Operation ‘Postmaster’

May 23, 2016

Occurring on 13 January 1942, this was a British seizure of Axis shipping in Santa Isabel harbour on the neutral Spanish island of Fernando Pó (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea) in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa. The operation was undertaken by the Special Operations Executive’s ‘Maid Honor’ Force, so-named for […]

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Operation ‘Tracer’ – a British oddity in the defence of Gibraltar

May 16, 2016

Gibraltar was rightly seen by the British in World War II as one of the three keys to the Mediterranean, and thus the prosecution of the war against Italy after that country had declared war on the UK on 10 June 1940. With the Far East and Australasia vital to British strategic, political and economic […]

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Warships that never were – the Soviet ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleship (II)

May 9, 2016

The main armament of the ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleships was based on a trio of electrically powered MK-1 turrets, each with three 16-in (406-mm) B-37 L/50 guns. These guns could be depressed to -2° and elevated to +45°, had a fixed loading angle of 6° and their rate of fire varied with the time required […]

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Warships that never were – the Soviet ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleship (I)

May 2, 2016

The ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class comprised four battleships which were started in the late 1930s but not completed. Designed in response to the battleships being built by Germany, the class was to have totalled 16 ships, but in the event only four had been laid down by 1940, it was decided to curtail the programme to […]

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Warships that never were – the US ‘Montana’ class battleship (II)

April 18, 2016

The secondary armament of the ‘Montana’ class battleships was planned as 20 5-in (127-mm) L/54 guns in 10 turrets located as five on each side of the ships’ central superstructure ‘island’. Designed specifically for the ‘Montana’ class ships, these guns were to replace the 5-in (127-mm) L/38 guns of the secondary batteries then in widespread […]

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Warships that never were – the US ‘Montana’ class battleship (I)

April 11, 2016

The ‘Montana’ class of battleships planned by the United States Navy were schemed as successors to the ‘Iowa’ class ships, but reverted to a more traditional concept inasmuch as they were slower but larger, better armoured and more heavily armed. Five such ships were approved for construction in World War II, but a major change […]

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Warships that never were – the British ‘Lion’ class

April 4, 2016

The ‘Lion’ class was to have comprised six battleships, and was designed for the Royal Navy in the late 1930s as what was in essence a larger and improved version of the ‘King George V’ class battleship with 16-in (406-mm) guns. The class design changed several times in response to the removal of treaty restrictions […]

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The German ‘P’ class pocket battleship

March 28, 2016

The ‘P’ class was planned as a group of no fewer than 12 heavy cruisers to succeed the three ‘Deutschland’ class cruisers, known to the British as pocket battleships, in the long-endurance commerce raiding role. Work on the type began in 1937 and continued until 1939, and in this time no fewer than nine designs […]

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The German ‘H-39’ Class Battleship

March 21, 2016

When the ‘Z-Plan’ was authorised by Adolf Hitler on 18 January 1939 for the upgrade of the German Navy on the basis that World War II would not be triggered until 1942, its heavyweight core was six ‘H’ class battleships. In its initial form, the new type of battleship was to be of the ‘H-39’ […]

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Fighters which did not make the cut – the Lockheed F-90

March 14, 2016

With its P-80 Shooting Star firmly established in production during 1945, in July of that year Lockheed was able to commit its development team to the start of work on a more advanced fighter. The first step in this process was the creation of a number of conceptual designs, and these eventually totalled more than […]

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