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Arctic convoys of World War II

Arctic convoys of World War II
View from the cruiser   as she sails on convoy duty through the waters of the Arctic Ocean. In the background are merchant ships of the convoy. The image was taken during the twilight of the arctic winter-the short time each day that the sun is seen during winter near the pole. In the foreground is the silhouette of a lookout using a telescope.
Military Conflict
ConflictArctic convoys of World War II
DateAugust 1941 May 1945
LocationNorwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean
United Kingdom
United States
Nazi Germany
85 merchant vessels
16 warships
4 warships
30 submarines

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The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United Kingdom and North America to the northern ports of the Soviet Union-Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 (although there were two gaps with no sailings between July and September 1942, and March and November 1943). About 1400 merchant ships delivered vital supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships (two cruisers, six destroyers, eight other escort ships) were lost. The Nazi German Kriegsmarine lost a number of vessels including one battleship, three destroyers and at least 30 U-boats as well as a large number of aircraft.

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