Pizza from Scratch, 16

... 30 January, 2006

The old ship's cat begins a story

© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

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Caterwal: the discontented yowl of a small cat. Narwhal: a small whale with one specially formed tooth that extends forward as a horn; unicorn of the sea. Pun: the illegitimate child of word play.

Maybe the spelling should have been "caterwhal." but I didn't want there to be any doubt in the minds of readers as to how to say it. "Caterwhals" might instead make the readers think of sea-going caterers, in the classic waiter's black-and whites - giant penguins.

During World War Two, the U-Boat nearly won the Battle of the Atlantic for Germany. If Poland hadn't captured a German cypher machine, if Turing hadn't cracked its code, if a U-boat's code book hadn't been captured before its crew could destroy it, if the Allies hadn't kept secret their ability to understand top-level German communications, the U-boat "wolf packs" might have driven Allied shipping from the Atlantic. U-boats sunk millions of tons of shipping during the war. And U-boats were relatively cheap; they also seized the advantage in economic warfare, before code-breaking, SONAR and escort carriers drove them from the Atlantic.

With no Lend-Lease for Britain, the Nazis would have captured Egypt, Iraq, and their oil. There would have been no Torch landings in North Africa, no Overlord landings for D-Day. Hitler could have turned more attention to the Russians, who would have no supplies and equipment sailing into Murmansk.

These are scary thoughts. It took the efforts of more people, working together or in isolation, often with great uncertainty as to outcome, to defeat the Nazis and end their domination of Germany and central Europe.