- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 1998 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
From December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945, American shipyards constructed 10 battleships, 13 heavy cruisers, 33 light cruisers, 27 aircraft carriers, 110 escort aircraft carriers, 352 destroyers, 498 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines and 109,642 small vessels (patrol boats, minesweepers, minelayers and landing craft), totalling nine million tons. To these figures the 35 million tons of merchant ships built and launched in the same period should be added.
From June 1940 until the Japanese surrender more than 300,000 aircraft were built; the average weight of each plane rose during the course of the war from two tons to five tons. In that same period the United States produced 86,333 tanks, 104,891 armoured cars, 12.5 million rifles and machine guns, 2.6 million automatic cannon, 800,000 artillery pieces (of which 216,000 were heavy and 50,000 motorised) and 2.5 million trucks.
In three years of operation, the battleship North Carolina sailed 260,000 miles, a distance equal to 10 circumnavigations of the globe, without a single pause for repairs.
In 1939 regular American forces totalled 500,000 men, including 241,000 in the Army comprising five activated divisions. Under the genius of Gen. George C. Marshall, the three branches of the US armed forces reached a strength of 12 million, including servicewomen, by 1945. US ground forces reached a strength of 89 divisions, 16 armoured and 15 airborne, plus six Marine divisions by the end of the war.
In 1941, the Japanese Admiral YAMAMOTO was well aware of this mighty American potential. He warned his military countrymen, but found himself “a voice crying in the wilderness”. When his Emperor followed (under pressure?) the advice of his predominately army advisers and “let slip the dogs of war”, YAMAMOTO a true professional, accepted the decision and did his best for his country.