Thursday, August 21, 2008

U-Boat Losses Visualized

I often get bogged down in discussions with sailors from the target fleet about just how crucial the sub force's efforts were during "The Big One." When I try to explain just how unarmed the US was on December 8, 1941 and that a redheaded stepchild that was only 2% of the fleet managed to inflict 30% of the enemy's shipping losses, I usually get a blank stare.

It can be worse when speaking, respectfully, of course, with some of the old WW2 surface vets who tend to complain about how Submariners had "better pay, ports o'call, liberty and those damn fish!"

You can read the numbers over and over but until you visualize it in you mind, you'll never get your arms around it.

A friend just sent me a link to a little gadget that will give you one of those "Eureka" moments. Some noble soul with far more time on his hands than I has taken available reference information such as lats & longs and dates, combined it with a mapping program and produced a visual record of all of the U-Boats sank during WW2.

At first, I thought this was a clever little toy until I tinkered around with enough to get it to display all losses at once. Once you grasp the idea of 641 submarines sunk with the majority of their crews dying, it hit me like a hammer. (Hint: enter "dead" in the search box)

My only question: Has anyone done this for the American Fleet Boats?

No comments: