The War Illustrated No 145 Vol 6 January 8th 1945

THE WAR AT SEA on their country by the Germans there is little doubt and there is every reason to suppose that they would be equally ready to light the Italians, whom they heartily despise. by Francis E. McMurtrie Public a t ion of air photographs of the naval dockyard at Toulon, taken the day after the French fleet was scuttled, has provided the first actual evidence of its State. Some of the ships were still on fire, lind others were obviously semi-submerged. Of the two modern battleships, the Strasbourg was lying alongside a pier, apparently aground, while her sistcr-ship, the Dunkerque, could be seen in dry dock, where she had evidently been placed to enable the under­water damage inflicted by torpedoes at Oran in July 1940 to be repaired. Though some vessels appeared in the photograph to be intact, it is impossible to pc' certain that there is no under-water liamage. Personally, f am of the opinion, lhat there are very few vessels of any fighting At Casablanca are the half-completed battleship Jean Bart, the cruiser Primauguet, one or two destroyers and possibly some submarines, all more lessor damaged. It would be necessary to patch up the Jean Bart and Primauguet to enable them to betaken to a fully equipped dockyard in this country or the United States for complete refit before they would be of the slightest use for fighting purposes. There are several destroyers at Oran and Algiers, aground orin a semi-wrecked state,, together with some smaller craft of little importance, and the submarines Le Glorieux, Casabianca and Marsouin, which escaped from Toulon and are in sound condition. At Dakar arc the cruisers Georges Lcygues, Gloirc and Montcalm, with at least three WORLD’S BIGGEST BATTLE SHIP, U .S.S .New Jersey ,one o f 10 new ships launched in American east coast yards on Dec. 7,1942, the first anniversary o f the attack on Pearl H arbour. Belonging to the Iow a class, she will displace 52,000 tons, full load ,her length is 880 ft., and her main battery will consist o f nine 16-in. guns. value at Toulon that could proceed to sea without more lessor extensive refitting. In answer to an inquiry from an American correspondent, Admiral Darlan has declared very definitely that he hopes all available French warships will now be employed in operations against the Axis Powers. In this hope he categorically included not only ships at Dakar, Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, but also those immobilized at Alexandria, under an agreement made in July, 1940 between Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham and Vice-Admiral Godefroy. 'T'ho ugh they have been laid up in a dcmili- A tarized condition, in charge of nucleus crews, ever since, these ships are believed to be in good condition, though probably their machinery would require some overhauling after the long period during which it has been idle. The ships comprise the old battleship Lorraine, the cruisers Suffren, Duquesne, Tourvillc and Duguay-Trouin, the destroyers Basque, Forbin, and Le Fortune, and the submarine Protee. Photo, Keystone destroyers and some submarines, all presum­ably in a seaworthy state, as well as the disabled battleship Richelieu, which, like her sister-ship Jean Bart, would require to betaken to a dockyard for extensive repair before she could be regarded as serviceable. Leaving out of account the disabled units, there would be available for operations in the near future seven cruisers (assuming the Alexandria ships can be counted), one or perhaps two flotillas of destroyers, and. a flotilla of submarines. For escort purposes the cruisers and destroyers would be most valuable and there is no reason why the submarines should not engage in harrying enemy communications between Italy and Tunisia, as British and Greek submarines have done so successfully in the past. There is, of course, the question of manning these ships, since it is not certain whether full crews of trained Frenchmen could be found for them all. Of the desire of the majority to avenge the indignities inflicted PAGE 456 T then race to replace lost aircraft-carriers A the United States is making rapid strides, and is likely soon to outdistance Japan. Of those with which they started the war, neither combatant has more than three, first- line units remaining in service. There are a number of auxiliary aircraft-carriers in the U.S. Navy of the Long Island and Charger types, but these are not suitable for operating with a .fleet. Similarly the Japanese are rumoured to have improvised some make­shift carriers, to which the same remark would apply. During the second half of 1942 there have been launched from American shipyards three new aircraft-carriers of 25,000 tons, the Essex, Lexington and Bunker Hill, and three of 10,000 tons, the Independence, Princeton and Belleau Wood. The latter trio were laid down as cruisers, but were altered during construction and should not take so long to complete as the bigger ships. When all six arc in service sometime in 1943, they should accelerate the pace of the war in the Pacific. Ten more aircraft-carriers of the 25,000-ton type and possibly as many of the 10,000-ton class are under construction, and some of these should also be delivered during 1943. In the vast Pacific, with its immense distances, a preponderance in first-line carriers should give the United States a tremendous advan­tage, which should hasten Japan's defeat. Even as it is, American torpedo aircraft and dive-bombers from the airfield at Guadal­canal continue to inflict loss and damage on the Japanese Navy. A comparison of casualties over many months reveals clearly that in the air the Americans have decidedly the upper hand. This must have seriously depleted the number of trained Japanese airmen, so that as time goes on the situation in this respect should still further improve. nriiERE was a smart little inaction the A Channel on the night of December 11-12,1942 not far from Dieppe. Light naval forces —an expression comprising anything up to a destroyer—under the command of Lieut.- Commander A. F.A. Talbot, R.N., inter­cepted a westbound enemy convoy of two medium-sized supply vessels with four escorting ships. One of the supply vessels and at least one if not two o f the escorts were sunk. ‘Our casualties were light, and only minor damage was done to our ships. There is nothing novel in this type of encounter, which has been occurring at intervals for many months past. What it does show is that, despite the risk involved, the enemy still find it worthwhile to try to relieve the burden on their overtaxed land transport by sending supplies by sea. British submarines continue to take heavy toll of enemy supply lines to North Africa. Admiralty communiques have detailed various exploits, such as the sinking of an armed merchant cruiser, a tanker and sundry supply ships. On one occasion an Italian railway- train was shelled and half-wrecked on another, lighters trying „to land supplies for Romm el’s retreating forces were sunk inshore. A submarine of the Royal Hellenic Navy participated in one of these exploits. There are no braver or more determined men in the Royal Navy than the personnel of the submarine service. A conspicuous ex­ample was afTorded by II. M.S. Truant, which recently returned to this country after an absence of 2 t years. During this time she covered more than 80,000 miles in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Java Sea, and was responsible for sinking or damaging over 20 enemy vessels. She went to the United inStates May 1941 for a refit, but was soon back on patrol against Italian supply lines. In the Far East the Japanese claimed to have sunk her, but she escaped.
Add Names

Disclaimer

We have sought to ensure that the content of this website complies with UK copyright law. Please note however, that we may have been unable to ascertain the rights holders of some items. Where we have digitised items, we have done so with items that to the best of our knowledge, following due investigations, are in the public domain. While the original works are in the public domain we reserve all rights to the usage of the digital works.

The document titled The War Illustrated No 145 Vol 6 January 8th 1945 is beneath this layer.

To view this document now, please sign up as a full access member.

Free Account Registration

Please enter your first name
Please enter your surname
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter your password
By creating an account you agree to us emailing you with newsletters and discounts, which you can switch off in your account at any time

Already a member? Log in now
Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait