The axis and Allied Maritime Operations around Southern Africa, 1939-1945

Kleynhans, Evert Philippus (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Doctorate

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The majority of academic and popular studies on the South African participation in the Second World War historically focus on the military operations of the Union Defence Force in East Africa, North Africa, Madagascar and Italy. Recently, there has been a renewed drive to study the South African participation from a more general war and society approach. The South African home front during the war, and in particular the Axis and Allied maritime war waged off the southern African coast, has, however, received scant historical attention from professional and amateur historians alike. The historical interrelated aspects of maritime insecurity evident in southern Africa during the war are largely cast aside by contemporary academics engaging with issues of maritime strategy and insecurity in southern Africa. The all-encompassing nature and extent of the maritime war waged off southern Africa during the Second World War have been far more extensive than suggested in traditional sources. A key understanding of the maritime war is, in effect, incomplete without separate detailed discussions about the opposing Axis and Allied maritime strategies off the coast of southern Africa, the wartime shipping quandaries experienced by the Union of South Africa, and the South African coastal defences. The Axis maritime operations in southern African waters, the so-called maritime intelligence war, and the extended anti-submarine war waged in these waters are equally integral to the discussion. This dissertation aims to provide a critical, comprehensive analysis of the Axis and Allied maritime operations around the coast of southern Africa between 1939 and 1945. The study investigates this inclusive topic through the aforementioned research objectives. The study does not fall into the general ambit of a regimental, campaign or personal military history. Instead, it straddles the strata of war and offers fresh insights into an episode of the South African military history uncommonly investigated by contemporary military historians. The dissertation finds that the Axis and Allied maritime operations off the southern African coast were complex in nature, especially regarding the several strategic, military and economic aspects that have always underpinned them. Moreover, in gaining an understanding of these complex operations, the study reveals the general interrelatedness between the rival Axis and Allied maritime strategies and operations around the southern African coast. Previous studies have failed to recognise this interrelatedness, and have instead offered a one-sided, compartmentalised discussion on single aspects associated with the maritime war waged off southern Africa. This study thus distances itself from previous academic and popular historiography on the subject. It offers, rather, a fresh, in-depth discussion underpinned by extensive archival research, access to previously classified material, and a wealth of secondary sources.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die historiese fokus van die meerderheid akademiese en populêre werke wat handel oor die Suid-Afrikaanse deelname aan die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, is gefokus op die Unieverdedigingsmag se militêre operasies in Oos-Afrika, Noord-Afrika, Madagaskar en Italië. Hedendaags is daar ʼn fokus om dié Suid-Afrikaanse deelname aan die oorlog eerder te bestudeer uit die oogpunt oor hóé die oorlog die samelewing beïnvloed het. Die impak van die oorlog op die Suid-Afrikaanse tuisfront, asook die maritieme oorlog wat tussen die Spilmagte en Geallieerdes rondom die suider-Afrikaanse kuslyn gewoed het, het histories karige aandag van beide professionele en amateur historici ontlok. Dit is ʼn onomkeerbare feit dat historici dié interafhanklikheid van die maritieme onveiligheid rondom die Suid-Afrikaanse kus vir gerieflikheidshalwe opsy gesit het. Die allesomvattende aard van die maritieme oorlog wat rondom die suider-Afrikaanse kuslyn gewoed het gedurende die oorlog, is veel groter as wat die tradisionele historiese bronne voorgee. Dit is ʼn feit dat die maritieme oorlog selde verstaan kan word sonder ʼn gedetailleerde bespreking oor die Spilmagte en Geallieerdes se maritieme strategieë rondom suider-Afrika, die uitdagende probleme van die verskeping van goedere en die Suid-Afrikaanse kusverdedigingstelsel. Die Spilmagte se maritieme operasies in suider-Afrikaanse waters, die sogenaamde maritieme inligtingsoorlog, sowel as die uitgebreide anti-duikboot operasies in hierdie waters vorm ook ʼn integrale deel van hierdie bespreking. As gevolg hiervan is die doel van hierdie proefskrif om ʼn kritiese, allesomvattende analise te bied ten opsigte van die Spilmagte en Geallieerdes se maritieme operasies rondom die suider-Afrikaanse kus tussen 1939 en 1945. Die proefskrif ondersoek die allesomvattende onderwerp deur die voorgenoemde navorsingsdoelwitte. Hierdie proefskrif val nie in die tradisionele bestek van ʼn regiments-, veldtog- of selfs persoonlike geskiedenis nie. Inteendeel bied dit ʼn nuwe analise oor ʼn episode in die Suid-Afrikaanse krygsgeskiedenis wat selde deur kontemporêre krygshistorici ondersoek is. Die proefskrif bevind dat die Spilmagte en Geallieerdes se maritieme operasies rondom die suider-Afrikaanse kus uiters kompleks was, veral rondom die verskeie strategiese, militêre en ekonomiese aspekte wat dit ondersteun het. Verder bevind die studie ook dat daar ʼn definitiewe verwantskap was tussen die Spilmagte en Geallieerdes se maritieme strategieë en operasies rondom die suider-Afrikaanse kus. Die feit dat die meerderheid publikasies die verwantskap ignoreer, en eerder ʼn eensydige, gekompartementaliseerde, bespreking en analise bied, bly kommerwekkend. Dié proefskrif distansieer homself dus van die voorheen gepubliseerde akademiese- en populêre geskiedskrywing oor die onderwerp. In stede daarvan bied dit ʼn vars in-diepte ondersoek en bespreking, gestaaf deur uitgebreide argivale navorsing, toegang tot voorheen geklassifiseerde inligting, en ʼn magdom sekondêre bronne.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105159
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