Reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re about to fight a battle, would you rather have a larger fleet, or a smaller but more advanced one? One hundred years ago, on May 31 1916, the British Royal Navy was about to find out if its choice of a larger fleet was the correct one. At the Battle of Jutland – as the major naval battle of World War I is known in English – these choices were unusually influenced by mathematics.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Finding shipwrecks isn’t easy – it’s a combination of survivor reports, excellent archival research, a highly skilled team, top equipment and some good old-fashioned luck.
And that’s just what happened with the recent discovery of SS Iron Crown, lost off the coast of Victoria in Bass Strait during the second world war.
Reading time: 4 minutes
When Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 – a bold invasion of Nazi-held territory that helped tip the balance of World War II – they were using a remarkable and entirely untested technology: artificial ports.
To stage what was then the largest seaborne assault in history, the American, British and Canadian armies needed to get at least 150,000 soldiers, military personnel and all their equipment ashore on day one of the invasion.
Reading time: 5 minutes
In September 1941 the British press enthralled its readers with a story of naval heroism that the public, battered by German bombing and strict rationing, was crying out for: a tale of survival against the odds.
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When war broke out in the Northern Hemisphere in 1939, the British called upon their Australian allies for support. The Australian government responded by sending five navy destroyers – HMAS Stuart, Vendetta, Vampire, Voyager and Waterhen.
Reading time: 7 minutes
On the afternoon of 12 February 1944, travelling in a convoy from Mombasa to Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka), troopship SS Khedive Ismail was struck by two Japanese torpedoes just south-west of the Maldives. Hit directly in the vicinity of its engine and boiler rooms, the ship sank within just two minutes of the attack. Of the 1,506 passengers and crew on board, mostly military personnel, there were little more than 200 survivors.
On his first journey Cook mapped the east coast of Australia, on his second the British Admiralty sent him into the vast Southern Ocean. Equipped with one of the first accurate chronometers, Cook pushed his small vessel not merely into the Roaring Forties or the Furious Fifties but become the first explorer to penetrate the Antarctic Circle, reaching an incredible Latitude 71 degrees South, just failing to discover Antarctica.
Among the flood of centenary anniversaries and commemorations, one that slipped past without comment was the destruction of the German cruiser Konigsberg in East Africa on 11 July 1915. Although less well-known than her sister raider Emden, Konigsberg managed to survive for eight months longer. By then, she was the last of the original batch of warships and armed merchant […]
Less than two months after the devastating surprise attack at Pearl Harbour, the US Navy was on the offensive. They carried out several raids on Japanese territory in the Pacific. The Raid on the Marshall and Gilbert IslandsFebruary 1, 1942 The first offensive operation by Task Forces of the United States Pacific Fleet in the […]
One of the Great War’s abiding myths is that the German High Sea Fleet never emerged again after the Battle of Jutland to face the Grand Fleet until the ignominious internment of its major units in November 1918. In reality, the Germans mounted another operation before the summer of 1916 had ended. As soon as […]
The Battle of Savo Island The Battle of Savo Island occurred early in the morning on 9 August 1942 when the the Japanese 8th Fleet surprised the Allied Task Force shortly after the landing at Guadalcanal. In approximately 37 minutes, the Japanese Navy destroyed four Allied heavy cruisers and killed more than 1000 American and Australian sailors, handing […]
To the Axis Powers, the Australian flotilla that fought in the Mediterranean during the Second World War appeared to be no threat. Anyone looking at the old, small and slow destroyer group would think the same. Soon, however, the Axis and the rest of the world would learn just how formidable it was. The ‘Scrap […]
Reading time: 9 minutes
The Battle of Cape Spada was a short, violent encounter on the 19th of July, 1940 where the cruiser HMAS Sydney of the Royal Australian Navy sank one Italian cruiser and severely damaged another off the coast of Crete. In this article, we go over the events of that day, as well as what life was like for the crew of the ship.
It remains one of history’s best-known naval tragedies – and mysteries. The loss of all 129 men of the 1845 Royal Navy expedition led by Captain Sir John Franklin to navigate a north-west passage through the Arctic remains an enigma. The only informative document to be recovered from the expedition was a single page that reported initial […]
By Andrew Lambert, King’s College London. Modern understanding of World War I is dominated by the immense human cost of the war on land with its trenches, artillery and machine guns – but the war was won by sea power. In August 1914 Britain, the greatest naval power of the age, controlled the oceans, cutting […]