Talk:Arctic convoys of World War II

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the convoys sailed from Iceland[edit]

'the convoys sailed from Iceland'? This doesn't make any sense. How could they have started from Iceland, given that Iceland didn't have a massive production capability or reserves of oil, steel and other resources of the kind that convoys typically carry? Surely the convoys 'started' from the USA or, perhaps, the UK. (A Google search suggests that many Arctic convoys started in Loch Ewe, Scotland - see [1]). Please could the author explain the point. --Jerry cornelius 03:13, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Presumably the ships weren't a convoy before they left Iceland/Scotland. And the article has always said they started from Loch Ewe as well. Geoff/Gsl 04:04, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I wrote the basic parts of this article as part of "British Military History of World War 2" - thank you to whoever moved, enhanced (ie put the links in!) and supplemented it. I didn't feel it was easy to find where it was and it ought to have its own page. However, that said, Wiki's search engine doesn't seem very sophisticated. :(
As to where they sailed from - (today's headline is wrong by the way): Prior to convoy PQ17 they assembled off Iceland (Reykjavik I think) having come from ports in countries which did have massive amounts of resources and manufacturing industry. After PQ17 (July '42) they assembled in and sailed from Loch Ewe in Scotland - a remote north-west facing loch near Ullapool. I assume this was for security reasons, but I'll have to get back to you on that. NB, most of the cargo was manufactured goods like tanks, boots, planes etc - the Russians were not short on natural resources. Wiki-Ed 12:32, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Many thanks for the response. Jerry cornelius 14:14, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Allied convoys only?[edit]

Shouldn't this article say something like "Allied Arctic convoys"? Or were there no Axis Arctic convoys? It seems to me a bit biased toward the Allied POV, but I acknowledge that "Arctic convoy of World War II" could be a universally-recognized historical term of which I am unaware. Could someone more knowledgeable than I am comment on this? — Jeff Q 04:19, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yeah it's fine. The Axis did run some very small coastal "convoys" (for want of a better word) but it could not be compared or confused with the heading. Wiki-Ed 12:25, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Strategy[edit]

The paragraph regarding commando raids and Tirpitz has been cut and pasted from somwhere. I will amend it for relevance and accuracy because:

  1. ) The Tirpitz did attempt to raid the convoys
  2. ) The commando raid was one of a number of relevant attacks which convinced Hitler that Britain intended to invade Norway. This was a misconception, but:
  3. ) It was relevant because it (and the fact the convoys were reinforcing Russia) obliged the Germans to send more forces to Norway which could have been used elsewhere.
  4. ) Equally, however, these movements - particularly the naval units - tied down a large number of Royal Navy ships that could have been better used elsewhere. This needs expanding upon.
  5. ) The fate of the Tirpitz is covered in the article on that ship and does not need the level of detail here. It lengthens the article and takes it off on a tangent.

Wiki-Ed 16:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think your edits have made the page better but I have a couple of quibbles

  • If the Tirpitz did attempt to raid the convoys then please fix the Tirpitz page to say so.
  • You wrote "capital ships tied down British resources which could have been better used elsewhere. However, they themselves could have been used more successfully elsewhere. They were designed for raiding commerce in the Atlantic, a job at which they excelled". Where would they have been better employed given the fate of the fate of Bismark, HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales all sunk because of lack of air cover. What evidence is there that they excelled at commerce raiding in the Atlantic? Philip Baird Shearer 17:18, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Done - I've edited the Tirpitz page slightly. I've also edited and linked the section in question to commerce raiding, citing the articles on Gneisenau and Scharnhorst as examples of successful employment elsewhere - although I admit they are a bit sparse on relevant detail. As for a comparison with Bismark, PoW and Repulse... let's not go there ^^ Wiki-Ed 13:43, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Scharnhorst[edit]

At the moment the Scharnhorst page says she is a battleship, but is that correct? If she was not a battlecruiser, then which ship is an atypical battlecruiser and how did Scharnhorst differ?

Most of the references I have seen is that Scharnhorst was a battlecruiser not a battleship. This includes the Royal Navy site:http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/3542.html

Philip Baird Shearer 13:35, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Battlecruisers/pocket battleships like Scharnhorst occupy an uncomfortable spot in between battleship and cruisers in naval classification. In this case the calibre of her primary armament was too small to class her as a proper battleship, despite the high calibre secondary weapons, speed, armour, displacement etc. Wiki-Ed 13:22, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Ships lost[edit]

Soviet admiral Nikolai G. Kuznetsov in his memoirs [2] states:

During the war, 717 transport vessels put out to sea from our northern ports-Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. Out of this number enemy ships and the Luftwaffe sank 90 transport vessels, including 11 Soviet merchantmen.

The article mentions 85 vessels, totally. Pavel Vozenilek 21:20, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I think this a point of contention and veterans continue to wrangle over the precise number of ships that were (or were not) sunk. There is probably also some confusion over the definition as some ships were sunk in port. We could change it to "85-90 vessels". Wiki-Ed 12:21, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Strategic Impact[edit]

The section Strategic Impact, needs a paragraph on how useful or otherwise the cargoes were to the Soviet Union and if Soviet propaganda played up or played down the aid they received. --Philip Baird Shearer 11:02, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

This is covered - to a limited extent - in the summary. I am not sure you could give a straightforward answer to the question of whether the cargoes were materially useful or not. There are probably records of what was sent, but what was used is difficult to measure. From the anecdotal evidence I've read the Soviets put some supplies straight into active service (eg tanks), but left other material behind on the quayside (eg. boots). Whether that material was eventually collected and put to use... who knows?
In general I was under the impression the supplies coming from the other routes had a greater strategic impact overall (because they were not contested and had greater capacity) and the contribution was ignored until recently. Wiki-Ed 12:36, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Maybe PBS has in mind the usefulness of some of the materiel, eg, some tanks (Grants) were referred to as "coffins for 7 brothers", while Shermans were relatively effective). The US military vehicles were critical, as were some raw materials. It's good to separate the militarily useful from the politically desirable. Folks at 137 16:25, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
The convoys were started by Churchill when it looked like the Soviet Union was about to be beaten and so the material that was sent was that which the Soviets were in desperate need-of at the time. This was when the Germans were rapidly overrunning the industrial areas of the Western SU and it looked like the Russians would lose most if not all of their weapons production capability. The convoy's materiel was really only intended to 'tide them over' a crisis point when it looked like they might be beaten, but they later became more or less a permanent thing - excepting when the winter came and froze the Russian harbours and inlets and the convoys became impossible. Stalin downplayed the value of the convoys for political reasons, and it was as late as the 1990s and the fall of Communism that the Russians acknowledged the part the (mostly British) convoys (carrying mostly American cargoes) played in the Great Patriotic War, a thanks that was duly noted and welcomed by veterans of the convoys themselves. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 21:15, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Current - June 2015 - BBC News item on British Arctic convoy veterans finally being allowed to accept Soviet medals awarded for service during WW II, here: [3] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.148.221.50 (talk) 19:47, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

PQ-17[edit]

This:-
"However, although the German ships were part of Operation Knight's Move'... they were merely changing port"
...is insulting: It feels like the people who died are being laughed at (“look, all the Tirpitz had to do was turn around in bed, and they scattered like pigeons”).
And it’s disingenuous; they weren't just nipping over to the oiler; Tirpitz, and her battle group, were moving northwards (ie on parallel course to the convoy) to Altenfjord, the advance base for the attack.
And the Admiralty were quite correct in interpreting it as a threat.
I've changed it to something more honest; and I'm amazed that it's sat here un-challenged for so long. Xyl 54 (talk) 12:09, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Supply[edit]

What ammount of Supply was shiped an what was lost?--87.128.114.161 (talk) 10:04, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Other Convoy section[edit]

The article states, that half the LL came through the pacific convoys, and gives a reference. However, I have failed to locate any such information in the given reference or anywhere else for that matter. Can someone confirm/reject the claims in that section? Otherwise, it seems like we should only mention the pacific convoy route, rather than claiming half the LL came from through that line.--Nwinther (talk) 15:30, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

There’s an article now on the Pacific Route, which goes into this. And yes, 50% of all Lend Lease goods went by that route. But simply looking at tonnage is misleading; because of the neutrality between Japan and the Soviet Union, only non-contraband material could be sent that way ie raw materials, foodstuffs, vehicles, railway equipment etc. Armaments had to go by the Persian Gulf route, which wasn’t established until mid 1942, or via the Arctic convoys, which commenced soon after the invasion of the USSR began. So the significance of he Arctic route outweighs the mere tonnage shipped that way. Xyl 54 (talk) 17:30, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Archangel/Arkhangelsk[edit]

I've reverted a series of edits (from Archangel to Archangelsk, under the edit summary "Archangelsk - proper name of this city"); there is a discusion on this very subject here, so these changes may be a bit premature, I think. Xyl 54 (talk) 12:28, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Arkhangelsk pravelnoyye offitsalnye imya etogo goroda - translation for non Russian speakers - Arkhangelsk is the correct official russian name for this city. In the same way the Beijing is the official name for the capial of China Ypu should really respect this and as a Russian I find this edit change offensive
Then I suggest you make your point at the discussion currently taking place. If the “correct russian name” also turns out to be the common English name, there won’t be a problem. But until it’s resolved it would be a mistake to make sweeping changes. Xyl 54 (talk) 01:10, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
PS I also suggest you sign your posts (use four tildes, ~~~~, thus); anonymous comments tend to be treated less seriously. Xyl 54 (talk) 01:16, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

I've removed this:
"As a result, Germany and the United States found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the North and Central Atlantic by October 1941, even though the United States remained officially neutral.
(ref Murray, Williamson; Millett, Allan Reed (2001). A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Harvard University Press. pp. 233–245. ISBN 0674006801. )"
Despite the reference, it's hard to see how it is relevant here. It has no bearing on the text of the Introduction, which is a summary of the Arctic convoys as a whole, and little on the subject of this article; US/German clashes during the neutrality period were hardly "sustained", and were confined to the North Atlantic, so didn't involve the Arctic convoys at all. Xyl 54 (talk) 03:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree with removing this - it isn't at all relevant to this article. Nick-D (talk) 10:07, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
The link to the previously cited ref was dead and the current one doesn't appear to support the statement - I did a quick scan through the listed pages on Google Books and I didn't see any reference to the US at all. And, of course, it's not appropriate for the intro anyway. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:24, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
From World War II article:
At the end of September 1940, the Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy and Germany to formalize the Axis Powers. The Tripartite Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the Soviet Union, not in the war which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three. During this time, the United States continued to support the United Kingdom and China by introducing the Lend-Lease policy authorizing the provision of materiel and other items and creating a security zone spanning roughly half of the Atlantic Ocean where the United States Navy protected British convoys. As a result, Germany and the United States found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the North and Central Atlantic by October 1941, even though the United States remained officially neutral. But there are no problems if you do not want on this page.--Enok (talk) 22:54, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I see, but it's not hugely relevant to the Arctic Convoys, which is what this article is about; Apart from a few exceptions the US Navy did not provide cover during this part of the war. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:21, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Directing readers to maps.[edit]

Although I'm biased toward maps, I think they'd be especially useful in this article.

I think the editors should scan the References, etc., for maps and have a note directing readers to them in the event the maps are copyrighted and cant be posted here.

There are a few good ones in this Reference: http://www.naval-history.net/WW2CampaignsRussianConvoys.htm

173.210.125.42 (talk) 14:55, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Gap of 1943 and Operation Zitronella[edit]

As for now, in the article there is no explanation for the long gap beetween March and Novermber 1943. What was the reason? Did this gap and Operation Zitronella in September 1943, the German destruction of an Allied Spitsbergen wheather station, have any interrelation? --KnightMove (talk) 09:50, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

It’s in the table; the convoy cycles were suspended during the summer months in 1943 and in 1944.
If you want explanations, how about a) the Western allies had already met their supply commitments by the end of spring in both years, and .b) the ships were needed elsewhere, to (in 1943) complete the build-up for the invasion of Sicily and Italy and (in 1944) for the Normandy landings.
And no, Zitronella had nothing to do with the convoy cycle being halted, not least because it didn’t take place until September 1943, ie six months after the convoys were halted and just eight weeks before they started up again. Xyl 54 (talk) 17:22, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

What did they acheive?[edit]

Having just attended an event in the museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow during which one of the veterans donated his Arctic Star medal to the museum, and heard a very brief account from the British Naval attache of what the convoys delivered to Russia, surely it would be appropriate in this article to give an account of precisely what supplies were delivered to the Soviet Union and what impact this had on the course of the war. I'm not knowledgeable, presunably someone amongst the 36 other watchers is. Thanks. Sceptic1954 (talk) 16:23, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

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