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An Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier (June 1940 - May 1944)

An Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier (June 1940 - May 1944)

Although Britain had increased military spending and funding prior to 1939 in response to the increasing strength of Nazi Germany, its forces were still weak by comparison - especially the British Army. Only the Royal Navy was of a greater strength than its German counterpart. The British army only had nine divisions available for war, whereas Germany had 78 and France 86.

When France fell in 1940, the position changed drastically. A combination of the French, German and Italian navies could potentially deny Britain command of the Atlantic and starve the country into submission. Unable to discover whether the terms of the French surrender would permit Germany the use of French warships, it was decided that their use must be denied to the enemy. Those that had taken refuge in British ports were simply taken over (many volunteered to join the British). See below for details of how the British neutralised the French Mediterranean Fleet.

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US Studebaker US6 (M16A) 6x6 2-1/2 Ton Truck - CIAB (Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade), Northampton, England, April 1944 US Studebaker US6 (M16A) 6x6 2-1/2 Ton Truck - CIAB (Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade), Northampton, England, April 1944 (1:43 Scale)

The Studebaker US6 (M16A) is a class of 2.5-ton trucks manufactured by Studebaker during World War II, produced in the United States from 19411945 and in the Soviet Union beginning in 1942.

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British Matilda II CDL Canal Defense Lights Tank - 11th Royal Tank Regiment, Dover, England, 1940 British Matilda II CDL Canal Defense Lights Tank - 11th Royal Tank Regiment, Dover, England, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Mark I Matilda was developed in response to a 1934 requirement for a close-support infantry tank. Well armored for its day, it was, nevertheless, a small, simple tank. Despite being sturdy enough to withstand hits from most German tank guns in the early stages of WWII, it was too poorly armed to be of much use as the war progressed.

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British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank - "Sprinter IV", 48th Royal Tank Regiment, England, 1942 British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank - "Sprinter IV", 48th Royal Tank Regiment, "The Homeguard", England, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

The "Churchill" began life as a 1939 requirement that envisaged a return to trench-warfare, and was therefore slow and heavily armored like the Russian KV-1 series. That said, the final Churchill prototype was much lighter than had first been thought acceptable, although it still resembled a World War I tank in appearance.

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