Defense of Brest Fortress
The defence of Brest Fortress was the first major battle of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union launched on 22 June 1941. The battle took place from 22 to 29 June 1941; the defenders had received no warning of the attack, the German Heer expected to take Brest on the first day using only infantry and artillery. The defence of the fortress by the Red Army lasted for several days; the area around the nineteenth-century Brest Fortress was the site of the 1939 Battle of Brześć Litewski, when German forces captured it from Poland during the Polish September Campaign. According to the terms of the 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact the territory around Brest as well as 52 percent of Poland was assigned to the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1941, the Germans had to capture the fortress from the Soviets; the Germans planned to seize Brest and the Brest Fortress, in the path of Army Group Centre, during the first day of Operation Barbarossa. The fortress and the city controlled the crossings over the Bug River, as well as the Warsaw–Moscow railway and highway.
The Brest garrison comprised 9,000 Soviet soldiers, including regular soldiers, border guards and NKVD operatives. The Red Army soldiers belonged to elements of the 6th and 42nd Rifle Divisions, under Colonel Mikhail Popsuy-Shapko and Major-general Ivan Lazarenko the 17th Frontier Guards Detachment of the NKVD Border Troops and various smaller units inside the fortress. There were 300 families of the servicemen inside the fortress as well; the Austrian 45th Infantry Division had the task to take the fortress during the first day. For the first five minutes of the shelling it was supported by parts of the artillery of the 31st and 34th Infantry Divisions; the 45th Division had neither aircraft nor tanks at its disposal but was supported on 22 June by a battery of assault guns from 34th Division and on June 29, by some Ju 88 bombers that dropped 23 bombs. The fortress had no warning when the Axis invasion began on 22 June 1941 and it became the site of the first fighting between Soviet forces and the Wehrmacht.
The attack started with a 29-minute bombardment by Nebelwerfer. Many of the Soviet survivors of the fighting wrote after the war that the fortress was bombed by German aircraft. Due to the simultaneous artillery fire, tank support against the fortress made this not possible. Only two air raids took place on June 29, 1941 but only the East Fort on the northern island of the fortress was bombed by the Luftwaffe; the initial artillery fire took the fortress by surprise, inflicting heavy material and personnel casualties. The first German assault groups crossed the Bug river four minutes after the bombardment had started; some Soviet troops managed to escape the fortress but most were trapped inside by the encircling German forces. Despite having the advantage of surprise, the attempt by the Germans to take the fortress with infantry stalled with high losses: about 281 Wehrmacht soldiers died the first day in the fighting for the fortress. Fighting continued two more days. In the evening of June 24, 1941, some 368 Germans has been killed and 4,000–5,000 Red Army soldiers in captivity.
On June 25 and June 26, 1941, local fighting continued in the citadel. In the evening of June 26, 1941, most of the northern Kobrin fortification, except the East Fort, was captured. Of the fighting around East Fort, the commander of the 45th Infantry Division, Generalmajor Fritz Schlieper, wrote to Oberkommando der Wehrmacht It was impossible to advance here with only infantry at our disposal because the highly-organised rifle and machine-gun fire from the deep gun emplacements and horse-shoe-shaped yard cut down anyone who approached. There was only one solution - to force the Soviets to capitulate through thirst. We were ready to use any means available to exhaust them... Our offers to give themselves up were unsuccessful... Although the Soviet soldiers in the opening hours of the battle were stunned by the surprise attack, short of supplies and cut off from the outside world, many of them held out much longer than the Germans expected; the Germans used artillery, rocket mortars 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 and flame throwers.
The civilians inside the fortress tended the wounded, reloaded the machine-gun drums and belts and took up rifles to help defend the fortress. Children brought ammunition and food supplies from half-destroyed supply depots, scavenged weapons and watched enemy movements. Schlieper wrote in his detailed report that...the 81st Combat Engineer Battalion was given the task of blowing up a building on the Central Island... in order to put an end to the Russian flanking fire on the North Island. Explosives were lowered from the roof of the building towards the windows the fuses were lit; when they exploded, we could hear the Soviet soldiers screaming and groaning, but they continued to fight. Chaplain Rudolf Gschöpf wrote, We only managed to take one defensive position after another as a result of stubborn fighting; the garrison of the so-called "Officers' House" on the Central Island only ceased to exist with the building itself... The resistance continued until the walls of the building were destroyed and razed to the ground by more powerful explosions.
On 24 June, with Germans having t
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories. In the two years leading up to the invasion and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes; the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations.
The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back; the Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front; the failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history.
The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, highest World War II casualties, all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive; the Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians. Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust; as early as 1925, Adolf Hitler vaguely declared in his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed to secure Lebensraum to ensure the survival of Germany for generations to come. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his army commanders that the next war would be "purely a war of Weltanschauungen... a people's war, a racial war".
On 23 November, once World War II had started, Hitler declared that "racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, with it, the world". The racial policy of Nazi Germany portrayed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by Jewish Bolshevik conspirators. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germany's destiny was to "turn to the East" as it did "six hundred years ago". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost; the Germans' belief in their ethnic superiority is evident in official German records and discernible in pseudoscientific articles in German periodicals at the time, which covered topics such as "how to deal with alien populations". While older histories tended to emphasize the notion of a "Clean Wehrmacht", the historian Jürgen Förster notes that "In fact, the military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of the conflict, involved in its implementation as willing participants."
Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic ideology via movies, lectures and leaflets. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the "Mongolian race" threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood", the "Red beast". Nazi propaganda portrayed the war against the Soviet Union as both an ideological war between German National Socialism and Jewish Bolshevism and a racial war between the Germans and the Jewish and Slavic Untermenschen. An'order from the Führer' stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet functionaries who were "less valuable Asiatics and Jews". Six months into the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered in excess of 500,000 Soviet Jews, a figure greater than the number of Red Army soldiers killed in combat during that same time frame.
German army command
A training ship is a ship used to train students as sailors. The term is used for ships employed by navies to train future officers. There are two types: those used for training at sea and old hulks used to house classrooms; the hands-on aspect provided by sail training has been used as a platform for everything from semesters at sea for undergraduate oceanography and biology students, marine science and physical science for high school students, character building for at-risk youths. In the Sea Cadet Corps all Units use a ship prefix "T. S.", followed by the ship's proper name. For example, the Fishguard Sea Cadets' ship's name is T. S. Skirmisher; the T. S. prefix is used as the Sea Cadets is not part of the Royal Navy, cannot be prefixed "HMS". Ganges Defiance Arethusa Bristol Clio Conway Cornwall Exmouth Excellent Foudroyant Indefatigable Lion including adjacent Implacable Mars Mercury TS Mercury Mount Edgcumbe Northampton Southampton Warspite Warspite Worcester Wellesley St Vincent Argentine Navy ARA Presidente Sarmiento ARA Libertad Brazilian Navy Cisne Branco of the Brazilian Navy Bulgarian Navy Kaliakra of the Bulgarian Navy Canadian Navy HMCS Oriole of the Royal Canadian Navy China's People's Liberation Army Navy Zheng He Brave the Wave-class Colombian Navy ARC Gloria of the Colombian Navy Finnish Navy Suomen Joutsen of the Finnish Navy Germany The first Gorch Fock of Germany's Kriegsmarine The second Gorch Fock of Germany's Bundesmarine Indian Navy INS Tir of the Indian Navy Indonesian Navy KRI Dewaruci, navy tall sail ship id:KRI Ki Hajar Dewantara, Yugoslavian made frigate for training purpose.
Italian Navy Amerigo Vespucci of the Italian Navy Palinuro of the Italian Navy Japan JDS Kashima of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Mexican Navy ARM Cuauhtémoc of the Mexican Navy Royal Dutch Navy Hrms. van Kingsbergen of the Royal Netherlands Navy of the Royal Netherlands Navy New Zealand Navy HMNZS Philomel of the Royal New Zealand Navy Peruvian Navy BAP Unión of the Peruvian Navy Polish Navy ORP Iskra of the Polish Navy Portuguese Navy The second NRP Sagres The third NRP Sagres Romanian Navy Mircea of the Romanian Navy Spanish Navy Nautilus Galatea Juan Sebastián Elcano Sri Lankan Navy SLNS Gajabahu of the Sri Lankan Navy United States of America USCGC Eagle of the United States Coast Guard USS Sable and USS Wolverine of the United States Navy, the only examples of dedicated training aircraft carriers, which were used for training naval aviators and landing signal officers rather than sailors Uruguayan Navy ROU Capitán Miranda of the Uruguayan Navy Venezuelan Navy ARBV Simón Bolívar of the Venezuelan Navy Christian Radich of Oslo, Norway Herzogin Cecilie Germany Belem France Kruzenshtern of Kaliningrad, Russia Khersones Ukrainia Kraljica Mora Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Infrastructure of Croatia Pamir, sunk 1957, Germany Passat, decommissioned 1957, Germany Mir of St.
Petersburg, Russia STS Sedov of Murmansk, Russia Sørlandet of Kristiansand SS John W. Brown of New York, New York Board of Education SS Twin Falls Victory as the SS John W. Brown II of New York, New York Board of Education Statsraad Lemkuhl of Bergen, Norway Worcester Danmark of Copenhagen, Denmark T. S. Dolphin Leith of Scotland T. S. Dufferin of Bombay, India T. S. Rajendra of Bombay, India T. S. Chanakya of Navi Mumbai, India T/S Kapitan Felix Oca of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific TS General Rudder of the Texas Maritime Academy TS Empire State VI of the SUNY Maritime College TS Golden Bear of the California Maritime Academy TS Kennedy of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy TS State of Maine of the Maine Maritime Academy TS State of Michigan of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy T/V Kings Pointer of the United States Merchant Marine Academy T/V Liberator of the United States Merchant Marine Academy Argo Atyla International Training Ship BAP Unión Californian Dar Młodzieży Irving and Exy Johnson INS Tarangini INS Sudarshini INS Varuna Kaiwo Maru Kruzenshtern Nippon Maru Ocean Star Pacific Swift Tall Ship Pelican Picton Castle Pilgrim TS Royalist Stavros S Niarchos SV Tenacious Tole Mour Lady Washington Christian Radich PRS James Randolph, an interplanetary spacecraft parked in Earth orbit in Robert A. Heinlein's novel, Space Cadet USS Republic, a starship referred to in Star Trek Betty Jeanne, in the novel Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell Stone frigate Media related to Training ships at Wikimedia Commons
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller powerful short-range attackers. They were developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" were "large and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been shortened to "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War. Before World War II destroyers were light vessels with little endurance for unattended ocean operations. After the war, the advent of the guided missile allowed destroyers to take on the surface combatant roles filled by battleships and cruisers; this resulted in larger and more powerful guided missile destroyers more capable of independent operation.
At the start of the 21st century, destroyers are the global standard for surface combatant ships, with only two nations operating the heavier class cruisers, with no battleships or true battlecruisers remaining. Modern guided missile destroyers are equivalent in tonnage but vastly superior in firepower to cruisers of the World War II era, are capable of carrying nuclear tipped cruise missiles. At 510 feet long, a displacement of 9,200 tons, with armament of more than 90 missiles, guided missile destroyers such as the Arleigh Burke-class are larger and more armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers; some European navies, such as the French, Spanish, or German, use the term "frigate" for their destroyers, which leads to some confusion. The emergence and development of the destroyer was related to the invention of the self-propelled torpedo in the 1860s. A navy now had the potential to destroy a superior enemy battle fleet using steam launches to fire torpedoes. Cheap, fast boats armed with torpedoes called torpedo boats were built and became a threat to large capital ships near enemy coasts.
The first seagoing vessel designed to launch the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo was the 33-ton HMS Lightning in 1876. She was armed with two drop collars to launch these weapons, these were replaced in 1879 by a single torpedo tube in the bow. By the 1880s, the type had evolved into small ships of 50–100 tons, fast enough to evade enemy picket boats. At first, the threat of a torpedo boat attack to a battle fleet was considered to exist only when at anchor. In response to this new threat, more gunned picket boats called "catchers" were built which were used to escort the battle fleet at sea, they needed significant seaworthiness and endurance to operate with the battle fleet, as they became larger, they became designated "torpedo boat destroyers", by the First World War were known as "destroyers" in English. The anti-torpedo boat origin of this type of ship is retained in its name in other languages, including French, Portuguese, Greek, Dutch and, up until the Second World War, Polish. Once destroyers became more than just catchers guarding an anchorage, it was realized that they were ideal to take over the role of torpedo boats themselves, so they were fitted with torpedo tubes as well as guns.
At that time, into World War I, the only function of destroyers was to protect their own battle fleet from enemy torpedo attacks and to make such attacks on the battleships of the enemy. The task of escorting merchant convoys was still in the future. An important development came with the construction of HMS Swift in 1884 redesignated TB 81; this was a large torpedo boat with three torpedo tubes. At 23.75 knots, while still not fast enough to engage enemy torpedo boats reliably, the ship at least had the armament to deal with them. Another forerunner of the torpedo boat destroyer was the Japanese torpedo boat Kotaka, built in 1885. Designed to Japanese specifications and ordered from the Glasgow Yarrow shipyards in 1885, she was transported in parts to Japan, where she was assembled and launched in 1887; the 165-foot long vessel was armed with four 1-pounder quick-firing guns and six torpedo tubes, reached 19 knots, at 203 tons, was the largest torpedo boat built to date. In her trials in 1889, Kotaka demonstrated that she could exceed the role of coastal defense, was capable of accompanying larger warships on the high seas.
The Yarrow shipyards, builder of the parts for Kotaka, "considered Japan to have invented the destroyer". The first vessel designed for the explicit purpose of hunting and destroying torpedo boats was the torpedo gunboat. Small cruisers, torpedo gunboats were equipped with torpedo tubes and an adequate gun armament, intended for hunting down smaller enemy boats. By the end of the 1890s torpedo gunboats were made obsolete by their more successful contemporaries, the torpedo boat destroyers, which were much faster; the first example of this was HMS Rattlesnake, designed by Nathaniel Barnaby in 1885, commissioned in response to the Russian War scare. The gunboat was armed with torpedoes and designed for hunting and destroying
Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. The'motor' in the formal designation, referring to the use of petrol engines, was to distinguish them from the majority of other naval craft that used steam turbines or reciprocating steam engines; the capitalised term is used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB". During the Second World War, the US Navy boats were called by their hull classification symbol of "PT", are covered under PT boat although the class type were still "motor torpedo boats". German motor torpedo boats of the Second World War were called S-boote by the Kriegsmarine and "E-boats" by the Allies. Italian MTBs of this period were known as Motoscafo Armato Silurante. French MTBs were known as vedettes lance torpilles. Soviet MTBs were known as торпедные катеры. Romanian MTBs were known as vedete torpiloare. After the end of the War in 1945, a number of the Royal Navy's MTBs were stripped and the empty hulls sold for use as houseboats.
MTBs were designed for high speed, operating at night, low speed ambush and manoeuvrability on the water. With no significant armour, the boats relied upon surprise and their agility at high speed to avoid being hit by gunfire from bigger ships; the British and Italian navies started developing such vessels in the early 20th century, shortly before the beginning of the First World War. Italian MAS boats were comparatively small, at 20-30 tons displacement. MAS 15 was the only motor torpedo boat in history to sink a battleship, the Austro-Hungarian vessel Szent István in 1918. British torpedo boats of the First World War were small at only around 15 tons and were known as Coastal Motor Boats. In the Second World War, British MTBs were operated by Coastal Forces. A similar size boat with a different role in the Second World War was the BPB 63 ft High Speed Launch used by the RAF; the last MTBs in the Royal Navy were the two Brave-class fast patrol boats of 1958 which were capable of 50 knots. Many boats designated MTBs.
A variety of designs were built. For instance, a 55 ft type, capable of 40 kn, was shown in 1930; the Vosper private boat was designed by Commander Peter Du Cane CBE, the managing director of Vosper Ltd, in 1936. She was completed and launched in 1937, she was bought by the Admiralty and taken into service with the Royal Navy as MTB 102. Length: 68 ft Beam: 19 ft 9 in Draft: 3 ft 9 in, Powerplant: 3 Isotta Fraschini 57-litre petrol engines Power: 3,300 hp Speed: 48 kn, 43 kn Crew: 2 officers, 10 men. Armament: Two 21 in torpedo tubes MTB 102 was the fastest wartime British naval vessel in service, she was at Dunkirk for the evacuation and carried Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower when they reviewed the fleet before the Invasion of Normandy. They were based on the British Power Boat rescue craft and were designed for the Royal Air Force but reduced to 60 ft in length, they could achieve a maximum speed of 33 kn. The Royal Navy ordered their first in 1936; these entered service as MTB numbers 1 to 12 and 14 to 19.
In the early days of the war, they were painted with different numbers and photos distributed to the press to give the impression the Royal Navy had more than they did. One photo was sent to the American monthly Popular Science showing the number twenty-three. Although various boat lengths were produced by Vosper for the Royal Navy, the "70 ft" boat was produced from 1940; the design was produced with modifications as MTBs 31-40, 57-66, 73-98, 222-245, 347-362, 380-395 and 523-537. Using three Packard V1-12 marine engines, they were capable of around 37 kn. Early models carried two 21-inch torpedo tubes, two 0.50 in machine guns and two 0.303 in machine guns. They could carry four depth charges. Between 1943 and 1945, two Vosper designs appeared, the "Vosper Type I 73ft" and the Type II. Length: 73 ft Engine: 3 Packard 12M engines for a total of 4,200 hp Speed: 40 knots Range: 470 nmi at 20 knots Displacement: 47 t Armament: Four 18-inch torpedo tubes Oerlikon 20 mm cannon Two 0.303 in Vickers K machine guns Crew: 13 This design remained in use after the war.
Length 73 ft Engine 4,200 hp Speed 40 knots Range 480 nmi at 20 knots Displacement 49 t Armament Two 18-inch torpedoes QF 6 pdr Mark IIA 20mm Oerlikon Two 0.303 Vickers MG Crew 13 These boats were used by the Royal Canadian Navy 29th MTB Flotilla. Designed as Motor Gun Boats carrying a 6-pounder to engage enemy small craft, they were re-designated Motor Torpedo Boats. Scott-Paine Type G 70 foot boat. Manufacturer: British Power Boats, Hythe Displacement: 55 tons Overall length: 72 ft 6 inches Breadth: 20 ft 7 inches Draught: 5 ft 8 inches Maximum speed: 38–41 kn Armament: auto-loading QF 6-pounder gun Two 21-inch torpedo tubes.303 or.50 Vickers machine guns 20mm Oerlikon or 40 mm Bofors gun Powerplant - three Rolls-Royce or Packard 14M supercharged V-1
Battle of Kiev (1941)
The First Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. This encirclement is considered the largest encirclement in the history of warfare; the operation ran from 7 August to 26 September 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In Soviet military history, it is referred to as the Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation, with somewhat different dating of 7 July – 26 September 1941. Much of the Southwestern Front of the Red Army was encircled but small groups of Red Army troops managed to escape the pocket, days after the German panzers met east of the city, including the headquarters of Marshal Semyon Budyonny, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko and Commissar Nikita Khrushchev. Kirponos was killed while trying to break out; the battle was an unprecedented defeat for the Red Army, exceeding the Battle of Białystok–Minsk of June–July 1941. The encirclement trapped 452,700 soldiers, 2,642 guns and mortars and 64 tanks, of which scarcely 15,000 escaped from the encirclement by 2 October.
The Southwestern Front suffered 700,544 casualties, including 616,304 killed, captured or missing during the battle. The 5th, 37th, 26th, 21st and the 38th armies, consisting of 43 divisions, were annihilated and the 40th Army suffered many losses. Like the Western Front before it, the Southwestern Front had to be recreated from scratch. After the rapid progress of Army Group Centre through the central sector of the Eastern front, a huge salient developed around its junction with Army Group South by late July 1941. On 7-8 July 1941 the German forces managed to breakthrough the fortified Stalin Line in the southeast portion of Zhytomyr Oblast, which ran along the 1939 Soviet border. By 11 July 1941 the Axis ground forces reached the Dnieper tributary Irpin River; the initial attempt to enter the city right away was thwarted by troops of the Kiev ukrep-raion and counter offensive of 5th and 6th armies. Following that the advance on Kiev was halted and main effort shifted towards the Korosten ukrep-raion where was concentrated the Soviet 5th Army.
At the same time the 1st Panzer Army was forced to transition to defense due to counteroffensive of the Soviet 26th Army. A substantial Soviet force, nearly the entire Southwestern Front, positioned in and around Kiev was located in the salient. By end of July the Soviet front lost some of its units due to critical situation of the Southern Front caused by the German 17th army. While lacking mobility and armor due to high losses in tanks at the Battle of Uman on 3 August 1941, they nonetheless posed a significant threat to the German advance and were the largest single concentration of Soviet troops on the Eastern Front at that time. Both Soviet 6th and 12th armies were encircled at Uman where some 102,000 Red Army soldiers and officers were taken prisoners. On 30 July 1941, the German forces resumed their advance onto Kiev with the German 6th army attacking positions between the Soviet 26th army and the Kiev ukrep-raion troops. On 7 August 1941 it was halted again by the Soviet 5th, 37th, 26th and supported by the Pinsk Naval Flotilla.
With a help of local population around the city of Kiev along the 45 km frontline segment were dug anti-tanks ditches and installed other obstacles, established 750 pillboxes, planted 100,000 of mines. Some 35,000 soldiers were mobilized from local population along with some partisan detachments and couple of armored trains. On 19 July Hitler issued Directive No. 33 which would cancel the assault on Moscow in favor of driving south to complete the encirclement of Soviet forces surrounded in Kiev. However, on 12 August 1941, Supplement to Directive No. 34 was issued, it represented a compromise between Hitler, convinced the correct strategy was to clear the salient occupied by Soviet forces on right flank of Army Group Center in the vicinity of Kiev before resuming the drive to Moscow, Halder and Guderian, who advocated an advance on Moscow as soon as possible. The compromise required 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups of Army Group Centre, which were redeploying in order to aid Army Group North and Army Group South be returned to Army Group Centre, together with the 4th Panzer Group of Army Group North, once their objectives were achieved.
The three Panzer Groups, under the control of Army Group Center, would lead the advance on Moscow. Halder, chief of staff of the OKH, Bock, commander of Army Group Center, were satisfied by the compromise, but soon their optimism faded as the operational realities of the plan proved too challenging. On 18 August, OKH submitted a strategic survey to Hitler regarding the continuation of operations in the East; the paper made the case for the drive to Moscow, arguing once again that Army Groups North and South were strong enough to accomplish their objectives without any assistance from Army Group Center. It pointed out that there was enough time left before winter to conduct only a single decisive operation against Moscow. On 20 August, Hitler rejected the proposal based on the idea that the most important objective was to deprive the Soviets of their industrial areas. On 21 August Jodl of OKW issued a directive, which summarized Hitler's instructions, to Brauchitsch commander of the Army; the paper reiterated that the capture of Moscow before the onset of winter was not a primary objective.
Rather, that the most important missions before the onset of winter were to seize the Crimea, the industrial and coal region of the Don.