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How the Merchant Navy Fought Back

Discussion in 'Merchant Navy During WWII' started by Jim, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    Naval officers and ratings were detailed to instruct the crews of merchant ships in gunnery, and found them apt and eager pupils. The proper way to ram home the shell is being explained to members of a merchant ship's crew who have volunteered to man the gun.


    An intensive effort had been made to produce guns for the Mercantile Marine. These high angle guns were made in 1939 and are ready for dispatch to ships.


    In the course of his speech in the House of Commons on December 6, 1939, Winston Churchill said:

    "We have already armed more than 1,000 merchant ships for self-defensive purposes and the process is continuing with all possible speed. It will not be long before we have 2,000 so armed. These merchant ships, in accordance with the oldest rights of the sea, fire back when they are attacked. The merchant captains and seamen show a resolute disposition to defend themselves, and many duels are fought in which the U-boat, fearing to be damaged and thus be unable to dive or attack, is beaten off."

    This oil-tanker mounts astern one of the high angle guns that could be used against either aircraft or submarines. The gun was 4•7 in, and when it was first installed daily practice in loading it and laying it, as seen in the picture was part of the ship's routine.


    These men of a merchant ship can be seen firing the first shot with their new gun, thou still under Naval supervision. The gun was depressed so that the shell hit the water close to the ship.


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