World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, northeast Germany, Poland and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53 ° N from 10 ° E to 30 ° E longitude. A mediterranean sea of the Atlantic, with limited water exchange between the two bodies, the Baltic Sea drains through the Danish islands into the Kattegat by way of the straits of Øresund, the Great Belt, the Little Belt, it includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Bay of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, the Bay of Gdańsk. The Baltic Proper is bordered on its northern edge, at the latitude 60°N, by the Åland islands and the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga, in the west by the Swedish part of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula; the Baltic Sea is connected by artificial waterways to the White Sea via the White Sea Canal and to the German Bight of the North Sea via the Kiel Canal. Administration The Helsinki Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area includes the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat, without calling Kattegat a part of the Baltic Sea, "For the purposes of this Convention the'Baltic Sea Area' shall be the Baltic Sea and the Entrance to the Baltic Sea, bounded by the parallel of the Skaw in the Skagerrak at 57°44.43'N."Traffic history Historically, the Kingdom of Denmark collected Sound Dues from ships at the border between the ocean and the land-locked Baltic Sea, in tandem: in the Øresund at Kronborg castle near Helsingør.
The narrowest part of Little Belt is the "Middelfart Sund" near Middelfart. Oceanography Geographers agree that the preferred physical border of the Baltic is a line drawn through the southern Danish islands, Drogden-Sill and Langeland; the Drogden Sill is situated north of Køge Bugt and connects Dragør in the south of Copenhagen to Malmö. By this definition, the Danish Straits are part of the entrance, but the Bay of Mecklenburg and the Bay of Kiel are parts of the Baltic Sea. Another usual border is the line between Falsterbo and Stevns Klint, Denmark, as this is the southern border of Øresund. It's the border between the shallow southern Øresund and notably deeper water. Hydrography and biology Drogden Sill sets a limit to Øresund and Darss Sill, a limit to the Belt Sea; the shallow sills are obstacles to the flow of heavy salt water from the Kattegat into the basins around Bornholm and Gotland. The Kattegat and the southwestern Baltic Sea have a rich biology; the remainder of the Sea is poor in oxygen and in species.
Thus, the more of the entrance, included in its definition, the healthier the Baltic appears. Tacitus called it Mare Suebicum after the Germanic people of the Suebi, Ptolemy Sarmatian Ocean after the Sarmatians, but the first to name it the Baltic Sea was the eleventh-century German chronicler Adam of Bremen; the origin of the latter name is speculative and it was adopted into Slavic and Finnic languages spoken around the sea likely due to the role of Medieval Latin in cartography. It might be connected to the Germanic word belt, a name used for two of the Danish straits, the Belts, while others claim it to be directly derived from the source of the Germanic word, Latin balteus "belt". Adam of Bremen himself compared the sea with a belt, stating that it is so named because it stretches through the land as a belt, he might have been influenced by the name of a legendary island mentioned in the Natural History of Pliny the Elder. Pliny mentions an island named Baltia with reference to accounts of Xenophon.
It is possible. Baltia might be derived from belt and mean "near belt of sea, strait." Meanwhile, others have suggested that the name of the island originates from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhel meaning "white, fair". This root and its basic meaning were retained in both Latvian. On this basis, a related hypothesis holds that the name originated from this Indo-European root via a Baltic language such as Lithuanian. Another explanation is that, while derived from the aforementioned root, the name of the sea is related to names for various forms of water and related substances in several European languages, that might have been associated with colors found in swamps, yet another explanation is that the name meant "enclosed sea, bay" as opposed to open sea. Some Swedish historians believe. In the Middle Ages the sea was known by a variety of names; the name Baltic Sea became dominant only after 1600. Usage of Baltic and similar terms to denote the region east of the sea started only in 19th century.
The Baltic Sea was known in ancient Latin language sources as Mare Suebicum or Mare Germanicum. Older native names in languages that used to be spoken on the shores of the sea or near it indicate the geographical location of the sea, or its size in relation to smaller gulfs, or tribes associated with it. In modern lang
The Hedgehog was a forward-throwing anti-submarine weapon, used during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. The device, developed by the Royal Navy, fired up to 24 spigot mortars ahead of a ship when attacking a U-boat, it was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers and corvettes to supplement the depth charges. As the mortar projectiles employed contact fuzes rather than time or barometric fuzes, detonation occurred directly against a hard surface such as the hull of a submarine making it more deadly than depth charges, which relied on damage caused by hydrostatic shockwaves. Statistics show that during WWII out of 5,174 British depth charge attacks there were 85.5 kills: a ratio of 60.5 to 1. In comparison, the Hedgehog made 268 attacks for 47 kills: a ratio of 5.7 to 1. The "Hedgehog", so named because the empty rows of its launcher spigots resembled the spines of a hedgehog, was a replacement for the unsuccessful Fairlie Mortar, trialled aboard HMS Whitehall in 1941.
Although a failure, the Fairlie was designed to fire depth charges ahead of a ship when attacking a submarine. This principle of forward-firing projectiles was considered viable; this secret research by the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development led to the development of the Hedgehog. The weapon was a multiple'spigot mortar' or spigot discharger, a type of weapon developed between the wars by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Blacker, RA; the spigot mortar was based on early infantry trench mortars. The spigot design allowed a single device to fire warheads of varying size; the propelling charge was part of the main weapon and worked against a rod set in the baseplate which fitted inside a tubular tail of the'bomb'. This principle was first used on the Blacker Bombard 29 mm Spigot Mortar and the PIAT anti-tank weapon; the adaptation of the bombard for naval use was made in partnership with MIR under Major Millis Jefferis who had taken Blacker's design and brought it into use with Army. The weapon fires a salvo of 24 bombs in an arc, aimed to land in a circular or elliptical area about 100 feet in diameter at a fixed point about 250 yards directly ahead of the attacking ship.
The mounting was fixed but was replaced by a gyro-stabilised one to allow for the rolling and pitching of the attacking ship. The system was developed to solve the problem of the target submarine disappearing from the attacking ship's ASDIC when the ship came within the sonar's minimum range. Due to the speed of sound in water, the time taken for the'ping' echo to return to the attacking ship from the target submarine became too short to allow the human operator to distinguish the returning audible echo from that of the initial sound pulse emitted by the sonar – the so-called "instantaneous echo", where the output sound pulse and returning echo merge; this "blind spot" allowed the submarine to make evasive manoeuvres undetected while the ship was out of range for depth charge attack. Hence, the submarine was invisible to the sonar as the ship came within the sonar's minimum range; the solution was a weapon mounted on the foredeck that discharged the projectiles up and over that carrying ship's bow, to land in the water some distance in front of the ship while the submarine was still outside the sonar's minimum range.
The Hedgehog entered service in 1942. Carrying a Torpex charge weighing 16 kg, each mortar had a diameter of 18 cm and weighed about 29.5 kg. The projectiles were angled so they would land in a circular shape with a diameter of 40 m about 180 m ahead of a stationary ship; the projectiles would sink at about 7 m/s. They would reach a submerged U-boat, for example at 200 ft in under 9 seconds. Sympathetic detonation of projectiles near those contacting hard surfaces was a possibility, but the number of explosions counted was fewer than the number of projectiles launched; the prototype launcher was tested aboard HMS Westcott in 1941, but there were no submarine kills until November 1942, after it had been installed aboard one hundred ships. Initial success rates – of about 5% – were only better than depth charges. Swells and spray covered the launcher during heavy North Atlantic weather, subsequent attempts to launch revealed firing circuit problems launching an incomplete pattern; the disappointment of a quiet miss discouraged crews who might otherwise assume depth charge explosions had damaged their target or at least frightened the enemy.
The Royal Navy launched Hedgehog so in early 1943 that a directive was issued ordering captains of ships equipped with Hedgehog to report why they had not used Hedgehog on an underwater contact. The results were blamed on low confidence in the weapon. However, after an officer from the DMWD was sent to Londonderry Port, where the convoy crews were based, with better training and shipwide talks on examples of successful Hedgehog attacks, the kill rate improved considerably. By the end of the war, statistics showed that on average, one in every five attacks made by Hedgehog resulted in a kill. In response to this new deadly threat to its U-boats, the Kriegsmarine brought forward its programme of acoustic torpedoes in 1943, beginning with the Falke; these new "homing" torpedoes could be employed without the use of a periscope, providing submarines a better chance to remain undetected and evade counterattack. In the Pacific Theater, USS England sank six Japanese submarines in a matter of days with Hedgehog in May 1944.
In 1946, USS Solar was destroyed after a crewman accidentally dropped a Hedgehog charge near one of her main turret am
A contact fuze, impact fuze, percussion fuze or direct-action fuze is the fuze, placed in the nose of a bomb or shell so that it will detonate on contact with a hard surface. Many impacts are unpredictable: they may involve a soft surface, or an off-axis grazing impact; the pure contact fuze is unreliable in such cases and so a more sensitive graze fuze or inertia fuze is used instead. The two types are combined in the same mechanism; the British Army's first useful impact fuze for high-explosive shells was the Fuze No. 106 of World War I. This used a simple protruding plunger or striker at the nose, pushed back to drive a firing pin into the detonator, its ability to burst at ground level was used to clear the barbed wire entanglements of no man's land, rather than burying itself first and leaving a deep, but useless, crater. The striker was protected by a safety cap, removed before loading, but there was no other safety mechanism; the simplest form of artillery contact fuze is a soft metal nose to the shell, filled with a fulminating explosive such as lead azide.
An example is the British World War II Fuze, Percussion, D. A. No. 233 The primary explosive transmits its detonation to an explosive booster within the fuze in turn to the main charge of the shell. As an artillery shell lands with a considerable impact, the "soft" nose may be made robust enough to be adequately safe for careful handling, without requiring any protection cap or safety mechanism; as a matter of normal practice though and shells are transported separately and the fuze is only installed shortly prior to use. These simple contact fuzes are used for anti-tank shells, rather than high-explosive. A more sophisticated fuze is the double-acting fuze, sensitive to both contact and grazing. An example of such a double-acting fuze is the British WW II Fuze, D. A. and percussion, No. 119 This fuze uses a nose striker, as for the original No. 106, but is rather more complex with an added inertia mechanism for grazing impacts and three automatic safety devices. Simple contact impacts drive as before.
Graze impacts trigger the inertia mechanism, where instead the pellet in a heavy carrying plug travels forwards onto the striker. The striker is protected in storage by a nose safety cap; this is removed before loading, but it may be left in place if the target is behind cover. This reduces the sensitivity of the striker to light impacts through vegetation, but the fuze will still function through the inertia mechanism, or through a hard impact. Three safety devices are provided, one released by inertia during firing, which unlocks a second, released by centrifugal force of the spinning shell; these are mechanical locks. A third device is a centrifugal shutter that blocks propagation from the detonator pellet to the booster explosive. Most artillery contact fuzes act although some may have a delay; this allows a high-explosive or semi-armour-piercing shell to penetrate a wall before exploding, thus achieving the most damage inside the building. Where a shell is used against strong armour and requires all of its explosive power to penetrate, a delay is not appropriate.
Most such delayed fuzes are thus switchable to immediate mode. Timed fuzes are used for airbursts, they take their delay time from firing, not from impact. These fuzes may offer a contact fuzed ability; as this type of fuze is complex and more sensitive, they have a deliberate safing mechanism such as an arming wire that must be removed before use. Fuzes for air-dropped bombs have used an internally mounted inertia fuze, triggered by the sudden deceleration on impact. Owing to the risk of an aircraft crash, or the need to land with an undropped bomb still on board, these are protected by sophisticated safety systems so that the fuze can only be triggered after it has been dropped intentionally. StaboThe German Stachelbombe or stabo of WWII was a standard bomb, from 50 kg to 500 kg, modified for use from low altitude. To avoid the risk of ricochet from the ground, a nose spike was fitted to penetrate first and anchor the bomb against bouncing — without this, there was a risk of the dropping aircraft not only missing the target, but being damaged by its own weapon.
As the German electric fuzes had an arming delay after dropping, the bombs were dropped at such low altitude as to leave insufficient time for this to arm, they were sometimes fitted with additional contact fuzes on the tips of these nose spikes. Similar devices were employed by Russian forces, in a similar ground attack role using the Il-2 Sturmovik. Fat ManNotable examples of air-dropped bombs that did use contact fuzes include the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki; the bomb was intended for air burst detonation and was fitted with both radar height-finding and barometric fuzes. As the device was so secret, the risk of informative fragments or plutonium being recovered after a failed drop was considered to be unacceptable, it was fitted with supplementary contact fuzes that were only intended to destroy the weapon beyond recognition. Four AN-219 piezo-electric impact fuzes were fitted to the nose of the bomb casing. BLU-82The BLU-82 was a large conventional explosive bomb, used to make helicopter landing clearings in forests.
The intended fusing was an low air burst of only a few feet, so as to maximize the clearance effect and minimize cratering. The fuze was a mechanical impact fuze on a 38-inch nose spike. Other fuzesThe contact fuze is set off when a series of connected crush switches that are placed on the exterior
The Russian Navy is the naval arm of the Russian Armed Forces. It has existed in various forms since 1696, the present iteration of, formed in January 1992 when it succeeded the Navy of the Commonwealth of Independent States; the first iteration of the Russian Navy was established by Peter the Great in October 1696. Ascribed to him is the oft quoted statement: "A ruler that has but an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has both." The symbols of the Russian Navy, the St. Andrew's ensign, most of its traditions were established by Peter I. Neither Jane's Fighting Ships nor the International Institute for Strategic Studies list any standard ship prefixes for the vessels of the Russian Navy; the U. S. government sometimes uses the exonymous prefix "RFS". However, the Russian Navy itself does not use this convention; the Russian Navy possesses the vast majority of the former Soviet naval forces, comprises the Northern Fleet, the Russian Pacific Fleet, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Russian Baltic Fleet, the Russian Caspian Flotilla, Naval Aviation, the Coastal Troops.
A rearmament program approved in 2007 placed the development of the navy on an equal footing with the strategic nuclear forces for the first time in Soviet and Russian history. This program, covering the period until 2015, expected to see the replacement of 45 percent of the inventory of the Russian Navy. Out of 4.9 trillion rubles allocated for military rearmament, 25 percent will go into building new ships. "We are building as many ships as we did in Soviet times," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said during a visit to Severodvinsk in July 2007, "The problem now is not lack of money, but how to optimize production so that the navy can get new ships three, not five, years after laying them down."The Russian Navy suffered since the dissolution of the Soviet Union due to insufficient maintenance, lack of funding and subsequent effects on the training of personnel and timely replacement of equipment. Another setback is attributed to Russia's domestic shipbuilding industry, reported to have been in decline as to their capabilities of constructing contemporary hardware efficiently.
Some analysts say that because of this Russia's naval capabilities have been facing a slow but certain "irreversible collapse". Some analysts say that the recent rise in gas and oil prices has enabled a sort of renaissance of the Russian Navy due to increased available funds, which may allow Russia to begin "developing the capacity to modernize". In August 2014, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian naval capabilities would be bolstered with new weapons and equipment within the next six years in response to NATO deployments in eastern Europe and recent developments in Ukraine; the origins of the Russian navy may be traced to the period between the 6th century. The first Slavic flotillas consisted of small sailing ships and rowboats, seaworthy and able to navigate in riverbeds. During the 9th through 12th centuries, there were flotillas in the Kievan Rus' consisting of hundreds of vessels with one, two, or three masts. Riverine vessels in 9th century Kievan Rus guarded trade routes to Constantinople.
The citizens of Novgorod are known to have conducted military campaigns in the Baltic Sea —although contemporary Scandinavian sources state that the fleet was from Karelia or Estonia. Lad'ya was a typical boat used by the army of Novgorod. There were smaller sailboats and rowboats, such as ushkuys for sailing in rivers and skerries, nosads, used for cargo transportation. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Cossacks conducted military campaigns against the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire, using sailboats and rowboats; the Don Cossacks called. These boats were capable of transporting up to 80 men; the Cossack flotillas numbered 80 to 100 boats. The centralized Russian state had been fighting for its own access to the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Sea of Azov since the 17th Century. By the end of that century, the Russians had accumulated some valuable experience in using riverboats together with land forces. Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, the construction of the first three-masted ship to be built within Russia was finished in 1636.
She was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein with a European design. She was christened the Frederick. In 1667–69, the Russians tried to build naval ships in a village of Dedinovo on the shores of the Oka River for the purpose of defending the trade routes along the Volga River, which led to the Caspian Sea. In 1668, they built a 26-gun ship, the Oryol, a yacht, a boat with a mast and bowsprit, a few rowboats. During much of the seventeenth century Russian merchants and Cossacks, using koch boats, sailed across the White Sea, explored the rivers Lena and Indigirka, founded settlements in the region of the upper Amur. Unquestionably the most celebrated Russian explorer was Semyon Dezhnev, who, in 1648, sailed the entire length of present-day Russia along the Arctic coast. Rounding the Chukotsk Peninsula, Dezhnev passed through the Bering Sea and sailed into the
A mortar is a simple, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition. Mortars have been used for hundreds of years in siege warfare. Many historians consider the first mortars to have been used at the 1453 siege of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. An Italian account of the 1456 siege of Belgrade by Giovanni da Tagliacozzo said that the Ottoman Turks used seven mortars that fired "stone shots one Italian mile high"; the time of flight of these was long enough that casualties could be avoided by posting observers to give warning of their trajectories. However, earlier mortars were used in Korea in a 1413 naval battle when Korean gunsmiths developed the Wan'gu; the earliest version of the Wan'gu dates back to 1407. Choi Hae-san, the son of Choe Mu-seon, is credited with inventing the first Wan'gu.
Early mortars, such as the Pumhart von Steyr, were large and heavy, could not be transported. Made, these weapons were no more than iron bowls reminiscent of the kitchen and apothecary mortars whence they drew their name. An early transportable mortar was invented by Baron Menno van Coehoorn; this mortar fired an exploding shell. This innovation was taken up, necessitating a new form of naval ship, the bomb vessel. Mortars played a significant role in the Venetian conquest of Morea and in the course of this campaign an ammunition store in the Parthenon was blown up. An early use of these more mobile mortars as field weapons was by British forces in the suppression of the Jacobite rising of 1719 at the Battle of Glen Shiel. High angle trajectory mortars held a great advantage over standard field guns in the rough terrain of the West Highlands of Scotland; the mortar had fallen out of general use in Europe by the Napoleonic era and interest in the weapon was not revived until the beginning of the 20th century.
Mortars were used by both sides during the American Civil War. At the Siege of Vicksburg, General US Grant reported making coehorn mortars "by taking logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six- or twelve-pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands; these answered as Coehorns, shells were thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy". During the Russo-Japanese War, Lieutenant-General Leonid Gobyato of the Imperial Russian Army applied the principles of indirect fire from closed firing positions in the field and, with the collaboration of General Roman Kondratenko, he designed the first mortar that fired navy shells; the German Army studied the Siege of Port Arthur, where heavy artillery had been unable to destroy defensive structures like barbed wire and bunkers. As a result, they developed. Used during World War I, they were made in three sizes. World War I saw the introduction of the Stokes mortar, it was the forerunner of all modern mortars in use today.
These modern weapons are light, easy to operate, yet possess enough accuracy and firepower to provide infantry with quality close fire support against soft and hard targets more than any other means. It was not until the Stokes Mortar was devised by Sir Wilfred Stokes in 1915 during the First World War that the modern mortar transportable by one person was born. In the conditions of trench warfare, there was a great need for a versatile and portable weapon that could be manned by troops undercover in the trenches. Stokes's design was rejected in June 1915 because it was unable to use existing stocks of British mortar ammunition, it took the intervention of David Lloyd George and Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Matheson of the Trench Warfare Supply Department to expedite manufacture of the Stokes mortar; the weapon proved to be useful in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, as a mortar round could be aimed to fall directly into trenches, where artillery shells, due to their low angle of flight, could not go.
The Stokes mortar was a simple muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smoothbore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount. When a mortar bomb was dropped into the tube, an impact sensitive primer in the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube, detonate, firing the bomb towards the target, it could fire as many as 25 bombs per minute and had a maximum range of 800 yards firing the original cylindrical unstabilised projectile. A modified version of the mortar, which fired a modern fin-stabilised streamlined projectile and had a booster charge for longer range, was developed after World War I. By World War II, it could fire as many as 30 bombs per minute, had a range of over 2,500 yards with some shell types; the French developed an improved version of the Stokes mortar as the Brandt Mle 27, further refined as the Brandt Mle 31. These weapons were the prototypes for all subsequent light mortar developments around the world. Mortar carriers are vehicles.
Numerous vehicles have been used to mount morta
The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an