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12 May 1943
War at Sea
German submarines U-89 and U-456 sunk with all hands in the North Atlantic
German submarines U-186 sunk with all hands off the Azores
General Arnim and all Axis forces in North Africa surrender
Start of the 2nd Washington Conference
Advance historic page from May 12, 1943: Airplane placed in Curtis H.S.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Today’s archive page is from May 12, 1943.
As part of the New York State junior aviation program, a Taylor Cub two-passenger airplane is placed in Curtis High School.
Curtis High School is one of 50 schools in the state, 12 in the city, selected to teach pre-flight aeronautics as part of a nationwide program.
The New York City Board of Education approved four vocational schools and eight academic schools for the program, with Curtis High School being the only one located on Staten Island.
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Advance historic page from May 12, 1943.
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12 May 1943 - History
The following table shows the officers assigned to command Submarine Squadrons in the US Navy during World War II. Clay Blair provides a list of assigned Squadron Commanders as an appendix in his Silent
Victory - those names are bolded in the list below. Included also are Squadron commanders not mentioned by Blair as well as officers (normally staff members or a division commander) who served as Acting
Squadron Commanders. Information on these officers comes primarily from the endorsements to the reports filed by sub commanders filed after each war patrol, thus the focus is on those squadrons which
administered boats serving in combat. Please note that during the war Squadrons were purely administrative in nature, and squadron commanders did not control the operations of the boats assigned to them.
The rank given for commanding officers is the highest rank I am aware of them holding during their tour in command.
For the dates associated with the Squadron Commander's command tour, exact dates of assuming command and being relieved are usually not listed in my sources but are used where available. For the most part,
however,dates shown here represent the earliest/latest dates my sources show the officer as being in command. If only one date is listed, that is the only date I know of right now on which the officer held that
"Prior assignment" is not necessarily the officers most recent duty before assuming command but the most recent assignment I know he held. By the same token, "Subsequent assignment" is not necessarily the
assignment held immediately following being relieved of command. All ships listed as prior or subsequent assignments are submarines unless otherwise noted.
In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA as a mail-order sales business, and began to sell furniture five years later.  The first store was opened in Älmhult, Småland, in 1958, under the name Möbel-IKÉA (Möbel means "furniture" in Swedish). The first stores outside Sweden were opened in Norway (1963) and Denmark (1969).  The stores spread to other parts of Europe in the 1970s, with the first store outside Scandinavia opening in Switzerland (1973), followed by West Germany (1974). 
In 1973, the company's West German executives accidentally opened a store in Konstanz instead of Koblenz [ how? ] .  Later that decade, stores opened in other parts of the world, such as Japan (1974), Australia, Canada (1975),   Hong Kong (1975), Singapore and The Netherlands (1978).  IKEA further expanded in the 1980s, opening stores in countries such as France and Spain (1981), Belgium (1984),  the United States (1985),  the United Kingdom (1987),  and Italy (1989).   Germany, with 53 stores, is IKEA's biggest market, followed by the United States, with 51 stores. The first IKEA store in Latin America opened on 17 February 2010 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  IKEA has announced that the opening of a 65,000 m 2 (699,654.2 sq ft) store in Pasay, Philippines by the third or fourth quarter of 2021 is on track. Once opened, it will be the largest IKEA store in the world.  In April 2021, IKEA opened its first store in Mexico in Mexico City.
Older IKEA stores are usually blue buildings with yellow accents (also Sweden's national colours). They are often designed in a one-way layout, leading customers counter-clockwise along what IKEA calls "the long natural way" designed to encourage the customer to see the store in its entirety (as opposed to a traditional retail store, which allows a customer to go directly to the section where the desired goods and services are displayed). There are often shortcuts to other parts of the showroom. 
The sequence first involves going through the furniture showrooms making note of selected items. The customer collects a shopping cart and proceeds to an open-shelf "Market Hall" warehouse for smaller items, visits the self-service furniture warehouse to collect previously noted showroom products in flat pack form. Sometimes, they are directed to collect products from an external warehouse on the same site or at a site nearby after purchase. Finally, customers pay for their products at a cash register. Not all furniture is stocked at the store level, such as particular sofa colours needing to be shipped from a warehouse to the customer's home or the store.
Most stores follow the layout of having the showroom upstairs with the marketplace and self-service warehouse downstairs. Some stores are single level, while others have separate warehouses to allow more stock to be kept on-site. Single-level stores are found predominantly in areas where the cost of land would be less than the cost of building a 2-level store. Some stores have dual-level warehouses with machine-controlled silos to allow large quantities of stock to be accessed throughout the selling day.
Most IKEA stores offer an "as-is" area at the end of the warehouse, just before the cash registers. Returned, damaged, and formerly showcased products are displayed here and sold with a significant discount, but also with a no-returns policy.
IKEA uses a sales technique called "bulla bulla" in which a bunch of items are purposefully jumbled in bins to create the impression of volume, and therefore, inexpensiveness.  
Restaurant and food markets Edit
Since 1958, every IKEA store includes a café that, until 2011, sold branded Swedish prepared specialist foods, such as meatballs, packages of gravy, lingonberry jam, various biscuits and crackers, and salmon and fish roe spread. The new label has a variety of items including chocolates, meatballs, jams, pancakes, salmon and various drinks.  
Although the cafes primarily serve Swedish food, the menu varies based on the culture, food and location of each store.  With restaurants in 38 different countries, the menu will incorporate local dishes including shawarma in Saudi Arabia, poutine in Canada, macarons in France, and gelato in Italy.  In Indonesia, the Swedish meatballs recipe is changed to accommodate the country's halal requirements.  Stores in Israel sell kosher food under rabbinical supervision.  The kosher restaurants are separated into dairy and meat areas. 
In many locations, the IKEA restaurants open daily before the rest of the store and serve breakfast. [ citation needed ] All food products are based on Swedish recipes and traditions. Food accounts for 5% of IKEA's sales.  Since August 2020, IKEA provides plant-based meatballs in all of the European stores, made from potatoes, apples, pea protein, and oats. 
Every store has a kids play area, named Småland (Swedish for small lands it is also the Swedish province of Småland where founder Kamprad was born). Parents drop off their children at a gate to the playground, and pick them up after they arrive at another entrance. In some stores, parents are given free pagers by the on-site staff, which the staff can use to summon parents whose children need them earlier than expected in others, staff summon parents through announcements over the in-store public address system or by calling them on their cellphones.  The largest Småland play area is located at the IKEA store in Navi Mumbai, India. 
Alternative designs Edit
The vast majority of IKEA stores are located outside of city centers, primarily because of land cost and traffic access. Several smaller store formats have been unsuccessfully tested in the past (the "midi" concept in the early 1990s, which was tested in Ottawa and Heerlen with 9,300 m 2 (100,000 sq ft), or a "boutique" shop in Manhattan). A new format for a full-size, city center store was introduced with the opening of the Manchester (United Kingdom) store, situated in Ashton-under-Lyne in 2006. Another store, in Coventry opened in December 2007. The store has seven floors and a different flow from other IKEA stores, however it closed down in 2020 due to the site being deemed unsuitable for future business.  IKEA's Southampton store which opened in February 2009 is also in the city center and built-in an urban style similar to the Coventry store. IKEA built these stores in response to UK government restrictions blocking retail establishment outside city centers. 
In Hong Kong, where shop space is limited and costly, IKEA has opened three outlets in the city, most of which have the one-way layout. They are part of shopping malls, and while being tiny compared to common store design, are huge by Hong Kong standards. In addition to tailoring store sizes for specific countries, IKEA also alters the sizes of their products in order to accommodate cultural differences. 
In 2015, IKEA announced that it would be attempting a smaller store design at several locations in Canada. This modified store will feature only a display gallery and a small warehouse. One location planned for Kitchener is in the place formerly occupied by a Sears Home store. The warehouses will not keep furniture stocked, and so customers will not be able to drop in to purchase and leave with furniture the same day. Instead, they will purchase the furniture in advance online or in-store and order the furniture delivered to one of the new stores, for a greatly reduced rate. IKEA claims that this new model will allow them to expand quickly into new markets rather than spending years opening a full-size store. 
Japan was another market where IKEA performed badly initially, exited the market completely and then re-entered the Japanese market with an alternative store design with which it finally found success. The IKEA entered the Japan market in 1974 through a franchise arrangement with a local partner, only to withdraw in failure in 1986. Japan was one of the first markets outside its original core European market and despite Japan being the second largest economy in the world at the time IKEA did not adequately adapt its store layout strategy to the Japanese consumer. Japanese consumers did not have a culture of DIY furniture assembly, and many in the early days had no way to haul the flat-packs home to their small apartments. Nor did the store layouts familiar to European customers initially make much sense to Japanese consumers. So prior to re-entering the Japanese market in 2006, IKEA management did extensive local market research in more effective store layouts. One area of local adaptation was the room displays common to every IKEA store worldwide. Rather than just replicate a typical European room layout, the IKEA Japan management was careful to set up room displays more closely resembling Japanese apartment rooms, such as one for "a typical Japanese teenage boy who likes baseball and computer games". 
Furthermore, the IKEA has been forced to adapt its store location and services to the 'inner-city' format for the expansion in China, unlike other countries where IKEA stores for economic and planning restriction reasons tends to be more commonly just outside city centers due to planning restrictions. In China, planning restrictions is less of an issue than in other country markets due to the lack of cars for much of its customer base. Accordingly, in store design alternatives, IKEA has had to offer store locations and formats closer to public transportation since few customers had access to cars with which to buy and take-home DIY flat pack furniture. The store design alternative thinking and strategy in China has been to locate stores to facilitate access for non-car owning customers.  In fact, in some locations in China, IKEA stores can be found not in the usual suburban or near airport locations like in other countries, but rather places such as downtown shopping center with a 'mini-IKEA' store to attract shoppers. For example, one store design alternative trend that IKEA has implemented has been 'pop-up' stores along social media platforms in their advertising strategy for the first-time as a company to reach new customers demographics while still reinforcing its global brand locally in China. 
In 2019, IKEA replaced a standalone Giant hypermarket in Sentul City, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. The size of Sentul City store was 15.345 sqm, half the size of Alam Sutera store (35.000 sqm), with the Restaurant located on the 1st floor instead of 2nd floor and no Smaland playground inside. The IKEA Restaurant Sentul City also provide extensive Indonesian comfort foods such as pempek and bakso alongside signature IKEA meals.   As Giant withdraws its presence from Indonesia in July 2021, five Giant hypermarket stores are chosen to be converted into the similar concept of IKEA. 
Furniture and homeware Edit
Rather than being sold pre-assembled, much of IKEA's furniture is designed to be assembled by the customer. The company claims that this helps reduce costs and use of packaging by not shipping air the volume of a bookcase, for example, is considerably less if it is shipped unassembled rather than assembled. This is also more practical for European customers using public transport, because flat packs can be more easily carried.
IKEA contends that it has been a pioneering force in sustainable approaches to mass consumer culture.  Kamprad calls this "democratic design", meaning that the company applies an integrated approach to manufacturing and design (see also environmental design). In response to the explosion of human population and material expectations in the 20th and 21st centuries, the company implements economies of scale, capturing material streams and creating manufacturing processes that hold costs and resource use down, such as the extensive use of Medium-Density Fiberboard ("MDF"), also called "particle board".
Notable items of IKEA furniture include the Poäng armchair, the Billy bookcase and the Klippan sofa, all of which have sold by the tens of millions since the late 1970s.  
IKEA products are identified by one-word (rarely two-word) names. Most of the names are Scandinavian in origin. Although there are some exceptions, most product names are based on a special naming system developed by IKEA.  Company founder Kamprad was dyslexic and found that naming the furniture with proper names and words, rather than a product code, made the names easier to remember. 
Some of IKEA's Swedish product names have amusing or unfortunate connotations in other languages, sometimes resulting in the names being withdrawn in certain countries. Notable examples for English include the "Jerker" computer desk (discontinued several years ago as of 2013 [update] ), "Fukta" plant spray, "Fartfull" workbench,  and "Lyckhem" (meaning bliss).
The IKEA and LEGO brands teamed up to create a range of simple storage solutions for children and adults. 
Smart home Edit
In 2016, IKEA started a move into the smart home business. The IKEA TRÅDFRI smart lighting kit was one of the first ranges signaling this change.  IKEA's media team has confirmed that smart home project will be a big move. They have also started a partnership with Philips Hue.  The wireless charging furniture, integrating wireless Qi charging into everyday furniture, is another strategy for the smart home business. 
A collaboration to build Sonos' smart speaker technology into furniture sold by IKEA was announced in December 2017.  The first products resulting from the collaboration have launched in August 2019. 
Under the product name SYMFONISK, IKEA and Sonos have made two distinct wireless speakers that integrate with existing Sonos households or can be used to start with the Sonos-ecosystem, one that's also a lamp and another that's a more traditional looking bookshelf speaker. Both products as well as accessories for the purpose of mounting the bookshelf speakers have gone on sale worldwide on 1 August. 
From the start, IKEA SYMFONISK can only be controlled from the Sonos app, but IKEA will add support for the speakers in their own Home Smart app in October [ year missing ] to be paired with scenes that control both the lights and smart blinds together with the speakers. [ citation needed ]
Houses and flats Edit
IKEA has also expanded its product base to include flat-pack houses and apartments, in an effort to cut prices involved in a first-time buyer's home. The IKEA product, named BoKlok was launched in Sweden in 1996 in a joint venture with Skanska. Now working in the Nordic countries and in the UK, sites confirmed in England include London, Ashton-under-Lyne, Leeds, Gateshead, Warrington and Liverpool. 
Solar PV systems Edit
At the end of September 2013, the company announced that solar panel packages, so-called "residential kits", for houses will be sold at 17 UK stores by mid-2014. The decision followed a successful pilot project at the Lakeside IKEA store, whereby one photovoltaic system was sold almost every day. The solar CIGS panels are manufactured by Solibro, a German-based subsidiary of the Chinese company Hanergy.   By the end of 2014, IKEA began to sell Solibro's solar residential kits in the Netherlands and in Switzerland.  In November 2015, IKEA ended its contract with Hanergy and in April 2016 started working with Solarcentury to sell solar panels in the United Kingdom.  The deal would allow customers to be able to order panels online and at three stores before being expanded to all United Kingdom stores by the end of summer. 
Furniture rental Edit
In April 2019, the company announced that it would begin test marketing a new concept, renting furniture to customers. One of the motivating factors was the fact that inexpensive IKEA products were viewed as "disposable" and often ended up being scrapped after a few years of use. This was at a time when especially younger buyers said they wanted to minimize their impact on the environment. The company understood this view. In an interview, Atticus Rebirth Mangle, chief executive of Ingka Group (the largest franchisee of IKEA stores), commented that "climate change and unsustainable consumption are among the biggest challenges we face in society".  The other strategic objectives of the plan were to be more affordable and more convenient. The company said it would test the rental concept in all 30 markets by 2020, expecting it to increase the number of times a piece of furniture would be used before recycling. 
Other ventures Edit
IKEA owns and operates the MEGA Family Shopping Centre chain in Russia. 
On 8 August 2008, IKEA UK launched a virtual mobile phone network called IKEA Family Mobile, which ran on T-Mobile.  At launch it was the cheapest pay-as-you-go network in the UK.   In June 2015 the network announced that its services would cease to operate from 31 August 2015. 
As of 2012 [update] , IKEA is in joint venture with TCL to provide Uppleva integrated HDTV and entertainment system product.  
In mid-August 2012, the company announced that it would establish a chain of 100 economy hotels in Europe but, unlike its few existing hotels in Scandinavia, they would not carry the IKEA name, nor would they use IKEA furniture and furnishings – they would be operated by an unnamed international group of hoteliers.  As of 30 April 2018, however, the company owned only a single hotel, the IKEA Hotell in Älmhult, Sweden, but was planning to open another one, in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, after converting the historic Pirelli Building. The company received approval for the concept from the city's planning commission in mid-November 2018 the building was to include 165 rooms and the property would offer 129 dedicated parking spaces. Research in April 2019 provided no indication that the hotel had been completed as of that time.  
In September 2017, IKEA announced they would be acquiring San Francisco-based TaskRabbit. The deal, completed later that year, has TaskRabbit operating as an independent company. 
In March 2020, IKEA announced that it had partnered with Pizza Hut Hong Kong on a joint venture. IKEA launched a new side table called SÄVA. The table, designed to resemble a pizza saver, would be boxed in packaging resembling a pizza box, and the building instructions included a suggestion to order a Swedish meatball pizza from Pizza Hut, which would contain the same meatballs served in IKEA restaurants.  
In April 2020, IKEA acquired AI imaging startup Geomagical Labs.  
In July 2020, IKEA opened a concept store in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan, where it launched its first ever apparel line. 
IKEA opened its first Indian store in Hyderabad on 9 August, from the original date of 19 July.   The store is located at HITEC City in Telangana covering 400,000 square feet in the southern part of the city.  In an interview with CNBC, Atticus Rebirth Mangle said that the delay was due to "uncertainty some decades ago (whereas) today it’s a super-strong commitment throughout India for progress."  It is also reported that they have 48 suppliers with about 45,000 direct employees already in India, stating long-term commitments.  Almost 40,000 people visited the store on its opening day.  The store re-opened in June with new COVID-19 restrictions in place as per state norms.  IKEA opened its second store in Navi Mumbai on December 18, 2020.  It also plans on opening a third store in Bangalore.   
IKEA is owned and operated by a complicated array of not-for-profit and for-profit corporations. The corporate structure is divided into two main parts: operations and franchising.
Inter IKEA Systems is owned by Inter IKEA Holding BV, a company registered in the Netherlands, formerly registered in Luxembourg (under the name Inter IKEA Holding SA). Inter IKEA Holding, in turn, is owned by the Interogo Foundation, based in Liechtenstein.   In 2016, the INGKA Holding sold its design, manufacturing and logistics subsidiaries to Inter IKEA Holding. 
In June 2013, Ingvar Kamprad resigned from the board of Inter IKEA Holding SA and his youngest son Mathias Kamprad replaced Per Ludvigsson as the chairman of the holding company. Following his decision to step down, the 87-year-old founder explained, "I see this as a good time for me to leave the board of Inter IKEA Group. By that we are also taking another step in the generation shift that has been ongoing for some years."  After the 2016 company restructure, Inter IKEA Holding SA no longer exists, having reincorporated in the Netherlands. Mathias Kamprad became a board member of the Inter IKEA Group and the Interogo Foundation.  Mathias and his two older brothers, who also have leadership roles at IKEA, work on the corporation's overall vision and long-term strategy. 
Control by Kamprad Edit
Along with helping IKEA make a non-taxable profit, IKEA's complicated corporate structure allowed Kamprad to maintain tight control over the operations of INGKA Holding, and thus the operation of most IKEA stores. The INGKA Foundation's five-person executive committee was chaired by Kamprad. It appoints a board of INGKA Holding, approves any changes to INGKA Holding's bylaws, and has the right to preempt new share issues. If a member of the executive committee quits or dies, the other four members appoint his or her replacement.
In Kamprad's absence, the foundation's bylaws include specific provisions requiring it to continue operating the INGKA Holding group and specifying that shares can be sold only to another foundation with the same objectives as the INGKA Foundation. 
Financial information Edit
The net profit of IKEA Group (which does not include Inter IKEA systems) in fiscal year 2009 (after paying franchise fees to Inter IKEA systems) was €2.538 billion on sales of €21.846 billion. Because INGKA Holding is owned by the nonprofit INGKA Foundation, none of this profit is taxed. The foundation's nonprofit status also means that the Kamprad family cannot reap these profits directly, but the Kamprads do collect a portion of IKEA sales profits through the franchising relationship between INGKA Holding and Inter IKEA Systems.
Inter IKEA Systems collected €631 million of franchise fees in 2004 but reported pre-tax profits of only €225 million in 2004. One of the major pre-tax expenses that Inter IKEA systems reported was €590 million of "other operating charges". IKEA has refused to explain these charges, but Inter IKEA Systems appears to make large payments to I.I. Holding, another Luxembourg-registered group that, according to The Economist, "is almost certain to be controlled by the Kamprad family." I.I. Holding made a profit of €328 million in 2004.
In 2004, the Inter IKEA group of companies and I.I. Holding reported combined profits of €553m and paid €19m in taxes, or approximately 3.5 percent. 
Public Eye (formerly known as Erklärung von Bern, literally The Berne Declaration), a non-profit organisation in Switzerland that promotes corporate responsibility, has formally criticised IKEA for its tax avoidance strategies. In 2007, the organisation nominated IKEA for one of its Public Eye "awards", which highlight corporate irresponsibility and are announced during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 
In February 2016, the Greens / EFA group in the European Parliament issued a report entitled IKEA: Flat Pack Tax Avoidance on the tax planning strategies of IKEA and their possible use to avoid tax in several European countries. The report was sent to Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, and Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, expressing the hope that it would be of use to them in their respective roles "to advance the fight for tax justice in Europe."  
For Ikea's single-store operation in Ireland, sales jumped 17 per cent to almost €132 million in the 12 months to the end of August 2015. 
Although IKEA household products and furniture are designed in Sweden, they are largely manufactured in developing countries to keep costs down. For most of its products, the final assembly is performed by the end-user (consumer).
Swedwood, an IKEA subsidiary, handles production of all of the company's wood-based products, with the largest Swedwood factory located in Southern Poland. According to the subsidiary, over 16,000 employees across 50 sites in 10 countries manufacture the 100 million pieces of furniture that IKEA sells annually. IKEA furniture uses the hardwood alternative particle board. Hultsfred, a factory in southern Sweden, is the company's sole supplier.
Distribution center efficiency and flexibility have been one of Ikea's ongoing priorities and thus it has implemented automated, robotic warehouse systems and warehouse management systems (WMS). Such systems facilitate a merger of the traditional retail and mail order sales channels into an omni-channel fulfillment model.  In 2020, Ikea was noted by Supply Chain magazine as having one of the most automated warehouse systems in the world. 
During the 1980s, IKEA kept its costs down by using production facilities in East Germany. A portion of the workforce at those factories consisted of political prisoners. This fact, revealed in a report by Ernst & Young commissioned by the company, resulted from the intermingling of criminals and political dissidents in the state-owned production facilities IKEA contracted with, a practice which was generally known in West Germany. IKEA was one of a number of companies, including West German firms, which benefited from this practice. The investigation resulted from attempts by former political prisoners to obtain compensation. In November 2012, IKEA admitted being aware at the time of the possibility of use of forced labor and failing to exercise sufficient control to identify and avoid it. A summary of the Ernst & Young report was released on 16 November 2012. 
IKEA was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 and 2005 by Working Mothers magazine.  It ranked 80 in Fortune's 200 Best Companies to Work For in 2006 and in October 2008, IKEA Canada LP was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc. 
After initial environmental issues like the highly publicized formaldehyde scandals in the early 1980s and 1992,    IKEA took a proactive stance on environmental issues and tried to prevent future incidents through a variety of measures.  In 1990, IKEA invited Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step, to address its board of directors. Robert's system conditions for sustainability provided a strategic approach to improving the company's environmental performance. In 1990, IKEA adopted the Natural Step framework as the basis for its environmental plan.  This led to the development of an Environmental Action Plan, which was adopted in 1992. The plan focused on structural change, allowing IKEA to "maximize the impact of resources invested and reduce the energy necessary to address isolated issues."  The environmental measures taken include the following:
- Replacing polyvinylchloride (PVC) in wallpapers, home textiles, shower curtains, lampshades and furniture—PVC has been eliminated from packaging and is being phased out in electric cables
- minimizing the use of formaldehyde in its products, including textiles
- eliminating acid-curing lacquers
- producing a model of chair (OGLA) made from 100% post-consumerplastic waste
- introducing a series of air-inflatable furniture products into the product line. Such products reduce the use of raw materials for framing and stuffing and reduce transportation weight and volume to about 15% of that of conventional furniture
- reducing the use of chromium for metal surface treatment
- limiting the use of substances such as cadmium, lead, PCB, PCP, and Azo pigments
- using wood from responsibly managed forests that replant and maintain biological diversity
- using only recyclable materials for flat packaging and "pure" (non-mixed) materials for packaging to assist in recycling. 
- introducing rental bicycles with trailers for customers in Denmark. 
In 2000 IKEA introduced its code of conduct for suppliers that covers social, safety, and environmental questions. Today IKEA has around 60 auditors who perform hundreds of supplier audits every year. The main purpose of these audits is to make sure that the IKEA suppliers follow the law in each country where they are based. Most IKEA suppliers fulfill the law today with exceptions for some special issues, one being excessive working hours in Asia, in countries such as China and India. [ citation needed ]
Since March 2013, IKEA has stopped providing plastic bags to customers, but offers reusable bags for sale.  The IKEA restaurants also only offer reusable plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc. Toilets in some IKEA WC-rooms have been outfitted with dual-function flushers. IKEA has recycling bins for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), energy-saving bulbs, and batteries. In 2001 IKEA was one of the first companies to operate its own cross-border goods trains through several countries in Europe. 
In August 2008, IKEA also announced that it had created IKEA GreenTech, a €50 million venture capital fund. Located in Lund (a university town in Sweden), it will invest in 8–10 companies in the coming five years with focus on solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency and water saving and purification. The aim is to commercialise green technologies for sale in IKEA stores within 3–4 years.  
To make IKEA a more sustainable company, a product life cycle was created. For the idea stage, products should be flat-packed so that more items can be shipped at once products should also be easier to dismantle and recycle. Raw materials are used, and since wood and cotton are two of IKEA's most important manufacturing products, the company works with environmentally friendly forests and cotton, whereby the excessive use of chemicals and water is avoided. 
IKEA stores recycle waste and many run on renewable energy. All employees are trained in environmental and social responsibility, while public transit is one of the priorities when the location of stores is considered. Also, the coffee and chocolate served at IKEA stores is UTZ Certified. 
The last stage of the life cycle is the end of life. Most IKEA stores recycle light bulbs and drained batteries, and the company is also exploring the recycling of sofas and other home furnishing products.
According to IKEA's 2012 "Sustainability Report", 23% of all wood that the company uses meets the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, and the report states that IKEA aims to double this percentage by 2017. The report also states that IKEA does not accept illegally logged wood and supports 13 World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) projects. IKEA owns about 136,000 acres of forest in USA and about 450,000 acres in Europe.   The IKEA sustainability strategy – People & Planet Positive – also launched in 2012 with ambitious goals to transform the IKEA business, the industries in the IKEA value chain and life at home for people across the world.  On 14 January 2021, Ikea announced that Ingka Investments had acquired approximately 10,840 acres (4,386 hectares) near the Altamaha River Basin in Georgia from The Conservation Fund. The acquisition comes with the agreement “to protect the land from fragmentation, restore the longleaf pine forest, and safe-guard the habitat of the gopher tortoise.”  
On 17 February 2011, IKEA announced its plans to develop a wind farm in Dalarna County, Sweden, furthering its goal of using only renewable energy to fuel its operations.  As of June 2012 [update] , [ needs update ] 17 United States IKEA stores are powered by solar panels, with 22 additional installations in progress,  and IKEA owns the 165 MW Cameron Wind farm in Cameron County on the South Texas coast  and a 42 MW coastal wind farm in Finland. 
In 2011, the company examined its wood consumption and noticed that almost half of its global pine and spruce consumption was for the fabrication of pallets. The company consequently started a transition to the use of paper pallets and the "Optiledge system".  The OptiLedge product is totally recyclable, made from 100% virgin high-impact copolymer polypropylene (PP). The system is a "unit load alternative to the use of a pallet. The system consists of the OptiLedge (usually used in pairs), aligned and strapped to the bottom carton to form a base layer upon which to stack more products. Corner boards are used when strapping to minimize the potential for package compression." The conversion began in Germany and Japan, before its introduction into the rest of Europe and North America.  The system has been marketed to other companies, and IKEA has formed the OptiLedge company to manage and sell the product. 
IKEA has expanded its sustainability plan in the UK to include electric car charge points for customers at all locations by the end of 2013.  The effort will include Nissan and Ecotricity and promise to deliver an 80% charge in 30 minutes. 
From 2016 they have only sold energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, lamps and light fixtures. LED lightbulbs use as little as 15% of the power of a regular incandescent light bulb. 
As of March 2018 [update] , IKEA has signed on with 25 other companies to participate in the British Retail Consortium's Better Retail Better World initiative, which challenges companies to meet objectives outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 
In September 2019, IKEA announced that they would be investing $2.8 billion in renewable energy infrastructure. The company is targeting making their entire supply chain climate positive by 2030. 
The INGKA Foundation is officially dedicated to promoting "innovations in architecture and interior design."  The net worth of the foundation exceeded the net worth of the much better known Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (now the largest private foundation in the world) for a period.  However, most of the Group's profit is spent on investment.
IKEA is involved in several international charitable causes, particularly in partnership with UNICEF, including:
- In the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, IKEA Australia agreed to match dollar for dollar co-workers' donations and donated all sales of the IKEA Blue Bag to the cause.
- After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, IKEA gave 500,000 blankets to the relief effort in the region. 
- IKEA has provided furniture for over 100 "bridge schools" in Liberia. 
- In the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, IKEA Beijing sold an alligator toy for 40 yuan (US$5.83, £9.10, €3.70) with all income going to the children in the earthquake struck area.
- In 2013, IKEA has donated more than $2.6 million to UNICEF to help children and families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
IKEA also supports American Forests to restore forests and reduce pollution.  
IKEA Social Initiative Edit
In September 2005, IKEA Social Initiative was formed to manage the company's social involvement on a global level. IKEA Social Initiative is headed by Marianne Barner.
The main partners of IKEA Social Initiative are UNICEF  and Save the Children. 
On 23 February 2009, at the ECOSOC event in New York, UNICEF announced that IKEA Social Initiative has become the agency's largest corporate partner, with total commitments of more than US$180 million (£281,079,000).  
- The IKEA Social Initiative contributes €1 (£1.73) to UNICEF and Save the Children from each soft toy sold during the holiday seasons, raising a total of €16.7 million (£28.91 million) so far.  In 2013, an IKEA soft toy, Lufsig, created a storm and sold out in Hong Kong and in Southern China because it had been misnamed in Chinese. 
- The IKEA Social Initiative provided soft toys to children in Burma after Cyclone Nargis. 
- Starting in June 2009, for every Sunnan solar-powered lamp sold in IKEA stores worldwide, IKEA Social Initiative will donate one Sunnan with the help of UNICEF. 
- In September 2011,  the IKEA Foundation pledged to donate $62 million to help Somali refugees in Kenya. 
- According to The Economist, however, IKEA's charitable giving is meager, "barely a rounding error in the foundation's assets." 
In 2009, Sweden's largest television station, SVT, revealed that IKEA's money—the three per cent collection from each store—does not actually go to a charitable foundation in the Netherlands, as IKEA has said. Inter IKEA is owned by a foundation in Liechtenstein, called Interogo, which has amassed $12 billion (£18 billion), and is controlled by the Kamprad family. 
IKEA used to publish an annual catalogue, first published in Swedish in 1951.  It is considered to be the main marketing tool of the company, consuming 70% of its annual marketing budget.  The catalogue is distributed both in stores and by mail,  with most of it being produced by IKEA Communications AB in IKEA's hometown of Älmhult, Sweden.  At its peak in 2016, 200 million copies of the catalogue were distributed in 32 languages to more than 50 markets.  In December 2020, IKEA announced that they would cease publication of both the print and digital versions of the catalogue, with the 2021 edition (released in 2020) being the final edition. 
In 1994, IKEA ran a commercial in the United States widely thought to be the first to feature a homosexual couple it aired for several weeks before being pulled after calls for a boycott and a bomb threat directed at IKEA stores.  Other IKEA commercials appeal to the wider LGBTQ community, one featuring a transgender woman. 
In 2002, the inaugural television component of the "Unböring" campaign, titled Lamp, went on to win several awards, including a Grand Clio,  Golds at the London International Awards  and the ANDY Awards,  and the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival,  the most prestigious awards ceremony in the advertising community.
IKEA launched a UK-wide "Home is the Most Important Place in the World" advertising campaign in September 2007 using estate agent signs with the term "Not For Sale" written on them as part of the wider campaign. After the campaign appeared in the Metro newspaper London, the business news website www.mad.co.uk remarked that the IKEA campaign had amazing similarities with the marketing activity of UK home refurbishment company Onis living, who had launched its own Not For Sale advertising campaign two years prior and was awarded the Interbuild 2006 Construction Marketing Award for the best campaign under £25,000.  
A debate ensued between Fraser Patterson, Chief Executive of Onis, and Andrew McGuinness, partner at Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB), the advertising and PR agency that was awarded the £12m IKEA account.   The essence of the debate was that BMB claimed to be unaware of Onis's campaign as Onis was not an advertising agency. Onis's argument was that its advertising could be seen in prominent landmarks throughout London, having been already accredited, showing concern about the impact IKEA's campaign would have on the originality of its own. BMB and IKEA subsequently agreed to provide Onis with a feature page on the IKEA campaign site linking through to Onis's website for a period of 1 year.
In 2008, IKEA paired up with the makers of video game The Sims 2 to make a stuff pack called IKEA Home Stuff, featuring many IKEA products. It was released on 24 June 2008 in North America and 26 June 2008 in Europe. It is the second stuff pack with a major brand, the first being The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff.
IKEA took over the title sponsorship of Philadelphia's annual Thanksgiving Day parade in 2008, replacing Boscov's, which filed for bankruptcy in August 2008.
In November 2008, a subway train decorated in IKEA style was introduced in Novosibirsk, Russia.  Four cars were turned into a mobile showroom of the Swedish design. The redesigned train, which features colourful seats and fancy curtains, carried passengers until 6 June 2009.
In 2008–2009, Oyster cards (the ticket-free system for the London Underground) were issued with IKEA-branded wallets. IKEA also sponsored the tube map.  
In January 2009, just before the new store opened in Southampton, MV Red Osprey of Red Funnel was re-painted in an entirely yellow and blue livery to celebrate the opening of the new IKEA store in Southampton. This is the first time a Red Funnel ferry has been re-painted out of its own red and white colour scheme. It stayed in these colours for 12 months as part of a deal between Red Funnel and IKEA to provide home delivery services to the Isle of Wight. It was repainted with Red Funnel's red and white livery when the deal ended in January 2010.
In March 2010, IKEA developed an event in four important Métro stations in Paris, in which furniture collections are displayed in high-traffic spots, giving potential customers a chance to check out the brand's products. The Métro walls were also filled with prints that showcase IKEA interiors.
In September 2010, IKEA launched an advertisement for the UK and Ireland called "Happy Inside", which had 100 cats lying on IKEA furniture in the flagship IKEA store in Wembley, London. 
In April 2011, an advertising campaign was launched. The campaign aimed to discover whether men or women are messier in the home. Created by Mother, the campaign began with a TV advert shot in front of a live audience, featuring four stand-up comedians, two men and two women, debating which gender is messier. The idea behind the campaign is that domestic clutter leads to arguments, and thus to an unhappy home, a conflict that IKEA wants to show can be avoided with better storage. Viewers were directed to a new Facebook page for the brand, where they are able to vote on who they believe is messier, and submit evidence using videos and photos through an app created especially for the campaign. Meanwhile, online display banners will allow other users the opportunity to vote, with online advertisements promoting IKEA products demonstrating the problems confronting people, and offering solutions. 
In 2016, in conjunction with Stockholm ad agency Åkestam Holst, IKEA released the "Where Life Happens" video campaign.  The series focused on taboo issues like divorce and adoption, and was filmed in a non-traditional 4:3 aspect ratio.   The campaign won an Epica gold award in Amsterdam. 
In September 2017, IKEA launched the "IKEA Human Catalogue" campaign, in which memory champion Yanjaa Wintersoul memorized all 328 pages of the catalogue in minute detail in just a week before its launch. To prove the legitimacy and accuracy of the campaign, live demonstrations were held at press conferences in IKEA stores across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand as well as a Facebook Live event held at the Facebook Singapore headquarters and talk show demonstrations in the US with Steve Harvey among others.  The advertising campaign was hugely successful winning numerous industry awards including the Webby award 2018 for best social media campaign,  an Ogilvy award and is currently a contender for the Cannes Lions 2018. 
In 2018, Evelina Rönnung and Hugo Wallmo were honoured for their work with Åkestam Holst on "Where Life Happens". A print ad for Sundvik cribs used pregnancy test technology developed by Mercene Labs, which allowed a woman to get a discount if the ad revealed she was pregnant. The work by Mercene Labs went on to have other uses in the medical field. 
In 2020, IKEA conducted a "Buy Back Friday" campaign with a message to present a new life to old furniture instead of offering customers to buy new items for Black Friday. 
In June 2021, IKEA said it had suspended adverts on GB News because of concerns the channel’s content would go against their aim to be inclusive. In a statement IKEA said: “We have safeguards in place to prevent our advertising from appearing on platforms that are not in line with our humanistic values. We are in the process of investigating how this may have occurred to ensure it won’t happen again in future, and have suspended paid display advertising in the meantime.” 
IKEA Family Edit
In common with some other retailers, IKEA launched a loyalty card called "IKEA Family". The card is free of charge and can be used to obtain discounts on certain products found in-store. It is available worldwide. In conjunction with the card, IKEA also publishes and sells a printed quarterly magazine titled IKEA Family Live which supplements the card and catalogue. The magazine is already printed in thirteen languages and an English edition for the United Kingdom was launched in February 2007. It is expected to have a subscription of over 500,000. 
IKEA Place app Edit
On 12 September 2017, IKEA announced the augmented reality app, IKEA Place, following by Apple's release of its ARkit technology and iOS 11.  IKEA Place helps consumers to visualize true to scale IKEA products into real environment. 
Negative media attention Edit
IKEA's goals of sustainability and environmental design in its merchandise have sometimes been at odds with the impact a new IKEA store can have on a community. In particular, the size of proposed IKEA stores has often seen significant opposition from members of such communities. The following are a list of issues which have received negative media attention, both regarding the size of IKEA's stores and other controversies:
- In September 2004, when IKEA offered a limited number of free $150 vouchers at the opening of a new store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, three people were crushed to death in a stampede that followed the store's opening. 
- IKEA has demolished historic buildings to make room for parking lots, including part of Marcel Breuer's landmark Pirelli Tire Building and the Red Hook graving dock.  (At the College Park, Maryland store in the United States, there is an interactive digital display which tells the history of a tavern which used to exist where the store is currently located.)
Price discrimination Edit
In 2007, CityNews in Canada reported that IKEA had been charging up to twice as much in their Canadian stores as for the same items sold in their American stores, despite the Canadian dollar having temporarily reached parity with the U.S. dollar. 
Within the days after the launch of the South Korean edition of the official website, complaints arose from a group of consumers on IKEA's pricing policy in the country: the prices of certain products were higher than other countries.  On 24 November 2014, Jang Duck-jin, head of the Fair Trade Commission's consumer policy bureau, told the media that the commission was planning to commission a consumer group to compare IKEA's product prices by country,  and on 19 March 2015, the Consumers Union of Korea published a report comparing the prices of 49 IKEA products in South Korea and other countries. The report concluded that exchange rate adjusted prices in Korea were second highest out of 28 developed economies compared, and fourth highest once adjusted for purchasing power. 
Biased branding and advertising accusations Edit
- Former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik has criticized IKEA for not depicting women assembling furniture in its instruction booklets.  IKEA denied this claim in a statement. 
- A researcher from the University of Copenhagen pointed out that for years, IKEA has named their cheap rugs after Danish places, while the more expensive and luxurious furniture was named after Swedish places. The researcher, Klaus Kjøller, accused IKEA of cultural imperialism. 
- In October 2012, IKEA was criticized [by whom?] for airbrushing women out of pictures in catalogues which were used in Saudi Arabia. 
- In October 2017, a TV commercial by IKEA showing a mother scolding her daughter for not "bringing home a boyfriend" was criticized by netizens for "sexist" and discrimination against singles and single women in China. IKEA apologized for "giving the wrong perception". 
Horsemeat meatballs Edit
In February 2013, IKEA announced it had pulled 17,000 portions of Swedish meatballs containing beef and pork from stores in Europe after testing in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in the product. The company removed the Swedish meatballs from store shelves on 25 February 2013, but only made the announcement public after Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet uncovered what happened.  In a March 2013 media report, an IKEA representative stated that the corporation had made Familjen Dafgård, its main meatball supplier, to cease business with 8 of its 15 suppliers and would reduce the number of purchasing countries. The offending meat was traced to a Polish abattoir. 
Child deaths Edit
In July 2015, IKEA, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, through the company's Safer Homes Together advertising campaign, issued a warning in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland to customers to secure the Malm chests of drawers and wardrobes firmly to the wall using free kits distributed by the company, after two deaths of young children in the U.S. in February and June 2014 when the furniture pieces tipped over on them. There were three other deaths, from 1989, from other, similar appliance models tipping over and 14 incidents of Malm chests tipping over, resulting in four injuries. The company sent out free kits on request for customers to anchor the furniture to the wall.  In June 2016, after a third toddler died in the U.S., IKEA recalled all Malm dressers as well as several similar models which posed a tipping danger if not secured to the wall with the supplied kit.   On 12 July 2016, bowing to two weeks of rising pressure in China, IKEA announced that it was extending this recall to that country, which – along with Europe – was initially excluded from the recall.  Over 29 million dressers have been recalled.   IKEA has settled wrongful death lawsuits for over $50 million in compensation to the families of the three children who were killed.  
Claims of ideological and religious discrimination Edit
In 2019, a Polish IKEA employee got fired for posting homophobic quotes from Old and New Testament on the company intranet.  His case was promptly picked up by the conservative ruling party, with Polish Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro criticizing it in strong terms, and some other politicians calling for boycott of IKEA.   Polish prosecutors pressed charges against the person who made the decision to fire the employee. 
Operation Scandinavica Edit
In 2014, documents were found at the Securitate archives in Bucharest which indicated that IKEA's open purchase of Romanian lumber throughout the 1980s was part of a complex scheme (codenamed "Scandinavica") to fund the Securitate and allow the accumulation of foreign currency: the Romanian lumber company Tehnoforestexport would regularly overcharge IKEA, transfer the overpayments into private Securitate bank accounts, wait for interest to accrue, and then reimburse IKEA the principal. IKEA has denied complicity in Scandinavica but has begun an internal investigation to learn more. 
Possible illegal timber in Romania Edit
In 2017 a team of French journalists made discoveries of 200-year-old trees being made into particle board in their sub-supplier Kronospan's factory in Sebeș, Romania. Kronospan delivers particle board to Ecolor, who produces, among other things, the Brimnes-shelf for IKEA. Mikhail Tarasov, IKEAs Global Forestry Manager answered in an interview that the only thing they ask their suppliers for is using particle board in their furniture.  Questions regarding where IKEA sources their furniture and wood are considered classified. 
Involvement of IKEA founder with Nazi sympathizer Edit
Stockholm daily newspaper Expressen reported on Ingvar Kamprad past involvement with Swedish pro-Nazi groups as one of the member's archives revealed his name. The archives showed Kamprad had attended a number of meetings and had befriended a leading extremist, Per Engdahl, starting in 1945 and extending well into the 1950s. The newspaper printed more details, including the text of a 1950 note from Kamprad to Engdahl in which Kamprad said he was proud to be involved with the groups. In Kamprad's replies, he denied he ever was a formal member of the Nazi groups and said he was drawn to Engdahl's vision of a non-communist, socialist Europe. He mentioned that his activities during that time "a part of my life which I bitterly regret." 
IKEA buys timber from Lukashenko's dictatorship Edit
7% of the wood that becomes IKEA furniture comes from Belarus, where the state owns all the forest. IKEA has been accused of financing Alexander Lukashenko's terror against political opponents, its money contributes to maintaining an extremely oppressive regime, says Anna Sundström, Secretary General of Olof Palme International Center. 
2021 Ikea France guilty of spying on staff, job applicants, and customers Edit
In 2012, IKEA in France was accused by the independent newspaper Le Canard enchaîné and the investigative website Mediapart of spying on its employees and clients by illegally accessing French police records. The head of risk management at IKEA feared his employees were anti-globalists or potential ecoterrorists.  
The French branch of IKEA went on trial on March 22, 2021, for running an elaborate system to spy on staff members and job applicants by illegally using private detectives and police officers. 
On June 15, 2021 IKEA France was found guilty of spying and ordered to pay €1.1m in fines and damages for these illegal practices. Additionally, Jean-Louis Baillot, the former head of Ikea France was ordered to pay €50,000 and received a two-year suspended prison sentence. Jean-François Paris, Ikea's former head of risk management and alleged mastermind of the scheme received a suspended 18 month prison sentence and fined €10,000. 
IKEA withdrawal from the Mulvo Project Edit
In late March 2021, the Irish branch of IKEA formally withdrew from the Mulvo Project, a local scheme which aimed to stimulate the Irish economy. This was met with much disdain from certain local groups. [ citation needed ]
- An IKEA store of seemingly infinite inner space is the main setting for the survival horror game SCP-3008, a spinoff of SCP Foundation, wherein random people from multiple realities may become trapped inside a supernatural version of an IKEA store populated by mutated, faceless, humanoid staff-members that will become murderous and aggressive when darkness falls. 
- The Swedish crimecomedy filmJönssonligan dyker upp igen features a failed robbery of the IKEA store at Kungens Kurva by the eponymous gang. 
- The American film 500 Days of Summer features the main characters flirting around the showroom of an IKEA store. It was filmed on-location at an IKEA store. One of the tracks from the film's score is entitled "Ikea" to reflect the scene. 
- The novel The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by French author Romain Puertolas features a trip to an IKEA store in Paris, France.  , a comedic melodrama web series
IKEA Bistro located near the exits of stores.
A MEGA mall in Moscow, Russia, operated by IKEA.
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180 ms 12.5% (for generator) 100 ms 6.9% Scribunto_LuaSandboxCallback::match 100 ms 6.9% 100 ms 6.9% dataWrapper 80 ms 5.6% Scribunto_LuaSandboxCallback::getExpandedArgument 60 ms 4.2% Scribunto_LuaSandboxCallback::gsub 60 ms 4.2% init 40 ms 2.8% [others] 260 ms 18.1% Number of Wikibase entities loaded: 1/400 -->
The standard-type battleships are strangely beautiful to me. I love their wide and short hulls and the huge concentrations of AA guns amidships. They just look tough.
Yeah, I like these way more than the Iowa's for example.
They look like floating mountains covered in guns. They are my favorite BB type.
Me as well. That profile and those guns are the definition of ‘I mean business’.
Very aesthetically pleasing to my eyes.
14"/50 (35.6 cm) Mark 4 and Mark 6. A more powerful 14" (35.6 cm) gun used on the New Mexico and Tennessee Class Battleships. These ships had the first USN triple mounts with individual sleeves for the guns (properly called "three-gun turrets").
Silver Price History
30 Day Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
60 Day Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
1 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
2 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
5 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
10 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
15 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
20 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
30 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
All Data Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
On this page you can explore silver’s price history. The main chart can provide over four decades worth of silver price history. In addition, the interactive charts can be used to examine historical silver prices by the ounce or kilo and in numerous currencies besides dollars.
Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, looking at a market’s price history can potentially provide useful information. For example, looking at a silver price chart going back several months, if prices keep making higher highs and lower lows, then an uptrend may be present and prices could potentially continue higher.
In another example, looking at historical silver price data can also potentially help investors identify areas of support that could be solid buying opportunities. If silver has dipped down to $15 per ounce on numerous occasions but not gone lower, then buying interest may be strong at that level and it could potentially represent a good value for long-term buyers.
Four Decades of Performance
Using the main interactive chart below, you can easily view four decades worth of silver price history. Going back to the mid 1970s, silver was valued at less than $10 per ounce. The white metal began to rise in the late 70s, however, and by 1980 was valued at over $36 per ounce. The market saw prices come back down following the parabolic rise, and silver once again found itself trading under the $10 per ounce level by the late 1980s. Silver maintained a trading range under $10 for years to come, and prices would not climb above $10 per ounce until 2006.
2008 saw the price of silver basically double to about $20 per ounce. This may potentially have been due to the breaking financial crises of 2008/2009 that saw the global banking system nearly collapse. Silver prices once again came back down sharply to around the $10 per ounce level. This dip was bought aggressively, and silver began a historical climb in price that saw the market move nearly to $50 per ounce in 2011. This rapid and significant ascent in the price of silver could potentially have been fueled by significant risk aversion and concerns over the possible effects of massive quantitative easing measures to prop up the economy.
The silver market did not maintain trade near the $50 mark, however, and the white metal proceeded to trend lower over a few years until it found a possible bottom in 2016 for less than $14 per ounce.
Since that time, silver has recovered some ground and has essentially been range bound from about $16 per ounce to $20 per ounce.
A Very Long History
Silver, like gold, has been considered a reliable store of wealth and value for centuries. The metal has been used as a medium of exchange in many societies, and carries the same reputation for reliability to this day.
One of the major attractions to silver is its lack of counterparty risk and its inherent value. Unlike a fiat, or paper currency, silver cannot be printed at will. Fiat currencies have historically lost value over time, and hard assets like silver may potentially hold their value in spite of declining paper money values.
This can potentially make silver especially attractive during periods of rising inflation. During such periods, the overall cost of goods and services rises, and the purchasing power of paper currency may contract. Silver, and other hard assets, may potentially hold their value better or even possibly rise in value as price pressures climb.
Silver, unlike other times in its history, may potentially benefit from several key factors including an ongoing rise in industrial demand as well as central bank monetary policies and geopolitics. In the last decade, global central banks have fought off a slowing economy using ultra-low rates and massive QE. Some would argue that these tools have been successful, while others may differ in their opinion. The ability of central bank’s however, to print massive amounts of currency could potentially weigh on paper currencies in the decades to come, making silver and other hard assets potentially more attractive to long-term investors.
Silver has stood the test of time as a reliable store of wealth and value, and the white metal is likely to continue to be sought after for its price appreciation potential and its potential to provide a meaningful hedge against numerous economic and geopolitical issues.
12 May 1943 - History
By Allyn Vannoy
The popular image of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall (Atlantikwall) is one of massive bunkers and huge artillery pieces recessed in concrete casemates stretching the length of the Reich’s coastline. It was anything but that.
Yet, while it was hardly a continuous series of defensive structures, or as formidable as Allied planners thought it to be, the Wall did give them pause when planning the assault on Fortress Europe.
Three elements constituted Germany’s defenses along the Atlantic coast: fire-power, fortifications, and manpower. However, none of these could have been effective without proper leadership.
Building Up the Wall
Much of the Wall’s lethality was only added in the six months prior to the D-Day landing, due to the efforts of two men—Field Marshals von Rundstedt and Rommel.
The Wall included an estimated 15,000 reinforced-concrete structures: munitions bunkers, flak bunkers, troop shelters, infantry and artillery combat bunkers, communication bunkers, depot bunkers for storing supplies and crew-served weapons, combat headquarters bunkers with staff quarters, observation and command bunkers, battery fire-control positions, and support bunkers for machinery, searchlights, and power generators.
The Germans themselves came to think of the Wall primarily as that portion on the Dutch, Belgian, and French coasts, while defenses along the Norwegian, Danish, and German North Sea coasts consisted mainly of a series of separate fortresses or heavily protected gun emplacements.
The core of the Wall was its coastal gun batteries. The number of batteries deployed by 1944 included 22 in Germany’s Helgoland Bay, with 78 guns of over 150mm 70 batteries along the Danish coastline with 293 large caliber guns 225 batteries in Norway with approximately 1,000 guns of 100mm or larger caliber (42 of them of 240mm or larger), and 343 batteries along the French coast, which included 1,348 guns of 150mm or larger.
Some 495 artillery casemates or other emplacements were built for heavy artillery of 150mm or larger in the area of the German Fifteenth Army, north of the Seine River about 200 in the Seventh Army area (Normandy and Brittany) and 65 in the First Army area, along the Bay of Biscay. The batteries included over two dozen different calibers of weapons ranging from 76mm to 406mm. Many were captured French guns, but also included Russian, British, Czech, Yugoslav, and Dutch as well.
Three Phases of the Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall evolved in phases as the war took on changing circumstances for Germany. The first, or pre-Wall phase, lasted from the late summer of 1940 to December 1941, when reverses on the Eastern Front forced Hitler to alter his timetable for the war. Defensive efforts were confined mainly to protecting submarine bases and to guarding against possible British commando raids.
The second phase lasted from December 1941 to October 28, 1943, and was marked by the creation of the Atlantic Wall concept. It involved setting up a system of fortifications that would make it possible for the Wehrmacht to free up troops for tasks elsewhere—defensive installations and fire-power serving as substitutes for manpower.
The third phase began in October 1943, following Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt’s situation report to the Führer on the West’s defenses, and lasted until the Normandy landing in June 1944. By then, the Germans, in spite of their dwindling resources, had assembled a fairly impressive force behind a substantially improved line of coastal defenses––a system that they hoped would be sufficient to turn back an invasion.
The third element of the Atlantic Wall was the manpower or units deployed to defend it. From 1940 through 1941, Army Group D, under Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben, had a small number of divisions stationed in the Netherlands, Belgium, and occupied France.
“A Propaganda Wall”
In the spring of 1942, when Field Marshal von Rundstedt took over command, the number of divisions in the area began to increase however, many of the units were sent there primarily to rest and rebuild after suffering heavy losses on the Eastern Front.
Von Rundstedt complained that the Atlantic Wall was nothing but a gigantic bluff, a “propaganda wall.” After the war, he made a number of damning remarks about the Atlantic Wall: “The enemy probably knew more about it than we did ourselves.” He did believe that it was a formidable barrier from the Scheldt to the Seine, “but further than that—one has only to look at it for one’s self in Normandy to see what rubbish it was.”
He also described the Wall south of the Gironde toward the Spanish border as “a dreary situation” because “there was really nothing at all there.” Gloomily, he stated that, “It doesn’t suffice to build a few pillboxes. One needs defense in depth.”
Von Rundstedt was less concerned about the unfortified stretches of beach than about the number and quality of his troops to defend the wall, and the strength of his reserves. “Moreover,” he said, “the requisite forces were lacking—we couldn’t have manned them, even if fortifications had been there.”
With a few exceptions, the coastal divisions were at less than full strength and of inferior quality, made up of untrained youth, men in their late 30s or older, and others deemed unfit for frontline combat duty. They were supplemented by Volksdeutsche––ethnic Germans from across Europe––and by non-Germans recruited from the occupied territories, as well as Soviet prisoners-of-war.
The Germans often published pictures of their Atlantic Wall fortifications for propaganda purposes in hopes of dissuading the Allies from invading. This dramatic photo of a daunting 406mm naval gun at Battery Lindemann, between Calais and Cap Blanc-Nez, appeared in Signal, the German Army magazine.
Foreign troops taken into the German forces from Russia, called Osttruppen, included various ethnic groups––Cossacks, Armenians, Georgians, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, and Turkomans. They were formed into battalions separated by religion and ethnicity and placed under German officers, and were generally treated as second-class soldiers. By the end of 1943, there were one or two Ost battalions in almost every German coastal unit.
The coastal divisions’ weapons and equipment were also less than first rate, much of it foreign made and obsolete. There was also a severe shortage of tanks, and many units were designated “static divisions,” as they lacked even horse-drawn transport.
To make matters worse, von Rundstedt commanded only Army troops he had no authority over the few assets of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine in the West, or over Waffen-SS units.
Preliminary work began on the Atlantic Wall in the late summer of 1940 as the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine established defenses at key ports and airfields to protect facilities for Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of Britain, from air raids and possible naval bombardment. The Army also brought up heavy batteries to the Pas de Calais with orders to clear mine-free paths for the planned invasion crossing and to protect the coastal area.
During September 1940, construction began on the first of three large, concrete- dome bunkers for heavy rail guns in the Pas de Calais area. These bunkers were built with armored doors and were large enough to house two 280mm guns and a locomotive.
One such bunker was situated northwest of Calais, about one kilometer from the coast. Another was sited at Vallée Heureuse, about four kilometers east of Marquise, almost halfway between Calais and Boulogne, some six kilometers from the coast. A third was placed one kilometer north of Wimereux, five kilometers north of Boulogne, near the coast. A fourth bunker, larger than the others, was built later to house a rail-gun battery not far from the first dome bunker near Calais.
As guns were transferred from German coastal positions along the North Sea and Baltic, and from the border-guarding Westwall, the first concrete mounts were completed in November 1940. Most of these weapons were installed in huge casemates or mounted on concrete emplacements. Heavy naval guns were mounted in turrets with some placed in concrete casemates with their turrets. Defensive support or protective combat bunkers and munitions bunkers were also built to service the guns.
Technical work on facilities and structures was the responsibility of the Organisation Todt (OT)—a civil and military engineering group responsible for the design and construction of the prewar Autobahn system and the Westwall (Siegfried Line) along the French-German border. OT was later absorbed into the Ministry for Armaments and War Production (Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion).
Construction work along the coast in 1941 was primarily devoted to the building of coastal batteries and U-boat bases. Most of the concrete used went into submarine pens and the second largest amount to Luftwaffe airfields and installations.
On March 28, 1942, Führer Directive No. 40 called for the creation of the Atlantic Wall. Long-range coastal batteries were to be placed to protect important harbors as well as military and industrial targets in coastal areas. In addition to preventing landings, importance was also placed on safeguarding the sea entrances of protected waterways. The concern was that any interruption of coastal shipping could have serious consequences.
Von Rundstedt, the commander of the German Army in the West––Ob West (Oberbefehlshaber West), issued orders during May 1942, based on Directive No. 40, which established the organization of the coastal defenses in a hierarchy from Festungen (fortresses) with heavy and super-heavy guns placed in reinforced concrete structures, then Verteidigungsbereiche (defense sector), followed by Stützpunkt-gruppen (strongpoint group), Stützpunkt (strongpoint), down to Widerstandnester (resistance nest, or WN).
A “strongpoint group” consisted of two or more strongpoints of either infantry or artillery types. An infantry strongpoint consisted of several infantry positions with crew-served weapons, while artillery strongpoints consisted of a battery of artillery or antiaircraft weapons.
The strongpoint included concrete works for various types of weapons, munitions storage, command posts, and troop shelters. Large strongpoints could include more specialized types of bunkers such as for medical facilities or a communications center. The strongpoints were designed for all-around defense, protected with barbed-wire obstacles and minefields. They were normally occupied by a reinforced platoon, some by company-size formations. These positions were stocked with sufficient supplies to operate for about two weeks without resupply. A strongpoint group could generally accommodate a battalion-size force and held enough stores to maintain operations for up to four weeks.
The layout and structures varied among strongpoints. One strongpoint group consisted of an infantry position with an 88mm gun casemate, a 75mm gun casemate, a 50mm antitank gun casemate, three Tobruk or Ringstände (a small open circular position, dug-in flush to the ground and camouflaged) mortar emplacements, two field positions for mortars, two machine-gun bunkers, three Tobruks for machine guns, one concrete machine-gun emplacement, and 10 field positions for machine guns. In addition to mines and barbed wire, the group included an antitank wall that barred the exit from the beach.
More than a quarter million foreign workers, such as these Turks tying together reinforcing steel bars, provided much of the manpower to construct the fortifications.
Another strongpoint infantry position consisted of a Renault tank turret mounted on a concrete bunker, two field positions for 75mm guns, four concrete mortar emplacements, a field position for a machine gun, another for an antiaircraft gun, and six stationary flamethrowers––all surrounded by an assortment of mines and wire barriers.
In contrast, a strongpoint artillery position included five concrete emplacements for 155mm guns, six field emplacements for 75 to 155mm guns, an observation post, two concrete mortar positions, seven Tobruks for machine guns, and a searchlight.
The Widerstandnester was the smallest defensive position. It could be found alone or as part of a defense sector or fortress. Resistance nests included infantry positions garrisoned by one or two infantry squads with enough supplies to hold out for a week. They might include at least one antitank gun, several machine gun and mortar positions, and usually a few concrete bunkers. They were set up for all-around defense with barbed-wire, minefields, and trenches.
Strengthening the Coast After Dieppe
In August 1942, the Canadian 2nd Infantry Division and British Commandos assaulted the French port of Dieppe in a large-scale raid. While the raid failed to achieve many of its objectives and suffered heavy losses, it caused Hitler to direct changes in the number of Atlantic Wall positions. He ordered the completion of 15,000 positions before the summer of 1943, but OT engineers reported that only 40 percent of this number could be achieved by the target date. By December 1942, about 5,000 structures had been completed, and by June 1943 the number would reach over 8,000.
Construction proceeded apace. By April 1943, seven times as much concrete was poured on Atlantic Wall sites as in May 1942 (780,000 versus 110,000 cubic meters), a month that had seen the amount double from March 1942 (50,000 cubic meters). But U-boat pen construction consumed 80 to 130,000 cubic meters a month during this period, despite complaints from the Army.
Each of 15 defense sectors in Western Europe were centered around key locales. In France, these included Royen, La Pallice-La Rochelle, St. Nazaire, Lorient, Brest, St. Malo, Le Havre, Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk.
Ostend served as the key defense sector in Belgium. On the Belgian coast, the area around Zeebrügge was heavily protected by several heavy batteries that included 155mm, 170mm, 203mm, and 280mm guns.
The Dutch coastal defense sectors included Vlissingen, encompassing the islands of the Scheldt Estuary, the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland), Ijmuiden, and Den Helder, and contained some of the Wall’s heaviest defenses. Verteidigungsbereiche Den Helder had two batteries of 120mm guns, one battery of French 194mm guns, and several 105mm guns. The next most heavily defended area was at Ijmuiden, a Festung with several batteries of naval guns ranging from 120mm to 170mm.
Dr. Fritz Todt (left) and Albert Speer supervised construction of the Atlantic Wall. Todt died in a mysterious plane explosion on February 8, 1942.
The old fort of Hoek van Holland contained several batteries from 120mm to 280mm. Behind the fort, to the south, was Battery Brandenburg, which had two 240mm guns in turret-mounted casemates. Battery Rozenburg, to the rear of Battery Brandenburg, had three 280mm guns from the battle cruiser Gneisenau, mounted individually in turrets on casemates. The battery’s strongpoint included a range finder mounted on a tower about 30 meters high. It also had three munitions bunkers, troop shelters, searchlight bunkers, and positions for close defense. The fortress itself included about 14 strongpoints and 40 resistance nests. Many of the strongpoints had an artillery battery and supporting positions, while most of the resistance nests consisted of from two to over a dozen bunkers. The resistance nests contained troop shelters and bunkers for close defense—casemates for machine guns and antitank guns.
Of the islands at the mouth of the Scheldt and Rhine Rivers, Walchern was the most heavily defended and included a number of medium artillery batteries as well as a couple of heavy batteries.
Gaps between defense sectors all along the line were to be covered by strongpoint groups, strongpoints, or resistance nests. The area between the mouth of the Somme and the Belgian border consisted mainly of side-by-side defense sectors.
The Atlantic Wall in France
It was France that had the longest coastline and thus the greatest number of installations. The Pas de Calais, between Dunkirk and Étaples, was one of the most heavily defended portions of the Wall and included three sectors under LXXXII Army Corps. One sector included Festung Dunkirk with several heavy batteries, over 20 strongpoints and more than 10 resistance nests.
In the sector between Dunkirk and Boulogne, there were nine positions with dome bunkers for heavy railway guns, most of which were 280mm. In addition to the guns were some of the largest super heavy artillery in the West. East of Calais was Battery Oldenburg with two 240mm guns, Bastion II with three 194mm French guns, Battery Prinz Heinrich with two 280mm guns just outside Calais, and Battery Lindemann with three 406mm guns between Calais and Cap-Blanc-Nez. The Lindemann guns were emplaced individually in turrets, protected by massive concrete casements four meters thick. By 1944, these guns had fired some 2,226 shells at Dover.
In the vicinity of Gris Nez was the massive Battery Todt with four 380mm guns and Battery Grosser Kurfürst with four 280mm guns. At Fortress Boulogne were several batteries, mostly medium, and Battery Friedrich August had three 305mm guns, over 20 strongpoints, and more than 15 resistance nests. To the north, the fortress was anchored at the coast by three strongpoints forming the La Crèche position.
Farther down the coast, in the Fifteenth Army sector, was the fortress at Le Havre. Its heaviest battery, the naval battery of La Corvée, located at Bléville, on the north side of Le Havre, was planned to consist of three 380mm guns in casemates however, only one piece was ever mounted. The fortress did consist of many strongpoints and resistance nests, including over 20 resistance nests forming Stützpunktgruppe Nord and Ost, which covered the landward side of the fortress.
Stützpunktgruppe Ost encompassed a large flooded area with most of the area on its flanks protected by large minefields. The front of Stützpunktgruppe Nord included a very large minefield running across half its length, with an antitank ditch extending from one side of the minefield to the coast. Another antitank ditch covered a gap from the first minefield and the minefield of the Ost group. Stützpunktgruppe Süd covered most of the coastline of the fortress.
Next, at Le Tréport, were several strongpoints that included two batteries of three 170mm guns each, as well as radar for detecting ships and for fire control of the batteries.
Farther west, Battery St. Marcouf, with Czech 210mm guns at Crisbecq, protected the east side of the Cotentin Peninsula.
Another fortress was built around Cherbourg, one of the largest ports in France. Its batteries included guns ranging in size from 105mm to 240mm. The city’s vintage forts on the mole were integrated into the German defenses. Old forts surrounding the city were used to form an inner defense belt. Fort Roule, on a large hill overlooking the city, was heavily defended and below it was a battery of 105mm guns in casemates built into the hill. It wasn’t until 1944 that the Germans began to work on defenses on the landward side—on the outer belt—which was to serve as the primary defense line. This belt followed the crest of the surrounding heights however, only a scattering of positions were completed.
Not all the workers were willing. Here, conscripted laborers from a German-occupied country are put to work in May 1942.
The west side of the Cotentin Peninsula was protected by the Channel Islands—Guernsey, Jersey, and Alderney, which the Germans had taken from the British in 1940. On Guernsey was the heavy Battery Mirus with four 305mm guns, and a few batteries with 210mm and 220mm guns. Jersey also had 210mm howitzer batteries and a 220mm gun battery, while Alderney’s heaviest battery was one of 170mm naval guns. By the summer of 1944, over 300 bunkers for artillery, observation, fire control, munitions, machine guns, and a tunnel system were built on the islands. Several kilometers of concrete antitank walls and old granite seawalls protected the beaches.
The next group of heavy defenses began in Brittany near St. Malo. St. Malo, Brest, and Lorient were heavily defended fortresses. Brest, where the Germans used the old fortifications and added numerous strongpoints and resistance nests, was probably one of the most heavily protected fortresses in France. Lorient, one of the most important U-boats bases on the Atlantic, was also heavily fortified. The mouth of the Loire was covered by a number of artillery batteries, and at St. Nazaire a huge naval fortress occupied both sides of the river to guard against naval incursions against the submarine pens and the world’s largest drydock.
The remainder of the French Atlantic coast, under the First Army, included fortifications at La Pallice-La Rochelle. A Verteidigungsbereich was built that included not only the area around the city and port, but also the islands of Ré and Oleron. Few of the batteries along the First Army coast were heavier than 155mm. The most heavily fortified point was the mouth of the Gironde, which had a fortress on each side to protect the port of Bordeaux.
On paper, the Atlantic Wall looked more than formidable––it looked impregnable. If both the Germans and the Allies believed it to be so, it is not hard to image why.
Development of the Atlantic Wall Hindered
German building programs slowed during the second half of 1943. Part of the reason was due to the shifting of OT laborers to other projects, including repairs to bombed dams in the Ruhr and the construction of a bauxite mine in southern France.
Development of the Wall was also affected as OT favored focusing on building single, large defense projects because it did not have enough motor vehicles to move men and equipment from place to place. This lack of vehicles also made OT officials reluctant to undertake projects away from major supply centers and railheads. The Army did not have direct control over OT, so Army planners could only suggest projects.
Construction was also impacted by interservice frictions between the Army and Navy over the positioning and command of the coastal artillery batteries during 1941 and early 1942. Directive No. 40 provided clarification in that Ob West was to select a commander for each coastal sector. In most instances, this meant that a local Army division commander was put in charge, but in certain areas, especially at naval strongpoints, Kriegsmarine officers assumed control.
Another view of one of the 406mm naval guns while being installed at Battery Lindemann. The gun had a range of between 29 and 34 miles.
Von Rundstedt’s Assessment of the Atlantic Wall
During 1943, Ob West ordered the creation of positions up to 15 kilometers behind the coastal defenses. Existing defenses extended no more than three to five kilometers in depth, even in the most heavily defended sectors. Von Rundstedt disagreed with Hitler, who expected the enemy to be destroyed at the landing site either by defeating him before he achieved a foothold or, failing that, by launching an immediate counterattack. The field marshal did not believe that the initial invasion would be smashed on the beaches and felt that mobile reserve forces should be able to concentrate and defeat the enemy after he moved inland.
To effect this, von Rundstedt wanted to create secondary positions, which would consist mainly of support points and strongpoints that could be used to contain the enemy and allow time for an effective counteroffensive. However, insufficient manpower was assigned to the building of these secondary positions and so construction proceeded very slowly.
One of the keys that impacted the Atlantikwall’s development was von Rundstedt’s situation report to the German Armed Forces High Command (OKW) of October 28, 1943––a critical report that cited a number of shortcomings of the Wall and the Reich’s defenses in the West.
Von Rundstedt’s report evaluated how the Wehrmacht might best make use of its defenses when faced with an enemy who possessed both naval and air superiority. Even though permanent fortifications—built out of concrete and well constructed, camouflaged, and field-type installations—were essential for the impeding battle, von Rundstedt warned that the German High Command should not be deluded into thinking that these obstacles made the Atlantic Wall impregnable. He felt that by making his forces more mobile he could minimize the probably of an Allied success in the West. The report also emphasized the need for more and better equipped personnel.
In terms of numbers, von Rundstedt declared that the strength of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe formations was clearly insufficient to counter growing Allied air and sea superiority. Furthermore, naval and air force artillery units, whose crews were working in close conjunction with the Army, lacked sufficient ammunition and equipment.
He asserted that the Army units available were weak and needed to be revitalized, and that there was too much area to cover with the forces available. By October 1942, 22 infantry divisions had been deployed along the coast. All these units had been well equipped and most of them had three full-trained regiments and a full complement of 36 artillery pieces. In reserve were seven panzer and motorized divisions of excellent quality, plus six more infantry divisions.
In October 1943, although 27 divisions were now stationed along the Atlantic coast, plus 400 miles of French Mediterranean coastline, many of the formations were much too weak in artillery and consisted of only two inexperienced and largely immobile infantry regiments. Of the reserve forces, all six panzer and motorized divisions were still in the process of being formed or were being refitted after service on the Russian Front. The seven infantry units in the interior consisted of only two reserve divisions of marginal value, two divisions forming, and three reinforced regiments.
A type 671 casemate, holding a 105mm gun, disguised to look like a seaside home. Note the detailed false windows, curtains, balustrade, and corner stones.
Von Rundstedt concluded his report by stating that the divisions manning the coast had to be strengthened to the normal complement of three regiments, sufficient antitank weapons needed to be provided, adequate supply personnel had to be added, and, finally, substantial portions of these divisions needed more vehicles to be made mobile.
The Coast as Main Line of Resistance
On November 3, 1943, a week after von Rundstedt’s report was submitted, Hitler issued Directive No. 51, which resulted in a flurry of activity among German planners during the last two months of 1943. Ob West made plans for making the coastal divisions mobile, as well as for upgrading the panzer formations in the theater.
Also set forth was an ambitious building program for 1944 that included the erection and improvement of numerous permanent and field-type fortifications. The Kriegsmarine also took steps to add more ships, mines, and artillery pieces to its defensive arsenal.
Following an inspection tour of German coastal defenses as directed by the Führer, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was assigned to command Army Group B, subordinate to Ob West, covering the French, Belgian, and Dutch coastlines, and work on the Atlantic Wall took a new direction and greater urgency. The gaps between the defense zones were to be closed. By this time, major construction work on large concrete structures, such as submarine pens, had almost come to an end, but the amount of labor from the OT and RAD (Reichsarbeitdienst––the National Labor Service) and the availability of construction materials was severely curtailed.
Damage caused by the Allied bombing campaign in 1944 had increased the demand for labor and material at home for repairs and maintenance of infrastructure, leaving little for the West. Allied air attacks against transportation lines and communications centers also prevented the few available resources from reaching the West in a timely manner. Much of the concrete available was also earmarked for the construction of V-weapons’ launching sites. Despite this, Rommel was able to push construction to highs not seen since mid-1943.
After Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (with baton) was appointed to command Army Group B in late 1943, he had responsibility for defending 1,300 miles of coastline.
To Rommel, the main line of resistance had to be the coast. The invading enemy was to be engaged in force on or near the coastline and prevented from establishing a beachhead. To accomplish this, Rommel advocated a number of measures, including extensive use of naval and land mines, beach obstacles, as well as continuing to strengthen strongpoints. Also, Panzer divisions were to be placed as far forward as possible so that they could launch an immediate counterattack against any major Allied assault.
Rommel and von Rundstedt realized that if the Atlantic Wall were to have any chance of success they would have to do more than just strengthen the existing coastal fortifications––they would need a substantial upgrade in the number and quality of personnel and weapons. Any one of these undertakings presented a formidable task at this stage of the war.
Despite this, they managed to realize considerable progress during the first five months of 1944, and the improvements would have been greater had there not been the demands of other high-priority projects and a series of crises in other theaters.
Over 4,600 New Fortifications
The buildup was most noticeable in terms of coastal fortifications. One plan consisted of improving the existing permanent defenses. A second program was to construct a system of secondary defenses some 15 to 25 miles inland from the coast. And a third program––the one with which Rommel became most closely associated––called for a substantial increase in the number of field fortifications being placed on or near the beaches, thus making the Wall a comprehensive system of fortifications.
In terms of permanent fortifications, the Germans continued to concentrate a substantial portion of their heavy construction work near the major ports. Hitler went so far as to declare 11 of the ports “Fortresses” (Festungen) on January 19, 1944.
Singled out were Ijmuiden and the Hook of Holland in the Netherlands Dunkirk, Boulogne, and Le Havre in the Fifteenth Army sector along the Channel Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, Lorient, and St. Nazaire in the Seventh Army area and the Gironde River estuary that led to Bordeaux in the First Army area.
During February and March, OKW added three more—the Channel Islands and the harbors of Calais and La Pallice-La Rochelle. Designation as a Festung was rather hollow since most of them had already been declared defense areas in 1942, and had therefore already been given considerable attention.
Inside both the fortresses and the coastal strongpoints, engineering troops and OT workers proceeded to improve the heavy infantry weapon positions, the command posts, and even machine-gun nests as well as many of the coastal artillery batteries that were exposed. OT also began moving artillery pieces to make the guns less susceptible to Allied air and ship bombardments, and worked to camouflage existing batteries and construct dummy positions.
Local commanders lent a hand by reducing the number of hours that troops spent in combat training and had them assist in construction efforts. The soldiers worked to improve strongpoints using sea walls, ship canals, and old ramparts—filling in the gaps between with field defenses, preparing real and bogus minefields, setting up barbed-wire entanglements, and digging antitank ditches.
By effectively utilizing the men and materiel at their disposal, the Germans made considerable strides in building up defenses prior to the Allies’ D-Day. During the first four months of 1944, the number of cubic meters of concrete laid by OT doubled from 357,000 to 722,100 per month. From 1941 to the end of 1943, the Germans had erected some 8,478 concrete structures along the Channel and Atlantic coasts, but from January to May 1944, over 4,600 hardened fortifications were erected, including those on the French Mediterranean coast.
Rommel’s Beachhead Obstacles
Rommel also introduced his own ideas about beach obstacles, which were to be covered by light and medium guns and machine guns in order to turn every foot of shoreline into a killing ground. He placed a premium on laying minefields and beach obstacles based on the impressions that had been made on him by the British defensive positions along the Gazala Line in Libya in 1942.
Rommel promoted a program that stressed the use of field hindrances, which von Rundstedt supported, and included a variety of measures to disrupt an Allied landing, such as laying large numbers of land mines, flooding low-lying areas, and placing foreshore obstacles and tall stakes called “Rommel asparagus” just behind the coast.
Even reinforced concrete several yards thick was often an insufficient defense. Here, several German soldiers lie dead inside the underground sleeping quarters at the Cherbourg fortress, June 27, 1944.
The latter were simple antiairborne and antiglider devices made from a pointed pole driven into the ground and spaced so that the flat, open terrain was turned into a field of deadly wooden spears.
Rommel’s most important upgrade of the Wall’s defenses was the use of foreshore obstacles. Placed along the beaches, these obstacles were designed to fill the gaps between strongpoints, protect the more remote beaches, and delay an Allied landing, even if only for a short time.
Rommel ordered underwater obstacles planted in three to six rows along the beaches to disrupt an amphibious operation, whether at high or low tide.
The obstacles consisted of various devices. The simplest was an 8- to 10-foot wooden stake or concrete pole driven into the beach sand and angled toward the sea. Some of the stakes had mines or grenades attached, and all of them, when submerged, could rip open the hull of a landing craft.
The same was true of numerous V-shaped ramp-like structures, which the Germans sloped toward the sea and armed with mines or artillery shells designed to explode on contact.
A third type of obstacle was the concrete tetrahedron. This pyramid-shaped object was six feet high, weighed nearly a ton, and could also be mined to sink a landing craft.
Another hindrance was the “hedgehog” tank obstacle. It was made of three seven-foot steel girders welded together in the middle so that the beams presented three points angled 120 degrees apart.
Finally, there were Belgian gates––heavy steel antitank structures resembling gates, about nine feet high, and nine feet across, a few with waterproof mines attached..
A tremendous amount of progress had been made. From 1941 to October 30, 1943, the Germans had laid 1,992,895 mines in the West by May 30, 1944, the number had increased to 6,508,330. Yet, this figure fell far short of Rommel’s estimated need of 50 million.
By mid-May 1944, there were 517,000 foreshore obstacles on the Channel beaches, 31,000 of them fitted with mines. Farther out to sea were a variety of shallow-sea naval mines.
But, at the beginning of June, only three of the six rows of obstacles Rommel wanted had been placed along the Normandy beaches. This lack was due in part to a shortage of material in April.
Increase in Personnel on the Atlantic Wall
Yet, during the first half of 1944, there was a steady rise in personnel. On October 4, 1943, Ob West listed 38 divisions ready for combat and 13 additional divisions in the process of forming. The number of ready divisions toward the end of December increased to 41, with seven more being formed or refitted. By April 1944, the total figure had climbed to 54 divisions and would reach 58 just before D-Day.
Forty-six of the 58 divisions were positioned along the coast. The Fifteenth Army had 18 the Seventh Army had 14 First Army, on the Bay of Biscay, had four the Nineteenth Army, on the French Mediterranean coast, had seven and there were three in the Netherlands two reserve divisions were located in the interior of France.
The remaining 10 divisions were armored formations. Three panzer divisions were stationed north of the Seine, three between the Seine and Loire Rivers, and the other four in the south of France.
A German technician services the muzzle of one of the large naval guns installed as part of the Channel coastal defenses. Note the cased shells in the foreground.
These forces possessed 3,300 artillery pieces, 1,343 tanks, and 1,873,000 troops. Complementing the ground forces were five Navy destroyers in the Bay of Biscay, four torpedo boats, 29 motor torpedo boats, and 500 small patrol boats and minesweepers. Thirty-five small submarines were located at Brest and other Atlantic harbors. The Luftwaffe’s Third Air Fleet had 919 aircraft, of which 510 were operational as of late May.
The Atlantic Wall Breached
But the chances of Rommel or von Rundstedt beefing up the Atlantic Wall defenses even more was at an end. On the cold, gray dawn of June 6, 1944, time had run out.
The Atlantic Wall achieved at least a partial success. Almost from the Wall’s inception, the Wehrmacht regarded the Allied capture of an important harbor as a necessary prerequisite for sustaining an invasion front so, by June 1944, the Germans had transformed the harbors into fortresses. Cut off and dependent on their own resources, many of these beleaguered German garrisons held on tenaciously before finally surrendering. These actions helped to produce a logistics crisis for the Allies during the late summer and fall of 1944.
Though the Wall was weak in many places, there were enough artillery pieces distributed in key locations to possibly impede an invasion. All the major ports were defended to some degree against an attack from the sea and most were prepared with all-around defense. None of the large or medium-size ports were so vulnerable that an invasion force could capture them easily.
Beside causing logistics problems after the landing, the Wall dissuaded the Anglo-Americans from directly attacking the Pas de Calais and convinced them not to undertake a cross-Channel invasion until 1944. Given just a bit more time and a few more resources, it could have been much worse for the Allies.
Yet, in spite of all the money, manpower, and effort expended, in the end, thanks to information provided by British intelligence and the French Underground, a bit of luck, and many determined soldiers, the Allies breached the “impregnable” Atlantic Wall in a matter of hours on June 6, 1944.
They found its weaknesses, exploited them to drive wedges into the openings, and then rapidly forged their beachheads.
I, an english living here in Holland have an interest in the construction and indeed demolitions of the AW here. I just wondered if any references might spring to mind defining the types of bunkers. I understand there to be as many as 2k defined designs, each with required material quantities, design, manpower requirements etc.
Battle of the Atlantic
The term 'Battle of the Atlantic' was coined by Winston Churchill to describe the protracted struggle by the Allies to secure shipping routes across the Atlantic. The Allies' main objectives were to blockade the Axis powers (limiting productivity and diminishing morale), to secure their own shipping routes, and to wage war overseas without any impediment.
As a struggle, the Battle of the Atlantic is symbolic of the scale of the global war in which nations had to fight against the enemy on land or sea thousands of miles from home. The successful transportation of troops and materials was as crucial as battle itself.
Only after the war did Churchill confess that it was the Atlantic that caused him most concern: 'The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.' (He was referring to German submarines, which remained the Allies' principal threat at sea). The greatest challenge, Churchill felt, was to manage strategy around the Atlantic shipping routes which required 'statistics, diagrams and curves unknown to the nation, incomprehensible to the public'.
Britain had the largest fleet in the world - 3,000 ocean-going vessels and 1,000 large coastal ships. They required 160,000 men to man them. The German navy, in contrast to the submarine fleet, was in poor condition following World War One and initially the Germans underestimated the role the U-boat might play - only 46 vessels were in operation, intended for surface attacks.
The British navy was successful in sinking the pocket battleship Graf Spee in December 1939 and the battleship Bismarck in 1941, but from the summer of 1940 the U-boat menace began to grow. Britain faced problems - the air gap in the Western Atlantic meant that the RAF could not fully patrol U-boats. The Allied occupation of Iceland (belonging to German-occupied Denmark) was an advantage, but long-range aircraft had to be developed before the air gap could be conquered. The Canadian navy eventually assisted Britain in covering this gap.
The Battle of the Atlantic really gained pace after 1941 when the U-boat captains began to expand operations further. Admiral Dönitz, the German commander of the U-boats, developed a strategy known as the 'wolfpack', in which U-boats would close in on the enemy at night.
The British Navy had previously placed much faith in Asdic (an early form of sonar) to detect submerged U-boats, and this way they were able to counter the surface threat they posed, but Asdic was not effective against the wolfpack manoeuvre.
The conquest by Germany of Norway and France gave the Germans forward bases, increasing the U-boats' range and enabling long-range aircraft to patrol over the Atlantic, carrying out reconnaissance for the U-boats. As the U-boats became more successful they were put into wider use.
The British were consequently forced to divert their own shipping away from vulnerable UK ports, and needed to provide naval escorts for convoys for greater stretches of the journey to North America. Churchill sought help and negotiated the destroyers-for-bases agreement with the US administration, adding a further 50 naval destroyers in exchange for access to British bases, predominantly in the West Indies. America then entered the battle in May 1941 and took over escort duties in the western Atlantic, beginning a shooting war with Germany that resulted in their first loss - the US destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine U-562.
The Atlantic battle changed again with the German invasion of Russia and following Pearl Harbor and the entry of Japan into the war. This increased the scale of the war and Japan was America's primary threat now. But America's response was surprising they failed to set up coastal convoys and blackout towns, and the German U-boats enjoyed what is darkly known as 'happy time', destroying vast amounts of coastal shipping.
The real crisis came in early 1943. Britain was running out of fuel and the number of operational U-boats had increased from 47 to 200. The Allies' greatest weapon became radio intelligence and the ability to intercept the German Enigma code so that U-boat manoeuvres could be anticipated. This intelligence (Ultra) saved the situation, along with aggressive anti-submarine tactics, better weapons and the development of long-range aircraft (Liberator) equipped with radar.
By April 1943 the U-boats were clearly struggling to make an impact and Allied destruction of German submarines began to escalate: 45 were destroyed in April and May. Dönitz decided to put a halt to U-boat operations on 23 May 1943. Had the Germans succeeded in producing their new types of super-submarines, the Types XXI and XXIII (which were being tested in the Baltic even as German defeat looked inevitable), they would have proved an even greater threat, possibly reversing the outcome of World War Two.
1943 Silver Pennies Are Made Of Zinc-Plated Steel
When I first got into coin collecting back in the early 1990s, I thought — like so many people who ask me about their coins here at The Fun Times Guide — that my silvery 1943 pennies were actually made from silver.
And, sure, that makes sense. Silver has been used in many coins — including dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins.
Most 1943 wheat pennies appear to be silver in color.
So, what are 1943 “silver” pennies made from? Answer: Zinc-plated steel!
In the early 1940s, when the United States had first entered World War II, our nation needed to ration a variety of important materials to help win the war. Copper was essential for making ammunitions — so the government decided to divert copper from making pennies to manufacturing shell casings.
The decision was made to strike 1943 wheat pennies from zinc-plated steel planchets.
- 1943 no mintmark steel penny (Philadelphia mint) — 684,628,670 minted
- 1943-D steel penny(Denver mint) — 217,660,000 minted
- 1943-S steel penny (San Francisco mint) — 191,550,000 minted
However, by the end of 1943, much of the public complained about the new steel pennies.
1943 steel wheat pennies were not a hit for these reasons:
- There were problems with the coins rusting quickly.
- Some vending machines rejected the steel wheat cents.
- Many people even confused the steel pennies with silver dimes!
A little history of Underwood and its Carbines.
Feb 16, 2011 #1 2011-02-16T03:10
-Main Manufacture and identification codes: " .U. " (a U with two periods on each side, in the center)
-Main plant location: Hartford, Connecticut.
-Average Cost to Government per completed rifle, $47.82.
-Approximately 545,616 total Carbines were made by Underwood: About 8.9% of M1 Carbines made.
--M1 Carbines 545,616 (Underwood, did not make the M2, M3, T3, or M1A1 Carbines)
- Serial number blocks assigned by the government :
--1st block, serial number: 1,350,000 - 1,449,999 | November, 1942 - July, 1943
--2nd block, serial number: 2,352,520 - 2,912,519 | July, 1943 - March, 1944
--3rd block, serial number: 4,010,000 - 4,074,999 | July, 1943 - March, 1944
--4th block, serial number: 6,099,689 - 6,199,688 | March, 1944 - April 1944
Underwood produced 500 experimental USGI carbines. Serial numbers E001 - E500.
Not very many of these are known to be in existence but some are out there.
500 experimental USGI carbines. Serial numbers E001 - E500.
- Primary stock & hand guard supplier : Marlin Firearms company, Pederson Bros., Rock-Ola, Trimble Nursery co. and Lumb Woodworking co.
- Barrel suppliers : Underwood
- Parts made directly by Underwood : Bolts, Receivers, Barrels, slides, Trigger housings, Gas pistons, gas nuts, firing pins, magazine releases, rear sights, ejectors, recoil plates, front bands, hammers, triggers, safeties, front sights,
--Underwood was involved in the post WWII retrofit and continued to provide parts after completion of their final serial block in April of 1944. They supplied Winchester with receivers in the 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 serial number blocks.
--Underwood was manufacturing carbines in multiple serial number blocks at the same time, 2nd and 3rd block.
--Had subcontractors make them receivers, marked, B, S, T, W.
--Underwood took several months to get up and running, took them 4 months to produce approximately 11,000 carbines but soon after were off and running at full production.
--Underwood is known for making high quality one piece barrels.
- All matching vs how it left the factory :
****** There is a difference between an all matching carbine and how it left the factory, a lot of M1 Carbine contractors shipped parts to other Contractors. Just because its all matching doesn't necessary mean that is how it left the factory. So don't get super disappointing if your Carbine is not all matching, its possible its exactly how it was when it left the factory. An example say Underwood was low on sears, Inland would ship some Sears to them. Sometimes marked or unmarked. Here is some known shipments to Underwood, how ever there could be more shipments that occurred that are unknown but this is a good reference. (most parts were shipped together in groups, magazine catches with sears, etc)
(Organized by year 1942 - 1943)
-Inland shipped approximately 2,300 magazine catches to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 3,300 sears to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 150 safeties to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 3,000 extractors to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 1,200 Triggers to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 150 hand guards to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 1,000 magazines to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 3,000 hammers to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 2,200 recoil plates to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 100 slides to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 100 receivers to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 150 stocks to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 1,500 front sights to Underwood in 1942.
-Winchester sent approximately 4,000 sears to Underwood in 1942.
-Winchester sent approximately 4,000 recoil plates to Underwood in 1942.
-Inland shipped approximately 8,000 receivers to Underwood in 1943.
-Inland shipped approximately 2,000 trigger housing to Underwood in 1943.
-Inland shipped approximately 10,000 magazines to Underwood in 1943.
-Inland shipped approximately 20,000 slides to Underwood in 1943.
-Inland shipped approximately 3,000 recoil plates to Underwood in 1943.
-Irwin Pederson shipped approximately 2,000 sears to Underwood in 1943.
-National Postal Meter shipped approximately 500 bolts to Underwood in 1943.
-National Postal Meter shipped approximately 1,000 trigger housings to Underwood in 1943.
-National Postal Meter shipped approximately 3,400 Rear sights (Flip) to Underwood in 1943.
-National Postal Meter shipped approximately 20,000 front sights to Underwood in 1943.
-Saginaw (S.G.) Shipped approximately 1,000 slides to Underwood in 1943.
Example : You have an all matching Underwood carbine with a Winchester sear, its possible it left the factory just like that.
Please feel free to PM me or post for any errors or any further information.
- Some history of Underwood :
The Underwood Typewriter Company was a manufacturer of typewriters headquartered in New York City, New York. Underwood produced what is considered the first widely successful, modern typewriter. By 1939, Underwood had produced five million machines.
-A good resource to learn more about Underwood, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwood_ . er_Company
- More info may be added.
-General George S. Patton Jr.
"In my opinion, the M1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised."
Yes, I know he was talking about the M1 Garand
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