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Walter C. Ansel Collection, 1940-1972 (bulk 1940-1958): 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
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 489
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Walter C. Ansel Collection
  • Dates: 1940-1972
  • Bulk Dates: 1940-1958
  • Size: 1.42 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 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 1940 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

1897
  • Born on August 25 in Elgin, Illinois.
1915
  • Appointed to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1919.
1918
  • 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).
1919
  • In August, assigned to duty in connection to the fitting out of U.S.S. Howard (Destroyer: DD-179).
1920
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. McCawley (Destroyer: DD-276) and later U.S.S. Mervine (Destroyer: DD-322).
1922
  • On June 3, promoted to Lieutenant.
1924
  • In July, attached to the United States Naval Academy's Executive Department.
1926
  • In July, attached to U.S.S. Converse (Destroyer: DD-291), followed by service aboard U.S.S. New York (Battleship: BB-34).
1929
  • In July, assigned to the Naval War College for instruction in the junior course.
1930
  • In June, assigned to the Marine Corps School at Quantico for instruction in the Field Officers Course.
1932
  • In August, appointed Staff Commander of Battleship Division 3, Battle Force.
1933
  • On June 30, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
1935
  • In May, attached to the United States Naval Academy as an instructor in the Department of Languages.
1937
  • In June, assigned to the Asiatic Station with Destroyer Squadron 5, followed by duty as Commander of Destroyer Division 14.
1939
  • On February 13, promoted to Commander.
1940
  • In April, assigned to the Harvard University ROTC, followed by duty in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations.
1942
  • 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.
1943
  • 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).
1944
  • U.S.S. Philadelphia supports operations at Anzio and Formia.
  • In summer, U.S.S. Philadelphia participates in the Invasion of Southern France.
1945
  • Attached to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
1946
  • Appointed Chief of Staff of the Support Group, Japan.
1947
  • Assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of the Navy, followed by duty with the U.S. Naval Mission in Brazil.
1949
  • On June 30, retires from the Navy and is advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral.
1951
  • Named a Forrestal Fellow at the United States Naval Academy.
1960
  • Publishes Hitler Confronts England.
1972
  • Publishes Hitler and the Middle Sea.
1977
  • On November 26, dies in Annapolis, Maryland.
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Description of Contents

The Walter C. Ansel Collection, comprising 1.42 linear feet of documentation, spans from 1940 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 third 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 Colonel Günther Blumentritt, Doctor Justus Koch, General Herbert Loch, 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, and the invasion of Ösel Island.

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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Arrangement

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

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Access and Use

Access

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.

Appraisal

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

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.

Conservation

Ansel's manuscript 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

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

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

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Plate 10 - Dunkirk Beach, 1940 June

Box 1 Folder 13

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

Box 1 Folder 13

Plate 12 - Siebel Fähre of the Luftwaffe Navy, undated

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

Box 1 Folder 14

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

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

Box 1 Folder 14

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

Box 1 Folder 14

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

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

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

Box 1 Folder 14

Plate 19 - The Führer studies the situation, undated

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

Box 1 Folder 14

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

Box 1 Folder 14

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

Plate 22 - Sturmboats underway for beach assault exercises, undated

Box 1 Folder 14

Plate 23 - Sturmboat being recovered by carrier, undated

Box 1 Folder 14

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

Box 1 Folder 14

Plate 24B - Sturmboat carrier, undated

Box 1 Folder 14

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

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

Plate 36 - Beach obstacles adjoining Grand Redoubt, undated

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

Plate 39 - Light tanks take to the water, undated

Box 1 Folder 15

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

Box 1 Folder 15

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

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

Box 1 Folder 16

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

Box 1 Folder 16

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

Box 1 Folder 16

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

Box 1 Folder 16

Plate 47 - Transport Fleet D exercises off Boulogne, undated

Box 1 Folder 16

Plate 48 - Landing Ticket, Calais to Dover, undated

Box 1 Folder 16

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.

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