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War in the Atlantic

War in the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943. The Battle of the Atlantic pitted U-boats and other warships of the Kriegsmarine (German navy) and aircraft of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) against the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Navy, the United States Navy, and Allied merchant shipping. The convoys, coming mainly from North America and predominantly going to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, were protected for the most part by the British and Canadian navies and air forces. These forces were aided by ships and aircraft of the United States from September 13th, 1941. The Germans were joined by submarines of the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) after their Axis ally Italy entered the war on June 10th, 1940.

As an island nation, the United Kingdom was highly dependent on imported goods. Britain required more than a million tons of imported material per week in order to be able to survive and fight. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was a tonnage war: the Allied struggle to supply Britain and the Axis attempt to stem the flow of merchant shipping that enabled Britain to keep fighting. From 1942 onwards, the Germans also sought to prevent the build-up of Allied supplies and equipment in the British Isles in preparation for the invasion of occupied Europe. The defeat of the U-boat threat was a prerequisite for pushing back the Germans, Winston Churchill later wrote,

The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war. Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea or in the air depended ultimately on its outcome.
- Winston Churchill

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German Kriegsmarine Type VII U-Boat - 1941 German Kriegsmarine Type VII U-Boat - 1941 [Clam Shell Packaging] (1:1100 Scale)

Type VII U-boats were the workhorses of the German World War II U-boot-waffe. Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) (set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine know-how and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles) and built by shipyards around the world; the Finnish Vetehinen class and Spanish Type E-1.

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German Kriegsmarine Type IXC U-Boat - U-156, 1942 German Kriegsmarine Type IXC U-Boat - U-156, 1942 (1:700 Scale)

The Type IX U-boat was designed by Germany in 1935 and 1936 as a large ocean-going submarine for sustained operations far from the home support facilities. Type IX boats were briefly used for patrols off the eastern United States, in an attempt to disrupt the stream of troops and supplies bound for Europe.

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German Kriegsmarine Type VIIB U-Boat German Kriegsmarine Type VIIB U-Boat (1:700 Scale)

Type VII U-boats were the workhorses of the German World War II U-boot-waffe. Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) (set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine know-how and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles) and built by shipyards around the world; the Finnish Vetehinen class and Spanish Type E-1.

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Royal Navy Admiral Class Battlecruiser - HMS Hood (51) Royal Navy Admiral Class Battlecruiser - HMS Hood (51) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Hood (pennant number 51) was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four Admiral-class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916, her design - although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction - still had serious limitations.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck (1:1250 Scale)

The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

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German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class Battleship - DKM Scharnhorst German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class Battleship - DKM Scharnhorst (1:1250 Scale)

Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau.

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German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Graf Spee German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Graf Spee (1:1250 Scale)

Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser (originally termed Panzerschiff or armoured ship, sometimes referred to as "pocket battleship") which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II.

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German Kriegsmarine Admiral Hipper Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Prinz Eugen German Kriegsmarine Admiral Hipper Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Prinz Eugen (1:1250 Scale)

Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third member of the class of five vessels. She served with the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during World War II.

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German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Scheer German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Scheer (1:1250 Scale)

Admiral Scheer was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser (often termed a pocket battleship) which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Tirpitz German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Tirpitz (1:1250 Scale)

Tirpitz was the second Bismarck class battleship of the German Kriegsmarine, sister ship of Bismarck, named after Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. She was the largest battleship ever built in Europe, with dimensions slightly exceeding those of her sister ship.

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Royal Navy Ark Royal Class Aircraft Carrier Royal Navy Ark Royal Class Aircraft Carrier - HMS Ark Royal (91) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Ark Royal (pennant number 91) was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that served during the Second World War. Designed in 1934 to fit the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and Company, Ltd. at Birkenhead, England, and completed in November 1938.

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Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser - HMS Repulse Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser - HMS Repulse (34) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Repulse was a Renown-class battlecruiser of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. Originally laid down as an improved version of the Revenge-class battleships, her construction was suspended on the outbreak of war because she would not be ready in a timely manner.

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Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship - HMS Warspite Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship - HMS Warspite (03) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Warspite was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Her thirty-year career covered both world wars and took her across the Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Pacific Oceans.

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Royal Navy  Class Heavy Cruiser - HMS Exeter Royal Navy Class Heavy Cruiser - HMS Exeter (68) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Exeter, pennant number 68, was a York-class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that served in World War II. She was laid down on 1 August 1928 at the Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon.

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Royal Navy Revenge Class Battleship - HMS Ramillies Royal Navy Revenge Class Battleship - HMS Ramillies (07) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Ramillies (pennant number: 07) was one of five Revenge-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during World War I. She was completed after the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and saw no combat during the war.

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Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Rodney Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Rodney (29) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. The ship was named after Admiral Lord Rodney.

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Royal Navy Vanguard Class Battleship - HMS Vanguard (23) Royal Navy Vanguard Class Battleship - HMS Vanguard (23) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Vanguard was a British fast battleship built during World War II and commissioned after the war. She was the only ship of her class and was the biggest, fastest and last of the Royal Navy's battleships and the final battleship to be launched in the world.

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Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship - HMS King George V (41) Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship - HMS King George V (41) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS King George V (pennant number 41) was the lead ship of the five British King George V-class battleships of the Royal Navy. Laid down in 1937 and commissioned in 1940, King George V operated during the Second World War as part of the British Home and Pacific Fleets.

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Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship - HMS Anson (79) Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship - HMS Anson (79) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Anson was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, named after Admiral George Anson. She was built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Shipyard and launched on February 24th, 1940, being completed on June 22nd, 1942.

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Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser - HMS Renown (72) Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser - HMS Renown (72) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Renown was the lead ship of her class of battlecruisers of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. She was originally laid down as an improved version of the Revenge-class battleships. Her construction was suspended on the outbreak of war on the grounds she would not be ready in a timely manner.

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Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Nelson Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Nelson (28) (1:1250 Scale)

HMS Nelson (pennant number 28) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy between the two World Wars. She was named in honour of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson the victor at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck, Operation Rheinubung, Gotenhafen, Poland, May 1941 German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck, Operation Rheinubung, Gotenhafen, Poland, May 1941 (1:1000 Scale)

The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck's fame came from the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 (in which the battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk), from Churchill's subsequent order to "Sink the Bismarck", and from the relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy that ended with her loss only three days later.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck, Operation Rheinubung, Bergen, Norway, 1941 German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck, Operation Rheinubung, Bergen, Norway, 1941 (1:1000 Scale)

The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck's fame came from the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 (in which the battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk), from Churchill's subsequent order to "Sink the Bismarck", and from the relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy that ended with her loss only three days later.

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Royal Navy Admiral Class Battlecruiser - HMS Hood (51) [With Collector Magazine] Royal Navy Admiral Class Battlecruiser - HMS Hood (51) [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

HMS Hood (pennant number 51) was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four Admiral-class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916, her design - although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction - still had serious limitations. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be completed. She was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck [With Collector Magazine] German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Bismarck [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

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German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Tirpitz [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale) German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship - DKM Tirpitz [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

Tirpitz was the second Bismarck class battleship of the German Kriegsmarine, sister ship of Bismarck, named after Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. She was the largest battleship ever built in Europe, with dimensions slightly exceeding those of her sister ship.

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French Marine Nationale Dunkerque Class Battleship - Dunkerque [With Collector Magazine] French Marine Nationale Dunkerque Class Battleship - Dunkerque [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

Dunkerque was the lead ship of the Dunkerque class of battleships built for the French Navy in the 1930s. The class also included Strasbourg. The two ships were the first capital ships to be built by the French Navy after World War I; the planned Normandie and Lyon classes had been cancelled at the outbreak of war, and budgetary problems prevented the French from building new battleships in the decade after the war.

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Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Nelson (28) [With Collector Magazine] Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship - HMS Nelson (28) [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

HMS Nelson (pennant number 28) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy between the two World Wars. She was named in honour of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson the victor at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Graf Spee [With Collector Magazine] German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Admiral Graf Spee [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser (originally termed Panzerschiff or armoured ship, sometimes referred to as "pocket battleship") which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II.

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German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Scharnhorst [With Collector Magazine] German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class Heavy Cruiser - DKM Scharnhorst [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)

Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau.

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