7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves by Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Angus Konstam

By Jak P. Mallmann Showell, 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 while the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it's going to stay until eventually the Allied advances led its final boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed provider with the flotilla and so much of them served within the North Atlantic the place their operations nearly introduced Britain to its knees. the tale of the flotilla starts off with the tale of the convoy predators; in the course of 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 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 jot down complete time in 2001.

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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. 121, transfer: ObltzS Rudolf Zorn sinking 12 ships. 122. 122 on 17 March. Although U-435 was not officially a 7th Flotilla boat, she was attached to the flotilla as a temporary secondment. Vessels from other flotillas sank another dozen merchantmen. All this was achieved with the loss of only one U-boat.

From July to the end of October, some 15 convoys were attacked by wolfpacks, and 67 ships sunk, with a combined displacement of 340,000 tons. This fell far short of the quota set by the BdU to assure victory in the campaign. Poor weather played a part, as did the increased use of radar by the escorts, allowing them to drive off U-boats with greater efficiency. 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.

Two entrances led to the outer basin: an old entrance, and a new one, designed to take large cargo vessels and warships. To the west of the port, the Forme Ecluse Louis Joubert was isolated by two caissons or lock gates, and it led to the inner Bassin de Penhoet. This section of the harbour was better known as the Normandie Dock, named after the prewar French transatlantic liner SS Normandie which berthed there. Launched at St Nazaire in 1932, the 79,000-ton luxury liner made regular transatlantic trips before the fall of France, when she was impounded by the US authorities.

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