Day: October 12, 2016

ww2 facts, Hawker Hurricane


The image above is Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC PZ865 in ww2

1. Hawker Hurricane was a fighter designed by Britain before World War II broke out. It was one of the main air forces of the Royal Air Force during WWII. This model of aircraft was produced over 14500 in total. In WWII, another famous fighter of Britain was Supermarine Spitfire. The latter was produced more than 20000.

2. After France was defeated, Germany intended to force Britain to withdraw out of the war in a short time too. Then the Battle of Britain broke out in order to capture British air control. In the air battle deciding the whole process of WWII, Hawker Hurricane played a decisive role. Among the German aircrafts shot down, 60% were shot by Hawker Hurricane. But most bombers shot down by Hawker Hurricane were German bombers and Supermarine Spitfire was mainly responsible for fighting with German fighters. This is because the latter had newer fighter. In addition, James Brindley Nicolson, the only one obtained Victoria Cross in the Battle of Britain, drove Hawker Hurricane.

3. In order to enhance production rate, many British companies were involved in manufacturing Hawker Hurricane besides Hawker Aircraft. Even factories in Canada produced such aircrafts. 1400 aircrafts were produced in Canada, accounting for about 10% of the overall productivity. Because of the simple design, it took only one third of the production time of Supermarine Spitfire to manufacturing Hawker Hurricane.

4. Hawker Hurricane took part in military operations in most theatres, including the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, the North African Campaign. Such aircrafts were even used in Burma and Sri Lanka. During the Battle of France, only 66 out of 452 such aircrafts deployed in France finally returned back to Britain and the remaining were all lost. But among the remaining, only about a half of them were destroyed in battles and others were abandoned in airports of France. This situation is because that the Allies was quickly defeated in the Battle of France and even did not have the time to retreat. In the North Africa Campaign, Hawker Hurricane not only participated in air battles, but also attack ground targets. During the El Alamein Campaign, such aircrafts destroyed many armored targets of the Germans.

5. Hawker Hurricane was also handed over in a large amount to the Soviet Union to use in the war. During the whole war, about 3000 such aircrafts were handed over in total. They were the first batch in the more than 18000 aircrafts of the Allies received by the Soviet Union in WWII. This is a really large number, because during the Battle of Britain, there were less than 2000 aircrafts that the whole Royal Air Force could use. In addition, the Royal Air Force sent pilots of fleets to train pilots from the Soviet Union to help them use such aircrafts. Many of them were transported from the Arctic Ocean to the Murmansk Port by the Royal Navy. Although some pilots from the Soviet Union reckoned that the performance of such aircrafts were low, other pilots liked this aircraft. There was no consensus about this. In fact, Hawker Hurricane was an older aircraft in WWII. Its first flight was in 1935 and in 1937 it was already equipped for the troops.

6. Hawker Hurricane was also used by the Royal Navy. It was equipped in aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy, which was slightly different and was usually called Sea Hurricane.

7. Marmaduke Pattle was the pilot who drove Hawker Hurricane to shoot down the most enemy planes. He shot down 50 enemy planes in total during WWII, of which 35 were shot down by driving Hawker Hurricane. He died in the Battle of Greece in 1941. Frank Reginald Carey shot down 28 enemy planes using such aircraft and ranked the second. But Carey luckily survived the war and died till in 2004.

8. Hawker Hurricane had a lot of variants. Sea Hurricane mentioned before was one of them. Because the aircraft was continuously improved, many new variants emerged.

9. Besides Britain, armies of many governments in exile were also equipped with such aircrafts, for example, the well-known No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron in the Battle of Britain. Moreover, the governments in exile of Free France, Czechoslovakia, Greece and so on were equipped with such aircrafts as well. Except the U.S., only the Republic of China did not equip such aircrafts in the major countries of the Allies.

ww2 facts, Kriegsmarine

1. Kriegsmarine especially refers to the German Navy during the period of Nazi Germany. Germany used this name to replace the original name of Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic Navy in 1935.

2. Which naval unit was the most famous to which Kriegsmarine belonged?
Nazi Navy submarine force was the most famous one, because it caused huge damages to the sea lines of communication of the Allies and sunk some large-scale warships of the Allies, making the German submarines well known.

3. What was the difference of Kriegsmarine compared with the German Navy of the period of the First World War?
Before the First World War broke out, Germany was not a country suffering a defeat and was not subject the relevant international treaties. It therefore had a large-sized naval fleet and with the Royal Navy in the First World War had the famous Battle of Jutland. After the First World War ended, the German Navy scuttled all its ships to avoid being captured by the Allies. And the Treaty of Versailles signed after World War I provided strict limitation on the German navy, so in a very long time it was only a very small naval force. Kriegsmarine during World War II, in fact, only developed into a large scale in 1935. The fleet size was incomparable with the German Navy during the First World War. Because of this, the only targets of Kriegsmarine could only be British merchant ships, because the strength of Kriegsmarine during World War II was unable to afford direct engagement with the Royal Navy. Although Kriegsmarine during World War II used the battleship Bismarck to sink the British battle cruiser Hood, that was only sea battle broke out between small fleets. And only a few days after, Bismarck was tracked and was sunk by a large number of Royal Navy ships. There were never situations that Germany and Britain each gathered dozens of large surface ships for a decisive sea battle during World War II.

4. Who was the most famous commander of Kriegsmarine during World War II?
The most famous Kriegsmarine commander during World War II might be Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) Karl Dönitz. He had served successively as commander of the German submarine force, commander in chief of Kriegsmarine and eventually even succeeded Hitler as German head of state. Dönitz was so famous because of the submarine force he commanded. Due to insufficient strength of surface ships, they could not have engagement with the Allies. German submarines during World War II played a very important role. As the commander of the submarine force, Dönitz applied the famous Wolfpack to give a heavy blow to the sea lines of communication of the Allied. It was also because of brilliant records of the submarine forces, Dönitz eventually took over from Raeder the position of commander in chief of Kriegsmarine. Another prominent figure of Kriegsmarine during World War II was Raeder who since the 1920s had started his longtime positions of Reichsmarine and Kriegsmarine commanders till the outbreak of serious differences with Hitler and his resignation in 1943. Although Raeder was not as famous as Dönitz, his contribution and influence to Kriegsmarine was not less than the latter.

5. Which battleship was the most famous one of Kriegsmarine during World War II?
Like the question who is the most famous commander, in fact there is no standard answer to such questions. Many people think World War II’s most famous ship was battleship Bismarck, because in a small number of battles involving surface ships during World War II between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy, battleship Bismarck played an important role. In the Battle of the Denmark Strait, battleship Bismarck sank the Royal Navy battle cruiser Hood. The latter was built in the end of the First World War with water displacement of nearly 50,000 tons, equivalent to that of Bismarck. It was once the naval warship with the largest tonnage in the world. And its achievement was also the greatest gained by German surface ships during World War II. In fact, in order to intercept Bismarck, the Royal Navy dispatched a large number of ships. Only battleships, battle cruisers, aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers dispatched were 12, seven light cruisers were 7 and destroyers were 14. Although Bismarck sank the Hood lucky, in the next few days it was chased by a large number of Royal Navy ships. Finally, it was surrounded and sunk by the Royal Navy.

6. Why the Kriegsmarine was defeated World War II?
Because of the difference in power before the war, the probability of winning of the Kriegsmarine in World War II would have been not that big. Due to the outstanding performance of the Army and Air Force, France withdrew in a short period out of the war. So the Kriegsmarine did not need to face the joint navy of Britain and France, and therefore narrowed the gap with the opponent and gave the opponent an almost fatal blow on the sea lines of communication. But the Kriegsmarine never catch up with its main rival the Royal Navy. After the U.S. Navy joined the war, the Kriegsmarine must face the enemy with almost overwhelming advantages. Moreover, the Allied did the intelligence work well and successfully decipher the code used by the Germans, enabling them to understand their movements before the German actually took actions. After the Allied fully strengthened convoy of the transport lines, the number of merchant ships sunk by the Kriegsmarine declined significantly and could no longer pose a huge threat to the Allied navy.