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Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 11: World War II: The US Navy in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic, 1941-1945.

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Presentation on theme: "Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 11: World War II: The US Navy in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic, 1941-1945."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 11: World War II: The US Navy in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic, 1941-1945

2 Learning Objectives Comprehend the internal political situation in the U.S. during the period before December 7, 1941 relative to American involvement in overseas problems. Know that Germany was the greatest threat to European and North American security. Know U.S. attempts to remain neutral prior to 1941. Comprehend the absolute priority given to keeping the sea lanes to Britain open. Know the relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill in the establishment of the United Nations and the broad concepts of Allied strategy.

3 Learning Objectives (cont) Comprehend the confrontation between German U-boat strategy versus Allied convoy Antisubmarine (ASW) strategy in the Atlantic. Know German surface raider effectiveness. Comprehend the differences between British “War of Attrition” versus American plans for a direct confrontation with Germany. Comprehend how Allied amphibious landings assisted in ending the war in Europe.

4 Germany’s Invasion of Europe Sept 1939, Germany invades Poland. England and France declare war on Germany 1939-1940 brings inconclusive results on the western front Britain moves to blockade Germany Germany begins commerce raiding with U-boats and surface raiders

5 1 Sep 1939: Germany Invades Poland


7 Germany’s Invasion of Europe Germany invades Norway, April 1940 - Action designed to keep Britain from tightening blockade by mining northern approaches May 1940 Germans launch attack on “low countries” and France – Outflank the Maginot line – France falls June 1940 Britain withdraws troops from Europe

8 Strategy adopted from the outset Recognizes the importance of keeping the lines of communications open with the U.S. Dönitz organizes U-boats to hunt in “Wolfpacks” to prey on convoys. Was very effective when based out of France and Normandy. U-Boat sinkings climax in fall of 1940. British Convoy Strategy

9 17 Sep 1939: U-29 sinks carrier HMS Courageous; U-47 sinks Royal Oak.

10 HMS Courageous

11 HMS Courageous sinking

12 Hitler giving awards for sinking of HMS Courageous

13 HMS Royal Oak



16 Enlisting American Help British acquire more escorts and the ability to break the German Ultra Code The U.S. drifts into undeclared war with Germany; attempts to maintain neutrality, 1939-1941 – FDR an internationalist/ interventionist – Congress influenced by isolationist and “America First” propaganda. – FDR runs for third term under isolationist platform. Later passes the first peacetime draft. – FDR knows a German victory would threaten US security because it would destroy British sea power which was thought to be the “Shield of the Republic.”

17 Enlisting American Help US sends “Neutrality Patrols” to help British ASW. “All aid to Britain short of war” includes “destroyer- bases deal” and “Lend- Lease” program. FDR concedes this is not Wilson’s neutrality in thought and deed.

18 U.S. Enters War U.S. officially enters war after attack on Pearl Harbor Germany U-boat offensive moves to the U.S. East Coast As the Convoy Strategy becomes more effective, Doenitz moved his U-boats south (“tonnage strategy”) Doenitz shifts U-boats back to North Atlantic in 1942. U.S. counteracts with escort carriers and HF/DF locations of Wolfpack Doenitz forced into Central Atlantic as allies strengthened convoys and developed ASW tactics. Hunter- Killer groups run out of U-boats to sink

19 Germany’s Surface Fleet Germany used surface raiders with moderate success. No large surface battles in Atlantic, as German surface fleets had a hard time breaking out into the Atlantic.

20 Competing Allied Strategies. British preferred a peripheral strategy – War of Attrition North Africa Egypt Sicily U.S. preferred direct attack on Germany through western France – Operation Roundup

21 US went with Brits Allowed U.S. to pursue Pacific War Drew German resources off the Western Front, weakening them for an eventual cross channel invasion Allies checked German advances in Egypt; stalemated on Russian front; attacked Italy beginning in July 1943

22 Competing Allied Strategies Sequence for pursuing peripheral strategy in the Mediterranean – Operation Torch – Operation Husky

23 Operation Torch General Dwight D. Eisenhower Western Naval Task Force – Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt – Major General George S. Patton D-Day 8 November 1942 Target is Casablanca

24 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily Same General Officers as “Torch” More sophisticated amphibious landing – LSTs, LCTs, LCIs Night landing Mussolini falls from power

25 Competing Allied Strategies Allies spend next year building up in England for cross channel invasion Normandy Overlord – invasion (June 1944) Southern France Dragoon – (August 1944) succeed in pushing Germans back into its borders. Spring 1945: War ends in Europe.

26 Discussion Next time: World War II: The US Navy in the Pacific, 1941-1945

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