Day: February 12, 2020

Non-combatants accounted for the bulk of Second World War deaths
Front Lines

Non-combatants accounted for the bulk of Second World War deaths

The first casualty of war may be the truth, but the last and just as certain is the non-combatant. As many as 85 million people were killed during the Second World War but fewer than 30 per cent were military. More of the dead were victims of war crimes than legitimate battle. Eighty-five per cent of those killed between 1937, when Japan invaded China, and when the war ostensibly ended in 1945 were Allied—mainly Soviet and Chinese. Just 15 per cent were Axis. There’s a reason for that: the bad guys in the Second World War really were the bad guys, industrialized killers driven by conquest, greed, hatred and an abject disregard for human life. It is one of the few wars in modern history where the delineation between right and wrong, good and evil, is so unmistakably cle...
The last of the U-boats is scuttled
Military Milestones

The last of the U-boats is scuttled

On Feb. 12, 1946, U-3514 was sunk off the coast of Northern Ireland in Operation Deadlight, meant to ensure elimination of the German submarine fleet after the war. The sub was sunk at 10:04 a.m. by ship guns and depth charges, the last of 116 scuttled by the Royal Navy. In anticipation of the end of the war in early May 1945, German U-boat captains began scuttling their own boats, preventing an estimated 200 from falling into the hands of the Allies. On May 4, the German Navy ordered all U-boats to go to ports in Norway. On May 8, there were 156 still afloat. Their fate was sealed by an agreement among the Allies that sinking the vessels was more economic than scrapping them. The boats were gathered at Lisahall, Northern Ireland, and Loch Ryan in Scotland, but a great number (som...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.