World War Two - War at Sea
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Frank Knox was FDR's Secretary of the Navy between 1940 through 1944. Arm and arm with his lieutenant, Under Secretary James Forrestal, the two men made good on the "Two-Ocean Navy Bill" passed by Congress during the summer of 1940:
"I am proud of this Navy of ours. Every American has a right to be proud of it, to know that it is, up to now, the greatest navy in history. But we cannot afford to be complacent about it. It is still not the navy that our country needs and that our fighting men in the ships deserve."
"In the seven months since Pearl Harbor the aircraft carrier has replaced the battleship as the true capital ship of modern naval warfare. The carrier's rise to power reached a crushing climax in the battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway - the two most decisive naval engagements of the war thus far. Opposing fleets only struck at each other with bomber and torpedo planes and never fired a shot except in self-defense against aircraft."
Click here to read about FDR as Under-Secretary of the Navy.
"Not only did Germany limit the size of her fleet, but she failed to push technical developments. For example, she was behind the Allies in developing radar, and her torpedoes were mechanically deficient. She was ahead of the Allies in perfecting magnetic mines, but these proved to be a short-lived advantage... The priority for naval construction was so low that when the war began in September, 1939, the naval strength allowed in the treaty of 1935 had not been reached."
"Thus, in the opinion of Admiral Doenitz, Germany, for the second time within 25 years, lost her bid for world supremacy because of her weakness at sea."
Click here to read about an American destroyer on D-Day.
Patching together the reports of four different war correspondents, the editors at Collier's were able to create a genuine page-turner narrating the American naval victory that took place off the coast of the Philippines during the Fall of 1944.
"Secretary of the Navy Forrestal summed up the results as 'One of the great naval victories of the war that will go down, along with Midway and Guadalcanal sea battles as one of the great, shattering blows struck against Japanese sea power. The Japanese fleet was indeed beaten, routed and broken.'"
The Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23 - 26, 1944) was the largest naval battle in World War II - as well as the most decisive. Given the naval weaponry that exists in the digital age, it is highly unlikely that opposing navies will ever again have need to come within visible range of one another again. This article tells the history of that battle, shedding light on a few of the important naval campaigns that came before. Written sixteen years after the events by a knowledgeable author, you will gain an understanding of the thoughts that were going through Admiral Halsey's cranium when he commanded the largest battle fleet ever assembled.
Read about the Battle of Midway...
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