The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Saturday, September 11, 2010

VOC in World War II

Unlike the Great War, the VOC did not have two years to prepare itself for the Commonwealth to be drug into a world war. World War II hit the United Provinces abruptly in 1940, when Fuhrer German forces spilled across the borders on their way to France. Due to the emergency of the situation, company destroyers were pressed into Commonwealth service. The Company rented out its frigates as escorts, while building more for the war effort. VOC freighters were quickly brought into various VOC docks around the world, and by the start of 1942, all VOC ships were armed with anti-aircraft weapons and a deck gun.

The strangest of the Company’s products of the war was a strange hybrid freighter, with a flight deck built on the starboard side of the ships. Only a small percentage, 4% of VOC freighters produced during the war carried these narrow flight decks. Due to size restrictions, only a total of four fighters could be carried by each escort freighter. Fighters carried by them were obsolete by naval standards, yet served well in attacking submarines, fending off scout planes and spotting commerce raiders.

Production in almost all of the VOC’s sectors was up. Freighter production alone was second only to the liberty ships of the United States. VOC had shipyards scattered well out of range of Axis and Japanese attacks, and did not suffer the damage. Japanese raids on Ceylon and a Spanish raid on northeastern Brazil were the closest the enemy came to touching VOC production facilities outside of the United Provinces. Many of those were destroyed by retreating Commonwealth soldiers rather than be let to fall into the hands of Fuhrer Germany.

VOC Auto produced tens of thousands of six-wheel drive trucks for the Commonwealth Army, and VOC Air converted its airline production into airborne transports and cargo planes. One fast VOC air mail plane, the VOC Model 1939-C, was easily converted into the fighters used on board escort freighters. It was fast enough (404 kph) to be a fighter, but the speed was caused by its lightness. Though it could keep up with fighters of the time, its lack of armor would have meant it an easy target. However, they could carry 100 kg bombs as well as depth charges.

No comments:

Post a Comment