War over the Blue Front, 1939-1945
The North Sea was an important battleground during the Second World War, but where and why exactly did the British and Germans fought from September 1939 until May 1945?
Surprisingly, little is known about the day and night actions of Coastal Command in the Dutch part of the North Sea. Nor has there been a database of aircraft crashes or has someone investigated the use of rocket projectiles during anti-shipping operations.
While many unexploded ordnances are found on the North Sea and more activities are conducted, there is a growing demand to know more details about what happened during the Second World War. Therefore, Saricon started ‘War over the Blue Front’, a project that combines narrative history and ‘big data’ to empirically test well-known assumptions or rarely known phenomena.
The most important element of ‘War over the Blue Front’ is the creation of a database that is fully composed from British and German archives. The November 2019 version of this database covers over 6.000 events that took place between September 10, 1939 and May 4, 1945. Over 80 percent of these events can be related to a position given in latitude longitude – other to a letter coordinate or Kleinstquadrat. A large portion of these records originate from No. 16 Group Coastal Command, because this section of the Royal Air Force was active in the Dutch part of the North Sea and targeted German shipping. Other records derive from Bomber Command and all kind of Kriegsmarine and Admiralty-records.
The database enables us to study all kind of elements regarding the North Sea during the Second World War – which type of ammunition was most often used in anti-shipping operations (or even specify it for any given period or area), and what’s the percentage of ‘safe’ jettisoned bombs.
Eventually ‘War over the Blue Front’ will enable us to expand our knowledge and answer important questions. To give you an impression about the project, we made a short animation that visualize a part of the database.