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Naval Log of Victory

Series

Series Name
The March of Time 9th Year

Issue

Issue No.
7
Date Released
21 Feb 1944
Length of issue (in feet)
1810
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Naval Log of Victory

Story

Story No. within this Issue
1 / 1
Summary
The March of Time synopsis: America entered the war with the loss of nineteen naval vessels, and in the months which followed hundreds of thousands of tones of Allied shipping were lost by German U-boat action against the thinly guarded Atlantic convoys. Only when the convoys were within a few hundred miles of Britain and under the protection of the long-range planes of the R.A.F.'s Coastal Command did they have a semblance of security from U-boat attack. Lack of escort vessels rendered the route to Murmansk, through the waters of the Arctic Circle past Hitler’s bomber bases in Norway, a death run which, for a few grim months, almost ruined any Allied hopes of receiving decisive help from the New World. Only very gradually was the effectiveness of Nazi submarines operating along the North American Coast, reduced by the vigilance of American based air patrols.

Meanwhile, half a world away, the officer commanding the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz, faced a formidable task. Wake Island, Hong Kong and Singapore were gone and the Philippines were going.
Admiral Nimitz had to establish and maintain a supply line to Australia through waters dangerously near to enemy bases. Anticipating Japanese invasion, men and supplies were poured into Australia and New Zealand and a score of outlying islands. By late spring, 1942, the Pacific Fleet was beginning to regain its strength, and the engagements of Coral Sea and Midway brought it heartening and important victories. Five Japanese aircraft carriers and three cruisers were sunk, a hundred and seventy-five aircraft destroyed and two battleships heavily damaged for comparatively small loss. By August 1942 the Navy had gathered enough strength to mount an offensive aimed at the enemy’s most advanced outpost in the Pacific. In the Solomon Islands, U.S. Marines, although deprived of reinforcements by Jap naval action, fought one of the most desperate campaigns in their history. Here, at Guadalcanal, they held on, until the Japanese in their turn were forced to try landing reinforcements; an attempt which cost them ten warships and thirteen auxiliary vessels, and marked the end of their advance and the beginning of their retreat.

In the Atlantic, too, the situation improved enormously. Huge convoys followed their course from the New World with a security they had never known before. During the latter half of 1942 the increased production of small escort vessels - corvettes and destroyers, as well as long-range land-based bombers and patrol planes, made possible the great mass movement which was the Allied invasion of N. Africa. By December, little more than a year after Pearl Harbour, the balance of power at sea had decisively changed in favour of the Allies. The Vichy French Fleet scuttled itself at Toulon to avoid capture, while surviving units joined the Fighting French Fleet and went to swell the sea-power of the United Nations which month by month had been overtaking that of the Nazis. Less than a year later, in September, 1943, the Axis naval forces were further depleted by the surrender of the Italian Fleet. But the greatest determining factor in the Allied supremacy at sea was their unparalleled capacity for production. The increase in the rate of new naval construction in both England and the U.S. exceeded all but the most optimistic expectations and more than compensated for Allied losses. The effort of the shipyards and factories makes the most significant entry in the naval log of victory. Today the United Nations are in position to support vast land operations in Europe, and simultaneously to launch a powerful offensive aimed, first at the fringes but eventually at the heart of Japan’s Pacific fortress. Now, at last, there are guns and ships and supplies for men who never lost courage but fought their way back through hard and crucial years with inadequate weapons. Although the final battle is yet to be joined and the end of the world-wide struggle is not yet in sight, the naval log of the past two years is a proud record of the progress of free men towards inevitable victory.
Researcher Comments
This story was included in Vol.10 No.4 of the US edition.
Keywords
Ships and boats; Aircraft; Navy; War and conflict
Written sources
Documentary News Letter   Vol.5 No.2 1944, p16.
The March of Time Promotional Material   Lobby Card, Used for synopsis
Credits:
Production Co.
Time Inc.

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