A far more confined naval war to that which many in London and Paris had feared might take place broke out in response to Germany’s blitzkrieg attack on Poland on 1 September. Instead of the worst-case scenario of a global war on several fronts involving the Italians, Japanese, Soviets, and Spanish, the Royal Navy and the Marine Nationale were initially confronted by a Kriegsmarine that was still several years away from performing at optimum capacity. If that was any cause for quiet satisfaction, the moment was fleeting. Within hours of the British and French declaration of war on Germany on 3 September, the German U-boat U30 had torpedoed and sunk the British passenger liner SS Athenia in the Western Approaches to the North Atlantic with the loss of at least 112 passengers and crew. 1