WW2 Naval Warfare

WW2 naval warfare was fought in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, between the Allies and the Axis forces. Both forces utilized submarines, destroyers, and battleships including air force support and amphibious landings as part of the naval warfare.

1,118 Questions
World War 2
US in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare

How many US Navy ships were sunk during World War 2?

Approximately 155 warships (counting wooden PT boats).

WW2 Naval Warfare
WW1 Naval Warfare

What does Unrestricted Submarine Warfare refer to?

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare (URSW) is a Naval doctrine in which a submarine will attack any vessel carrying a flag of its enemies, its enemies' allies, or others suspected of giving aid to an enemy, without warning or provocation. The doctrine applies to any vessel, whether it is civilian or military in nature, large or small.


Prior to WWI, belligerents observed "Prize" or "Cruiser" rules, which stated that the ship couldn't sink a passenger ship, only a merchant vessel of an enemy nation, and that the crew/passengers aboard any vessel must be clear and safe before it was sunk. These rules were from the days of sailing vessels, and with WWI and the advent of submarine warfare and modern weapons, it didn't take long to determine that those rules were obsolete. This was essentially the basis for Germany's initial submarine warfare policy.

Though Germany initially tried to comply with Prize Rules, as WWI submarine warfare progressed, it became apparent that those rules were outdated and even dangerous. With its practice of warning ships and allowing passengers and crew to leave prior to sinking, it meant that the attacking submarine would be a sitting duck to any enemy vessels or aircraft. The ship's crew only needed to summon military assistance by radio, and the passengers and crew could take their time to evacuate the ship, giving time for aid to arrive.


On May 1, 1915, the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania departed New York for Britain. Just a few days earlier, Germany had released this notice via its embassy in Washington, D.C.:

Notice!Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

Imperial German Embassy

Washington, D.C. 22nd April 1915

On May 6, 1915, the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20, just 11.5 miles off the coast of Ireland, sinking in 18 minutes. Of the 1198 passengers who died, almost 100 were children, and she also carried 139 Americans, 128 of which died in the sinking. Among the passengers were many American and British dignitaries and luminaries of the day.

The resulting world public backlash pressured the German leadership to revert to a policy of Restricted Submarine Warfare. They reverted back to URSW in 1917 to counter the British blockade of Germany, hoping to break the back of British shipping and to delay the U.S. entry into the war, but by then it was too late. Had they held fast and continued their policy of URSW after the Lusitania, WWI may have turned out much differently, as URSW and advancements in submarine warfare in general were relatively new during WWI. As a result, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) techniques had not yet significantly progressed enough to deter a significant submarine threat if Germany had continued.

Their reversion back to a URSW policy was also one of the key elements leading to the entry of the United States into WWI.


Until the advent of the escorted convoy system and improved Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) techniques, German U-boats during WWII conducting URSW in the Battle of the Atlantic caused devastating losses for Allied shipping. However, contrary to Hollywood fiction and wartime propaganda, it is well known that many U-Boat commanders would give aid (including food, water, and blankets) to survivors and point them toward the nearest land, despite official Nazi policy.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and its declaration of war on America, one of the first commands to deployed Pacific-fleet U.S. submarine commanders was to "Execute Unrestricted Submarine Warfare" against Japan. It was this policy that bought the U.S. enough time to repair the fleet at Pearl Harbor, and help reinforce the Carrier Groups that had survived to counter the Japanese expansion into the Pacific. Japan's failure to deal with the U.S. submarine threat helped speed her defeat in the Pacific Theatre.


Even today, the mere threat of URSW can tie up a fleet's resources. During the Falklands War in 1982, the sinking of the Argentine Navy Cruiser ARA General Belgrano by the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, had a chilling effect on Argentine Naval operations. After the sinking, the entire Argentine Navy fleet retired back to port for the remainder of the war, save for their one remaining conventional DE submarine, the ARA San Luis.

The British, having captured and scuttled the only other Argentine submarine, remained on the defensive as a result of the San Luis' presence. Though the San Luis failed to successfully attack 2 British ships (some torpedoes missed, others were dealt with by torpedo countermeasures), the threat from the San Luis tied up one carrier, eleven destroyers, five nuclear-powered submarines, one diesel submarine, and over 25 helicopters.
World War 2
History of Maritime
WW2 Naval Warfare

Is there a list of crew members of HMS Royal George 1796 to 1802?

I do not have a crew list or know of one. However, I do know that Joseph Needham-Taylor joined the ship's company in 1796 as a midshipman. He eventually rose through the ranks to Admiral.

His feats as a young officer are so similar to those of the ficticious Horatio Hornblower, that some believe he was Forrester's model

Tony Sedgwick

I have just come across this posting. I am the great, great grandson of Admiral Joseph Needham Taylor. We have several artfacts still in our possession and two superb portraits of the Admiral. I will ask my sister if she has anything that might help with the original crew list from the HMS Royal St. George. The other side of our family, interestingly enough are the Spratts, there was an Admiral Spratt and we still have a letter detailing Jack Spratt's experience at Trafulgar in which his legs were crushed and he was confined to a shore job afterwards. (He put his legs between two ships?!) My cousin Chris Spratt ( just turned 60) is also a great, great grandson of the Admiral.

Robin Eves

Pearl Harbor
Japan in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare

Where was the Japanese Ship Yamamoto Destroyed?

You may mean the Japanese super battleship Yamato, which was sunk off the coast of Kyushu in April 1945 . It was sent as a suicide attempt, with fuel for only one-way. It was to ram into an American ship, which was a mission that utterly failed. Carrier-borne aircraft put it down beneath the watery depths.

World War 2
WW2 Homefront
WW2 Naval Warfare

Was the term Anzac first used during world war 2?

No- it was first used in 1915- World War I. See link below-

World War 2
US in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare

How many ships did America have in world war 2?

At the end of the war the navy had 6,768 ships in commission. Durning the war there were 1,544 lost or damaged beyond repair. So that would mean that during WWII the navy had 8,312 ships in commission at one time or another.

Please remember that this is for the total five years and that the number changed dramatically during the five years. The US navy website lists the following total feet sizes for each year of WWII:

1941 (12/7) - 790 ships, 1942 (12/31) - 1,782, 1943 (12/31) - 3,699, 1944 (12/31) - 6,084, 1945 (8/14) - 6,768, 1946 (12/31) - 1,248

World War 2
WW2 Naval Warfare

What was it like for World War 2 soldiers in the trenches?

The First World War, from 1914 to 1918, was trench warfare, while the Second World War, from 1939 to 1945 was not. During WW2, the fighting was in the open countryside, with mobility and lots of movement. Soldiers only "dug in" below ground level when they stopped for the night, to give themselves protection from artillery or mortar rounds. By being below ground level, they were protected against anything except a direct hit on their small hole in the ground. A trench is a long narrow linear excavation that could run for miles, and be occupied by hundreds of men. Trench warfare died in ww2 with the early success of the Germans new form of mobile and combined arms(Air and Ground) warfare. Fixed positions were simply bypassed or attacked from the rear or the air by paratroopers/glidertroops. Limited trenches were used during the Italion campaign when the Germans used trenches and fighting positions to tie in fortified positions along the Gustav Line (Monte Cassino). The weather was terribly cold and men ,from both sides, were found frozen to death in their fighting positions. As in ww1 disease was rampant with the flooding of the lower area and typhoid was rampant with those who weren't vaccinated. Add to this a lack of clean drinking water or proper sanitation, rats, lice, filthy uniforms and living conditions. These conditions affected men on both sides. One only has to feel the North Atlantic Wind coming across the Atlantic ocean in the winter time along the Belgium and French Coast to imagine the severity of the cold and storms in the trenches along the Atlantic Wall. == == Trenches where STILL used in the WORLD WAR 2 in the Italian Invasion of Greece and in The Siege of Moscow and Stalingrad what happened is that some people think Western Allies only fought the World War 2.

WW2 Naval Warfare
WW1 Naval Warfare

What did the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare do?

In WW1, the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare irritated neutral nations such as the United States and eventually helped public opinion to support the US entry into the war.

In WW2 the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic irritated nominally neutral nations such as the United States and provided a rationale for increasing US support of Britain and its allies.

In WW2 the American policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific probably contributed to the degradation of Japanese economic capabilities as the war progressed.

WW2 Naval Warfare
War and Military History

What were the names of crew members on USS Bootes AK 99?

I know my father, Edward Cook served aboard the ship during world war two.

Also read the names, Henry Wolken, and Harold Thorsen, while surfing the internet. These two gentlemen were listed in obits. I occaissonally search for any info of my father's experiences. Wes Cook perryfd23@yahoo.com

US Civil War
Vietnam War
WW2 Naval Warfare

Where was the first battle of the Vietnam War and who was the first person to die in it?

The Battle of Ia Drang is the subject of We Were Soldiers, Once... And Young, by Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway and is considered to be among the first "battles" of Vietnam.

From the amazon.com description: "In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces." Mel Gibson heroically acted out all this stuff in a movie a few years back.

The answer depends a little on when you consider that the Vietnam war began.

Some people say that the two American (civilian) pilots that were shot down & killed while resuppling French troops at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 can be considered the first American "casualties" of Vietnam, although clearly they were not official military personnel nor was American directly involved yet.

The US military points to Dec. 1961 as their initial military deployment to Vietnam, when we sent over 400 helicopters and troops to fly & maintain them. Of course, there had been American military "advisors" in South Vietnam since the late 1950's.

The American advisors killed at Ap Bac in Jan. 1963 are often considered the first military casualities.

However, if you are talking about the first American "battle" deaths (rather than "advisors" w/ South Vietnamese troops), that would probably be during Operation Starlite in August 1965 (a few hundred Americans died). That operation was a few months before the battle at la Drang.

World War 2
WW2 Homefront
WW2 Naval Warfare

What was the Allied strategy in World War 2?

To beat the Axis powers and restore peace.

World War 2
Pearl Harbor
WW2 Naval Warfare

What was the total number of American casualties in the Pacific theater in World War 2?

According to The USS Arizona by Jasper/Delgado/Adams We lost 90,000 Soldiers in the Pacific arena.

To improve this answer which is completely not what the person was asking, there were roughly 354k American casualties in the pacific war during world war 2.


This is one that I've been trying to find for some time. After all my research I have seen references of slightly over 100k ( stated just like that too). My main question is how many were from each of the branches of the military. I have found that the Marines took 19k battle deaths with 23k total and the Navy took almost twice that but, no specific statistics for the Army.

You're right. just over 100 thousand U.S miltary casualties. except I have 17 thousand for the marines and just about 30 thousand for the navy. If you do the math, that leaves 53 thousand for the army. wrong theamericans lie about their list of kia I know for sure that they lost 70 to 80 thousnad marines at the battle of okanwa trus me coming from a Japanese person whos grandfather was in the imperial army of japan

I do not have figures for all the battles of the Pacific Theater. This is what I have so far from various sources where available (rounded off). Pearl Harbor - 2335, Wake Island - 152, Coral Sea - 656, Midway - 350, Guadalcanal - 7361, Attu - 549, Tarawa - 1711, Guam - 3000, Leyte Gulf - 1500, Leyte Island - 3500, Iwo Jima - 6821, Okinawa - 12513, Saipan - 3426, Peleliu - 1794, Tainan - 1010, Kawajalien - 373.

Total from this list is: 47,379

There are a lot of battles and losses not accounted for. Sub action, losses in China, smaller islands, POWs, and unavailable data.

World War 2
WW2 Naval Warfare

Who was the last Allied soldier killed in World War 2?


Pfc. Charles Havlat holds a dubious distinction in the U.S. history of WWII in Europe. He was the last Americankilled in combat with a German army outfit. At 8:20 a.m. on May 7, 1945-six hours after Germany's surrender at Rheims, France-Havlat's unit engaged in the U.S. Army's final firefight of the war on that continent.

World War 2
US in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare
US Navy

Were aircraft attached to the decks of aircraft carriers to use their engine thrust to assist in steering?

- While aboard the USS Bonn Homme Richard ( CVA 31 ) in the late 50's I personally observed this being done, with AD's, at almost every port that we entered, especially in Japan. The AD had a prop arc of 13'6" and was rated at 3,350 hp. The AD pilots really did complain, just as shown in the movie.

From a retired air-traffic controller, who was also good friends with several AD drivers.

- If you watch the movie "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" you can see this being done when a carrier comes into port in Japan, as the previous answer says.

World War 2
WW2 Naval Warfare
Dwight D. Eisenhower

How long did General Henry Miller the general relieved by Eisenhower live after being fired just before the Normandy invasion?

Died: Fort Sam Houston, TX, 7 January 1949; Age: 58

World War 2
WW2 Homefront
WW2 Axis Powers
WW2 Naval Warfare

What does gestopo stand for in world war 2?

Political police

Pearl Harbor
WW2 Naval Warfare

What was the 54 aichi D3A dive bomber like?

The Aichi D3A dive-bomber was a single engined monoplane with low-mounted elliptical wings, a fixed, spatted undercarriage and a crew of 2.

The Model 54 was fitted with a 1,300 hp, 14 cylinder, air-cooled, radial engine driving a 3 bladed metal propeller.

Two 7.7 mm machine guns were fitted above the engine to fire forward and one firing rearward on a flexible mount.

The aircraft was, as were most dive-bombers, vulnerable to enemy fighters when not protected because of their slow cruising speed of 160kts, reaching a maximum of 232kts.

They were mainly relegated to training units by 1944 though a lot were later used in kamikaze missions with disastrous results.

WW2 Naval Warfare

What country's forces sank Italian battleship Roma?

The Italian battleship ROMA was enroute to SURRENDER to the allies, and was intercepted by German aircraft and sunk, before it could reach allied lines.

The use of the word "surrender" in caps implies that the Germans committed a black deed by sinking the Roma, a battleship of a surrendered ally. I suggest the writer of the above answer research the names "Dakar" and "Mers-el-Kabir" to see how surrendered French battleships were treated by the British. Have a nice day.

The idea that a French fleet would remain neutral when a large part of the country was essentially on the side of the Germans seems a bit odd. The French were asked politely if they would hand their ships over to their recent ally who had just rescued 120,000 French soldiers from Dunkirk, they wouldn't and they would not scuttle the ships either. Also of interest is the fact that after France surrendered more than a few of those rescued French troops went back to France, I don't know how many but it should be possible to find out various secrets permitting.

World War 2
History of Maritime
WW2 Naval Warfare

Is there a list of crew members of the HMS victorious 1943?

Paddy Brind-Sheridan was Captain of Royal Marines fom December 1942 to March 1944. His winger was Lt. David Mosely Additional Information: These records are still kept by the Ministry of Defence who will release information to the seaman, or to a next of kin, for a fee. Details can be found on the Ministry of Defence's website at http://www.veteransagency.mod.uk/service_records/service_records.html

Pearl Harbor
Care of Horses
WW2 Naval Warfare

Who brought bacon to the US?

Leonardo Decaprio Leonardo Decaprio

World War 2
US in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare

What were the names of the American battleships in World War 2?

The 27 Battleships in service during WW-II were (listed in order of their hull number):

  • USS Utah - Became a target ship in 1931 and was no longer a battleship at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack
  • USS Wyoming - Became a training ship in 1931 and was used for gunnery training during WWII and not in a combat role
  • USS Arkansas
  • USS New York
  • USS Texas
  • USS Nevada
  • USS Oklahoma
  • USS Pennsylvania
  • USS Arizona
  • USS New Mexico
  • USS Mississippi
  • USS Idaho
  • USS Tennessee
  • USS California
  • USS Colorado
  • USS Maryland
  • USS West Virginia
  • USS North Carolina
  • USS Washington
  • USS South Dakota
  • USS Indiana
  • USS Massachusetts
  • USS Alabama
  • USS Iowa
  • USS New Jersey
  • USS Missouri
  • USS Wisconsin

The USS Utah and USS Wyoming were no longer considered battleships at the time WWII started for the US. Neither saw combat during WWII.

The USS Utah and the USS Arizona were both sunk at Pearl Harbor. The USS Oklahoma, Nevada, California, and West Virginia were also sunk, but were refloated and repaired, excepting the Oklahoma, which sank during tow back to the US mainland. All the other battleships listed above participated in actual combat (either surface or anti-air). The US lost no further battleships from any cause during WW2.

World War 2
WW2 Naval Warfare

What did operation sea lion gain or lose?

Operation sea lion never actually happened. It was Hitler's planned invasion of Britain, but when Goering's Luftwaffe failed to destroy the British RAF in the Battle of Britain, Hitler postponed iit several times, and then canceled it.

World War 2
WW2 Naval Warfare
The Difference Between

Was the Dieppe raid a success or failure?

Definitely a failure.

But only a failure if you define things based on that day alone.

I take the wider view, that without the "lessons learned " on that day in August 1942, the D-Day landings in 1944 would have been a failure ,too.

In point form........By landing in full daylight, with out a massive sea power barrage, and without sufficient air power, the raid was doomed, BUT, by looking at better ways to do it, the future chances were enhanced greatly.

The need to replace or greatly improve radios was shown. The swimming tanks were unable to get off the beach, which promted the development of "The Funnies" that could go over walls and ditches, or even lay their own bridges.

Co-ordination of fire power, from both the sea and the air, to concentrate on points of resistance, and dedicated "on call' aircraft to attack reinfocements coming up to the beaches.

Improved demolition charges and equipment to cut wire obstacles, along with specialised vehicles to take out concrete bunkers and gun pits.

All of the above came out of "lessons learned" after Dieppe.

And finally, remember this fact..............Dieppe was NEVER intended to be an invasion of Europe, it was a ONE DAY RAID. To keep the Germans focused on the western wall, and keep many German Army Divisons tied up defending it, instead of in the east, fighting the Red Army.

Italy in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare
The Count of Monte Cristo

What happened at Monte Sole?

Between September 29 and October 5, 1944, SS troops surrounded the mountainous area of Monte Sole and searched the villages of Marzabotto, Girzzana, and Monzuno for partisans. SS troops under the command of Walter Reder rounded up and shot 955 civilians, including 216 children and 316 women, ostensibly in an attempt to rout the Italian resistance. The victims are buried in the local cemetery. The massacre was the worst atrocity carried out in Italy during World War II. Reder was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in Bologna in 1951, seven years after the slaughter. He was freed in 1985. On 17 April, 2002, German President Johannes Rau expressed his "profound sorrow and shame" to Italy for this event. A good book on this is: “Silence on Monte Sole” by Jack Olsen, published by G. P. Putnam and Sons, New York, 1968

World War 2
US in WW2
WW2 Naval Warfare

Was it a popular tradition in the US Navy during World War 2 to wear a gold earring?

The wearing of a gold earring by sailors goes back for thousands of years. In ancient time, sailors wore a gold earring in case their ship sank, or they were swept overboard. After they drown, their body would hopefully wash ashore somewhere. Wherever that was, the sailor hoped that the gold earring was of enough value to those that found his body to give it a decent burial. Anything else upon his person would of been destroyed by salt water, but not metal attached to his body. By WW 2 this was no longer needed, but done as a custom to indicate that you were a sailor. One could chalk it up to "Navy Pride." Richard V. Horrell WW 2 Connections.com = = Answer = = LOOK AT THAT SAILOR'S EARRING In Honolulu recently a malihini (newcomer) lady made a startling discovery. Noticing a huge, red-bearded sailor seated several tables away, she declared: "Look at that! He's wearing an earring!" Now that demobilization is under way, and America's cities are filling with ex-servicemen, civilians will see more and more brawny men with a ring or pendant in their left ear. At first, they well be amused, but eventually will come to accept the custom as unquestionably as they accept jewelry dangling from the lobes of our ladies. Men's earrings are nothing new, old salts will tell you. Even before the days of pirates, mariners who had sailed the China seas or had done any Asiatic duty took to wearing earrings as a mark of their service in the Orient. It was the campaign ribbon of its day. The modern gob, after he has sailed in Asiatic waters, gets his ears pierced and a ring inserted, then goes to a tattoo parlor and has various Chinese legends etched on the shank of his left leg. But not all men who wear earrings are veterans of Asiatic sea service. The custom has been adopted by many who have sailed in the Central, South, or Southwest Pacific without entering the waters of the China Sea . . . --Hal J. Kanter From: The Saturday Evening Post, December 8, 1945, page 119


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