Photo 3 shows a convoy of ships in the North Atlantic. Some of the ships in the convoy are Liberty ships. In 1941, The United States established the forward military base in Argentia, Newfoundland to support convoy escorts and patrol aircraft. The photograph was taken from an airplane assigned to the USS Albemarle (AV-5), a seaplane tender (a ship built to house and support seaplanes), in October 1941. At the time the photo was made, the Albemarle was based at Argentia.
In the early years of World War II, German submarines, also known as U-Boats, threatened ships traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Many cargo ships were sunk by the U-Boats. The United States and the Allies developed many ways to protect ships carrying supplies to Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Some of the many innovations that came out of World War II to locate submarines include radar, sonar, and high frequency direction finding.
Because ships traveling alone were almost certain targets for submarines, the U.S. and her Allies grouped the ships together in huge convoys. The Navy and Coast Guard escorted the convoys with destroyers. Unlike modern submarines, which can stay submerged for months at a time, the submarines in World War II spent most of their time on the surface and submerged only when attacking ships or evading detection. In areas that were close to land, airplanes were used to scout for submarines. Many of these scouting planes also carried bombs so they could attack detected enemy submarines.
Questions for Photo 3
1. Using an atlas, locate Newfoundland, Canada. Look at Map 2. Where is Newfoundland located, in relationship to the line between New York and Great Britain? Why did it make sense to base convoy escorts and patrol aircraft, such as the seaplanes from the USS Albemarle, in Newfoundland?
2. Why would grouping ships together in convoys help protect ships from submarines?
3. Photo 3 shows part of the wing of the patrol aircraft. In what ways did the patrol aircraft help protect ships carrying supplies?
* The image on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 3, but be aware that the file will take as much as 35 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.