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The Western Approaches is an approximately rectangular area of the Atlantic ocean lying immediately to the west of Ireland and parts of Great Britain.[ citation needed ] The north and south boundaries are defined by the corresponding extremities of Britain. The coast of the mainland forms the eastern side and the western boundary is the 30 degree meridian, which passes through Iceland. The area is particularly important to the United Kingdom, because many of its larger shipping ports lie within it.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.
The term is most commonly used when discussing naval warfare, notably during the First World War and Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War in which Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine attempted to blockade the United Kingdom using submarines (U-boats) operating in this area. Since almost all shipping to and from the United Kingdom passed through this area, it was an excellent hunting ground and had to be heavily defended.
Naval warfare is combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and was a major part of the Naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval choke point. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses. The term is typically used in relation to military topics.
Long Forties is an area of the northern North Sea that is fairly consistently forty fathoms deep.
The Broad Fourteens is an area of the southern North Sea that is fairly consistently fourteen fathoms deep. Thus, on a nautical chart with depths given in fathoms, a broad area with many "14" notations can be seen.
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The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer (Army) and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas. Arriving at the scene of a major emergency with a well-ordered unit and intact command structure can be another motivation.
RAF Coastal Command was a formation within the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was founded in 1936, when the RAF was restructured into Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands and played an important role during the Second World War. Maritime Aviation had been neglected in the inter-war period, due to disagreements between the Royal Navy (RN) and RAF over the ownership, roles and investment in maritime air power.
An armed merchantman is a merchant ship equipped with guns, usually for defensive purposes, either by design or after the fact. In the days of sail, piracy and privateers, many merchantmen would be routinely armed, especially those engaging in long distance and high value trade.
The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries. It is shared between Canada and the United States, the second- and fourth/third largest countries by area, respectively. The terrestrial boundary is 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi) long, of which 2,475 kilometres (1,538 mi) is Canada's border with Alaska. Eight Canadian provinces and territories, and thirteen U.S. states are located along the border.
Machias Seal Island is an island in disputed water between the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy, about 16 km (10 mi) southeast from Cutler, Maine, United States and 19 km (12 mi) southwest of Southwest Head, Canada on Grand Manan Island. It is a neighbour to North Rock. Sovereignty of the island is disputed. The Canadian Coast Guard continues to staff a lighthouse on the island; the first lighthouse was constructed there in 1832.
Commerce raiding is a form of naval warfare used to destroy or disrupt logistics of the enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping, rather than engaging its combatants or enforcing a blockade against them. It is also known, in French, as guerre de course and, in German, Handelskrieg, from the nations most heavily committed to it historically as a strategy.
The United States Maritime Commission (MARCOM) was an independent executive agency of the U.S. federal government that was created by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, passed by Congress on June 29, 1936, and replaced the United States Shipping Board which had existed since World War I. It was intended to formulate a merchant shipbuilding program to design and build five hundred modern merchant cargo ships to replace the World War I vintage vessels that comprised the bulk of the United States Merchant Marine, and to administer a subsidy system authorized by the Act to offset the cost differential between building in the U.S. and operating ships under the American flag. It also formed the United States Maritime Service for the training of seagoing ship's officers to man the new fleet.
In military strategy, a choke point is a geographical feature on land such as a valley, defile or a bridge or at sea such as a strait, which an armed force is forced to pass, sometimes on a substantially narrower front and therefore greatly decreasing its combat power, to reach its objective. A choke point can allow a numerically inferior defending force to thwart a larger opponent if the attacker cannot bring superior numbers to bear.
Transatlantic relations refer to the historic, cultural, political, economic and social relations between countries on both side of the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes it specifically means those between the United States, Canada and the countries in Europe, although other meanings are possible.
Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches was the commander of a major operational command of the Royal Navy during World War II. The admiral commanding, and his forces, sometimes informally known as 'Western Approaches Command,' were responsible for the safety of British shipping in the Western Approaches.
An enclave is a territory, or a part of a territory, that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Territorial waters have the same sovereign attributes as land, and enclaves may therefore exist within territorial waters.
The Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) was a Second World War naval command created on 20 May 1941 as part of the Allied convoy system in the Battle of the Atlantic. Created in response to the movement of German U-boats into the western Atlantic Ocean, the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) was instituted to cover the convoy escort gap that existed between the local convoy escort in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Royal Canadian Navy provided the majority of naval vessels to the NEF along with its commander Commodore Leonard W. Murray, with units from the British, Norwegian, Polish, French and Dutch navies also assigned. The NEF was reconstituted as part of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force in 1942.
Haro Strait, often referred to as the Haro Straits because it is really a series of straits, is one of the main channels connecting the Strait of Georgia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, separating Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada from the San Juan Islands of Washington state in the United States.
The United States Air Forces Southern Command is an inactive Major Command of the United States Air Force. It was headquartered at Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, being inactivated on 1 January 1976.
The Atlantic U-boat campaign of World War I was the prolonged naval conflict between German submarines and the Allied navies in Atlantic waters—the seas around the British Isles, the North Sea and the coast of France.
USS Western Chief (ID-3161) was a cargo ship of the United States Navy that served during World War I and its immediate aftermath. As SS Western Chief, she was sunk during World War II after being sold to the United Kingdom for use as a merchant ship.
Allied Command Channel (ACCHAN) was one of three major North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commands. ACCHAN was activated in 1952 and disbanded in 1994.
Amfreville battery was a World War II German artillery battery constructed close to the French village of Querqueville in northwestern France. It formed part of Germany's Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications and protected the western entrance to the port of Cherbourg. The battery engaged British and US ships towards the end of June 1944 before the battery fell to advancing US forces on 26 June 1944.