World War II

The Second World War was fought between 1939 and 1945. With over 70 million people killed, it is the deadliest conflict of our history. Discuss WWII war crimes, facts and figures, generals, battles, etc. here.

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2682 days ago

The Warspite was a journeyman, a work-horse of the Royal Navy and far and away the most battle proven ship in British service.

She was a Queen Elizabeth Class "super-Dreadnaught" and had been in service since 1915. She had two accident during her early service where she twice damaged herself by running aground in the River Forth and colliding with her sister ship Barham.

From May 31st to June 1st 1916 she was heavilly engaged in the biggest naval battle of the First World War at Jutland. There she was hit 15 times and almost sank, when her steering jammed while attempting to avoid another of her sister ships Valiant her captain maintained the forward momentum and she went in circles, becoming a tempting target for the German fleet, drawing their fire from the Warrior - which was badly damaged at the time - who's crew believe the action intential and admired the Warspite for it. With control of her steering restored after two full circles she found herself sailing towards the German fleet she found herself handicapped again as her rangefinders and transmission station weren't functioning and she could only fire with "A" turret under local control and all 12 shots fired falling short of their target. She suffered 14 killed and 16 wounded in the battle but although badly damaged she returned to home waters under her own power. A German U-Boat attempted to sink her with three torpedos, all missed and she attempted to ram the U-Boat before returning to Rosyth for repairs.

After her repairs were completed misfortune once more crossed her path when she collided with the Valiant - which led to her needed more repairs - and then in 1917 the collided with the HMS Destroyer. In here moorings at Scapa Flow she was rocked when HMS Vanguard exploded when an ammunition magazine detonated. In 1918 one of her boilers caught fire, necessitating further repairs.

During the between-war years she was part of the flotilla during the Royal review at Spithead, she was the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet, she had a tour of duty in the Atlantic and became a subject of newspaper reports about dissillutioned crews. She also underwent a £2 million refit in Portsmouth which improved her armor, lightened her, improved her propulsion system and feul consumption, and improved the range of her armament while also allowing her to fire larger shells, an aircraft hanger was fitted and her fire control system was modernized. With this accomplished she once more became the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet.

With the outbreak of the Second World War the Warspite was transfered back to the home fleet. There she supported the fleet in hunting German capital ships without any ship making contact. This changed at the battle of Narvik.

To support the action on the ground in the Norweagan Campaign the Warspite and sailed to Narvik with 9 destroyers. After the British had failed to defeat the Germans at Narvik in the first naval battle the Warspite and her support was ordered in to do the job. The Warspite struck the first blow when an aircraft lanuched from her hanger sunk a German U-Baot - the only occaison of the was that an aricraft launched from a battleship sunk a U-Boat - and in the battle to follow three Germans destroyers were sunk and five more scuttled, German shore batteries were badly damaged by the Warspite's guns while the worse the British suffered was damage to three destroyers. Warspite herself, during the battle, destroyed the Erich Koellner and badly damaged the Diether von Roeder - which was had to be scuttled by the Germans soon after - and the Erich Giese - which was then sunk by the other British destroyers present.

After Narvik the Warspite was utilized in the Norweagan Campaign to conduct bombardments of targets on the shoreline but once the Allies had failed, overall, with the campaign she was sent back to the Mediterranean once more. There she fought in several engagements and was credited with one of the longest range gunnery hits of a moving target in naval history at the battle of Calabria - a hit achieved at a range of 26,000 yards.

As ABC Cunningham's flagship in the Mediterranean she sallied forth against the Italian fleet at Cape Matapan and, in conjunction with the Valiant and Barham, destoryed the heavy crusiers Fiume and Zara in a devastating night bombardment. She then attacked Tripolli before being damaged by a German Air attack in the Battle of Crete.

She was repaired in Bremerton, US, and had her 15'' guns replaced before sailing off to the Indian Ocean. There she hunted Japanese naval groups which attempted to attack Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean without success and generally had an uneventful spell in the theatre.

She returned to the Medterranean again and took part in the invasion of Sicily, provided support for the landings at Salerno and lead the Italian Fleet to internment after Italy's surrender. She then returned to support the Allies at Salerno where her accurate fire cause havoc amungst the Germans before she was damaged by another German air attack and had to go to Malta for repairs, and eventually returning to Rosyth to complete the repairs.

Returning to service she supported the Allies Invasion of Normandy at Sword, Gold and Omaha beach and went on to support the actions at Brest, Le Harve and Walcharen with bombardments from sea.

She was the most decorated ship in British Naval History. She had battle honors for Jutland, the Atlantic, Narvik, Norway, Calabria, the Mediterranean, the Matla Convoys, Cape Matapan, Crete, Sicily, Salerno, the English Channel, Nomandy, Walcharen and Biscay. "The Grand Old Lady", as Admiral Cunningham called her, should have had a perminant home alongside the Victory and Warrior, a unique piece of British Naval History preserved for all future generations, but it was not to be.

After the Second World War she was decomissioned and sold for scrap despite called for her to be retained as a museaum ship alongside HMS Victory and the Warrior. Famously she refused to go to her doom quietly and broke off from her tugs to run aground then refused to refloat, yet the last act of defiance was in vain for it did nothing to stop her from being scrapped, it merely delayed the inevitable.

A great ship, an icon of the Royal Navy and a legend.

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2685 days ago

The problem with the Hood was that she was outdated. She was a beautiful ship and sailed around the world as an ambassador of British Naval majesty but she was most style and little substance. It was known that here armour was weak, particularly on deck, and she was supposed to have a refit but it never happened. She was well over due for a complete refit and a lengthy overhaul but the outbreak of war meant that she couldn't be spared from service. She was deemed irreplacable to the surface fleet but that irreplacability lead to her ruin.

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2685 days ago

The Ark lived a charmed life.

She was part of the task force responsible for the first U-Boat sinking of the war and norrowly avoided being hit by two torpedos when she attempted to the rescue of the SS Farand Head.

When escorting the damaged submarine "Spearfish" to port her aircraft became the first British aircraft to shoot down one of the Luftwaffe's planes and narrowly avoided a bomb dropped by a Dornier. The Germans later discovered the Ark's two warships escorts - the "Rodney" and "Nelson" - but not the Ark and the Germans annouced that they had sunk her. To disprove this German propaganda Churchill personally denied te claim to FDR and invited the Naval attache to view the Ark in Dock.

She hunted the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic and the order sent to Buenos Aires for fuel for the Ark was a large contribution to Hans Langsdorff's decision to scuttle his ship.

She took part in the Norweagan Campaign to provide fighter protection to warships - which was the first time an aircraft carries had ever been employed in this role in British history - and she narrowly avoided being hit by German arial attacks numerous times throughout the campaign and escaped without a scratch. She also took part in an attack on the Scharnhorst which failed due to very thick fog.

She took part in the attack at Mers-el-Kabir, attacked the Italian Air Base at Cagliari and Elmas and was part of the failed attempt to take Dakar from Vichy-France by force. She saw action at the Battle of Cape Spartivento where she damaged the Italian battleship "Lanciere" and then, to impress the Spanish, she was sent to attack numerous places on the Italian Mainland, which she did successfully.

She hunted the Scharnhorst and Gneisenaeu in the Atlantic and actually found them but a radio malfunction on the Aircraft that made the discovery meant the two German ships escaped.

She hunted comerce raiders and took part in the Mediterranean convoy - on on occaiser he 12 fighter plane fought off over 50 German and fighter planes for the loss of only two aircraft and two men, though an number of others were damaged, reducing the number of fighter plane available to a mere 7.

She famously hunted the Bismarck during which operations she accidentally attacked the Sheffield but made amends by damaging the Bismarck's rudder, which left the German ship crippled.

She then returned to the Mediterranean convoys where she finally ran out of luck and was hit by a torpedo from a U-Boat. A heroic attempt was made to save her but the failure to implement damage control for almost 50 minutes after the first damage was taken spelled her doom. A tug attempted to bring her to Gibraltar but the effort was wasted.

The Ark's captain was court-martialled for negligence as he was found guilty of failing to make sure damage crews remained on board after the general evacuation order and failed to make sure the ship was in a state of readiness to deal with such damage but accepted that a very high standard was being expected of him and he was acting with his crews best interest at heart. Another investigation found the lack of a back up power supply was a major design fault which contributed to the Ark's demise.

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2869 days ago

Tactically and operationally, this campaign was brilliant from start to finish. Much of the allied armies escaped at Dunkirk, but they had no material and their morale was at rock bottom. It was only with four years of intensive rearmament were they able to crack northern Europe again.

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2869 days ago

Dunkerqe should have been better exploited... it was far from that commonly misinterpreted crap that it was an important allied victory. But it did stand out as an avoidance of total smashing defeat. Rundsteds fault, Hitlers fault...?! That's a long and inconclusive debate. Anyhow in the whole ww picture it did not in my opinion alter anything. It would have been somewhat relevant had the Germans gone through with op.sealion, but even then the meager morally and materially exhausted forces would have been far from enough to stop the Wehrmacht had it in fact landed into England. That much said Dunkerqe (witch contained the only militarily faulty reasoning of the Wehrmacht in the entire campaign) is a small spot witch makes the campaign in my eyes something between excellent and good.

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2979 days ago

To repeat the excellent comments of Sundiszno, PzKpfw_VI_E is redundant. I must add that this was the most remarkable gun in the war.

It started as an anti-aircraft weapon but the Germans discovered it could be used almost anywhere.

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2979 days ago

My Dad alway spoke with respect about the German 88. He said they could fire one in your pocket.

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2980 days ago

The 1911 is still very popular 100 years later.

Great design, great durability and great stopping power.

I'm presently saving up for one. :)

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2980 days ago

Review Icon Phobos reviewed MP-40 in WW2 Weapons:
It is almost used by germans on WW2.Mp40 is rocks on call of duty.Both of it power and accuaracy is high













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2987 days ago

I am a 70-year-old short (4'11") woman who has owned an M1 Garand for about 8 months. I shoot it at least twice a month, and I LOVE it. I much prefer the peep sight to most of the scopes I've used, and really enjoy firing it. You should see all the people at our indoor range stop shooting to watch me fire! My range requires frangible ammunition, and I get my reloads from Rodney Allshouse in Indiana, PA. If you use reloads, he has a really fast response time.

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