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The Utility of Seapower: The of the Atlantic and the Second World War in Europe

by LTC He Ruimin

Abstract: The Battle of the Atlantic (BA) was a keenly contested period that lasted through the Second World War (WWII), from , when a U-boat sunk passenger liner SS Athenia, to May 1945, when Germany capitulated. This essay will argue that success in the Atlantic sustained Britain by enabling British production of military equipment; the transport of American troops and equipment; and by providing the Allies with a suitable launch point for amphibious assault. This enabled Britain and the US to win the on Western Front and therefore emerge victorious in the European Theater. However, Allied success in the Atlantic had limited effects on the course of elsewhere—it is likely that the Soviets would still have eventually won on the Eastern Front.

Keywords: Battle of the Atlantic; Naval Operations; Second World War; Unrestricted Warfare

Introduction the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel, to the Mediterranean through and to Iran The Battle of the Atlantic (BA) refers to through the Cape of Good Hope. the continual attacks on merchant shipping by German U-boats to deny Allied Powers access to The BA was keenly contested and the result could have tipped either way. By February 1942, the Atlantic, and Allied efforts to counter this Germany was able to decrypt up to 80 percent threat. The BA lasted through the Second World of British signals on Allied movements, War (WWII), from September 1939, when a U-boat allowing them to effectively guide U-boats to sunk passenger liner SS Athenia, to May 1945, their targets.2 As shown in Figure 1, U-boats when Germany capitulated. For the Allies, winning the BA, or “BA success,” enabled them to transport troops, raw materials, industrial products, munitions, and military equipment across the Atlantic. Conversely, losing the BA would have curtailed the Allies’ transport of men and materiel across the Atlantic. U-boats operated throughout the Atlantic. Ships were sunk in the North, off Reykjavik; South, off Sierra Leone; East, off Gibraltar; and West, off the (US) East Coast Atlantic.1 Hence, the BA spanned the entire Atlantic, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Submarine_ attack_%28AWM_304949%29.jpg including access routes from the US East Coast to German Submarine U-848 Under Attack in the South Atlantic

POINTER, Journal of the armed forces Vol.38 No.4 features 2 destroyed more than twice the combined output the BA as “a prolonged and desperate struggle of US and British shipyards in 1941, and sunk that came closer than any other to deciding the vessels faster than the US and Britain were war in Germany’s favor.”8 building them in 1942. This limited the growth The quotes by Churchill and Hitler suggest that of the Allied merchant fleet between 1940 and the BA was not a decisive, Mahan-type maritime 1943 (Figure 2). The rate of Allied shipping loss in battle. Rather, it was a continual effort to keep March 1943 was so high that “the British Admiralty the Atlantic open for shipping in order to reinforce feared the collapse of the Atlantic trade routes.”3 the land campaign. According to Corbett, “the real Ellis argues that “exceptionally amongst all the point of Seapower is not so much what happens major theaters, Germany could have won” the BA.4 at , but how that influences the outcome of Eventually, the Allies won the BA by mid- events on land.”9 An evaluation of BA’s impact on 1943 due to a combination of reasons. These WWII Europe thus depends on the importance of included technological breakthroughs—such these Atlantic-route supplies. After successfully as the introduction of , search invading continental Europe, the Germans faced floodlights, High Frequency Direction Finders— a two-front counterattack by the Allies and lost and intelligence coups such as the decoding both, resulting in ultimate victory for the Allies. of the German Enigma codes, resulting in the This article traces the impact of the BA, through rerouting of ships away from U-boat threats. its consequent enabling of supply routes, on the Effective tactics included the use of convoys, outcomes of the Western and Eastern Fronts. It long-range surveillance aircraft, bombers, escort concludes that the BA determined victory, but vessels, and support groups. Finally, US only in the limited sense that it enabled US and and Britain accelerated production of merchant Britain to win on the Western Front, and hence ships and warships, while Hitler mistakenly share victory with the Soviets. In contrast, the limited U-Boat production until late 1942.5 As a Soviets would have won on the Eastern Front result, the rate at which Allied shipping was sunk regardless of the BA’s outcome. decreased substantially in 1943, both in terms of absolute and per U-boat tonnage (Figures 1 and 3 Western Front respectively). BA success enabled America and Britain to Did the BA ultimately determine WWII victory win on the Western Front as it sustained British in Europe? Churchill believed so. In 1940, Churchill resistance and boosted Allied capabilities. wrote to Roosevelt that “it is in shipping and British Dependence on Trade for Survival in the power to transport over the oceans that During WWII, Britain was hugely reliant on the crunch of the whole war will be found.” The imports arriving via the Atlantic. As an empire, Germans reached the same conclusion in 1942. Britain’s own innate economy “was self-sufficient Hitler, despite his lack of understanding of naval in almost nothing of importance.”10 Instead, matters, said that “victory depends on destroying up to two-thirds of her and raw materials the greatest amount of Allied tonnage.”6 More were imported (Table 1).11 Apart from continental recent scholars agree. Tarrant suggested that Europe, now occupied by the and “the U-Boats ... came close to being the single hence no longer a viable source of imports, other decisive factor in both wars,”7 while Vat portrayed imports largely came from America and the British

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16 15,451,000

15 UK vessels built 14 12,951,000 13 US vessels built 12 11 Vessels Sunk 10 9 7,388,000

8 7,592,000 7,390,000 7 milliongross tons 6 5 4,355,000 4,005,000 4 3,220,000 3 1,972,000 2 1,045,000 780,000 1 437,000

1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Figure 1: US and UK merchant tonnage built and Allied and neutral merchant tonnage sunk, 1940-194512

56 53,554,000


48 46,373,000



35,571,000 36 33,794,000 32,988,000 32,076,000 32 30,654,000


24 million of gross tons 20


12 US merchant fleet

8 UK merchant fleet 4

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Figure 2: Size of US and UK merchant fleets 1939-194513

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90 Tonnage sunk by each U-boat

80 Tonnage sunk by each U-boat operating in US coastal waters and the Caribbean, 70 January-August 1942



ooos of gross tons 40




41234123412341234123412 1939-40 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Figure 3: U-boat efficiency: quarterly merchant shipping tonnage sunk in the Atlantic per U-boat at sea 1939-194514

colonies in the East. Ships from these sources imports totaled only 26 million tons. This was a passed through the Atlantic.15 third of the peacetime level of 68 million tons and less than half of the 55 million tons (including Had the U-boat threat persisted, 15 million tons of food) needed for sustainability without imports from all around each year.17 By January 1943, “the British navy the world, Britain may have been had only two months supply of oil left.” Churchill literally starved into surrender. later wrote that “ may be won or lost, enterprises succeed or miscarry, territories might Early in the war, Hitler directed his navy be gained or quitted, but dominating all our to “deal an annihilating blow to the English power to carry on the war, or even keep ourselves economy.” In 1940, U-boats sunk over one- alive, was our mastery of the ocean routes and quarter of British merchant shipping.16 In 1941, the free approach and entry to our ports ... the

Material Import Percentage Material Import Percentage Foodstuff 67% Chromium Ore 100% Iron Ore 30% Petroleum Products 95% Copper Ore 90% Raw Rubber 100% Bauxite 90% Soft Timber 80% Molybdenum Ore 100% Wool 80%

Table 1: Percentage of imports for Britain (pre-war)18

POINTER, Journal of the singapore armed forces Vol.38 No.4 features 5 only thing that ever really frightened me during troops for the Western Front. This was particularly the war was the U-boat peril.”19 Had the U-boat necessary because Britain suffered from poor threat persisted, without imports from all around design and manufacturing processes, a “confused the world, Britain may have been literally starved bureaucracy,” and insufficient labor and capital.21 into surrender. As a result, Britain relied heavily on American The Allied Reliance on Atlantic imports for equipment (Table 3), including the Access for Materiel and Reinforcements turbine blades and impellers of jet aircraft that BA success also boosted Allied capabilities bombed German industrial areas.22 Almost 9 on the Western Front. Firstly, Atlantic access million tons of equipment were shipped across provided Britain with the equipment necessary the Atlantic between January and June 1944 for to produce military equipment. In the preceding .23 years, Britain had deteriorated from being the Beyond equipment, 800,000 Americans, or “factory of the world” to industrial backwardness, 47% of all Allied troops, took part in Overlord’s and was dependent on American machine tools D-Day landings. This percentage increased to 60% (Table 2). Without these imports, Britain would by August 1944 as more US divisions sailed across have been unable to produce equipment such as the Atlantic. In contrast, the British “had to 20 aircraft, and guns. break up existing divisions to find replacements Secondly, Atlantic access enabled the for their casualties.”24 Without viable Atlantic deployment of American military assets and access, the number of Allied troops available for

Machine Tools American Imports out to British Total Requirements (Approx) Automatic Lathes (1942) 72% Turret Lathes (1942) 75% Vertical Drillers (1942) 67% Boring and Gear-Cutting Tools (1942) 50% 20 Types of Advanced Machine Tools 100% Overall Machine Tools (1940-1941) 33% Table 2: Percentage of British Machine Tools that were imported25

American imports out to British Total Final Product Qualitative Comparison Requirements (Approximation)

For British Units during Normandy “Only a minority of the British production Tanks campaign (1944): 67% were battle-worthy; and some of it, like For all British Units (1939-1944): >50% the Covenanter, was literally junk … ” “The North American trucks were of far Trucks 1940-1944: >50% higher quality.” All radio equipment (1943): 40% Radio Equipment Miniature Radios (1944): 90% Munitions 1943-1944: >25%

Table 3: Quantitative and Qualitative assessment of the reliance of Britain for American arms supplies26

POINTER, Journal of the singapore armed forces Vol.38 No.4 features 6 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torpedoed_merchant_ship.jpg

A German U-boat shells a merchant ship which remained afloat after being torpedoed. amphibious assault and the subsequent push to war of attrition.29 The BA was the critical Germany would have been significantly reduced.27 enabler of this access. In fact, Germany could Even with significant American participation, conceivably have won the Western Front merely success was not guaranteed. Amphibious by sinking enough ships to significantly reduce operations have always been risky, and the the number of US troops and equipment arriving Germans had “much tougher in Britain—they did not need battle experience ... and Therefore, it is likely that to completely shut down the displayed a greater willingness the sheer volume of Atlantic. However, they were to fight stubbornly.” American and British troops unable to do so. Eisenhower’s preparation Third, by sustaining of a note announcing the and equipment coming failure of Overlord was ashore enabled the Allies Britain, BA success enabled the Allies to launch the based not on “misplaced to win this war of attrition. modesty, but from quite amphibious assault of Europe genuine anxiety as to the outcome.” Even after from Britain, instead of North the successful crossing, Allied Headquarters America.30 Operationally, an amphibious assault genuinely feared a repeat of the “trench across the Atlantic would have been far more stalemate” of the First World War. The weather difficult—German land forces would have had was working against the Allies, and the “swampy far more time and intelligence to anticipate the inlets” and French bocage terrain were difficult invasion;31 and Allied combat power would have 28 to penetrate. been diminished by troop fatigue, sea-sickness, Therefore, it is likely that the sheer volume and the U-boat threat. The US would have “spent of American and British troops and equipment years building a vast navy, army, and air force coming ashore enabled the Allies to win this ... for such a giant undertaking.”32 Even then,

POINTER, Journal of the singapore armed forces Vol.38 No.4 features 7 in spite of historical links with Britain, it is not production.” Soviets complained that aid was of obvious that America’s historically isolationist poor quality, less than promised and arrived late. population would support such a risky endeavor. Naturally, American propaganda instead claimed As a whole, the BA success sustained Britain that American aid constituted “the bulk of the by enabling British production of military USSR’s war supplies and insured its survival of the equipment, the transport of American troops Nazi invasion.”34 and equipment, and by providing the Allies with More recent, independent histories suggest a suitable launch point for amphibious assault. that Allied aid, particularly from the US, equaled This enabled Britain and the US to win the approximately 10 percent of Soviet production Western Front and thereby emerge victorious in by 1943.35 Aid totaled more than 17 million tons, the European Theater. was valued at over $10 billion,36 and ranged from Eastern Front commodities, cereal, to combat aircraft. America also provided specific forms of aid that the In contrast, the impact of BA success on the Soviets lacked. This included leather for boots, Eastern Front was far less significant. 400,000 miles of field telephone wire, and half of American Aid was not Crucial for the Soviet the Red Army’s fat and oil requirements, boosting Campaign nutritional standards.37 Historically, the value of American assistance to the (USSR) has been controversial.33 However, aid only peaked in late 1943 onwards As part of rhetoric, the Soviets downplayed (Table 4). Prior to that, “American shipments of the value of the aid. An official history estimated guns, tanks, and planes ... were small compared that it “amounted to only 4 percent of domestic to Russian production and did not meet Russian

1945 1945 Type 1941 1942 1943 1944 January–June July–December 1 Munitions, total 0.110 854.2 1442.6 1502.9 579.7 153.4 1.1 ordnance, ammunition 0.075 213.9 368.3 190.4 35.2 3.9 1.2 aircraft and parts 0.000 303.4 502.0 557.9 183.4 20.3 1.3 tanks and parts 0.035 176.8 74.7 166.4 54.6 0.0 1.4 motor vehicles and parts 0.000 149.1 406.0 503.3 265.7 87.0 1.5 watercraft 0.000 11.0 91.6 84.9 40.8 12.3 2 Petroleum products - - - 40.5 31.2 8.2 3 Industrial products, materials 0.435 312.9 853.6 1306.9 509.3 95.0 4 Agricultural products 0.000 184.8 591.9 579.1 272.1 58.3 5 Total 0.545 1351.9 2888.1 3429.3 1392.4 314.9 5 of which, civilian or dual-purpose goods 0.435 657.8 1943.1 2514.7 1119.2 260.7 6.1 % of total 80% 49% 67% 73% 80% 83% Source: US President (1944), 31, (1945a), 15 (1945c), 8, except that row 6 is the sum of rows 1.4, 1.5, 2, 3, 4; is row 6, divided by row 5.

Table 4: US Lend-Lease exports to the USSR, 1941-1945 ($ million and percentage)38

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Type Year German Russian Ratio Tanks 1943 5,570 16,044 1944 8,337 16,525 1945 998 20,030 TOTAL 14,905 52,599 1:3.5 Assault guns 1943 3,245 – 1944 7,328 – 1945 2,200 – TOTAL 12,773 – Tank 1943 76 1,489 1944 2,040 4,310 1945 650 2,200 TOTAL 2,766 12,705 1:3.1 Self-propelled 1943 2,458 2,558 artillery 1944 871 7,648 1945 87 3,562 TOTAL 3,416 13,768 1:4.0 Grand Total 33,860 74,871 1:2.2 Table 5a: German and Russian armored fighting vehicle production (with 75mm guns and above) 1943–194539

Year German Russian Ratio 1943 27,000 48,400 1944 41,000 56,100 1945 1945 28,600 TOTAL 78,000 133,100 1:1.7 Table 5b: German and Russian artillery production (75mm and above) 1943-194540

Type Year German Russian Ratio Fighters 1943 10,898 14,590 1944 25,285 17,913 1945 4,936 8,849 TOTAL 41,119 41,352 1:1 Ground attack Aircraft 1943 3,266 11,177 1944 5,496 11,100 1945 1,104 5,484 TOTAL 9,866 27,761 1:2.8 Bombers 1943 4,649 4,074 1944 2.287 4,186 1945 - 2,085 TOTAL 6,936 10,345 1:1.5 Jets 1943 - - 1944 1,041 - 1945 947 - TOTAL 1,988 - TOTAL COMBAT 59,909 79,458 1:1.3 Transports 1943 1,028 3,744 1944 443 5,508 1945 - 2,885 TOTAL 1,471 12,137 1:8.2 GRAND TOTAL 61,380 91,595 1:1.5 Table 5c: German and Russian military aircraft production 1943-194541

POINTER, Journal of the singapore armed forces Vol.38 No.4 features 9 needs.”42 America eventually supplied more and on-force comparison due to quality differences better war machines. However, by then, the across platforms.47 Furthermore, war outcomes Soviets had withstood the 1941 German invasion also depend on soldier morale, deployment tactics, independently and had won three huge battles strategies, and chance.48 However, the figures against the Germans (Moscow: October 1941 to suggest that American aid, which reached 10% January 1943, Stalingrad: September 1942 to of Soviet production for each of these categories January 1943, and Kursk-Orel: July to August (i.e. AFVs, aircraft, artillery),49 is unlikely to have 1943). Both the Germans and Soviets agreed that tipped the balance in a force-on-force match-up these battles were the major turning points of between the Germans and the Russians. the war, and it was downhill for the Germans Alternative Routes for American Aid to the thereafter.43 Additionally, these victories suggest USSR

Year Total Northern Persian Pacific Furthermore, the Atlantic was not critical in Route Gulf Route ensuring the flow of American aid to the Soviets. Route Unlike the British, who were solely dependent on 1943 722 128 222 382 the Atlantic for imports from everywhere other First Half 376 64 126 186 than Axis-held continental Europe, alternative January 62 16 16 31 routes were available to the Soviets. American February 65 16 18 31 aid to the Soviets was largely shipped through March 51 0 20 31 five routes—the , Iran, the Black April 69 16 22 31 Sea, Vladivostok, and Siberia. Only the first three May 71 16 24 31 of these routes, accounting for 50.3% of total June 57 0 26 31 gross tonnage,50 and 48% of ships in 1943 (Table Second Half 346 64 96 186 6), passed through the and faced July 63 16 16 31 U-boat threats.51 August 63 16 16 31 September 47 0 16 31 The other half of exports were largely shipped October 63 16 16 31 through the 4,500 mile route from American November 63 16 16 31 West Coast ports to the Soviet Eastern port of December 47 0 16 31 Vladivostok, via Japanese controlled waters.

Table 6: Number of ships (1943) per route from US to the Japan and the USSR were not at war until USSR44 August 1945 and hence the Japanese permitted these vessels, which America had transferred that the Red Army had strong innate capabilities, to Soviet registry, to pass through their waters independent of American aid.45 without interception.52 Unsurprisingly, this Even after American aid had peaked, between irritated the Soviets.53 However, the chief 1943 and 1945, the Soviets were out producing limitation of this route was that shipments (in the case of combat aircraft, by at least arriving in Vladivostok had to be transported 30%) the Germans in a broad range of military large distances through the low-volume equipment, such as armored fighting vehicles Trans-Siberian Railway to the fighting lines (AFVs), aircraft,46 and artillery (Tables 5a-5c). It is in Russia’s west. Additionally, more than dangerous to make deductions based on a force- 6,000 aircraft were delivered through the

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Alaska-Siberia Air Route.54 Had the Allies lost These divisions could have tipped the balance the BA, it is likely that a greater proportion of on the Eastern Front in Germany’s favor. In 1942, aid would have travelled through Vladivostok German Propaganda Minister Goebbels presciently and Siberia, with both Americans and Soviets noted, “sooner or later we shall have to face the question of inkling toward one enemy side or the working to increase the capacity of the other. Germany has never yet had luck with a Trans-Siberian Railway. two front war; it won’t be able to stand this one In summary, American aid was not critical to in the long run either.”58 Soviet capabilities. The Soviets had beaten the However, while counterfactual hypotheses are Germans in critical battles before the aid arrived, difficult to predict with certainty, this article and were generally out producing the Germans argues that the Soviets would have eventually even after the aid arrived. Furthermore, even beaten Germany even without the opening of the if the Americans had lost the BA, the aid could Western Front. have reached the Soviets through alternative The USSR had immense resources—twice Pacific routes. Germany’s population, unlimited quantities of oil and minerals (even without imports, Western and Eastern Fronts unlike Britain) to boost its production, and The BA compelled Germany to allocate forces space to absorb repeated attacks.59 In contrast, to the Western Front, away from the Eastern even though Germany’s production of military Front. As discussed previously, the BA was critical equipment under Minister of Armaments and War to the opening of the Western Front. On D-day (6 Production, Albert Speer had caught up in some 60 June 1944), 56 German divisions were allocated categories by 1944, it was still fundamentally 61 to the Western Front (Table 7), roughly one-third short of raw materials. For instance, as Speer warned Hitler, Germany lacked chromium, which of the 157 allocated to the East. Smaller numbers was required for the production of a wide of combat divisions were These factors imply that variety of vehicles.62 allocated to the other fronts, Other commodities were such as the Finland, Italian, over time, Soviet war in short supply too (Table 8). Denmark, and the Balkans. capabilities would have Over time, Soviet’s war The BA also tied down up to exceeded Germany’s. production would have 22 German divisions through exceeded that of Germany its impact on the Italian campaign.55 German and her captured territories.63 Table 9 shows divisions were in short supply. In response to a that USSR’s GDP had surpassed Germany’s by January 1945 request from German Chief of Staff 1943 and this ratio was improving over time. Guderian for more troops to buffer the Eastern Unlike America, whose products had to cross the Front, Hitler replied that “the Eastern Front must Atlantic to influence battle, the Soviets could directly move their production output onto the help itself and make do with what it’s got.”56 Had frontlines. Furthermore, the ratio of Soviet to there not been a Western Front, most of these German armed forces personnel was also gradually 56 divisions could have augmented the Eastern shifting in the former’s favor, as the Soviets had Front.57 a larger population base to replace casualties.

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Month East West Norway/ Denmark Balkans Italy Africa Finland 27 June 1941 134 (32)* 38 (0) 13 (0) 1 (6) 7 (0) – 2 (2) September 1941 144 (32) 14 (0) 1 (0) 7 (0) – 3 (3) December 1941 146 (32) 32 (2) 15 (0) 1 (0) 8 (0) – 3 (3) March 1942 164 (34) 16½ (½) 7 (0) – – 3 (3) June 1942 171 (34) 27 (3) 16½ (½) 1 (0) 8 (1) – 3 (3) September 1942 171 (33) 15½ (½) 1 (0) 9 (1) – 4 (3) December 1942 178 (33) 36 (5) 15½ (½) 2 (0) 10 (1) – 6 (4) March 1943 175 (29) 16½ (½) 1 (0) 15 (1) – 7½ (4½) June 1943 179 (28) 42 (8) 16½ (½) 2 (0) 17 (1) – – September 1943 181 (26) 18 (0) 2½ (½) 19 (1) 7 (6) – December 1943 175 (34) 37 (6) 17 (0) 5½ (½) 24 (2) 14 (6) – March 1944 169 (36) 16 (0) 4½ (½) 21 (5) 19 (6) – 6 June 1944 157 (30) 56 (11) 16 (0) 3½ (½) 20 (4) 22 (6) – September 1944 127 (33) 55 (14) 15 (0) 2½ (½) 17 (3) 21 (4) – December 1944 132 (44) 71 (15) 14 (0) 2½ (½) 16 (3) 22 (4) – March 1945 166 (43) 63 (9) 9½ (0) 5½ (½) – 19 (3) – * Number in brackets = panzer and motorised divisions. Table 7: Distribution of German combat divisions by theater, June 1941 to March 194564

Manganese Nickel Chromium Wolframite Molybdenum Silicon Home stocks 140,000 t 6,000 t 21,000 t 1,330 t 425 t 17,900 t Imports 8,100 t 190 t – – 15.5 t 4,200 t Consumption 15,500 t 750 t 3,751 t 160 t 69.5 t 7,000 t Months reserve 19 10 5.6 10.6 7.8 6.4 Table 8: Memo from Speer to Hitler detailing the months of reserves of alloys available65

1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 USSR GDP 359 366 417 359 318 464 495 396 Germany GDP 351 384 387 412 417 426 437 310 USSR/Germany GDP Ratio 1.0 1.0 1.1 0.9 0.8 1.1 1.1 1.3 USSR Armed Forces – – 5000 7100 11340 11858 12225 12100 Germany Armed Forces – 4522 5762 7309 8410 9480 9420 7830 USSR/Germany Armed Forces Ratio – – 0.9 1.0 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.5 Table 9: Comparison of Wartime GDP of USSR and Germany, in international dollars and 1990 prices (billions), and sizes of the armed forces (thousands)66 These factors imply that over time, Soviet war even if Germany had more troops allocated to the capabilities would have exceeded Germany’s. Eastern Front. However, this campaign would have Germany’s rapid capitulation in the face of taken more time and cost more lives. Indeed, after the Soviet push to further suggests that the November 1943 Teheran Conference, Stalin the Soviets could have won even if their forces told Marshall of the USSR Zhukov that “Roosevelt were not augmented by American capabilities, or had given his world that the Allies would attack

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German-held in the Spring. ‘I believe he Bibliography will keep his word,’ Stalin continued, ‘but even Alexander, Bevin. How Hitler could have Won World War II: if he does not, our own forces are sufficient to The Fatal Errors that Led to Nazi Defeat. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000. complete the rout of .’”67 Barnett, Correlli. The Audit of War. London: Macmillan, 1986. Therefore, unlike the Western Front, Allied Boyd, Carl. Hitler’s Japanese Confidant: General Oshima success in the Atlantic did not ultimately shape Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945. Kansas: University the outcome of the Eastern Front. Without BA Press of Kansas, 1993. success, it is likely that the Soviets would still Boyne, Walter J. Clash of Titans: World War II at Sea. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. have prevailed eventually. Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. Edited by Michael Howard and translated by Peter Paret. Princeton: Princeton University Conclusion Press, 1976. Compton-Hall, R. “.” In The Oxford Companion to In summary, the BA ultimately determined World War II. Edited by I. Dear and M. Foot. Oxford: Oxford US and British prominence on the victory stage. University Press, 1995, 845. The BA is a shining example of the Corbettian Costello, Martin J., and Terry Hughes. The Battle of the Atlantic. London: Butler and Tanner Ltd, 1977. impact of seapower on land operations. In 1942, Ellis, John. Brute Force. New York: Penguin Group, 1990. Allied GDP exceeded Axis GDP by 30%,68 primarily Erlandson, Marcus R. “Lend-Lease: An Assessment of a due to America. While economics may have Government Bureaucracy.” In The Big ’L’: American Logistics been the Allied center of gravity of the war, the in World War II. Edited by Alan Gropman. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1997, 265-292. Atlantic Ocean was a critical vulnerability that Farrell, Brian P. The Basis and Making of British Grand the Germans exploited. Without access to the Strategy, 1940-1943: Was there a Plan? Wales: Edwin Mellen sea as “a medium of transportation,”69 achieved Press, 1998. through BA success, the influence of American Hall, Hessel Duncan. History of the Second World War: North economic might on the European campaign American Supply. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1955. would have been severely curtailed. Winning the Harrison, Mark. Accounting for War: Soviet Production, BA gave Britain access to imports that enabled Employment, and the Defense Burden, 1940-1945. Cambridge: America and Britain to share the victory stage Cambridge University Press, 1996. with the Soviets. In contrast, independent of Harrison, Mark. The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge BA outcome, the Soviets would have emerged University Press, 1998. victorious on the Eastern Front. Herring, G. C. Aid to Russia 1941-1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins of the Cold War. New York: Columbia University WWII’s European outcome had long-lasting Press, 1973. effects on global world order for the rest of the Hurstfield, Joel.History of the Second World War: The Control 20th century. In particular, it led to the Cold of Raw Materials. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1953. War between America (with British support) Kemp, Peter. Decision at Sea: The Convoy Escorts. New York: and the USSR.70 Had the BA turned out Sequoia-Elsevier Publishing Company, 1978. another way, we might be living in a very Leighton, Richard. M., and Coakley, W. Global Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943. Washington, D.C.: Office different world.  of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1955, 20.

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Mierzejewski, Alfred C. The Collapse of the German War 8. dan Van Der Vat, The Atlantic Campaign: World War II’s Economy, 1944-1945: Allied Air Power and the German National Great Struggle at Sea (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), Railway. : University of North Carolina Press., front jacket. 1988. 9. geoffrey Till, Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Milward, Alan S. The German Economy at War. London: Century (Oxon: Frank Cass, 2004), 22. Athlone Press, 1965. 10. Ellis, Brute Force, 133. Nesbit, Roy Conyers. The Battle of the Atlantic. Phoenix: Sutton Publishing Limited, 2002. 11. Overy, Why the Allies Won, 28. Overy, Richard. Why the Allies Won. London: Random House, 12. Ellis, Brute Force, 157. 1995. 13. Ibid., 159. Parker, Robert Alexander Clarke. Struggle for Survival: The 14. Ibid., Table 39. History of the Second World War. Oxford: Oxford University 15. Ships passed through the Atlantic Ocean for the legs Press, 1989. from Gibraltar (if passing through the Mediterranean), Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs. New York: from Cape of Good Hope (if passing through the Indian Simon & Schuster, 1970. Ocean). Of course, ships from the US East Coast sailed through the Atlantic Ocean for the entire duration of Tarrant, V. The U-Boat 1914-1945. Maryland: Naval their passage. Institute Press, 1989. 16. Over 1000 ships were sunk in 1940, totaling 4 million Till, G. Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century. Oxon: tons. Overy, Why the Allies Won, 31. Frank Cass, 2004. 17. Boyne, Clash of Titans: World War II at Sea, 82. Tooze, Adam. The Wages of Destruction. London: Penguin, 2006. 18. Ellis, Brute Force, 133. Townshend, Charles. The Oxford History of Modern War. 19. Overy, Why the Allies Won, 30-48. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 20. Correlli Barnett, The Audit of War (London: Macmillan, Vat, Dan Van Der. The Atlantic Campaign: World War II's Great 1986), 159-168. Struggle at Sea. New York: Harper & Row, 1988. 21. Ibid., 173; Weir, E. “German Submarine , Weir, E. “German Submarine Blockade, Overseas Imports, Overseas Imports, and British Military Production in and British Military Production in World War II.” Journal of World War II.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 6, Military and Strategic Studies 6, no. 1 (2003): 21. no. 1 (2003): 21. 22. In contrast, Germany “fabricated all her own materials Endnotes (for aircraft) despite shortages of certain metals like nickel because of the allied blockade.” Barnett, The 1. martin J. Costello and Terry Hughes, The Battle of the Audit of War, 181. Atlantic (London: Butler and Tanner Ltd, 1977). 23. Overy, Why the Allies Won, 146-183. 2. Walter. J. Boyne, Clash of Titans: World War II at Sea 24. Robert Alexander Clarke Parker, Struggle for Survival: (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 95. The History of the Second World War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 203. 3. charles Townshend, The Oxford History of Modern War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 142. 25. Barnett, The Audit of War, 159-160. 4. John Ellis, Brute Force (New York: Penguin Group, 1990), 26. Ibid., 141-170. 528. 27. overy, Why the Allies Won, 146-147. 5. this was due to competing strategic priorities, 28. This refers to the mixed terrain of woodland and especially on land. By the time Hitler had realized pasture found in France, which the Allies had his mistake and ramped up U-Boat production, the difficulties breaking through. Ibid., 166-178. combination of factors listed in the paragraph above had turned the tide in the Allies’ favor. Ibid., 144; 29. Ellis, Brute Force, 345-388. Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (London: Random House, 1995), 56, 320. 30. R. Compton-Hall, “Submarines,” in The Oxford Companion to World War II, eds. I. Dear and M. Foot 6. overy, Why the Allies Won, 18, 45. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 845. 7. V. Tarrant, The U-Boat Offensive, 1914-1945 (Maryland: 31. To either Britain first, or mainland Europe directly. Naval Institute Press, 1989), 6.

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32. Bevin Alexander, How Hitler could have Won World War 48. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. Michael Howard and II: The Fatal Errors that Led to Nazi Defeat (New York: trans. Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Three Rivers Press, 2000). Press, 1976.) 33. Relative to aid to Britain, American aid to Russia was 49. Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global much more controversial. American public opinion was Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943 (Washington, D.C.: sharply divided. The “American people overwhelmingly Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of preferred a Russian victory (to a German one), but the Army, 1955), 675. they did not approve aid to the USSR,” due to the 50. Marcus. R. Erlandson, “Lend-Lease: An Assessment ideological differences. In the end, Roosevelt decided of a Government Bureaucracy,” in The Big ’L’: to aid the Soviets because he “feared the possibility of American Logistics in World War II, ed. Alan Gropman Communist expansion far less than the fact of fascist (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1997), aggression.” Insufficient aid to the USSR would have 286. inhibited “its capacity to fight, and discouraged its will to resist ... and encouraged Stalin to strike a bargain 51. The Arctic route was the shortest route to the with the enemy.” This aid was approved under the Lend Eastern front, but it was at greatest risk from U-boats Lease program, which gave the American President throughout its voyage. The routes through Iran and sweeping powers to “sell, transfer, exchange, lease, Black Sea faced the U-boat threat off the US East Coast lend, or otherwise dispose of” any item to any nation (Figure 1). Herring, Aid to Russia 1941-1946, 44. whose defense he deemed vital to the security of the 52. Ibid., 586. [US].” G. C. Herring, Aid to Russia 1941-1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins of the Cold War (New York: 53. Carl Boyd, Hitler’s Japanese Confidant: General Oshima Columbia University Press, 1973), 3-51. Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945 (Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1993), 221. 34. Ibid. 54. Such as the Bell Aircraft P-39 Air Cobra, P-53 King 35. Parker, Struggle for Survival, 141. Cobra, B-29s, and C-47s. Herring, Aid to Russia 36. 1945 US Dollars. 1941-1946, 43-73. 37. herring, Aid to Russia 1941-1946, 75, 118. 55. The BA had a positive impact on the Italian campaign. By sustaining Britain, the BA enabled the British to 38. Mark Harrison, Accounting for War: Soviet Production, continue fighting in Italy. Atlantic access also enabled Employment, and the Defense Burden, 1940-1945 troops from the US 5th Army and 82nd Airborne to (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 133. take part in this invasion. Regardless, the magnitude 39. Ellis, Brute Force, Table 30. of this campaign’s overall impact on WWII in Europe is relatively limited, as a stalemate occurred after the 40. Ibid., Table 32. initial Allied victory. 41. ibid., Table 31. 56. Alexander, How Hitler could have Won World War II, 291. 42. Herring, Aid to Russia, 75. 57. Without Operation Overlord, it is likely that most of the 43. Overy, Why the Allies Won, 63-100. 56 German divisions allocated to fight the Americans and British would have been re-allocated to the Eastern 44. Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, 588. front. However, some may have been left behind for 45. Tangentially, this argument also implies that even if the general defense duties. Britain surrendered as a result of BA failure, and the 58. Ellis, Brute Force, 346. Americans consequently ceased aid to the Soviets, the Soviets could still have defeated the Germans. 59. Ibid., 38. 46. The tables suggest that the Germans only reached 60. E.g. rifles, machine guns, guns, mortars and aircraft. parity/out-produced the Russians in fighter and jet 61. Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction (London: aircraft. However, the Soviets out-produced the Penguin, 2006); Alan S. Milward, The German Economy Germans 1.3:1 if one looks at combat aircraft, more at War (London: Athlone Press, 1965). broadly defined. We will also later argue that German production was not sustainable due to the lack of 62. According to Speer, these vehicles included “planes, materials. tanks, motor vehicles, tank shells, U-boats, and almost the gamut of artillery.” Albert Speer, Inside the Third 47. for instance, that American tanks (e.g. medium and light Reich: Memoirs (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970). M-3 tanks, Matildas, and Valentines), aircraft (e.g. P-39 63. (Alexander, 2000, p. 88) Alexander, How Hitler could Airacobras and Kittyhawk), and trucks (particularly the have Won World War II, 88. Studebaker truck) were of better quality than the Soviet equivalents. Herring, Aid to Russia 1941-1946, 117. 64. Ellis, Brute Force, Table 35.

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65. Speer, Inside the Third Reich, 316. 68. Harrison, The Economics of World War II, 7. 66. Mark Harrison, The Economics of World War II: Six 69. Till, Seapower, 25. Great Powers in International Comparison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 10, 15. 70. Herring, Aid to Russia 1941-1946. 67. overy, Why the Allies Won, 98.

LTC He Ruimin is currently the Commanding Officer of the missile RSS Valour. LTC He was the Top Graduate (Navy) at the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College in 2011.

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