or to oversee the original crew and keep them in line. This means the ...


32

Not a "hard" answer, but more than a comment. The German Type VIIC was the most common type of U-boat, but with limited range and endurance. Its fuel bunkers could keep the diesels going for 20-35 days non-stop at a speed of 10-12 knots (own calculation, using the various "range X at speed Y" data points given here and here). The Type IXC/40 would, by the ...


30

What intelligence did the Russians have that the Japanese had either torpedo boats or mines in the North Sea, and what was the source of that intelligence? I don't have the book referenced in the article, but the report from the International Commissions Of Inquiry is online. It mentions several "reports" (really rumors) in more detail. It appears, from ...


29

To prevent torpedoes from becoming a navigational hazard in the event of a miss the 1907 Hague Convention VIII had a section on mines. Once a torpedo was out of fuel it was buoyant. Therefore any torpedo that missed its mark (which was a lot!) would become a random and deadly hazard to navigation. The easiest solution to this was to detonate the torps at ...


28

The problem was that during the 18th Century, they didn't know that scurvy was caused by lack of Vitamin C (mainly because they didn't know what vitamins were). Therefore, they didn't go looking for foods that were rich in Vitamin C to cure it. It should also be noted that there was no clear relationship between a food's acidity and its Vitamin C content. ...


26

This is probably a slightly garbled account of the destruction of Shuri Castle in Okinawa. During the Second World War's Battle of Okinawa, the battleship USS Mississippi shelled the historical Ryukyu palace for three days prior to its capture by US marines. At 0718 on May 25, the Mississippi began a murderous onslaught with her 5 and 14-inch guns that ...


21

The question as it stands would require a book to answer it. Luckily for you, the book has been written: "Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Century" by Rodgers (1940). To quote from Chapter 8 on the Italian Naval Wars in the 13th century: Tactical Customs Ordinarily, squadrons moved in column with the admiral leading; in battle the fleet formed ...


21

The allies blockaded Germany in WW2. Even if the Kriegsmarine could capture ships (and Orangesandlemons's answer correctly explains that this was unlikely) - there was no way to actually bring them to German ports. The British navy would just re-capture/sink them on the way.


21

An anecdotal addition to the excellent points in the existing answer: At the end of WWII, my mother was discharged from the ATS before my father was discharged from the army, so she got a job as bookkeeper to a scrap metal merchant operating near the base where they were stationed. Her boss was the winning bidder on a contract to scrap some damaged, ...


20

The reason is simple: nobody wants an uncontrolled explosive device floating around. You yourself, or someone else, other then your enemy may later accidentally hit it. For the same reasons all anti-aircraft shells explode at the end of their trajectory: who knows what they may hit on the ground.


20

Rations on ships during the age of exploration were typically of a type that would require little or no cooking. They included things like "hardtack" (unleavened bread), and salted meat, that could be stored for months without spoiling. Salted meat was "boiled" which required less fuel and lower temperatures than regular "cooking" (212 F vs. 400 F). The "...


19

In his book "A Social History of the Navy 1793-1815", Michael Lewis gives the following breakdown of the background of Navy officers based on their parents' social status. Social Status of R.N. Officers' Parents, 1793-1815* A. Titled People Total Percentage 1. Peers 131 7.3% 2. Baronets 85 4.7% B. ...


18

The Canal is 8400 miles from Tokyo, compared to 4000 miles for Pearl Harbour. The Japanese carriers are stated of having a range of 10,000 miles at a cruising speed of about 16 knots, but remember that drag varies as the square of speed. Under battle conditions at speeds approaching 30 knots range would have shrunk to barely a quarter of that. For a ...


18

When German Raiders Did Use Captured Ships In addition to the other answers, there were a few examples of German raiders sending captured ships back early in the war. These were auxiliary cruisers, fast, long ranged merchantmen fitted with enough hidden weapons to overpower lone merchant ships. If they encountered a warship they'd disguise themselves as a ...


15

Destroying those locks is going to be harder than you think. They are very large, at 110 feet x 1,050 feet, and the lock gates have to have been built to stand up to accidental collisions with large ships (at low speed, admittedly). They weigh up to 730 tons, depending on their height. The best way to make the attack seems to be to use anti-ship torpedoes ...


15

According to Grey Wolf: U-Boat Crewman of World War II, the officers of a typical crew consisted of... Commander - a Kapitänleutnant or Oberleutnant First Officer - Oberleutnant zur See or Leutnant zur See Second Officer - Leutnant zur See Engineering Officer - Leutnant or Oberleutnant zur See Third Watch Officer - Held by a warrant officer, typically the ...


14

I was able to dig up one source with an explanation. It relates to your information about that being a common suffix for Japanese ships. Bruce Gamble in Target: Rabul asserts that it was originally a name of derision applied (I'm assuming by crews of other ships) due to her knack for managing to be indisposed during major battles with the Japanese. The ...


14

Let me illustrate @StuartAllan's answer: if they hear "Japanese castle", people think about this: And while that is pretty and impressive, it will of course be a heap of smoking rubble after no more than a few hits from a battleship's guns. But what the attacking military is really up against is this: and laying waste to it is gonna take some time... ...


14

Partial response, feel free to complete/correct it: First row: 1. Navy Occupation Medal 2. WW2 Victory Medal 3. European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal 4. Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal 5. American Campaign Medal 6. Good conduct medal Awards: Navy presidential Unit visitation Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Second row: 1. China ...


13

Preparations for Operation Overlord, the allied invasion of Normandy began in August of 1943. The operation itself took place 6 Jun 1944 – 25 Aug 1944. Almost every boat available was thrown into the mix. Captain Publicover, Master of the U. S. War Shipping Administration Tug Farallon, was assigned to the task of towing vital military and naval ...


12

Canal locks may be much harder to destroy than you think. Ships can catch fire and they can sink. Canal locks won't do either. As kind-of-evidence for this assertion, consider the St. Nazaire Raid. The Allies decided that they'd have to ram the gates of a dry dock with an explosives-filled destroyer. At the time, they had much heavier aviation at their ...


11

It's probably not going to be very easy to identify the top two pictures, but the bottom picture appears to be the light cargo ship USS Mark (AKL 12). Note that Wikipedia uses its WWII registration number - see the hull's entry on the Naval Vessel Register. Image from http://www.mrfa.org/akl12.html The photo paper stamp would put the ship in theater ...


11

According to Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, the Enterprise's public affairs officer, it would have cost too much. The ship, among the first to respond after the Sept. 11 attacks, won't be turned into a museum like some other carriers. Crews have to cut large holes in the vessel to remove the nuclear fuel, and it would be too expensive to repair, said Lt. ...


11

By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, most of the European nations had overseas empires and trade missions. International commerce was reliant on sea transport (and even what was essentially 'internal' trade often went by sea) because there was no other efficient way of bringing trade goods from the colonies to the home nations. By this time, the European ...


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