By Angus Konstam
The seventh U-Boat Flotilla - 'Wegener' - was once shaped in Kiel in June 1938 with six boats, just one of which survived operationally to the top of the battle. Early struggle motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it should stay till the Allied advances led its closing boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed carrier with the flotilla and so much 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; during the grim realities of the convoy method 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 army prior to turning into Curator of guns on the Royal Armouries. After a spell as a marine archaeologist he grew to become leader Curator on the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. He moved again to England to put in writing complete time in 2001.
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Extra info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves
Schichau GmbH, Danzig Increasingly, packs were being forced to Commissioned: 22 August 1942 disperse when their positions were Operational in flotilla: 1 May 1943 Commander: ObltzS Hennann Otto discovered by airborne radar or radar Operational patrols: 1 pickets on the edge of convoys. It was fast Allied vessels sunk: 0 becoming a different kind of war, where Fate: Sunk on 24 June 1943 (no survivors) technology was becoming increasingly U-650 (Type VIIC) important. Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg It was not until March that serious Commissioned: 26 November 1942 Operational in flotilla: 1 May 1943 wolfpack attacks were attempted against First commander: ObltzS Ernst von Witzendorff convoys.
D6nitz had lost the Battle of the Atlantic. 58 IN ACTION 5 PEA RHE AD: 7TH U-BOAT FLOTILLA Right: The clean coat suggests this picture was taken before, rather than after, action. The double barrels of a 20mm twin anti-aircraft gun can be seen towards the right. Far right: Another view of watchers on the conning tower. Note the torpedo aimer, which can clearly be seen in the foreground, although the special water resistant binoculars are not clipped in place. Below: AType VIle with modified platforms to carry heavier anti-aircraft guns but with the weapons not yet fitted.
Afield in search of prey. Allied shore-based aircraft and the increased use of escort carriers also meant that air cover for convoys was improving, which in turn also reduced the effectiveness of long-range German reconnaissance aircraft. This is especially true of the Battle of the Atlantic, but numbers fail to convey the horror of a U-boat crew pounded by depth charges, or the lonely death of merchant seamen adrift in the burning sea. This said, the campaign was·a war of numbers: tonnage sunk, ships lost and U-boats destroyed.