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Battle of the Atlantic was one of the most significant and important battles that was fought during WWII. In order to understand the value of the battle and how it was won, it will be necessary to take a close and careful look at the strategic, operational, and organizational factors behind the Allied victory. The victory for the United States and Great Britain was significant, and a turning point in the war that should not be forgotten - but that is often misunderstood and overlooked. The Battle of the Atlantic was an attempt by the Germans to cut the sea lines of communications between the United States and Britain, mostly be using U-boats. If the Germans had been successful, Britain would have been isolated and the U.S. would not have been able to bring such an enormous amount of manpower to Europe. The Battle of the Atlantic was designed to determine which side was going to get command of the sea, and it was a huge and significant Allied victory.
The strategic factors are all about the big pictures of how the Germans, British, and Americans used their naval and military forces during the Battle of the Atlantic. It is important to consider the geography, the force structure, the numbers, the vulnerability, the industrial capacity, and other major issues. The Battle of the Atlantic lasted for six years and covered thousands of square miles of ocean. There were hundreds of large interactions, and thousands of smaller skirmishes (Baer, 1996). One of the most significant issues that helped to win the Battle of the Atlantic, however, was the fact that the U.S. was building ships and getting them out into the ocean faster than the Germans were able to sink them (Baer, 1996). Because of the large number of ships that were being utilized, it was difficult for the Germans to get any kind of upper hand. The defeat of the Germans was the main goal of the Battle of the Atlantic, even though it was clear that doing so would take a significant amount of time. The United States had more of an industrial capacity than the Germans, and that allowed the U.S. To build a significant number of ships very quickly. The war effort was something the U.S. And its allies took very seriously, because Germany was not to be underestimated.
Geographically, there was a huge number of square miles that could be covered. The Atlantic is large, and very little of it is completely inaccessible. Because there is so much ocean to be covered, large numbers of ships could be involved in skirmishes all over the open waters. There were few good hiding places, but that was both good and bad for the Allies. They were not able to approach German ships without being noticed, but they also made an imposing presence and the Germans were not able to get close to them undetected. The U-boats worked hard at causing difficulties for the Allies, as well, and there were skirmishes with submarines that ended in both triumph and tragedy (Baer, 1996). The U.S. was not the only country that was able to provide insight and help with the Battle of the Atlantic. The British navy also contributed significantly to everything that took place in defeating the Germans and restoring a sense of peace to the world. The industrial capacity of the U.S. may have been higher, but part of what won the Battle of the Atlantic was the vulnerability of the Germans and their failure to take the U.S. And other Allied forces as seriously as they should have from the beginning of the difficulties between the countries.
The Operational factors of the Battle of the Atlantic deal with tactics, technology, and training. There is more to winning a war - or a battle - than who has the most ships and the largest number of troops. The tactics that are used matter, as does the way that the troops are trained. Technology is also vital. If one group is much more advanced than another group, that group will have the advantage, all other things being equal. Even in WWII, there was a great deal of technology being used. The Germans had strong ships that could withstand a large amount of fighting, and that helped them continue in battle for such a long period of time, despite having fewer ships and fewer troops than the Allied forces (Murray & Millet, 2001). The German navy was nearly bankrupt, however, because it spent so much money on each one of its ships. Those ships held up remarkably well, and they were strong, but when one of them was damaged beyond repair or sunk by Allied forces, there was little money to create another one (Murray & Millet, 2001).
Eventually, one of the tactics of the Allies became concentrating on sinking German ships. The Germans were not able to build new ships as fast as the United States could, so if the U.S. And the British were sinking more German ships, they were able to get ahead. There were other tactics used, of course, but costing the Germans money that they clearly did not have became one of the best ways to move toward an Allied victory. The more ships that were destroyed and that the Germans had no money to replace, the more the U.S. And British forces were able to gain control of the Atlantic. The Germans were still hard to defeat, however, because they had better technology in many cases. That was not to say that they were the most advanced, but they were able to provide their troops with strong, stout ships and other combat gear that was more difficult to destroy and that did not wear out (Murray & Millet, 2001). The U.S. And British troops were less likely to have weapons and ships of the same caliber as the Germans, but they were able to mass-produce what they needed and get it to their troops more quickly - and that was valuable.
Training also mattered a great deal in the Battle of the Atlantic. The German intelligence was high-tech and high-quality, and that was something with which the Allies had to contend (Weinberg, 2005). The skills and endurance of the crews on the ships became one of the biggest deciding factors in the Battle of the Atlantic. No matter the quality of the ships, the weapons, or the gear that is available to troops in a battle, the most important thing is what the people are capable of and what they are willing to do. Over time, though, the intelligence that the troops and their commanders had played one of the ultimate roles (Weinberg, 2005). Strategy always matters, and if commanders are smart and their troops under their command are dedicated, they can be very difficult to stop. The code-breaking programs that were developed by the British were significant, as well, because they allowed the Allied forces to read at least part of the German communication (Weinberg, 2005). The more a person knows about the enemy, the better off that person will be in dealing with that enemy. It may not make the battle easy, but it can make the battle more rewarding for the victor and more realistic when it comes to the pros and cons of continuing to fight.
Organizational factors relate to the command structure and joint issues, like how well the German and Allied, air, naval, and army forced worked - or did not work - together so that all of the objectives could be achieved. Fortunately, the American and British forces worked very well together. They were able to get behind one another's efforts, and support one another with the technology and skills that they had available. The one downside of the U.S. navy at the time was that it equated readiness with technical knowledge (Cohen & Gooch, 1991). That is not to say that technical knowledge is not important, but only that there is more to winning a battle than technical know-how. What the British lacked in technical knowledge, they made up for in other ways. Because of that, the Allied forces were able to band together and perform to the best of their shared abilities. The Germans, on the other hand, were reluctant to work with others and were not as trusting of other countries, although they did get involved with Italy later in the war (Cohen & Gooch, 1991).
Not everything that was tried against the Germans was effective, though. Bomber Command was one of the tactics that did not do as well as hoped (Overy, 1997). This was due to the fact that daylight raids seldom were effective, and the majority of them resulted in mass casualties. Once it was switched to attacks at night, the Bomber Command was able to catch the Germans off-guard and surprise them. Of course, that resulted in a much better outcome for the Allied…[continue]
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