Walter C. Ansel Collection, 1939-1972 (bulk 1939-1958): Finding Aid
Published in March 2019
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- 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.
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.
The Walter C. Ansel Collection is arranged alphabetically by document type.
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.
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.
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: https://trireme.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/SO_1f9c134e-55c4-4eb2-ac03-0c5155dee8a6/
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.
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.
Walter C. Ansel Collection, MS 489
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
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.
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in March 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in March 2019.
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
- Motion pictures (visual works)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.