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Showing posts from November, 2010

Two more owners, one final name

(Last of a series)
   The navy wanted two dock landing ships, and it didn't want to wait the five or six years it would take to build them. A partial solution seemed at hand. The S/S City of Havana, a onetime dock landing ship converted into an automobile ferry, was available, and could be returned to its original purpose.
   That the navy belonged to Germany, and the City of Havana, ex HMS Northway, ex HMS Cutlass, had been built to aid in that nation's defeat, would not have raised eyebrows. Warships have traded between combatants — past, future, even current — throughout history. And the Second World War, though hardly forgotten, was by 1962 a sealed chapter, supplanted in public attention by a Cold War in which Germany, or at least the 11 states then making up the federal republic, was on the side of democracy. The mission of its navy: control the approaches to the Baltic Sea and, if necessary, contain the Soviet Union's Baltic Fleet.
   The landing ship plan soured fast.…