Explaining History


Britain's War at Sea 1939-45 Part One - Imperial Overstretch

By 1939, the Royal Navy had lost a decade of growth, after budget cuts during the Great Depression and the closure of shipyards resulted in an older fleet than that of its enemies. The navy's role as the defender of the sea lanes that bound the empire together meant that it was for much of the war, Britain's primary line of defence against the Axis powers. The British were vulnerable as a net importer of food to U-Boat warfare and following the failure of the Battle of Britain and the decision by Hitler to shelve plans for an invasion indefinately, attacks on British merchant shipping was the means by which the Nazi regime believed the British could be brought to their knees. This podcast explores the challenges of strategy and military hardware that the British were presented with at the start of the war.