U-Boat

V-E Day: Victory at Last for World War II’s Allies

By Flint Whitlock

Within his reinforced concrete bunker, 50 feet below the garden of the New Reichs Chancellery on Berlin’s Wilhelmstrasse, German dictator Adolf Hitler, his soon-to-be bride Eva Braun, and several hundred friends, SS guards, and staff members could feel the concussion and hear the unending drumroll of thousands of Soviet artillery shells reducing the already-battered capital city of the Third Reich to unrecognizable rubble. Read more

Smoke billows from the German freighter Drachenfels after sustaining damage during a raid by the British.

U-Boat

The Daring Calcutta Light Horse Raid

By Robert Barr Smith

Freighter Ehrenfels’ siren shrieked through the muggy night across the harbor. As the captain pulled down hard on the alarm cord, the alarm howled out over the steaming darkness, screaming that British raiders were in the harbor, alerting Ehrenfels’ crew and calling for help from ashore. Read more

U-Boat

WWII Spies: Oreste Pinto

By Robert Whiter

Two men were seated on either side of a paper-strewn table inside an office of MI5, the British intelligence service, in the Royal Victoria Patriotic School at Clapham, London, shortly after the fall of France in the spring of 1940. Read more

U-Boat

Manhattan’s First Terror Attack: Decades Before 9/11

By Cowan Brew

In the summer of 1916, America was an island of peace in an ocean of war. The guns of August 1914 had been blazing away in Europe for nearly two years now, primed by a booming American munitions industry that found itself growing rich on the long-distance suffering of others. Read more

U-Boat

German U-Boats: Scapa Flow Shock

By Jon Latimer

World War II had been in progress for six weeks when on the evening of October 12, 1939, the German submarine U-47 surfaced off the Orkney Islands at the northern tip of Scotland. Read more

A U.S. Navy destroyer escort was originally conceived as something of a stopgap measure during World War II. Later, the design proved to be effective in all theaters. Here, a destroyer escort is shown under way during sea trials.

U-Boat

Holding the Line on the High Seas

By Paul B. Cora

Through the first half of World War II, Allied shipping losses to German U-boats climbed steadily from over 400,000 tons in the last four months of 1939 to more than two million tons each in 1940 and 1941, before reaching a staggering 6,266,215 tons in 1942 following the entry of the United States into the war. Read more

Manning a twin Bofors antiaircraft gun on the deck of the Queen Mary, a crew is put through its paces by an officer during gunnery training at sea.

U-Boat

RMS Queen Mary’s War Service: Voyages to Victory

By Eric Niderost

The late summer of 1939 saw Great Britain teetering on the brink of war with Hitler’s Germany. The years of appeasement and vacillation, of meekly acquiescing to Hitler’s insatiable territorial demands, were over at last. Read more

In this bleak painting by American combat artist Mitchell Jamieson, members of a Naval Armed Guard contingent load and fire the forward deck gun aboard a merchant ship in pitching seas. (Naval Historical Center)

U-Boat

Hazardous Duty with the Naval Armed Guard

By Russell Corder

They have been called “the other Navy,” the “Navy’s stepchildren,” and perhaps most fittingly, “the forgotten Navy.” Officially, however, they were the Naval Armed Guard or more simply the Armed Guard (AG). Read more

Three crews were lost during tests of the Horace L. Hunley, shown in a painting by Conrad Wise Chapman.

U-Boat

Evolution of the Submarine

By John Protasio

The concept of a ship that could submerge beneath the water and then resurface dates back as far as the late 1400s, when Italian Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci claimed to have found a method for a ship to remain submerged for a protracted period of time. Read more

U-Boat

The Bold Bull of Scapa Flow

By Phil Zimmer

Late on the night of Friday, October 13, 1939, Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien surfaced his 218-foot-long submarine, U-47, and guided it through the protected, shallow, narrow channel at Kirk Sound. Read more

U-Boat

The USS England and the Invasion of the South Pacific

By William Lunderberg

From his naval base at Tawi Tawi in the southern Philippines, Japanese Admiral Soemu Toyoda anxiously perused intelligence reports that might provide a clue to the objective of the next seaborne South Pacific invasion by American military in the spring of 1944. Read more

At long last, in late 1943 the “Big Three”—Winston Churchill, Frankin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin—would meet together to shape the world after the war.

U-Boat

Nazi U-Boats At America’s Doorsteps

After refueling in the mid-Atlantic and suffering bow damage from being rammed by a tanker, a 769-ton Nazi U-Boat reached its destination, the American East Coast, early on Monday, May 4, 1942. Read more