Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Monday, February 11, 2008

Convoy Math: Truck Load Equivalents

On some tours I try to translate the crisis faced by Great Britian in 1940-1941 into 21st century terms. I have found that translating British Shipping Losses into Truck Load Equivalents usually gets the point across. Here's the math:

In the 1st quarter of 1941, when FDR made his four freedoms speech, the British were lossing ships which had the equivalent cargo capacity of 10,860 Trucks EACH MONTH. By the time the American congress passed the Lend lease act (that initiated the Destroyer Escort Program) the monthly average rose to 13,724.

Another important column on the worksheet details the production of of new ships. Great Britian relied on International Trade to keep it's people feed and it's war machinery functioning. Basically, if U-Boats continued to sink merchant ships faster than they could be built then the British would be forced to surrender. In a speech to the House of Commons in the spring of 1941, Winston Churchill noted that if the trend continued this could happen in 1942 "....But when all is said and done, the only way in which we can get through the year 1942 without a very sensible contraction of our war efforts is by another gigantic building of merchant ships in the United States similar to that prodigy of output accomplished by the Americans in 1918." This element of the Battle of the Atlantic was referred to as the tonnage war. The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels published a detailed article on this topic (Der Tonnagekrieg) in the Das Reich Weekly news magazine (21 June 1942).

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