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
A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines. Submarines are small compared to most oceangoing vessels, do not have the ability to carry large amounts of food, fuel and other supplies, nor to carry a full array of maintenance equipment and personnel; the tender carries all these, either meets submarines at sea to replenish them or provides these services while docked at a port near the area where the submarines are operating. In some navies, the tenders were equipped with workshops for maintenance, as floating dormitories with relief crews. With the increased size and automation of modern submarines, plus in some navies the introduction of nuclear power, tenders are no longer as necessary for fuel as they once were. Unable to operate a significant number of conventional surface tenders during World War II, Germany's Kriegsmarine used Type XIV submarines for replenishment at sea; the Russian Navy decommissioned all its Don and Ugra-class tenders inherited from the Soviet Navy by 2001.
The last remaining ship of this class was INS Amba sold to the Indian Navy in 1968 for use with their fleet of Foxtrot-class submarines. She was decommissioned in July 2006. In the Royal Navy, the term used for a submarine tender is "submarine depot ship", for example HMS Medway and HMS Maidstone, the term used in the Chilean Navy is "submarine mother ship", as for example the BMS Almirante Merino. In the United States Navy, submarine tenders are considered auxiliaries, with hull classification symbol "AS"; as of 2017, the Navy maintains two such tenders, USS Emory S. Land and USS Frank Cable. See main article: List of US Navy submarine tendersList of Royal Navy submarine tenders Media related to Submarine tenders at Wikimedia Commons
1st Air Fleet (Imperial Japanese Navy)
The 1st Air Fleet known as the Kidō Butai, was a name used for a combined carrier battle group comprising most of the aircraft carriers and carrier air groups of the Imperial Japanese Navy, during the first eight months of the Pacific War. At the time of its best-known operation, the attack on Pearl Harbor, in December 1941, the 1st Air Fleet was the world's largest fleet of aircraft carriers. In its second generation, 1st Air Fleet was a land-based fleet of "kichi kōkūtai". In 1912, the British Royal Navy had established the Royal Naval Air Service; the IJN was modeled on the Royal Navy and the IJN Admiralty sought establishment of their own Naval Air Service. The IJN had observed technical developments in other countries and saw military potential of the airplane. In 1913, the IJN seaplane carrier Wakamiya was converted into a seaplane tender and aircraft were purchased; the 1st and 2nd Air Fleet were to be the primary attack force of the IJNAS. The Japanese carriers' experiences off China had helped further develop the IJN's carrier doctrine.
One lesson learned in China was the importance of concentration and mass in projecting naval air power ashore. Therefore, in April 1941 the IJN formed the First Air Fleet to combine all of its fleet carriers under a single command; the IJN centered its doctrine on air strikes that combined the air groups within carrier divisions, rather than each individual carrier. When more than one carrier division was operating together, the divisions' air groups were combined with each other; this doctrine of combined, carrier air attack groups was the most advanced of its kind of all the world's navies. The IJN, remained concerned that concentrating all of its carriers together would render them vulnerable to being wiped out all at once by a massive enemy air or surface strike. Thus, the IJN developed a compromise solution in which the fleet carriers would operate together within their carrier divisions but the divisions themselves would operate in loose rectangular formations, with 7,000 metres separating the carriers from each other.
Although the concentration of so many fleet carriers into a single unit was a new and revolutionary offensive strategic concept, the First Air Fleet suffered from several defensive deficiencies which gave it, in Mark Peattie's words, a "'glass jaw': it could throw a punch but couldn't take one." Japanese carrier anti-aircraft guns and associated fire control systems had several design and configuration deficiencies which limited their effectiveness. The IJN's fleet combat air patrol consisted of too few fighter aircraft and was hampered by an inadequate early warning system, including a lack of radar. Poor radio communications with the fighter aircraft inhibited effective command and control of the CAP; the carriers' escorting warships were deployed as visual scouts in a ring at long range, not as close anti-aircraft escorts, as they lacked training and sufficient anti-aircraft guns. These deficiencies would doom Kaga and other First Air Fleet carriers; the First Air Fleet was a major component of the Combined Fleet.
When created on 10 April 1941, it had three kōkū sentai: On that date, First Kōkū Sentai consisted of Akagi and Kaga and their aircraft units. That spring, a number of destroyers were added. On 10 April 1941, Second Kōkū Sentai comprised Hiryū and the 23rd Kuchikutai. Fourth Kōkū Sentai consisted of light carrier Ryūjō and her aircraft unit, until two destroyers were added in August. See the table titled "Transition", below; when formed on 10 April 1941, First Air Fleet was a naval battlegroup with the single most powerful concentration of carrier-based aircraft in the world at the time. Military historian Gordon Prange called it "a revolutionary and formidable instrument of sea power."Fifth Kōkū Sentai was created on 1 September 1941 and was added to First Air Fleet. When the new aircraft carrier Zuikaku was added to Fifth Kōkū Sentai, First Air Fleet consisted of Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Ryūjō, Kasuga Maru, Shōkaku and Zuikaku, along with their aircraft units and a number of destroyers. On 25 September 1941, Kasuga Maru was transferred from Fifth Kōkū Sentai to Fourth Kōkū Sentai.
Light carrier Shōhō was added to Fourth Kōkū Sentai on 22 December 1941. She was destroyed on 7 May 1942 in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū were lost in the Battle of Midway; each kōkū sentai of First Air Fleet tended to include a pair of aircraft carriers, each included the respective hikōkitai/hikōtai of each aircraft carrier. Each kōkū sentai of First Air Fleet was a tactical unit that could be deployed separately or combined with other kōkū sentai of First Air Fleet, depending on the mission. For example, for operations against New Britain and New Guinea in January 1942, First Kōkū Sentai and Fifth Kōkū Sentai participated; the number and type of aircraft varied, based on the capacity of th
A gunboat is a naval watercraft designed for the express purpose of carrying one or more guns to bombard coastal targets, as opposed to those military craft designed for naval warfare, or for ferrying troops or supplies. In the age of sail, a gunboat was a small undecked vessel carrying a single smoothbore cannon in the bow, or just two or three such cannons. A gunboat could carry one or two masts or be oar-powered only, but the single-masted version of about 15 m length was most typical; some types of gunboat else mounted a number of swivel guns on the railings. The small gunboat had advantages: if it only carried a single cannon, the boat could manoeuvre in shallow or restricted areas – such as rivers or lakes – where larger ships could sail only with difficulty; the gun that such boats carried could be quite heavy. As such boats were cheap and quick to build, naval forces favoured swarm tactics: while a single hit from a frigate's broadside would destroy a gunboat, a frigate facing a large squadron of gunboats could suffer serious damage before it could manage to sink them all.
For example: in the Battle of Alvøen during the Gunboat War of 1807–1814, five Dano-Norwegian gunboats defeated the lone frigate HMS Tartar. Gunboats used in the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain during the American Revolutionary War were built on the spot, attesting to the speed of their construction. All navies of the sailing era kept a number of gunboats on hand. Gunboats saw extensive use in the Baltic Sea during the late 18th century as they were well-suited for the extensive coastal skerries and archipelagoes of Sweden and Russia; the rivalry between Sweden and Russia in particular led to an intense expansion of gunboat fleets and the development of new gunboat types. The two countries clashed during the Russo-Swedish war of 1788–90, a conflict that culminated in the massive Battle of Svensksund in 1790, in which over 30,000 men and hundreds of gunboats and other oared craft took part; the majority of these were vessels developed from the 1770s and onwards by the naval architect Fredrik Henrik af Chapman for the Swedish archipelago fleet.
The designs and refined by the rival Danish and Russian navies, spread to the Mediterranean and to the Black Sea. Two variants occurred most commonly: a larger 20 m "gun sloop" with two 24-pounders, one in the stern and one in the bow a smaller 15 m "gun yawl" with a single 24-pounderMany of the Baltic navies kept gunboats in service well into the second half of the 19th century. British ships engaged larger 22 m Russian gunboats off Turku in southeast Finland in 1854 during the Crimean War; the Russian vessels had the distinction of being the last oared vessels of war in history to fire their guns in anger. Gunboats played a key role in Napoleon Bonaparte's plan for the invasion of England in 1804. Denmark-Norway used them in the Gunboat War. Between 1803 and 1812 the United States Navy had a policy of basing its navy on coastal gunboats, experimenting with a variety of designs. President Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party opposed a strong navy, regarding gunboats as adequate to defend the United States' major harbors.
They proved useless against the British blockade during the War of 1812. With the introduction of steam power in the early 19th century, the Royal Navy and other navies built considerable numbers of small vessels propelled by side paddles and by screws; these vessels retained full sailing rigs and used steam engines for auxiliary propulsion. The British Royal Navy deployed two wooden paddle-gunboats in the Lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River during the Rebellions of 1837 in Upper and Lower Canada; the United States Navy deployed an iron-hulled paddle gunboat, USS Michigan, to the Great Lakes in 1844. Von der Tann became the first propeller-driven gunboat in the world. Conradi shipyards in Kiel built the steam-powered 120 long tons gunboat in 1849 for the small navy of Schleswig-Holstein. Called "Gunboat No. 1", Von der Tann was the most modern ship in the navy. She participated in the First Schleswig War of 1848–1851. Britain built a large number of wooden screw-gunboats during the 1850s, some of which participated in the Crimean War, Second Opium War and Indian Mutiny.
The requirement for gunboats in the Crimean War was formulated in 1854 to allow the Royal Navy to bombard shore facilities in the Baltic. The first ships the Royal Navy built. In mid-1854 the Royal Navy ordered six Gleaner-class gunboats followed in the year by an order for 20 Dapper-class gunboats. In May 1855 the Royal Navy deployed six Dapper-class gunboats in the Sea of Azov, where they raided and destroyed stores around its coast. In June 1855 the Royal Navy reentered the Baltic with a total of 18 gunboats as part of a larger fleet; the gunboats attacked various coastal facilities, operating alongside larger British warships from which they drew supplies such as coal. Gunboats experienced a revival during the American Civil War. Union and Confederate forces converted existing passenger-carrying boats into armed sidewheel steamers; some purpose-built boats, such as USS Miami, joined the fray. They mounted 12 or more guns, sometimes of rather large caliber, carried some armor. At the same time, Britain's gunboats from the Crimean War period were starting to wear out, so a new series of classes was ordered.
Construction shifted from a purely wooden hull to an iron–teak composite. In the 19th century and early 20th century, "gunboat" w
Japanese battleship Nagato
Nagato, named for Nagato Province, was a super-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Completed in 1920 as the lead ship of her class, she carried supplies for the survivors of the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923; the ship was modernized in 1934–1936 with improvements to her armor and machinery and a rebuilt superstructure in the pagoda mast style. Nagato participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and was the flagship of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto during the attack on Pearl Harbor, she did not participate in the attack itself. Other than participating in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, where she did not see combat, the ship spent most of the first two years of the Pacific War training in home waters, she was transferred to Truk in mid-1943, but did not see any combat until the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-1944 when she was attacked by American aircraft. Nagato did not fire her main armament against enemy vessels until the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October.
She was damaged during the battle and returned to Japan the following month. The IJN was running out of fuel by this time and decided not to repair her. Nagato was assigned to coastal defense duties, she was attacked in July 1945 as part of the American campaign to destroy the IJN's last remaining capital ships, but was only damaged and went on to be the only Japanese battleship to have survived World War II. In mid-1946, the ship was a target for nuclear weapon tests during Operation Crossroads, she was sunk by the second. Nagato had a length of 201.17 meters between 215.8 meters overall. She had a draft of 9.08 meters. The ship displaced 32,720 metric tons at 39,116 metric tons at full load, her crew consisted of 1,333 officers and enlisted men as built and 1,368 in 1935. The crew totaled around 1,734 men in 1944. In 1930, Nagato's bow was remodeled to reduce the amount of spray produced when steaming into a head sea; this increased her overall length by 1.59 meters to 217.39 meters. During her 1934–1936 reconstruction, the ship's stern was lengthened by 7.55 meters to improve her speed and her forward superstructure was rebuilt into a pagoda mast.
She was given torpedo bulges to improve her underwater protection and to compensate for the weight of the additional armor and equipment. These changes increased her overall length to 224.94 m, her beam to 34.6 m and her draft to 9.49 meters. Her displacement increased over 7,000 metric tons to 46,690 metric tons at deep load; the ship's metacentric height at deep load was 2.35 meters. In November 1944, the tops of Nagato's mainmast and funnel were removed to improve the effective arcs of fire for her anti-aircraft guns. Nagato was equipped with four Gihon geared steam turbines; the turbines were designed to produce a total of 80,000 shaft horsepower, using steam provided by 21 Kampon water-tube boilers. The ship could carry 1,600 long tons of coal and 3,400 long tons of fuel oil, giving her a range of 5,500 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots; the ship exceeded her designed speed of 26.5 knots during her sea trials, reaching 26.7 knots at 85,500 shp. Funnel smoke would choke and blind crewmen on the bridge and in the fire-control systems so a "fingernail"-shaped deflector was installed on the fore funnel in 1922 to direct the exhaust away from them.
It was less than effective and the fore funnel was rebuilt in a serpentine shape in an unsuccessful effort during a refit in 1924. That funnel was eliminated during the ship's 1930s reconstruction when all of her boilers were replaced by ten oil-fired Kampon boilers, which had a working pressure of 22 kg/cm2 and temperature of 300 °C. In addition her turbines were replaced by more modern, units; when Nagato conducted her post-reconstruction trials, she reached a speed of 24.98 knots with 82,300 shp. Additional fuel oil was stored in the bottoms of the newly added torpedo bulges, which increased her capacity to 5,560 long tons and thus her range to 8,560 nmi at 16 knots. Nagato's eight 45-caliber 41-centimeter guns were mounted in two pairs of twin-gun, superfiring turrets fore and aft. Numbered one through four from front to rear, the hydraulically powered turrets gave the guns an elevation range of −2 to +35 degrees; the rate of fire for the guns was around two rounds per minute. The turrets aboard the Nagato-class ships were replaced in the mid-1930s with the turrets stored from the unfinished Tosa-class battleships.
While in storage the turrets had been modified to increase their range of elevation to –3 to +43 degrees, which increased the gun's maximum range from 30,200 to 37,900 meters. The ship's secondary armament of twenty 50-caliber 14-centimeter guns was mounted in casemates on the upper sides of the hull and in the superstructure; the manually operated guns had a maximum range of 20,500 metres and fired at a rate of six to 10 rounds per minute. Anti-aircraft defense was provided by four 40-caliber 3rd Year Type three-inch AA guns in single mounts; the 3-inch high-angle guns had a maximum elevation of +75 degrees
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway was a decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II that took place between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea. The United States Navy under Admirals Chester Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, Raymond A. Spruance defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, Nobutake Kondō near Midway Atoll, inflicting devastating damage on the Japanese fleet that proved irreparable. Military historian John Keegan called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare"; the Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped another demoralizing defeat would force the U. S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific.
Luring the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupying Midway was part of an overall "barrier" strategy to extend Japan's defensive perimeter, in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji and Hawaii itself; the plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most American cryptographers were able to determine the date and location of the planned attack, enabling the forewarned U. S. Navy to prepare its own ambush. Four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle; the four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū and Hiryū, part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—were all sunk, as was the heavy cruiser Mikuma. The U. S. lost a destroyer. After Midway and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan's capacity to replace its losses in materiel and men became insufficient to cope with mounting casualties, while the United States' massive industrial and training capabilities made losses far easier to replace.
The Battle of Midway, along with the Guadalcanal Campaign, is considered a turning point in the Pacific War. After expanding the war in the Pacific to include Western outposts, the Japanese Empire had attained its initial strategic goals taking the Philippines, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies; because of this, preliminary planning for a second phase of operations commenced as early as January 1942. There were strategic disagreements between the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy, infighting between the Navy's GHQ and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's Combined Fleet, a follow-up strategy was not formed until April 1942. Admiral Yamamoto succeeded in winning the bureaucratic struggle with a thinly veiled threat to resign, after which his plan for the Central Pacific was adopted. Yamamoto's primary strategic goal was the elimination of America's carrier forces, which he regarded as the principal threat to the overall Pacific campaign; this concern was acutely heightened by the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, in which 16 U.
S. Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell bombers launched from USS Hornet bombed targets in Tokyo and several other Japanese cities; the raid, while militarily insignificant, was a shock to the Japanese and showed the existence of a gap in the defenses around the Japanese home islands as well as the accessibility of Japanese territory to American bombers. This, other successful hit-and-run raids by American carriers in the South Pacific, showed that they were still a threat, although reluctant to be drawn into an all-out battle. Yamamoto reasoned that another air attack on the main U. S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor would induce all of the American fleet to sail out to fight, including the carriers. However, considering the increased strength of American land-based air power on the Hawaiian Islands since the 7 December attack the previous year, he judged that it was now too risky to attack Pearl Harbor directly. Instead, Yamamoto selected Midway, a tiny atoll at the extreme northwest end of the Hawaiian Island chain 1,300 miles from Oahu.
This meant that Midway was outside the effective range of all of the American aircraft stationed on the main Hawaiian islands. Midway was not important in the larger scheme of Japan's intentions, but the Japanese felt the Americans would consider Midway a vital outpost of Pearl Harbor and would therefore be compelled to defend it vigorously; the U. S. did consider Midway vital: after the battle, establishment of a U. S. submarine base on Midway allowed submarines operating from Pearl Harbor to refuel and re-provision, extending their radius of operations by 1,200 miles. In addition to serving as a seaplane base, Midway's airstrips served as a forward staging point for bomber attacks on Wake Island. Typical of Japanese naval planning during World War II, Yamamoto's battle plan for taking Midway was exceedingly complex, it required the careful and timely coordination of multiple battle groups over hundreds of miles of open sea. His design was predicated on optimistic intelligence suggesting that USS Enterprise and USS Hornet, forming Task Force 16, were the only carriers available to the U.
S. Pacific Fleet. During the Battle of the Coral Sea one month earlier, USS Lexington had been sunk and USS Yorktown suffered considerable damage such that the Japanese believed she too had