Monday, December 12, 2011

A time of 'happy hunting' for U-Boats


A German U-Boat surfacing
[Courtesy of Mr Jeff Wilson, WW1 & WW2 researcher]

The year 1942 was a time of 'happy hunting' for the German U-Boats in the North Atlantic. In one month alone - November 1942 - Allied losses were the greatest of the whole war: 117 ships by U-Boats alone with further losses from other causes. According to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill this period was was "The U-Boat Paradise".

For additional infomation click on 'Comments' below.

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Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

In a retrospective analysis of the German U-Boat menace in the Atlantic Winston Churchill wrote that "... the year 1942 was to provide many rude shocks and prove in the Atlantic the toughest of the whole war".

[Winston S. Churchill (1951), 'The Second World War', (Vol. 4), 'The Hinge of Fate', p. 101].
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These were the total Merchant ship losses by U-Boat in the Atlantic Ocean (January - July 1942):

January - 46
February - 71
March - 81
April - 67
May - 120
June - 114
July 69

TOTAL = 568
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(Based on table given in 'The Second World War' by Winston Churchill, page 116).

The main problem for the Allies was protecting the convoys of merchant ships in the Atlantic beyond the range of air cover either from the North American continent or the British Isles. The menace was proving to be so serious that on 4 November 1942 Winston Churchill convened a new 'Anti-U-Boat Committee' to look into this specific issue.

Subsequently, on 23 November of that year, Mr Churchill wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Mackenzie King. This was requesting the use of Gander Airfield, Newfoundland and Goose Airfield, Labrador as bases for long-range shore-based aircraft.

The purpose of these long range aircraft was to keep U-Boats down during the daytime and prevent the gathering of the deadly 'wolf packs'. The Canadians gave their full co-operation in this enterprise. Eventually, during 1943 the tide of fortune turned in favour of the Allies.
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Tuesday, 13 December, 2011  

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