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Submarines and Warships of WW2

German, Japanese, Italian

Italian Submarine in North AtlanticHistory, datas and pictures of German, Italian and Japanese warships in WW2.

During WW2 the common factor that permitted the USA to wage war in both Europe and the Pacific simultaneously, and which allowed the UK to exist at all, was merchant shipping. Losses of warships could cause problems, but losses of merchantmen were potentially disastrous. If the loss rate had exceeded the construction rate for a significant period, the Allies' capacity to wage war would have slowed, to the point of eventual capitulation.

As World War I had adequately proved to the Germans that submarines were the best vehicles for this form of warfare, it seems extraordinary that more resources were not put into their construction in the late 1930s.Those available caused damage enough, but greater numbers and a higher construction rate from the outset would have swamped the ability to cope of current Allied defences. Throughout the conflict, the Germans strove to improve both the technical quality of their boats and the methods by which they could best be employed, a natural energy that contrasted strangely with that of their Axis partners.

Both Italy and Japan had sizeable submarine fleets and, as each joined the war at later dates, they had adequate time to learn at first hand the problems of submarine warfare before actually committing themselves. Italy, however, found her boats to be deficient in quality and their crews both poorly trained and, in many cases, suffering from the same lack of motivation and conviction that affected her surface fleet.
Japan, on the other hand, had no lack of motivation but was stricken with an inflexibility of purpose that worked to the American advantage. War waged against merchant shipping was viewed as 'defensive' so, despite in most cases being manifestly unsuitable for the purpose, Japanese submarines were employed almost exclusively against warships. The twin facts that American lines of communication vulnerably straddled two oceans and that American submarines were throttling Japan by blockade went unnoticed.

There was no lack of sacrifice. In pursuing their various objectives, the Axis partners lost more than 950 boats in action and many more from other causes.

Ship Bismarck
Battleship Bismarck
U Boat Type VII
U-boat Type VII
U Boat Type IX
U-boat Type IX B
Type XXI
U-boat Type XXI


Italian heavy cruiser Pola
Heavy cruiser Zara class
Spica class
Torpedo boat Spica class
600 class submarines
600 class submarines

Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano
Aircraft carrier Shinano
Japanese submarine I400
Submarine class I-15

more information:

Museum U-boat U-995


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