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5 May 1941

5 May 1941


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5 May 1941

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East Africa

Haile Selassie makes his return to Addis Ababa



5 May 1941 - History

USS Yorktown , a 19,800 ton aircraft carrier built at Newport News, Virginia, was commissioned on 30 September 1937. Operating in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas until April 1939, she then spent the next two years in the Pacific. In May 1941 Yorktown returned to the Atlantic, patrolling actively during the troubled months preceding the outbreak of war between the United States and the Axis powers.

Two weeks after the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Yorktown transited the Panama Canal to reinforce the badly damaged Pacific Fleet. The carrier's first combat operation was the Marshalls-Gilberts raid in early February 1942. Yorktown then steamed to the South Pacific, where she participated in a series of raids and other operations that climaxed in the Battle of Coral Sea in early May. In this action, in which she was damaged by enemy bombs, her planes attacked two Japanese aircraft carriers, helping to sink Shoho and damaging Shokaku .

Quick repairs at Pearl Harbor put Yorktown into good enough condition to participate in the Battle of Midway on 4-6 June 1942. During this great turning point of the Pacific War, her air group fatally damaged the Japanese aircraft carrier Soryu and shared in the destruction of the carrier Hiryu and cruiser Mikuma . However, successive strikes by dive bombers and torpedo planes from Hiryu seriously damaged Yorktown , causing her abandonment during the afternoon of 4 June. Two days later, while salvage efforts were underway, the Japanese submarine I-168 torpedoed both the damaged carrier and the destroyer Hammann , sinking the latter immediately and Yorktown shortly after daybreak on 7 June 1942. USS Yorktown 's wreck was discovered and examined in May 1998, in surprisingly good condition after fifty-six years beneath more than three miles of sea water.

This page features a special selection of images concerning USS Yorktown (CV-5), chosen from the more extensive coverage referenced in the links provided below.

For more comprehensive picture coverage on this ship, her crew and activities, see:

  • Overall Views of USS Yorktown :
    • USS Yorktown in 1937
    • USS Yorktown in Hampton Roads, 30 October 1937
    • USS Yorktown in 1938-41 and
    • USS Yorktown in 1942.
    • USS Yorktown Operating on 4 June 1942
    • Japanese Attacks on USS Yorktown , 4 June 1942
    • USS Yorktown Salvage and Torpedoing, 5-7 June 1942
    • Sinking of USS Yorktown , 7 June 1942 and
    • Survivors of USS Yorktown Return to Pearl Harbor.

    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

    Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

    Photographed during builder's trials, May 1937.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 87KB 740 x 565 pixels

    Anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 30 October 1937.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 100KB 740 x 585 pixels

    Anchored in a Haitian harbor, circa 1938-40.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 100KB 740 x 535 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    Operating in the vicinity of the Coral Sea, April 1942. Photographed from a TBD-1 torpedo plane that has just taken off from her deck. Other TBD and SBD aircraft are also ready to be launched. A F4F-3 "Wildcat" fighter is parked on the outrigger just forward of the island.
    Other ships in company include a fleet oiler, a destroyer and a heavy cruiser.
    This view has been retouched to censor the radar antenna mounted atop Yorktown 's foremast.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 123KB 740 x 600 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    Bombing Squadron Five (VB-5) SBD-3 aircraft spotted forward on the flight deck, during operations in the Coral Sea, April 1942.
    VB-5 painted individual plane numbers on the engine cowling, as seen here. Scouting Squadron Five (VS-5) planes had the numbers on the wing leading edge.

    Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, 1984.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 106KB 740 x 615 pixels

    In Dry Dock # 1 at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 29 May 1942, receiving urgent repairs for damage received in the Battle of Coral Sea. She left Pearl Harbor the next day to participate in the Battle of Midway.
    USS West Virginia (BB-48), sunk in the 7 December 1941 Japanese air attack, is being salvaged in the left distance.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 88KB 740 x 620 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    Battle of Midway, June 1942

    Scene on board USS Yorktown (CV-5), shortly after she was hit by three Japanese bombs on 4 June 1942. Dense smoke is from fires in her uptakes, caused by a bomb that punctured them and knocked out her boilers.
    Taken by Photographer 2rd Class William G. Roy from the starboard side of the flight deck, just in front of the forward 5"/38 gun gallery. Man with hammer at right is probably covering a bomb entry hole in the forward elevator.
    Note arresting gear cables and forward palisade elements on the flight deck CXAM radar antenna, large national ensign and YE homing beacon antenna atop the foremast 5"/38, .50 caliber and 1.1" guns manned and ready at left.
    This view forms a panorama with Photo # 80-G-312019.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 119KB 700 x 645 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    Battle of Midway, June 1942

    USS Yorktown (CV-5) is hit on the port side, amidships, by a Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedo during the mid-afternoon attack by planes from the carrier Hiryu , 4 June 1942.
    Photographed from USS Pensacola (CA-24).
    Yorktown is heeling to port and is seen at a different aspect than in other views taken by Pensacola , indicating that this is the second of the two torpedo hits she received.
    Note very heavy anti-aircraft fire.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 87KB 740 x 620 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    Battle of Midway, June 1942

    USS Yorktown (CV-5) being abandoned by her crew after she was hit by two Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedoes, 4 June 1942.
    USS Balch (DD-363) is standing by at right.
    Note oil slick surrounding the damaged carrier, and inflatable life raft being deployed off her stern.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 104KB 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

    For more comprehensive picture coverage on this ship, her crew and activities, see:


    May 1941- USN and KMS Bismarck

    In MAY 1941, did FDR or the Navy Dept give some kind of secret order for ships to sink Bismarck if they encountered her at sea?

    Re: May 1941- USN and KMS Bismarck
    Jason Atkinson 06.02.2019 13:50 (в ответ на Andrew Macomber)

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


    We consulted with colleagues that specialize in Naval records and they were not aware of such an order.  A search of the series "Index to Security-Classified Correspondence, 1940-1947" (NAID 2678553) did not turn up any documents relating to the Bismarck in the series "Security-Classified Correspondence, 1940-1947" (ARC Identifier 2678509) .  However, we do have some Intelligence Division files relating to the KMS Bismarck . It is possible that there may be additional records related to any interest the U.S. Navy may have taken in the Bismarck in the Records of Naval Operating Forces (Record Group 313) and the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) .  For questions about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at [email protected] .  For presidential records, please contact the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum via their Ask the Archivists page .

    We hope that this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


    5 May 1941 - History

    -History of H.M.S. Hood-
    The Battle of the Denmark Strait, May 24th 1941
    Written by Antonio Bonomi & translated by Phil Isaacs
    Updated 11-Jul-2018

    The following article was written by Antonio Bonomi of Italy. It was originally published (in Italian) in the December 2005 edition of "Storia Militare" (N. 147 - ANNO XIII). It was subsequently translated into English by Antonio with further refinement by Phil Isaacs.

    Disclaimer: We present this article as a plausible alternative view of the Battle of the Denmark Strait. Simply put, we feel that its impossible to ever precisely determine all aspects of this battle with 100% certainty. Its also problematic to judge the actions of the key commanding officers without knowing exactly what they knew at that time. Nevertheless, although we may not 100% agree with everything stated, this reconstruction does remain plausible. It is certainly one of the most thorough and probably accurate reconstructions of this battle. You, the reader, are invited to make up your own mind by reviewing the original battle documentation after you read this article.

    After 30 seconds ( at 05:53) &ndash as agreed previously between the 2 British warships in order to be able to verify correctly the shell splashes independently &ndash the Prince of Wales opened fire from 26,500 yards (24,221 meters) on Bismarck on a bearing of 335°. In this case its certain that only the forward turret group (A and B ) fired, (bearing 35° to starboard ) so 2 + 4 = 6 shells of 356 mm went toward the Bismarck, falling long about 1,500 meters on the right, astern of the German battleship (23).

    On Prinz Eugen's command bridge the distance of the Hood and Prince of Wales was estimated long. Their estimate at 05:53 (24) was 31,728 yards (29,000 meters). In reality, the Hood and Prince of Wales were only at 22,000 meters.

    The Bismarck increased her speed to 30 knots, decreasing the distance with Prinz Eugen sailing ahead of her at 27 knots. The main artillery was ready to open fire and the First Artillery Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adalbert Schneider, requested from the command bridge permission to do so, but no answer came back to him (25). The Hood's second salvo fell close to Prinz Eugen which probably during this time used her depth charges type WBD in order to confuse enemy spotters (26).

    The Prince of Wales second salvo landed close to the Bismarck from 26,000 yards (23,764 meters) on a bearing of 334° it was again long and with only 5 shells instead of 6 because 1 gun of the quadruple A turret went out of action (from that moment on, the Prince of Wales lost that gun and fired with 5 out of 6 forward 14 inch/356 mm guns).

    Lieutenant Burkard von Müllheneim-Rechberg, third artillery officer and in charge of the Bismarck's aft rangefinder, was ordered by Admiral Lütjens to closely watch the movements of the two British heavy cruisers which were stationed aft on each side of the German formation. This order confirms the validity of Admiral Tovey&rsquos theory of the simultaneous attack of the four British ships against the two German ones. Even the German Admiral was expecting that this would probably happen (27).

    At 05:54 the British warships changed their course again, turning 20° to port from 300° to 280°. This turn opened the &lsquoA arcs&lsquo allowing the Prince of Wales's Y turret to bear toward the enemy and opened further the Hood's aft turrets bearing angles. Now the turrets were firing at 56° to starboard for the Hood and at 54° to starboard for the Prince of Wales and this was allowing both the British battleships to fully utilize their main artillery.

    Meanwhile the Hood fired her third salvo on the Prinz Eugen missing the target while the Prince of Wales fired her third salvo from 24,375 yards (22,278 meters) on a bearing of 334° and the fourth from 23,600 yards (21,570 meters) on a bearing of 333°, both with 5 guns.

    On board Prinz Eugen, distances started being correctly measured by the First Artillery Officer Lieutenant Paulus Jasper who, based on rangefinder measurements, evaluated the target (Hood) to be at 22,975 yards (21,000 meters), prepared to open fire (28). He waited for permission to do so from the Bismarck. The estimate was accurate and in-line with the measurement of the Hood related to the Prinz Eugen, plus corrected the previous incorrect estimates made on the German cruiser's command bridge at 05:50 and at 05:53 (one can see that the distance between the 2 ships cannot be reduced by 8,000 meters within 1 minute by considering the ships relative position, course and speed ).

    On the Bismarck command bridge Captain Lindemann heard thru the interphone, for the second time, Schneider&rsquos request to have &ldquofreedom to fire&rdquo, while the salvoes of Prince of Wales fell around the German battleship. The engagement was ongoing and the Admiral had not yet given his approval to open fire. His ship was clearly already engaged so he felt that it was his duty to respond immediately to the enemy fire. It has been reported that he said &ldquo(Ich lasse mir (doch) nicht mein Schiff unter meinem Arsch wegschiessen! Feuer eroeffnen!)&rdquo &ldquoI will not let them to shoot my ship from under my ass! Open fire! &rdquo. Immediately thereafter the flag signal &ldquoJD&rdquo (Jot-Dora = permission to open fire on the enemy when ready ) to target the first ship on the enemy line, the Hood, was seen from Prinz Eugen.

    Prinz Eugen, at 05:55, was the first German ship to open fire Jasper was quick to fire his guns after receiving the command from Captain Brinkmann on the bridge that Bismarck had signaled "freedom of fire" through the signal "JD" (29).

    Prinz Eugen&rsquos first salvo was fired at the Hood from a distance of 20,200 meters on a bearing of 150°, or 70° to port while the German cruiser was sailing on a course of 220°. Immediately after the Bismarck's 380 mm (15 inch) main guns also joined in, firing from 20,100 yards (22,000 meters) on the Hood on a bearing of 150° .

    The British immediately noticed that the Germans were alternating fire between the forward and aft turret groups (30), delayed by a few seconds to allow the spotters to better assess the distance through the fall of shells on the enemies. By doing so, the time required to correct the ladder and the range were significantly reduced.

    The first 4 Prinz Eugen shells went over the Hood, while the next group of shells straddled the target with a spread of 400 meters, but the target was not hit (31).


    Above- Bismarck opens fire on Hood

    At 05:55 the Hood fired the fourth salvo on the Prinz Eugen, once again with no hits. Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales fired her fifth salvo on the Bismarck from a distance of 22,100 yards (20,199 meters) and a bearing of 332°. This was the last salvo with 5 forward turret guns working. Another gun of the A quadruple turret went out of action. It was with only 4 guns firing from the forward group (which was made of 4 + 2 guns) that on the sixth salvo fired from 19,331 meters (21,150 yards) on a bearing of 331° that Prince of Wales &ldquofound the target&rdquo, and hit the Bismarck on the bow &ndash below the capstan wheels on compartments XXI and XX (32). The 14 inch/356 mm shell passed thru the hull from side to side entering from port and exiting on the starboard side at 05:56 (33).

    The Norfolk, was still at 24,000 meters from the German ships, the Suffolk was at 29,000 meters and both were still not joining in the engagement (34).

    The Bismarck started leaking fuel from the bow (the hole had a diameter of 1.5 meters) and started flooding as well (at the end of the battle she had taken on about 2,000 tons of water). But the Bismarck continued firing at the Hood with other 2 sequences of 4 shells (second salvo) from 20,000 meters which went over the target, between the Hood and the Prince of Wales.

    Between the two German ships, the Prinz Eugen was the first to hit the enemy at 05:56: while the first series of 4 guns of the second salvo fell short of the Hood&rsquos bow, the second set of 4 shells hit the target and one shell exploded between the second funnel and the mainmast starting a fire. On the Hood&rsquos amidships a very intense light was observed, first white than reddish (35). In fact, on the area were the Prinz Eugen's shells had exploded there were ready use ammunitions for the anti-aircraft guns (4 inch/102 mm shells) and several UP anti-aircraft rockets (36).

    The Hood fired her fifth and sixth salvo on Prinz Eugen with only her forward turrets, but again missed the target.

    The Prince of Wales continued firing on the Bismarck and fired her seventh salvo from 19,825 yards (18,120 meters) on a bearing of 330° and afterwards, the eighth salvo from 18,325 meters (20,050 yards), both groups of 4 shells over the target.

    The Prinz Eugen fired her third salvo with 2 groups of 4 guns from 18,000 meters, missing the target.

    Despite the 20° turn to port ordered by VADM Holland at 05:54 to open the artillery arc of the Prince of Wales aft quadruple turrets and allow the Hood&rsquos to bear better, the two British ships were still firing mainly with the forward turrets. The Norfolk was closing in from the east, now at 23,000 meters, while the Suffolk was still further back at 29,000 meters, north of the German ships.

    At 05:57 both the Bismarck and the Hood had suffered hits. The German battleship was speeding up still following the Prinz Eugen which was sailing ahead of her in-line of battle just off her port bow.

    The Prinz Eugen fired in rapid sequence her fourth (turrets A+B and C+D ) and fifth (turrets A+B and C+D) complete salvoes from 17,000 meters on a bearing of 150°. The Bismarck fired her third complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from around 18,500 meters on a bearing of 150°.

    Two shells hit the Hood. A shell from the Bismarck hit the fire control tower killing most of the people in the tower. This left the Hood without central fire control.

    Immediately after another shell fired by Prinz Eugen hit near the base of the forward superstructure entering a room where about 200 sailors were, killing them all. This hit caused a local fire on the forward part of the ship which added to the one burning aft (37).

    Distances were now quickly decreasing and at around 18,000 meters the secondary gun turrets joined in. The three 150 mm turrets on Bismarck&rsquos port side (which fired on the Prince of Wales) and the four twin 133 mm starboard side of Prince of Wales which fired on the Bismarck from 18,600 yards (17,000 meters).

    The Hood fired her seventh salvo probably still with the 4 forward 380 mm guns on Prinz Eugen, while the Prince of Wales fired her ninth salvo from 18,250 yards (16,680 meters) on a bearing of 330°. Finally she started using her aft turret for the first time (turret Y with 4 guns of 356 mm). The target was still the Bismarck which was hit under the waterline on compartment XIV. The shell exploded against the torpedo bulkhead and opened also some fuel tanks located there causing fuel to leak from this area as well (38).

    Admiral Lütjens decided that it was no longer possible to leave the Prince of Wales firing against the Bismarck unopposed and at 05:58 ordered Prinz Eugen to change target and fire on the left ship of the British formation (&ldquoWechsel auf linken gegner = change to left enemy &rdquo ), Prince of Wales (39). The Prinz Eugen First Artillery Officer Lieutenant P. Jasper wrote in his battle report that consequently the change of target caused the two German ships fire lanes to cross each others (40).

    The Bismarck fired her fourth complete salvo ( turrets A+B and C+D) on the Hood from 17,000 meters which fell short but with correct ladder, while Prinz Eugen fired her sixth salvo still on the Hood (turrets A+B and C+D). The target was changed per orders and the seventh salvo was fired on the Prince of Wales (turrets A+B and C+D) from 17,000 meters on a bearing of 150° trying to find the correct range and ladder. Both German ships were still on a course of 220° with the Bismarck following the Prinz Eugen on her starboard side astern at around 2,000 meters distance.

    The tenth Prince of Wales salvo was fired from 17,150 yards (15,675 meters) on a bearing of 330° and the eleventh from 15,629 meters (17,100 yards) both were short of the Bismarck. Now the Prince of Wales was using the aft Y turret too, but one gun of the available 4 went out of action during the eleventh salvo.

    On board the Hood there was fire in two places, just as reported by a "Sunderland" reconnaissance plane (RAF Z/201 - Pilot Flight Lieutenant R.J. Vaughn) arrived at that moment from Iceland and was flying above the battle area. One fire was observed at the base of the bridge superstructure (probably a Bismarck hit) and the other further aft ( probably a Prinz Eugen hit ).

    In spite of those problems (41), the Hood fired her eighth salvo followed by the ninth from 16,000 meters on a bearing of 330° probably with the forward turrets (A+B ) on Prinz Eugen, but again missed the target.

    Both British ships were now on a course of 280°. The Prince of Wales had successfully brought her entire fire power to bear using all turrets and main guns available, while the Hood was still mainly using the forward turret group.

    At 05:59 the Prinz Eugen fired on the Prince of Wales, which was now her target at only 16,000 meters: 4 series of shells in rapid sequence, her eighth salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) and her ninth salvo (turrets A+B and C+D ) which were fired at the British battleships but did not hit the target.

    The Prince of Wales fired her twelfth salvo with only 3 guns from 17,100 yards (15,629 meters) on a bearing of 330° but it fell short. Soon after, firing the thirteenth from 16,150 yards (15,035 meters) which &ldquofound the target &rdquo and for the third time hit the Bismarck but only causing light damage. The impact occurred on centre ship, under the mainmast: the bow of a service boat was hit and splinters fell all over (seriously damaging the catapult system used to launch the Arado reconnaissance aircraft), than the shell emerged on the starboard side without exploding.

    The Hood fired her tenth salvo apparently using also the aft guns on the Prinz Eugen from 14,000 meters on bearing 330°, still with no hits soon after VADM Holland decided to turn again to port to open further the artillery arcs of Hood and Prince of Wales aft turrets, so signaled a turn to port of 20° from course 280° to 260°.

    The Norfolk was closing in and now was at 21,500 meters from the German ships while the Suffolk was still far back at 29,000 meters to the north.

    The Bismarck fired her fifth salvo from 15,700 meters (16,200 yards) on a bearing of 155° with the two groups in sequence the first 4 shells fired by turrets A and B fell in the water, but the next 4 of turrets C and D &ldquofound the target&rdquo and straddled the Hood (42) in the mainmast area. One shell hit the Hood in that area and entered the hull.

    A few moments later, the &rsquo&rsquoMighty Hood&rsquo&rsquo, proud ship of the Royal Navy for more than 20 years exploded: it was 06:00. The ship was hit just as she had executed the 20° turn to port ordered by VADM Holland only 8 minutes had passed from the when she had opened fire and only 5 from the when the Bismarck started firing on her (43).

    Captain Leach of Prince of Wales, from a distance only 750 meters (4 cables) from the British battlecruiser reported what he saw :

    [&hellip] I happened to be looking at the Hood at the moment when a salvo arrived and it appeared to be across the ship somewhere about the mainmast. In that salvo there were, I think, two shots short and one over, but it may have been the other way round. But I formed the impression at the time that something had arrived on board the Hood in a position just before the mainmast and slightly to starboard. It was not a very definite impression that I had, but it was sufficiently definite to make me look at the Hood for a further period. I in fact wondered what the result was going to be, and between one and two seconds after I formed that impression an explosion took place in the Hood which appeared to me to come from very much the same position in the ship. There was a very fierce upward rush of flame the shape of a funnel, rather a thin funnel, and almost instantaneously the ship was enveloped in smoke from one end to the other. [&hellip]

    The explosion (most likely a very fast conflagration of main gun charges) was silent with a very high (around 400 meters) column of fire. First the fire was very clear then yellowish and reddish, then immediately became a grey mushroom of smoke, dark and very dense. Debris was thrown all over as the explosion broke the ship into two separate pieces around the mainmast area large quantities of oil started burning on the sea emitting a very dark grey smoke.

    The Hood stopped and heeled heavily to starboard, than righted herself to start heeling heavily to port, never to come back, and started sinking. The broken hull caused the stern section to sink first and very fast, while the bow began to swing sharply upwards pointing to the sky at a 45° angle, also started sinking very fast. German witnesses reported that while she was sinking the &rsquoMighty Hood&rsquo launched her last proud message, as the forward turrets were reported to have fired (44) just as the forepart was going down (45).

    The RAF &ldquoSunderland&rdquo was still flying in the battle area above the German formation which opened a very intense anti-aircraft fire.

    The Prinz Eugen fired her tenth and eleventh salvoes (turrets A+B and C+D) at the Prince of Wales from 14,000 meters obtaining no hits.

    The Prince of Wales fired on the Bismarck her fourteenth salvo, probably with only 3 guns of the forward turrets, from 14,898 meters (16,300 yards) on a bearing of 330°, then the fifteenth from 13,710 meters (15,000 yards) on a bearing of 329° , while with the sixteenth fired from 13,801 meters (15,100 yards) on a bearing of 329° a gun previously loaded and out of action came back and fired, so 4 shells departed from the forward turrets. All salvoes fell short of the Bismarck.

    Everything happened so fast that Bismarck continued firing on the to Hood even when the British battlecruiser was sinking under a very dark grey smoke, so the sixth salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from 15,000 meters were fired on the presumed position of the Hood and the shells all fell in the water.

    The Norfolk was still closing in but turned to port at 21,000 meters from the German position just after the Hood explosion, the Suffolk remained at 28,000 meters.

    At 06:01 the Hood sank in two separate pieces, with both pieces completely sunk within 2-3 minutes. The Prince of Wales was executing the manoeuvre ordered by VADM Holland (a turn of 20° to port side) and in doing so was on a collision course with the sinking British battlecruiser. To avoid the collision, Leach ordered an emergency turn to starboard, temporarily directing his ship towards the enemy.

    On board the Prinz Eugen, First Artillery Officer Lieutenant P. Jasper, noted the Prince of Wales manoeuvre in his battle report. Also, the German Heavy cruiser commander Captain H. Brinkmann, saw what had happened and having realized that he was coming close to the launching range of its 533mm torpedoes (range 12,000 meters at 30 knots) ordered his Torpedo Officer, Lieutenant Ernst Reimann, to get ready to launch torpedoes as soon as the enemy was within range. Captain Brinkmann had expected that moment to come very soon due to the two ships' relative courses and speeds (46).

    The Bismarck meanwhile had changed its target to the Prince of Wales. Since the British battleship was very close to the wreckage of the Hood, the corrections required were very minimal. The seventh salvo of the German battleship (turrets A+B and C+D) was fired to acquire range and ladder from around 15,000 meters. The Prinz Eugen which was still in the lead of the German formation, ahead by about 1,500-1,800 meters, fired her twelfth salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) and soon after her thirteenth (turrets A+B and C+D) from around 14,500 meters.

    The RAF &ldquoSunderland&rdquo (Z/201 - Pilot Flight Lieutenant R.J. Vaughn) flew into the clouds because of the very intense anti-aircraft fire from both German ships.

    The Prince of Wales found herself in big trouble with both German ships targeting her with main and secondary guns, while the British battleship forced by the turn to avoid the wreckage of the Hood, could only bring her forward guns to bear. In addition, this manoeuvre and the consequent turns made it difficult for her artillery to keep the salvoes on target. The Prince of Wales fired her seventeenth salvo with 4 guns from 12,887 meters (14,100 yards) on a bearing of 328° and the eighteenth from 13,253 meters (14,500 yards) on a bearing 328°, both against the Bismarck. Both salvoes fell very short of the German battleship.

    The situation was becoming tense on board the Prince of Wales at 06:02, the Bismarck fired her eighth complete salvo from 14,000 meters and hit the British battleship on the command tower (compass platform), the shell passed thru not exploding but killing almost all of the men within(47). The Prince of Wales ceased fire(48). Luckily her Captain, J.C. Leach, was still alive and, after a few moments, desperately worked to bring his ship out of that dangerous position. He completed the turn around the sinking Hood and started an evasive manoeuvre, turning to port to disengage.

    The Prinz Eugen fired her fourteenth complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) on the Prince of Wales from less than 14,000 meters.

    At this point the Norfolk opened fire on the Bismarck, with three 8 inch/203mm main gun salvoes from 21,800 yards (20,000 meters) that all fell short. Meanwhile, the Suffolk was still too far to the north at 28,000 meters.

    By 06:03 the Hood was totally sunk, with oil fires still burning with a very dark grey smoke from 2 different places. The oil kept on burning for a very long time after the British battlecruiser had sunk (49).

    The Bismarck fired her ninth complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from less than 14,000 meters, and hit the Prince of Wales with two shells: one shell under the waterline (but the shell did not explode) and one shell that hit the starboard 5.25 inch/133 mm secondary guns fire control station which put it out of action.

    The Prinz Eugen, which was still leading the line ahead of Bismarck by some 1,500 meters, fired her sixteenth salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) and soon after her seventeenth salvoes (turrets A+B and C+D) from 13,000 meters and this time hit the Prince of Wales under the waterline on the stern.

    The Prinz Eugen Torpedo Officer, Lieutenant Reimann, at this point wrongly analysed the distances. He did not realize that for a short time he had been inside his port side 3+3 torpedo tubes launching range(50) and despite the second order he received from his ship commander to do so, at he did not launch any torpedo on the British battleship this time. This occurrence was the reason an Official Navy Board of Commission was convened by the Kriegsmarine after the arrival of the Prinz Eugen in France (51).

    The Prinz Eugen&rsquos port side heavy anti-aircraft guns (3 twin turrets of 105 mm ) also joined in at this time and fired on the Prince of Wales, which confirms the very short distance between the two ships.

    The situation had gotten worse for the British battleship, which received hits while trying to disengage(52). Suddenly, on the Prinz Eugen an alarm signal was transmitted to the Bismarck, an incoming torpedo was detected on a course of 279° (53). The alarm which was initially issued from the sound listening room (G.H.G. - Gruppen-Horch-Gerät of the Prinz Eugen) was immediately confirmed by the Prinz Eugen commander Captain H. Brinkmann who went out on the command bridge and verified the two torpedo tracks approaching and noted them in his German heavy cruiser war diary (54).

    The torpedo origin was not identified with certainty, but it was assumed they could have been launched either by the Hood before sinking (the British battlecruiser was equipped with torpedo launching tubes on both sides close to her stern ) or by the airplane that suddenly appeared in the sky above the German formation (but the plane was a &ldquoSunderland&rdquo and they should have realized that it was not torpedo equipped).

    The Bismarck immediately turned to starboard 50°, now on a course of 270°, sailing away and consequently out of any torpedo range. By doing this it appears to have confirmed that the torpedo origin was assumed to have been the Hood (55) and that the torpedoes were at their maximum range. The Prinz Eugen, which had just missed an opportunity to launch her own set of torpedoes on the enemy (an opportunity she had for at least 2 minutes), prepared for the turn to starboard of 50° to a course of 270° in order to avoid the incoming torpedoes (56).

    This occurrence gave the Prince of Wales a momentary pause from battle. She kept on sailing away covering herself with a smoke screen and firing while she was turning to port. The nineteenth salvo from Prince of Wales was fired on local control by the aft quadruple Y turret but again only 2 guns fired and the salvo fell very short of the Bismarck (as well evident by an existing photo).

    The Hood was sunk the Norfolk ceased fire from 20,500 meters while the Suffolk was still north of the German ships by 28,000 meters.

    At 06:04 the Prince of Wales was still within clear range but the German units were sailing away. Her gunnery, which was on target when the torpedo alarm was issued by Prinz Eugen, now needed to be re-adjusted because of the evasive turn. The smoke screen from the Prince of Wales had been effective and was progressively covering her from the enemy's view. Distance was quickly increasing since the two groups were now sailing in opposite directions and was soon once again more than 14,000 meters. No torpedoes had been launched by the Prinz Eugen (even if the course change of 160° by the Prince of Wales would have cleared any danger from that initiative) the British battleship could sail away to south east more safely.

    The Bismarck fired her next complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) while sailing on a course west (270°) from 15,500 meters, and hit for the fourth and last time the Prince of Wales in the centre, destroying the port side crane and splintered some boats, making a hole on the second funnel and damaging the Walrus airplane that was there from the beginning of action.

    After having turned to starboard on a course of 270°, the Prinz Eugen fired her eighteenth complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from 14,500 meters, and hit the Prince of Wales with 2 shells. One on the stern below the waterline, and the other on the fourth 133 mm turret ammunition depot on port side, but luckily for the British battleship, this shell had not exploded either.

    The Prince of Wales fired the twentieth salvo from 15,000 meters with the Y turret on local control but that turret had another gun going out of action so only 1 gun fired out of the 4 the turret had. The shell fell short to the stern of the Bismarck (as it is possible to be seen in a photo and in the available film ).

    Meanwhile the Norfolk and the Suffolk continued their shadowing from 21,000 and 28,000 meters.

    Distances were increasing and at 06:05 the Prince of Wales was more than 15,000 meters from the Prinz Eugen and more than 16,000 meters from the Bismarck, while her smoke screen had been very effective. The German battleship fired her eleventh complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from over 16,000 meters with no more hits and the Prinz Eugen, while turning to port, fired her own nineteenth (turrets A+B and C+D) from over 15,000 meters also with no more hits (57).

    The Prince of Wales fired her last salvo, the twenty-first, from over 16,000 meters on local control with Y turret which had only 1 gun left working. The last shell fell ahead of the Bismarck bow (as seen in the photo and film). After three terrible minutes (06:02-06:04) in which she received 7 hits (3 from Bismarck and 4 from Prinz Eugen ) no more shells hit her and the damaged British battleship was now retreating to the south-east under her own smoke screen.

    Fire from westward sailing German ships had became progressively less accurate by the turning sequences made by them as well as by the Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales again turned twice under her own smoke screen after the initial 160°and made it very difficult for the Bismarck and for the Prinz Eugen to hit the British battleship again.

    This allowed the Prince of Wales at 06:06 to be 16,000 meters from Prinz Eugen and 17,000 meters from Bismarck increasing distances very fast while heading in the opposite direction. The smoke screen was now very effectively covering the Prince of Wales when the Bismarck turned 50° to port back on a course heading of 220°. The German heavy cruiser did the same.

    The Bismarck fired against the retreating Prince of Wales the first group of her twelfth salvo (only turrets A+B) so the forward group from 17,000 meters. The Prinz Eugen fired her twentieth complete salvo (turrets A+B and C+D) from 16,000 meters, than executed another turn to starboard back on a 270° course due to another torpedo alarm (58).

    This turn was the reason why the two Prinz Eugen forward turrets (A and B) could not be brought to bear on the enemy anymore and ceased fire (59). At this time the Prinz Eugen artillery direction passed from Lieutenant Jasper, on the top rangefinder that was obscured by the tunnel smoke and could not see, to the Lieutenant Albrecht in the secondary artillery station located in the aft rangefinder (60).

    The Prince of Wales continued sailing away to the south-east and at 06:07 she was at 17,000 meters from Prinz Eugen and 18,000 from Bismarck. The smoke screen now very effectively covered her and the Prinz Eugen, because of the last turn to starboard, passed ahead of Bismarck bow firing only with the aft turrets (turrets C+D) her own twenty-first salvo from 17,000 meters (61).

    The Bismarck fired on the Prince of Wales the second group (turrets C+D) of her twelfth salvo only with the aft turrets from 18,000 meters. The Prinz Eugen, passed from port to starboard side of the Bismarck on her bow, than turned to port back on a course of 220° while continuing to fire at the Prince of Wales only with her aft turrets and for the first time was no longer the closest German ship to the British battleship (62).

    From the Bismarck the manoeuvre executed by Prinz Eugen was noticed as she passed on the bow from port to starboard while firing the aft turrets, and consequently at 06:08 the Bismarck signaled to the Prinz Eugen not to shoot over the flagship (63) the Bismarck soon after crossed the Prinz Eugen&rsquos wake, now on the port side of the heavy cruiser that was turning to port to come back on a 220° course, parallel to the German battleship.

    The Prince of Wales was now successfully disengaging to the south-east well covered by her own smoke screen, she was more than 18,000 meters when the Prinz Eugen fired her twenty-second salvo (turrets C+D) and the Bismarck fired her first group (turrets A+B) of her own thirteenth salvo with the forward group.

    At 06:09 the Prince of Wales was at 18,500 meters from Bismarck and more than 19,000 meters from Prinz Eugen. The Prinz Eugen fired her twenty-third salvo (turrets C+D), the two German ships were now sailing a parallel course of 220° with the Bismarck faster - probably 30 knots against 27. The Bismarck passed ahead of the Prinz Eugen on her port side. The Bismarck fired her second group (turrets C+D) of her own last thirteenth salvo from 18,500 meters and soon after Admiral Lütjens ordered both ships to cease fire.

    Captain E. Lindemann on board Bismarck was not in agreement with his Admiral and wanted to pursue the Prince of Wales to finish her off. But Admiral Lütjens, followed the orders he had received for the operation which prohibited any engagement by his units unless it was necessary to sink merchant ship convoys. Following the Prince of Wales could have further exposed his ships and he was concerned that the Royal Navy was probably converging on the battle area (64).


    This Day in RI History: June 5, 1941 – Actor Spalding Gray born in Providence

    Actor and writer Spalding Gray was born on this day in 1941. Gray was best known for the autobiographical monologues he wrote and performed as well as for his films including the critically acclaimed Swimming to Cambodia and Gray’s Anatomy.

    Born in Providence, Gray grew up in Barrington and summered in Newport. After graduating from Emerson College, he moved to San Francisco and later New York City to begin his acting career. He was first recognized for his monologue Swimming to Cambodia, a story about his time in Thailand where he had a small role in making the film The Killing Fields.

    Gray had acting roles in numerous films including Beaches, Glory Daze, and Kate and Leopold. He worked with award-winning directors Steven Soderburgh and Jonathan Demme, among others.

    Gray, who had a history of depression, committed suicide in 2004, after suffering severe injuries in a traffic accident a few years earlier.


    5 May 1941 - History

    NCAA Football: Minnesota Record: 8-0-0
    Heisman Trophy: Bruce Smith, Minnesota, HB points: 554
    Stanley Cup: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings Series: 4-0
    US Open (Golf): Craig Wood Score: 284 Course: Colonial Club Location: Ft. Worth, TX
    World Series: New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers Series: 4-1

    Nobel Prizes

    Chemistry
    The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

    Literature
    The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

    Peace
    The prize money was allocated to the Main Fund (1/3) and to the Special Fund (2/3) of this prize section.

    Physiology or Medicine
    The prize money was allocated to the Main Fund (1/3) and to the Special Fund (2/3) of this prize section.

    Physics
    The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

    Pulitzer Prizes

    Drama: Robert E. Sherwood . "There Shall Be No Night"
    History: Marcus Lee Hansen . "The Atlantic Migration: 1607-1860"
    Public Service: "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

    Academy Awards

    Most Popular Films

    1. Ball of Fire
    2. Captains of the Clouds
    3. Eagle Squadron
    4. Holiday Inn
    5. Honky Tonk
    6. How Green Was My Valley
    7. In This Our Life
    8. Kings Row
    9. Louisiana Purchase
    10. The Man Who Came to Dinner


    Ethiopian Liberation Day: May 5th, 1941

    After living five years in exile, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie I returned to the capital city of Addis Ababa on this day in 1941. Five years prior on the same day, the emperor would flee Ethiopia as the Italian invasion, which began in 1935, overtook the country. The emperor was patient in rising back to power, using political connections and the military might of his allies to defeat the fascist Italian forces, prompting Ethiopia’s liberation.

    “No human lips can express the gratitude which I feel to the merciful God who has enabled me to stand in your midst on this day, of which the angels in heaven and creatures on earth could neither have thought of nor known about. Before everything else, I want to tell you and to make you understand that this … is a day on which a fresh chapter of history of the New Ethiopia begins. In this new era, new work is commencing, which is the duty of all of us to perform.

    “As We remember the affliction which befell Ethiopia, which had preserved her independence for many thousand years, was attacked in 1888 E.C. (1895-6) by Italy, which had harbored aggressive designs against her for many years and intended to destroy her freedom, her brave sons fought at Adwa and she retained her independence. The Treaty of Wuchale was not the only cause of the battle that was fought at Adwa. It was only a pretext for the ongoing aim that Italy had of ruling Ethiopia. Although the Great European War interrupted her plans for a time, notwithstanding her outward pretensions of friendship, Italy made preparations to invade Ethiopia. Since her defeat at Adwa, she had been irate that justice prevailed against her.

    “When Italy began to wage a war of aggression against Ethiopia, although We knew We were not so well armed as she was, We countered with what strength We could muster, because it was Our duty to resist an enemy that had come to seize Our country. But as it was apparent that she was bent on exterminating Our people with poison gas, the use of which was prohibited by international law, We went to appeal to the League of Nations and claim justice. As it was feared that the hostility started by Italy might spread all over the world, and as it was a period when all those who were charged with the responsibility of government were trying to save the world for the catastrophe which has since befallen it, the [leaders] worked to bring about understanding in the world to prevent the spread of the conflagration. At the time our true friend, Great Britain, received Us with sympathy. I remained there working, but in spirit was constantly with my countrymen, whose blood was pointlessly and ruthlessly shed at the hands of the Italians with the monasteries and churches that were being burned down with those forced to take refuge in foreign lands and with those suffering and being afflicted in the wilderness, in the caves and in the forests of their native land.

    “How many are the young men, the priests and monks whom the Italians pitilessly massacred during these years? You know that in Addis Abeba alone many thousands perished during the three days following St Michael’s day on Yekatit 12, 1929 [Feb. 19, 1937]. The blood and bones of those who were killed with spades and pickaxes, of those who were split with axes and hammered to death, pierced with bayonets, clubbed and stoned, of those who were burned alive in their homes with their little children, of those who perished of hunger and thirst in prison, have been crying for justice. Everybody knows that this act of barbarism and cruelty was not perpetrated in Addis Abeba alone, but [also] in the provinces of Ethiopia. There is hardly anyone who has not been caught and beaten, kicked, humiliated and imprisoned.

    “Now We shall pass on to the new history that is before Us. five years ago on this day the fascist forces entered Our capital city. Then Mussolini announced to the world that he had established a Roman Empire in Our country, Ethiopia. He believed that the land he declared conquered would forever be in his hands. The gallantry of the Ethiopia people is recorded in history. But as We had no ports through which to import armaments necessary for people, we were unable to obtain them. Fifty-two nations condemned Mussolini for his actions. But he boasted of his violent deeds and took no heed of their condemnation. The past five years have been years of darkness for you, my people. But you never lost hope, and in the Ethiopian hills you gradually grew [strong]. The enemy never ventured to come near the mountains on which you were, because, enduring every hardship and affliction, you, the warriors of Ethiopia, safeguarded your freedom during the past five years. But in spite of the fact that he could not conquer the country, he spent many thousands of millions of lire, saying that he was civilizing what he could hold. He spent all that money not because he desired to improve the conditions of the oppressed Ethiopian people or to mitigate the injustice he had done. It was because he wanted to plant a fascist colony in Our sacred land of Ethiopia and to impose on her the rule of oppression which he had planned. He tried to exterminate the Ethiopian race and did not even entertain the idea of giving her the administration of either a mandate or a protectorate, which, in any case, would have been considered a heavy yoke for Our people. But all the money that could be counted by the thousands of millions and all the prepared armaments served a purpose which Mussolini never intended. At the time when Italy revealed her intentions of entering the war in order to be able to snatch from a defeated France as much as she could, the number of soldiers, the amount of money and the armaments she had sent to Ethiopia were enormous. The regular troops she deployed were not less that 250 000, she also had amassed provisions to last many years in case she was encircled. Trusting in, and bragging of , the invincibility of this military force, the fascist government proceeded with implanting dictatorial rule in Our country. But something happened which the fascist government did not take into account–the fighting morale, essential in modern war, demonstrated by you.

    “You were able to destroy the enemy who were superior to you in numbers and equipment, because you are a people of bravery and mercy and because you cooperated and knew the strategy of war. The British troops, who were fighting for human rights on other fronts…needed time to get ready to come to the assistance of Ethiopia. and free her. But you, warriors of Ethiopia, harassed the enemy by cutting his communications [and] by restricting him to his fortifications. In spite of the great numbers of troops in which he put his trust, he realized that the Ethiopian people from one end [of the country] to the other hated him and his rule. He understood also that it was impossible for him to live in such a country and in the midst of such a people. Even by using poison gas and bombs and by [committing] atrocities. he could no longer hope to enjoy overlordship in a country where he was terrible undermined. He realized that the soldiers who surrounded him were adversaries more powerful than he was. He spent his daring and money to meet his adversaries. Then he looked around, if perchance he could find somewhere where he could take shelter in Ethiopia, but he could not find even one place.

    “When the time came, Our great ally, the British Government prepared to launch a proper attack against Our enemy. As soon as I knew this, I left for the distant land of the Sudan, which borders us the west, and entered central Gojam. In Gojam Our enemy had strong fortified positions, powerful troops, airplanes, and artillery. On comparing the number of Our soldiers with those of the enemy, We found that We had one soldier for every 20 of his. Moreover, We had no artillery or aircraft at Our disposal. The fact that I was found in the midst of my warriors at once attracted many thousands of men. And the fear and anxiety of Our enemy increased. While my soldiers were harassing and cutting off the enemy’s communications and , after having driven his troops across the Abay river, were pursuing them towards Shewa and Begemdir, I heard the good news that British Imperial troops had, with incomparable speed, retaken Our capital city and were pushing towards Dese in the north and Jima in the south. In the same way, the troops who started from the Sudan destroyed the fortress at Keren with brilliant force and utterly defeated the enemy. And as the time came for my return to my capital, I mustered my soldiers who were scattered in every direction in pursuit of the enemy… I am exceedingly happy that I have been able to arrive here at the head of my soldiers, the enemy who was found on my path having been defeated, and to break the power of the common foe. I am deeply thankful to Almighty God that I stand today in your midst in my Palace, from which the fascist government has fled.

    People of my country, Ethiopia!
    Today is a day in which Ethiopia is stretching her hands to God in joy and thanksgiving and revealing her happiness to her children.

    “This day , on which the people of Ethiopia are freed from the oppressive foreign yoke and eternal servitude and on which I am enabled to rejoin my people, whom I love and have yearned for, will be honored as a holiday to be commemorated annually as a Great Ethiopian Anniversary. On this day we shall remember those heroic warriors who, determined not to surrender the great charge passed on to them by their fathers, became martyrs, shedding their blood and breaking their bones for the freedom of the land they loved and for the honor of the Emperor and their flag. Their heroic deeds will remain recorded in Ethiopian history.

    “The tribulations and afflictions, which befell us during the past five years and which cannot be recounted and enumerated in detail, will be a great lesson to us all and, with industry, unity, cooperation and love engraved in your hearts, will be a great incentive to your to be my helpers in the construction of the Ethiopia which I have in mind. In the New Ethiopia I want you to be a people undivided and endowed with freedom and equality before the law.

    “You will have to join me in my efforts for the prosperity of the country, for the riches of the people, for the development of agriculture, commerce, education, learning, for the protection of the life and resources of Our people, and for the perfection, on modern lines, of the country’s administration.

    “It is my firm wish and purpose to merit the blessing with which God in His mercy has visited on Us, first, by showing Our gratitude to Our allies, the British, by the release of the Imperial troops to fight the common enemy on other fronts, and by supplying them with troops whenever they may be needed secondly, to do work beneficial to the people and the country by establishing in Our Ethiopia a government which will protect Our nation and make it respectable by guaranteeing the liberty of the people and freedom of conscience.

    “What I would finally announce to you, my people, is that today is a day of rejoicing for us all. Today is the day on which we defeated our enemy. We shall see that our enemies are disarmed and sent out the same way they came. As St George who killed the dragon is the Patron Saint of our army as well as of our allies, let us unite with our allies in everlasting friendship and amity in order to be able to stand against the godless and cruel dragon which has newly risen and which is oppressing mankind. I charge you to consider [our allies] as brothers and friends [and] show them kindness and consideration.”

    Originally Posted by MelekMediaHouse

    Please note this website is a creation of the African Heritage Foundation (AHF), a registered charity No.1112 on the island of Barbados.

    At present this charity is in the process of raising money to assist with several of its projects including the establishing of a Homeschooling Service. The AHF has and continues to be an advocate for the rights and ability of parents and family to educate their children. You can support this initiative of the AHF by making a donation to its GoFundMe Campaign.

    Thank you for any assistance you may be able to give


    Stalin’s Gambit – Did the Soviets Plan for a 1941 Offensive War Against Nazi Germany?

    IN 1990, with the Cold War winding down and long-buried secrets of Soviet Russian history starting to emerge from the deep freeze, the Soviet defector Vladimir Rezun, writing as “Viktor Suvorov,” published a sensational study claiming that Stalin had planned for an offensive war in 1941, only to be pre-empted by Hitler’s own Operation Barbarossa.

    Translated into English as Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, Rezun’s bombshell book ignited a furious debate among World War II scholars both inside and outside Russia – a debate Suvorov is generally considered to have lost badly, at least in western Europe and the United States, where critical “rebuttals” by historians such as David Glantz’s Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War (1998) and Gabriel Gorodetsky’s Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia (1999) are believed to have settled the matter definitively.

    Unbeknownst to many western historians and history buffs who read only English, in Russia, Germany and the eastern European countries caught in the crossfire between Hitler’s and Stalin’s armies, serious debate about the “Suvorov thesis” and the Soviet military posture in 1941 has continued and deepened.

    While few scholars accept Suvorov’s claims about Stalin’s offensive war plans in their entirety, research in the archives of the former Soviet Union has turned up thousands of intriguing documents that greatly enhance our understanding – while gravely undermining the once-orthodox view of Operation Barbarossa as a context-free bolt from the blue. Historians who still write about the German invasion of the U.S.S.R. in 1941 as an unprovoked surprise attack which caught Stalin’s “peace-loving” empire unprepared and unaware, sleepwalking into disaster, simply do not know what they are talking about.

    Dozens of serious studies inspired by Suvorov’s work have appeared since 1990. Nearly every one of them was better-documented than Suvorov’s.

    Among the most important of these works are a two-volume document collection edited by L.E. Reshin et al, published in Moscow in 1998 as 1941 God. Dokumenty, Mikhail Mel’tyukhov’s 2000 study Upushchennyi Shans Stalina or “Stalin’s Missed Opportunity,” and a long series of works by Mark Solonin produced between 2004 and 2011. Of these, only Solonin’s are available to English-language readers, via his website solonin.org, and only those sections which he has been able to translate. English language publishers have shown no interest in translating these works, nor even in important document collections such as 1941 God. Dokumenty, which can scarcely be found outside Russia. A WorldCat.org search shows only two copies in the entire United States, one at Stanford and one at the Library of Congress.

    Owing to lack of English translations and lack of curiosity – stemming in part from the demolition job conducted by Gorodetsky and Glantz against Suvorov and anyone who dares take seriously the questions he raised – most American and British students of history have little idea how much we have learned since 1990 about the Soviet military posture in 1941. Revelations include Stalin’s orders to build the vast majority of new Soviet airfields, tank parks and petrol stations, roads and railroads in frontier districts abutting Hitler’s Reich in 1941, to his ever-more-intensive deployment of new warplanes and armor in those districts.

    No less important was the gargantuan scale of Soviet military procurement and production prior to the German invasion, which ramped up to mind-boggling levels in the first six months of 1941, not only in T-34 and heavy KV tanks but in light-amphibious tanks, airborne brigades.

    Then there was massive Soviet capital investment in light bombers such as the Su-2, Pe-2 and Il-2 “Sturmovik,” all designed to provide close-air support for advancing armies in essentially uncontested air – Stalin’s answers to the German Ju-87 “Stuka” dive bomber and the Japanese Nakajima B-5N used at Pearl Harbor.

    Only those intrepid western military history buffs who have discovered Solonin’s website know about the war games for an invasion of Hitler’s Reich conducted by the Soviet general staff in January 1941, or the updated Soviet war plans of March and especially May 15, 1941, both of which emphasized a “powerful strike in the direction of Lublin” carried out from western Ukraine and designed to cut the German Reich off from her oil supplies in Romania and critical resources in the Balkans.

    The May 15 war plan spoke for the first time of a “sudden blow,” which would “deprive the German command of all initiative, upredit’ protivnika [forestall the adversary] and attack the German army when it is still in the deployment stage and has no time to organize the distribution of forces at the front.”

    So, is the debate about the Soviet military posture in June 1941, at least among those acquainted with the new Russian archival revelations, now resolved in Suvorov’s favor? Hardly. Despite the vast increase in our knowledge of Soviet military procurement, deployment, and planning born of three decades of new research, there is still much that we do not know, beginning with Stalin’s real intentions on the eve of war.

    We do know that, after Stalin made an important (but then-secret) speech to military academy graduates in the Kremlin on May 5, 1941 outlining a change to offensive doctrine, Communist Party propagandists were ordered to step up “Bolshevik indoctrination of the personnel of the Red Army…in the spirit of burning patriotism, revolutionary decisiveness, and constant readiness to go over to a crushing offensive against the enemy.”

    We know about the call-up of Red Army reserves in June 1941, about the concentration of Soviet armies on the western frontier, about orders to the western district command between June 12 and 15, 1941 to move “remote divisions” to the border, moving “only at night.”

    We know about meetings Stalin convened with his military advisers on May 24, June 3, 6, 7, and 9, 1941, including the names of the principals attending we do not know exactly what was said.

    Whatever Stalin was planning, a close examination of the “Special Files” of the Soviet Politburo in the days prior to Barbarossa shows that his armies were not yet ready to “forestall the adversary” and conduct the “powerful strike in the direction of Lublin,” which was at the heart of the Soviet war plans of March and May 1941. Instead, there is a sense of creeping dread as it dawns on Stalin’s generals that the Germans had the jump on them, and a flurry of desperate directives are dispatched ordering maskirovka – the camouflaging of Soviet airbases and tank parks constructed dangerously close to the German frontier, including the construction of dummy warplanes and tanks, with target dates of July 5 and 15 – several weeks too late.

    Although far from ready, Stalin and his generals were hardly asleep at the wheel as the German Wehrmacht crashed its brutal way into the U.S.S.R. on June 22, 1941. Later that day Stalin actually ordered the Red Army to counter-attack on the southwestern front according to the latest Soviet war plan – basically to carry out the “powerful strike in the direction of Lublin” his generals had intensively war-gamed earlier that year. But no war plan survives contact with the enemy, and the Soviet plan for a crushing counter-offensive towards Lublin was rendered superfluous by the furious speed of the German attack.

    The early verdict on Stalin’s deployment of his best armor and warplanes near the Reich frontier – and his erasing of the buffer states between the U.S.S.R. and Germany between 1939 and 1941 – was damning. It was this lopsidedly offensive Soviet military posture, not Stalin’s allegedly misplaced trust in Hitler or his refusal to heed warnings about Barbarossa, which explained the Russian debacle in the frontier battles. This much we now know. Even so, the debate about Stalin’s strategy in 1941 remains unsettled. Only Stalin could have known for certain what his plans were before Hitler upset them.

    Sean McMeekin is the author of Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II. He is the Francis Flournoy Professor of European History at Bard College. The award-winning author of several books, including The Russian Revolution, July 1914, and The Ottoman Endgame, he lives in Clermont, New York.


    Important Events From This day in History May 5th

    1955 : Over 500,000 people in the UK have now received the Salk polio vaccine and since the death of Birmingham City full back Jeff Hall from Polio last month, there has been a sharp rise in the demand for the vaccine but local health departments have run out and now ordered an extra million doses. We take it for granted that our children and grandchildren are safe from Polio, but this is only because governments, scientists and the people worked together that Polio is now no longer the threat it was.

    1945 Japanese Bomb Kills in US

    1945 : A Japanese balloon bomb explodes at Mitchell Recreation Area on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. This is the only recorded instants of deaths caused by Japanese Bombs on the American mainland in World War II.

    1821 Napoleon dies on Saint Helena

    1821 : Napoleon Bonaparte dies on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic. He was kept there from October 1815 until May 5th 1821.

    1891 U.S.A. Carnegie Hall

    1891 : Carnegie Hall originally called Music Hall has it's official opening in New York City with a concert conducted by maestro Walter Damrosch and composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. .

    1921 France "Chanel Number 5"

    1921 : Chanel introduced "Chanel Number 5" to some of her friends. Initially, it was given to preferred clients for free at her boutique. The fitting rooms in her boutique were also scented with No. 5. Coco Chanel commissions renowned perfumer Ernest Beaux to create the most expensive perfume in the world, Jasmine was the most expensive perfume oil and Chanel No. 5 relies heavily on Jasmine.

    Born This Day In History 5th May

    Celebrating Birthday Today

    Born: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins May 5th 1988 London, United Kingdom

    Known For : English singer-songwriter, With sales of over 120 million records, Adele is one of the world's best-selling music artists, Studio albums

    Album 19 Released: 28 January 2008 with Worlwide Sales of 6,500,000

    Album 21 Released: 24 January 2011 with Worlwide Sales of 31,000,000

    Album 25 Released: 20 November with 2015 Worlwide Sales of 22,000,000

    Singles include "Someone like You" , "Skyfall", and "Hello"

    1924 Hong Kong Pirates Captured or Killed

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    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Sep 2020, 20:55

    This thread has not once considered Turkey's position. It simply assumes that it could be coopted by one side or the other.

    Until Turkey's position and ambitions are established and some justification given for it to jump one way or the other, the entire thread is operating in a vacuum.

    "What-ifs" only have value if they are grounded in a plausible reality. This has yet to be established here.

    What are the Axis and Allies offering for its alliance?

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by maltesefalcon » 05 Sep 2020, 22:16

    This thread has not once considered Turkey's position.

    Per the first line of my previous post:

    "Turkey's best ploy was to sit on the fence and see who emerged the winner."

    (Granted I did also speculate on best options if push came to shove on which side to align with.)

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020, 00:59

    5:1 at worst instead of 1941's >12:1.

    This is probably false. The Red Army attackers would get encircled, then annihilated, then counter-attacked. These New Tannenbergs would happen in Poland and Romania (for the latter the thought of attacking Germany's main source of oil while simultaneously attacking the flank-rear of Axis forces fighting against Turkey, not to mention the fact that Romania is a weak Axis ally, would probably make a powerful Soviet drive into Romania irresistible).

    These Soviet defeats would be more spiritually unsettling because the Soviets are the aggressor. In the real timeline, no sizable defeat can spiritually break the Soviets because the Germans were the aggressor and wanted to enslave/starve/exterminate the Russian/Slavic people.

    half of its heavy industrial base in Barbarossa (1942 steel production was <half of 1940's, for instance). In '42 its GDP was lower than the Japanese Empire's.

    Had the Soviets not lost all that territory/population in '41, its '42 army could easily have been 50% stronger. That's a disaster for Germany Hitler is dead by the end of '43 at the latest.

    Although I understand the point you are making about the magnitude of the 1941 disaster, I don't buy the argument that the Soviets are stronger on the attack (or on declaring war on Germany). Russia's initial armies are tough but subsequent effort (after initial defeat) is always feeble, regardless of their enormous resource base. Historically, they suck.

    Germany's drive into the Soviet Union exhausted the Wehrmacht logistically and any territory-perks they gained was poisonous fruit (they did nothing resource-wise with the territory they occupied anyway and the hostile territory required costly garrison). The fact that Germany attacked the country (the attack was a sneak attack btw) and regarded the Russians as inferior sub-humans (to be enslaved/exterminated) worked to the SU's advantage. It united the country which before was filled with endless malcontents regarding Stalin and the Soviet regime (White Russians, Ukrainians, etc.). It gave the Soviets the moral advantage. Battles aren't always numbers we can't ignore the spiritual aspect of conflicts.

    If Germany is attacked by the U.S.S.R some of that spiritual advantage is lost. This is especially the case if Germany has more limited aims, like being content to just occupy the Baltic States and the Western Ukraine in the event of a quick victory settlement with the Soviets (because Germany is still at war with Turkey and the British). Doesn't mean German racial hostility dissipates but a hostile Turkey might convince Hitler to reach a fast settlement after the first few, quick German victories rather than keeping his armies in Russia to drive for the Urals, for which the Russians will/can never allow/agree to.

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020, 01:28

    This thread has not once considered Turkey's position. It simply assumes that it could be coopted by one side or the other.

    Until Turkey's position and ambitions are established and some justification given for it to jump one way or the other, the entire thread is operating in a vacuum.

    "What-ifs" only have value if they are grounded in a plausible reality. This has yet to be established here.

    What are the Axis and Allies offering for its alliance?

    This thread understands Germany's position. A) Great Britain is an obstacle (that Germany failed to break in 1940) B) The Soviet Union is an obstacle (that Germany invaded and failed to defeat historically) C) Turkey is an obstacle (whose neutrality makes a drive through Egypt/Middle East insanely difficult).

    If you can't fathom Turkey joining the Axis for oil and territory (with oil), then just assume Hitler attacks the country due it being the weakest link of the three (or even to provoke the Russians into a clumsy attack now that this thread has evolved and I have had time to think). Again, I am not sure how much oil was discovered in the Middle East in 1941 which can weigh heavily on both decisions (Turkey joining the Axis, or Hitler attacking Turkey).

    Furthermore, we cannot base what-ifs solely on rationality because humans don't behave rationally. If World War Two combatants were rational:

    1) The USA would have declared war on Germany on Sept 3, 1939.
    2) The Soviet Union would have attacked Romania in May 1940 (while Germany was distracted in the West).
    3) Germany wouldn't have invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 (because any intelligent dictator would just assume the Russians would retreat like they did in 1812, making battles of annihilation impossible. Germany simply got lucky the Russians stood and fought making Barbarossa seem more logical than it was).

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020, 02:09

    Interesting. I am unaware how sensitive the Soviets are to German troops being stationed across their Southern border with Turkey. The USA placed nuclear missiles in Turkey without immediate result (Soviets later countered in Cuba). Of course, that was post-war carnage so attitudes may not be comparable.

    Regarding your second point, I still think +200,000 troops (think that was Turkey's peacetime strength) added to the Axis, helps the Axis. This reminds me of What-Ifs I hear regarding Spain joining the Axis and many seem to be in agreement that Spain would only be a liability to Germany because of the poor state of the Spanish military, which would force Germany to have to defend even more Atlantic coast-line from invasion Gibraltar isn't worth it. I don't think it is the same with Turkey though. Its military was probably more useful than Spain's and it's strategic position (Middle East, Caucasus) seems too important, far greater than Gibraltar.

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Avalancheon » 06 Sep 2020, 02:22

    The importance of Turkey's geographical position seems undeniable. Knowing this, what if Hitler, after the Balkan conquest in April-May 1941, was able to convince Turkey to join the Axis (to regain territory lost in World War One). What would Stalin's/ the U.S.S.R's reaction be? History has shown that Stalin was afraid to go to war with Hitler in 1941 and was in denial of an impending attack. Having another potential country to fight (Germany, Italy, possibly Japan, and, now Turkey) could only make him more hesitant to commit any offensive strike.

    Still, the fact that Hitler could now threaten the Soviet Union's southern flank and the majority of its oil fields by placing troops on the Turkish/Soviet border could cause alarm (similar to how the USA felt threatened in 1962 by the Soviet's suddenly placing nuclear missiles in Cuba). Would Stalin be compelled to act? Would Stalin at least attempt to act against Turkey?

    Now, what if Hitler, deciding not to attack the Soviet Union in 1941, decided, after the Balkan campaign, that he would steamroll Turkey instead if they choose not to join the Axis. In this scenario, Hitler seeks to gain access to the Middle East, and both Stalin's and the British Army's flank/rear. Or perhaps Mussolini provokes Turkey somehow causing it to join the war on the British side which forces Hitler to act. Using the word, "steamroll" is somewhat condescending. Turkey is an enormous country, with (I think) difficult terrain for tanks so to assume the Germany Army would just effortlessly crush the Turks is perhaps foolish. Plus there will be immense logistical issues. Still there is little doubt Turkey's small portion of land in Thrace (its European foothold) and its largest city, Istanbul (after likely a brief siege), would fall to the Wehrmacht.

    I made a post on a similar topic a couple years back. It was about a German invasion of Turkey in May-June 1941. viewtopic.php?p=2170810#p2170810

    The problem with your scenario is that it doesn't provide a plausible POD (point of departure) for how this would happen. Germany was all but forced to go to war with the Soviet Union, after the failure of the Molotov conference in November 1940. They had overlapping spheres of influence and could not come to any diplomatic agreement. The conference failed due to intransigence on the part of the Germans and Russians alike. This sowed the seeds of disaster because they were both aggressive, expansionistic empires that were ideologically opposed. Without a diplomatic understanding, war would always be on the horizon.

    This is a problem with alot of the Mediterranean strategys I read about. They completely ignore the geopolitical circumstances that compelled the Nazis to embark on operation Barbarossa.

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Avalancheon » 06 Sep 2020, 02:37

    In WW2 the Turkish opted to use their strategic position to gain the most of the conflict.

    Attacking them would have been too costly compared to the gains, and leaving them be was probably the best option.

    Not really. Conquering Turkey isn't going to be a walk in the park, but it will be way easier than invading the Soviet Union. The Germans could probably subjugate the entire country within 2 or 3 months.

    With Turkey under their control, they would be in position to not only threaten the Soviet positions in the Caucasus, but also the British positions in the Middle East. The Bosphorous and Dardanelles would be in German hands as well, giving them additional leverage over the USSR.

    Thats nonsense. By May 1941, the Germans had troops in both Greece and Bulgaria. They had a land border with Turkey, there is no need for an amphibious operation. With one large panzer group, they could overrun eastern Thrace in a week. The Wehrmacht would destroy the bulk of the Turkish army and capture Istanbul. To cross over the Bosphorous is just a glorified river crossing operation.

    And BTW. If Germany had decided to embark on a Mediterranean strategy in 1940, they would have raised additional Fallschimjaeger divisions (an built more Ju 52 transports). The Pyrrhic victory at Crete wouldn't have crippled their airborne capabilitys as much as it did OTL.

    In the spring of 1941 there was a window of opportunity for the Germans if they'd really want to crush the British Empire, they could have fared waaay better by military expeditions into Africa / ME, strengthening their alliance with the islam, and keeping the USA out of the war, etc. etc. If they chose to crush the BE in the region, support the local Arab independence (exterminate / deport the Jews and such, which was actually in line with the intentions of the local communities) rebellions, they could have force the Turkish to some degree of cooperation, as the Turkish allowed a train full of Axis war matériel through their territory in the Iraqi campaign.

    In my opinion, the realistic Turkish cooperation with the Axis in this strategy could have been like "letting trains through" and trading with the Axis but if we assume that the Axis focuses on this theater, the British troops in the region could have been overcame without too much Turkish assistance.

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020, 04:57

    The problem with your scenario is that it doesn't provide a plausible POD (point of departure) for how this would happen. Germany was all but forced to go to war with the Soviet Union, after the failure of the Molotov conference in November 1940. They had overlapping spheres of influence and could not come to any diplomatic agreement. The conference failed due to intransigence on the part of the Germans and Russians alike. This sowed the seeds of disaster because they were both aggressive, expansionistic empires that were ideologically opposed. Without a diplomatic understanding, war would always be on the horizon.

    This is a problem with alot of the Mediterranean strategys I read about. They completely ignore the geopolitical circumstances that compelled the Nazis to embark on operation Barbarossa.

    Germany going to war on-side-of or against Turkey doesn't equal CANNOT GO TO WAR WITH SOVIET UNION EVER.

    Regardless, as Spoch said, "There is always an alternative." Invading the Soviet Union in 1941 (in a blitz sneak attack) isn't Germany's only option. This What-if section wouldn't exist if it was.

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Sep 2020, 07:46

    I don't buy the argument the Soviets were that much better on defense, nor the relevance of distant history like the Seven Years or Napoleonic Wars. If we go by the latter then the Germans (Prussians) don't understand how to beat the French except in a grand coalition. The Soviet defensive record contains volumes of futility.

    If Germany commits 20 divisions to Turkey that's nearly a whole army group (AGN had 28). The Turkish fight requires LW and logistical support, with attendant fuel, that wasn't abundant for the Heer.

    Meanwhile Stalin would not simply declare war the day the Germans invade. He'd buy time via negotiation, assemble his forces and, say a couple months later, the Germans would heavily outnumbered on their front. Just in OTL, the Germans were cooked beyond a certain force ratio disadvantage.

    I don't see RKKA pushing the Germans back much/any and, sure, there'd be the occasional offensive catastrophe like Kharkov '42. But compared to >3mil prisoners captured? It takes a lot of Kharkovs to get there. The mere non-evacuation of industries pushes the material avalanche forward several months. Add to that 50% higher production and by ATL '42 the Soviet steamroller starts moving from near its 1945 starting line.

    Many can't fathom anything changing in history for any reason. Best not to engage.

    TLDR: IMO there's no feasible Turkish decision to enter the war unless Russia is defeated or on verge thereof. Hitler should have acceded temporarily to some version of Stalin's demands. If he does so shortly before Barbarossa, the SU could be in the middle of a war with Turkey on June 22.

    Either way, Turkey is more willing to move against Russia if Stalin has been tricked into publicly demanding humiliating concessions from the Turks. War with Russia would end British aid to Turkey almost certainly (on demand of Stalin), pushing them further into Axis arms.

    Avalancheon wrote: I made a post on a similar topic a couple years back. It was about a German invasion of Turkey in May-June 1941. viewtopic.php?p=2170810#p2170810

    Mediterranean strategies completely ignore the geopolitical circumstances that compelled the Nazis to embark on operation Barbarossa.

    Landings from Greek islands would also be glorified river crossings, well within the range of German field artillery.

    Kios and Samos are actually closer to Turkey.

    Landings from Lesbos/Chios/Samos put Germany within easy striking distance of the Anatolian heartland via the Aydin-Denizli valley and its rail line, as your thread shows:

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Sep 2020, 11:13

    You post, "Furthermore, we cannot base what-ifs solely on rationality because humans don't behave rationally."

    If "What-Ifs" aren't based in some sort of plausible historical reality, they are merely fantasy.

    What are you proposing the Axis or Allies offer Turkey that might lead it to joining one camp or the other?

    Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

    Post by Peter89 » 06 Sep 2020, 12:36

    This thread understands Germany's position. A) Great Britain is an obstacle (that Germany failed to break in 1940) B) The Soviet Union is an obstacle (that Germany invaded and failed to defeat historically) C) Turkey is an obstacle (whose neutrality makes a drive through Egypt/Middle East insanely difficult).

    If you can't fathom Turkey joining the Axis for oil and territory (with oil), then just assume Hitler attacks the country due it being the weakest link of the three (or even to provoke the Russians into a clumsy attack now that this thread has evolved and I have had time to think). Again, I am not sure how much oil was discovered in the Middle East in 1941 which can weigh heavily on both decisions (Turkey joining the Axis, or Hitler attacking Turkey).

    Well enough, and the infrastructure was kept intact by the Vichy French government and the Iraqi rebels, there were pipelines between Kirkuk and the Mediterran east coast ports (Tripoli and Haifa), where terminals were ready to ship the oil. The hasty and stupid Italian entry into the world war ensured that the best part of the Italian merchant fleet stuck outside of native ports, and the Axis simply did not have the means to transport the oil from the ME to the industrial heartland of the Reich. However, it was possible to support a number of mechanized troops in the ME.

    Oddly enough, the world's oil production in 1940 was overwhelmingly US-based, and in general, based on the Americas. The US produced some 62+% of the world's oil production, and the Americas the 77+%. So taking the ME oil for Axis doesn't mean that the Wallies will have no oil. (Taking the Caucasus oilfields does not mean that the SU will have no oil either.) As long as the Wallies could control the seas, they could run their economies with little to no trouble. Asia had like 3.5+% share, Europe 2.5+%, the ME/NA about 5.5+%, and the SU about 10+%.

    Turkish neutrality didn't need to be given up, they did not need to be occupied, the Germans needed something like the agreements with neutral Sweden. And make no mistake, had the Germans put more pressure on the matter, the Turks would have given in, just as they allowed a train full of weapons through Turkish territory (a strange byproduct of the railway lines in the region). Besides, Germans could have landed any number of troops via air or land to the rebelling Iraqis or to the Vichy French territories, but they didn't, mostly because they didn't have a strategy for that region, but also because they didn't have the means.


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Comments:

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