By William Green
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Additional resources for Aircraft of the Battle of Britain
Therefore, the Ministry of Shipping undertook that duty and dealt effectively with the situation as it then existed. Then Hitler's conquests changed the character of the war. The Ministry of Shipping reported looming uncertainties in August 1940. Cargo vessels' entrances into British ports had fallen 35 percent in July, and military demands for tonnage had risen 29 percent between March and July. It seemed that the 43 million tons program for the second year of war might have to be reduced by 10 percent even if port congestion and crew delays were avoided.
42 Sir Arthur Salter, who spent two years in the United States trying to redress British failures with allocations of American output, summarized the failure of British shipbuilding after viewing the commissioning of the first American vessel built for British contracts. Widespread use of workers without previous shipbuilding experience characterized American construction. A leaven of skilled workers had enabled the production of high-quality work. "I have always felt that we ought to have learned more from America in this respect.
Imports fell below an annual rate of 30 million tons. 4 The Luftwaffe had failed in the Battle of Britain, but Germany's blockade might yet inflict a decisive blow in the Atlantic. Escort availabilities and priorities U-boat operations from French Atlantic ports now posed a new threat. Convoy protection became a primary concern. The ability to deploy effective destroyer escorts was crucial. Few were available. The destroyers took a heavy beating during the Dunkirk evacuation, and fear of invasion diverted many to reconnaissance.
Aircraft of the Battle of Britain by William Green