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Walter C. Ansel Collection, 1939-1972 (bulk 1939-1958): Finding Aid

Published in March 2019

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 489
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Walter C. Ansel Collection
  • Dates: 1939-1972
  • Bulk Dates: 1939-1958
  • Size: 1.83 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 manuscript boxes, 1 flat box
  • Creator: Ansel, Walter (Walter C.), 1897-1977
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Walter C. Ansel was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1919. The Walter C. Ansel Collection spans from 1939 to 1972, with a majority of the documentation ceasing in 1958. The collection is the product of Ansel's research and writings on Germany's planned invasion of Great Britain in World War II, codenamed Operation Sea Lion, and the development and use of German landing craft for amphibious operations.

Biographical Chronology of Walter C. Ansel

  • Born on August 25 in Elgin, Illinois.
  • Appointed to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1919.
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. Rambler (Steam yacht: SP-211).
  • On June 7, promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • In August, assigned to duty in connection to the fitting out of U.S.S. Howard (Destroyer: DD-179).
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. McCawley (Destroyer: DD-276) and later U.S.S. Mervine (Destroyer: DD-322).
  • On June 3, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In July, attached to the United States Naval Academy's Executive Department.
  • In July, attached to U.S.S. Converse (Destroyer: DD-291), followed by service aboard U.S.S. New York (Battleship: BB-34).
  • In July, assigned to the Naval War College for instruction in the junior course.
  • In June, assigned to the Marine Corps School at Quantico for instruction in the Field Officers Course.
  • In August, appointed Staff Commander of Battleship Division 3, Battle Force.
  • On June 30, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • In May, attached to the United States Naval Academy as an instructor in the Department of Languages.
  • In June, assigned to the Asiatic Station with Destroyer Squadron 5, followed by duty as Commander of Destroyer Division 14.
  • On February 13, promoted to Commander.
  • In April, assigned to the Harvard University ROTC, followed by duty in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations.
  • In January, reports to the Bethlehem Steel Company for duty in connection to the conversion of S.S. Calusa to U.S.S. Winooski (Oiler: AO-38).
  • On January 27, assumes command of U.S.S. Winooski upon her commissioning.
  • In June, ordered to the staff of Commander, Advance Group, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, which took part in the Invasion of North Africa.
  • On June 17, promoted to Captain.
  • In November, commands the Advance Party during landings in Algeria.
  • In April, appointed Assistant Chief of Staff and Operations Officer on the staff of Commander, Amphibious Forces, North African Waters, planning the Invasion of Sicily.
  • In October, assumes command of U.S.S. Philadelphia (Cruiser: Light cruiser: CL-41).
  • U.S.S. Philadelphia supports operations at Anzio and Formia.
  • In summer, U.S.S. Philadelphia participates in the Invasion of Southern France.
  • Attached to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
  • Appointed Chief of Staff of the Support Group, Japan.
  • Assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of the Navy, followed by duty with the U.S. Naval Mission in Brazil.
  • On June 30, retires from the Navy and is advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral.
  • Named a Forrestal Fellow at the United States Naval Academy.
  • Publishes Hitler Confronts England.
  • Publishes Hitler and the Middle Sea.
  • On November 26, dies in Annapolis, Maryland.
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Description of Contents

The Walter C. Ansel Collection, comprising 1.83 linear feet of documentation, spans from 1939 to 1972, with a majority of the documentation ceasing in 1958. The collection is the product of Ansel's research and writings on Germany's planned invasion of Great Britain in World War II, codenamed Operation Sea Lion, and the development and use of German landing craft for amphibious operations.

Included in the collection are photographs, motion picture films, and a book manuscript.

The Ansel Collection is arranged alphabetically by document type with no subdivisions. Approximately the first quarter of the collection is composed of Ansel's 1958 manuscript of his work on Operation Sea Lion, Hitler Confronts England. The manuscript, which features Ansel's corrections, includes the captioned photographs used in the final publication. Not included in the collection are the book's maps and diagrams. In addition to the photographs used in Hitler Confronts England, the collection includes numerous other photographs courtesy of Captain Heinrich Bartels, Colonel Günther Blumentritt, Captain Walter Genz, Doctor Justus Koch, Admiral Werner Lindenau, General Herbert Loch, Admiral Karl Jesko von Puttkamer, General Josef Windisch and a Colonel Schuber. These photographs, from which the plates for the book were selected, depict images of experimental and production German landing craft produced by Fritz Siebel (known in German as Siebel Fähren), sturmboat exercises, 17th Division landing exercises, the destruction at Dunkirk, British defenses along the English Channel, the invasion of Ösel Island, and various meetings between Hitler and his top military advisers.

The motion picture film, labeled as Operation Sea Lion, depicts the use of landing craft built under Fritz Siebel from 1941 through 1943. The film consists of silent black-and-white footage of the loading and unloading of landing craft, artillery demonstrations, and the general transportation of German soldiers, horses and supplies as utilized in the invasion of Ösel Island, the support of Rommel's army in North Africa, supply operations in the Kerch Strait, supply operations in the Strait of Sicily between Sicily and Tunis, and supply operations in the Strait of Messina. Also depicted are the interiors of German workshop boats. The film cans are erroneously labeled as Operation Sea Lion.

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The Walter C. Ansel Collection is arranged alphabetically by document type.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Walter C. Ansel Collection is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The motion picture film requires the use of a computer or DVD player, available in the reading room.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Walter C. Ansel in 1969 and 1977. Accession No. 206680, 79-011.


92 reels of microfilm copies of ONI reports were deaccessioned and destroyed due to advanced decay in March 2019.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

Digital copies of the motion picture film can be downloaded for playback from Trireme: The U.S. Navy’s Higher Education Digital Archives Preservation System at:

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Walter C. Ansel in this repository include his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket, as well as materials in the United States Naval Academy Class of 1919 Records, MS 230.

The Papers of Rear Admiral Walter C. Ansel, MG 29, can be found at Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Ansel's manuscript of Hitler Confront England was originally cataloged as a book, D771.A746 1958.


Ansel's manuscript was disbound and foldered by chapter at the time of processing.

Preferred Citation

Walter C. Ansel Collection, MS 489

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Ansel, Walter Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919-1949.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in March 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in March 2019.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Ansel, Walter (Walter C.), 1897-1977
  • Landing craft -- Germany
  • Operation Sea Lion
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Amphibious operations
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, German

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Motion pictures (visual works)
  • Photographs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Title Page and Preface), 1958, 1969

Includes a letter from Library Director Richard Evans acknowledging receipt of the manuscript.

Box 1 Folder 2

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter I: Time and Setting), 1958

Box 1 Folder 3

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter II: Hitleriana), 1958

Box 1 Folder 4

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter III: Genesis of Invasion England), 1958

Box 1 Folder 5

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter IV: Preliminary Actions), 1958

Box 1 Folder 6

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter V: June Too Soon!), 1958

Box 1 Folder 7

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter VI: July Stand By), 1958

Box 1 Folder 8

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter VII: August You Must!), 1958

Box 1 Folder 9

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter VIII: September Remember), 1958

Box 1 Folder 10

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter IX: October All Over), 1958

Box 1 Folder 11

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Chapter X: Assessment), 1958

Box 1 Folder 12

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Enclosures), 1961

New York Times review and note from Ansel to Captain Milton Offutt.

Manuscript - Hitler Confronts England (Photographs), 1940, 1958, undated

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 1

Plate 1 - Front Dust Cover: Looking to Sea, 1940 September 28

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 2

Plate 2 - Back Dust Cover: England from France through German Binoculars, undated

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 3

Plate 3 - Admiral Raeder confers with Hitler on 21 May 1940 at Felsennest, 1940 May 21

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 4

Plate 4 - The German High Command: Göring, Hitler, General Jodl, General von Brauchitsch, Admiral Raider, General Keitel, undated

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 5

Plate 5 - Spring of 1940 at OKH: General Franz Halder, Chief of the Army General Staff, 1940

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 6

Plate 6 - Spring of 1940 at OKH: The Operations Section, 1940

Von Greiffenberg, von Stülpnagel, Winter, Heusinger, and Stieff.

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 7

Plate 7 - General Erich von Manstein, Chief of Staff Army Group A, undated

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 8

Plate 8 - Bastogne, 17 May 1940, Hitler arrives at Army Group A Headquarters, 1940 May 17

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 9

Plate 9 (A, B, C) - The Führer discusses operations with von Rundstedt; General George von Sodenstern, COS Army Group A; and Colonel Günther Blumentritt, Operations Army Group A, undated

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 10

Plate 10 - Dunkirk Beach, 1940 June

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 11

Plate 11 - Hitler followed by Göring leaving the Armistice coach of 1918 and 1940, 1940 June 22

Box 1 Folder 13 Item 12

Plate 12 - Siebel Fähre of the Luftwaffe Navy, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 1

Plate 13 (2) - General Franz Halder, Chief of the Army General Staff; Admiral Otto Schniewind, Chief of Staff, Naval Operations, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 2

Plate 14 - Hitler monologues to his Naval Aide on the Berghof, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 3

Plate 15 - Heavy coastal artillery embrasure Cap Gris Nez, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 4

Plate 16 and 16 1/2 - Experiments with river and canal barges (prahms) for beaching and discharging heavy equipment over bow ramps onto land, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 5

Plate 17, 17 1/4, 17 1/2 - On to England! The soldiers take to the water. Early landing exercises on the French coast, 1940 July

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 6

Plate 18 - Rifle practice from a moving cradle to simulate boat motion, on the Channel coast, summer of 1940, 1940

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 7

Plate 19 - The Führer studies the situation, undated

Von Puttkamer, Keitel, Deyle, Hitler, Jodl, and Engel.

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 8

Plate 20 - Göring and his Intelligence Chief Beppo Schmid, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 9

Plate 21 - Tests with landing craft on Rangsdorfer See, a lake near Berlin, to which Herr Siebel transferred his experiments, undated

Image of a Kleine Fähre landing craft.

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 10

Plate 22 - Sturmboats underway for beach assault exercises, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 11

Plate 23 - Sturmboat being recovered by carrier, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 12

Plate 24A - Auxiliary Minesweeper Boulogne, showing cradle skids, for carrying sturmboat, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 13

Plate 24B - Sturmboat carrier, undated

Box 1 Folder 14 Item 14

Plate 25 & 26 - The Army goes to sea! Boulogne to Le Touquet to witness the first large scale landing exercise, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 1

Plate 27 & 28 - The Luftwaffe Navy! Prahms rigged with airscrew propulsion for crossing the Channel during invasion, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 2

Plate 29 - Hythe's shingled beach, Martello towers over balustrade, Grand Redoubt in the distance, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 3

Plate 30 - General Herbert Loch, Commander 17th Infantry Division, 1940 August

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 4

Plate 31 - Captain Erich Lehmann, Commander Naval Station Ostend, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 5

Plate 32 - Captain Heinrich Bartels, commander Naval Station Dunkirk, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 6

Plate 33 - Along Hythe Beach, Martello Tower from Napoleonic Invasion scare, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 7

Plate 34 - Looking seaward from high ground back of Hythe, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 8

Plate 35 - Grand Redoubt's moat would still offer a problem to the attacher, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 9

Plate 36 - Beach obstacles adjoining Grand Redoubt, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 10

Plate 37 - Landing exercises 17th Division, summer 1940, 1940

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 11

Plate 38 - Loading and unloading was a constant drill, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 12

Plate 39 - Light tanks take to the water, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 13

Plate 40 & 41 - Sturmboats in assault exercise under smoke screen; Men who would storm the beach, undated

Box 1 Folder 15 Item 14

Plate 42 - A typical Rhine River powered barge (Motorschiff) in her own water, undated

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 1

Plate 43 - A Rhine barge as converted for landing use (prahm) engaged in exercises in coastal waters, undated

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 2

Plate 44 & 45 - Havoc in Dunkirk harbor, 1940 September

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 3

Plate 46 - Captain Werner Lindenau, Commander Transport Fleet D, and aides, undated

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 4

Plate 47 - Transport Fleet D exercises off Boulogne, undated

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 5

Plate 48 - Landing Ticket, Calais to Dover, undated

Box 1 Folder 16 Item 6

Unused Plate - Uncaptioned negative of German landing craft, undated

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Box 2 Folder 1

Motion Picture - German Landing Craft and Amphibious Operations ("B" Wind Dupe Negative), 1943 (approximate)

Box 1 Folder 17

Motion Picture - German Landing Craft and Amphibious Operations (DVD Copy), 1943 (approximate)

Landing and transport operations at Ösel Island, North Africa, Kerch Strait, Strait of Sicily and Strait of Messina.

Box 1 Folder 18

Motion Picture - German Landing Craft and Amphibious Operations (Invoices), 1972

Box 2 Folder 2

Motion Picture - German Landing Craft and Amphibious Operations (Original Print 1), 1943 (approximate)

Box 2 Folder 3

Motion Picture - German Landing Craft and Amphibious Operations (Original Print 2), 1943 (approximate)

Box 1 Folder 19

Photographs - German Landing Craft and Exercises, 1940 (approximate)

Box 1 Folder 20

Photographs - Received from Colonel Günther Blumentritt, 1940

Images of sturmboat assault exercises and 17th Division landing exercises.

Box 1 Folder 21

Photographs - Received from Doctor Justus Koch/Ösel Island Operations, 1941

Images of German landing craft, Siebel ferries, and amphibious operations during the invasion of Ösel Island (Saaremaa) in Estonia.

Box 1 Folder 22

Photographs - Received from Doctor Justus Koch/Ösel Island Operations (Negatives), 1941

Box 1 Folder 23

Photographs - Received from General Herbert Loch, 1940

Images of German landing craft and exercises, including craft powered by aircraft engines. Also includes images of General Loch.

Box 1 Folder 24

Photographs - Received from Colonel Schuber, 1940

Images of German landing exercises and rifle practice on a moving cradle to simulate boat motion.

Box 3 Folder 1

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 1-20, 1940-1941

Received from General Josef Windisch and Captain Walter Genz. Includes images of Windisch, Beachy Head, Martello Towers, German loading operations at Rouen, General Adolf Strauss, landing exercises at Le Havre, German headquarters at Pavilly, a Siebel ferry, and the waterfronts of Dieppe, Le Treport, and Boulogne.

Box 3 Folder 2

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 22-30, 1939-1940

Includes photographs possibly received from Captain Heinrich Bartels. Includes images of Hitler at a German victory parade in Warsaw, German motor boats launching, German sea rescue planes, damage at Dunkirk and Dieppe, and Hitler and Göring visiting the Compeigne Wagon.

Box 3 Folder 3

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 31-37, 1952-1953

Taken by Ansel. Includes images of Rhine River barges and traffic, as well as photos from Bremerhaven.

Box 3 Folder 4

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 38-55, 1940-1943

Received from Admiral Karl Jesko von Puttkamer. Includes images of Hitler with his General Staff at Felsennest, the Berghof, the Reich Chancellery, the Wolf's Lair, and headquarters in Ukraine and Belgium, featuring Keitel, Raeder, Schmundt, and Puttkamer. Also featured are Hitler meeting with Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim in Finland, Hitler's last visit to Italy and meeting with Mussolini at the Wolf's Lair, and Gunther Prien and his crew meeting Hitler.

Box 3 Folder 5

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 56-72, 1939-1943

Received from Admiral Karl Jesko von Puttkamer. Includes images of Hitler meeting with members of his General Staff at the Wolf's Lair, Felsennest, the Reich Chancellery, Berchtesgaden, and headquarters in Belgium and Ukraine. Featured are Göring, Dönitz, von Ribbentrop, Raeder, and Schobert.

Box 3 Folder 6

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 73-80, 1940-1942

Received from Colonel Wilhelm Willemer. Includes images of German landing exercises, soldiers marching, Andrzejewo, muddy roads, and broken down vehicles encountered by German troops [in Southern Russia]. The photographs from 1942 are unnumbered.

Box 3 Folder 7

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 81-91, 1940, undated

Received from General Alfred Jacob and General Gunther Blumentritt. Includes images of Siebel ferries and Generals Blumentritt and von Rundstedt.

Box 3 Folder 8

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 92-94, 1940 (approximate)

Received from [Beall] and General Franz Halder. Includes images of river traffic and General Halder.

Box 3 Folder 9

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 95-99, 1940 (approximate)

Received from Ullstein Verlag. Includes images of river barges and German landing craft.

Box 3 Folder 10

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 100-104, 1940 (approximate)

Received from General Hans Kissel. Includes images of shipwrecks in Dunkirk Harbor and German landing maneuver practice near Dunkirk.

Box 3 Folder 11

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 105-113, 1940 (approximate)

Received from [Seidenschuram]. Includes images of German transport ships, river barges, and landing craft, as well as loading operations and landing maneuvers.

Box 3 Folder 12

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 115-128, undated

Includes images of German river barges, General Herbert Loch, General Adolf Heusinger, Walter Ansel, and views of the Dutch harbor of Breskens (including wind mills and the lighthouse).

Box 3 Folder 13

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 129-140, undated

Includes images of gun emplacements at Cap Blanc-Nez, the Calais waterfront, the entrance to Dunkirk harbor, and German amphibious landing training beaches at Le Touquet and Ostend.

Box 3 Folder 14

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 141-159, undated

Includes images of the British towns and beaches of Dover (including the White Cliffs), Hythe, and Folkestone, as well as the Grand Redoubt.

Box 3 Folder 15

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 160-164, 1940 (approximate), undated

Includes images of Admiral Otto Schniewind, German sturmboats, and poet Hermann Löns.

Box 3 Folder 16

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 165-172, 1940 (approximate)

Received from Captain Heinrich Bartels. Includes images of Bartels, wrecks at Dunkirk, and Captain Erich Lehmann.

Box 3 Folder 17

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 173-184, 1940 (approximate)

Images of landing craft ramp testing at Ostend and sturmboat testing.

Box 3 Folder 18

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 185-189, undated

Images of Admiral Gerhard Wagner and his wife, as well as General Gerhard Feierabend and his family.

Box 3 Folder 19

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 190-194, undated

Images of Hythe, England, including the sea wall, ridge, and Martello Towers. Also included are unnumbered images of the Dungeness Lighthouse.

Box 3 Folder 20

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 204-209, 1940

Received from Admiral Werner Lindenau. Includes images of sturmboat testing, sturmboat carriers, barge exercises, and Admiral Lindenau with his staff at Boulogne.

Box 3 Folder 21

Photographs (Numbered) - Photos 210-212, 1940 (approximate)

Includes images of Generals Hermann Göring and Josef "Beppo" Schmid.

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