By Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Angus Konstam
The seventh U-Boat Flotilla - 'Wegener' - used to be shaped in Kiel in June 1938 with six boats, just one of which survived operationally to the tip of the conflict. Early battle motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it will stay till the Allied advances led its ultimate boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed provider with the flotilla and such a lot of them served within the North Atlantic the place their operations virtually introduced Britain to its knees. the tale of the flotilla starts off with the tale of the convoy predators; throughout the grim realities of the convoy process whose escorts benefited from extremely decrypting of the Kriegsmarine's codes; the bloodbath of the U-boats trying to halt the invasion of Europe; to the ultimate coda as 14 boats escaped from St. Nazaire to Norway.
Ian Westwell spent 5 years within the Royal military ahead of changing into Curator of guns on the Royal Armouries. After a spell as a marine archaeologist he turned leader Curator on the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. He moved again to England to write down complete time in 2001.
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Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former ny occasions investigative reporter whose mom and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, the place, as Jews, they spent 4 years as refugees, the final below chance of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the final boat to flee France prior to the Germans sealed its harbors.
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Extra info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves
Long-range allied aircraft also became an increasingly serious threat to U-boats in transit, a problem demonstrated when V-75i (Kvkpt Gerhard Bigalk) was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by depth charges dropped by Lancaster bombers, diverted from the bombing of Germany to help in the Atlantic campaign. These aircraft carried radar sets, making them Below: Allied shipping losses during the climactic extremely effective. Increasingly, boats were forced to remain submerged during their phase of the Battle of the Atlantic, from August 1942 transit of the Bay of Biscay and the Western Approaches, while engineers raced to fit until May 1943.
Despite its successes, the flotilla's losses continued to mount. During the first half of 1942, V-93 and V-577 were sunk in the Mediterranean, while other boats were transferred to other flotillas, or withdrawn from operational service. This was matched by a steady stream of reinforcements, all Type VIIC boats, so that by the end of June 1942, the flotilla strength had risen to 23 operational U-boats. While this sounded good, in fact Germany was losing the race. Allied shipbuilding capacity meant that the U-boats were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the pressure on Britain.
The effectiveness of these long-range deployments was increased when the firstType XIV U-tankers (often described as 'milch-cows' from the German Mi/ch-kuh or 'milk-cow') entered service from April 1942 onwards. Soon these support boats were attached to operational wolfpacks, making these groups virtually self-sufficient in midAtlantic. Despite its successes, the flotilla's losses continued to mount. During the first half of 1942, V-93 and V-577 were sunk in the Mediterranean, while other boats were transferred to other flotillas, or withdrawn from operational service.