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 tip of the warfare. Early conflict motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France while the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it is going to stay till the Allied advances led its final 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 procedure 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 changing 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 jot down complete time in 2001.
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Additional info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves
E:e.. ::::. . ~ ... :... :..... . ~~»l 36 IN ACTION Operational patrols: 5 Allied vessels sunk: 5 Fate: Sunk on or soon after 6 August 1942 (no survivors) Reinforcements, July-December 1941 U-207 (Type VIIC) Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel Commissioned: 7 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 July 1941 Commander: ObltzS Fritz Meyer Operational patrols: 1 Allied vessels sunk: 3 Fate: Sunk on 11 September 1941 (no survivors) U-434 (Type VIIC) Builder: F. 5chichau GmbH, Danzig Commissioned: 21 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 Commander: Kptlt Wolfgang Heyda Operational patrols: 1 Allied vessels sunk: 0 Fate: Sunk on 18 December 1941 (42 survivors) U-403 (Type VIIC) Builder: Danziger Werft, Danzig Commissioned: 25 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 September 1941 First commander: ObltzS Heinz Ehlert-Klausen Subsequent commander: June 1943: Kptlt Karl-Franz Heine Operational patrols: 7 Allied vessels sunk: 2 Fate: Transferred to 11th Flotilla on 1 July 1942; sunk on 18 August 1943 (no survivors) U-453 (Type VIIC) Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel Commissioned: 26 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 First commander: Kptlt Gert Hetschko Subsequent commander: July 1941 to transfer: Kptlt Freiherr Egon Reiner von Schlippenbach Operational patrols: 17 Allied vessels sunk: 11 Fate: Transferred to 29th Flotilla on 1 January 1942; sunk on 21 May 1944 (51 survivors) U-575 (Type VIIC) Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg Commissioned: 19 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 September 1941 First commander: Kptlt GUnther Heydemann Subsequent commander: September 1943: ObltzS Wolfgang Boehmer Operational patrols: 10 Allied vessels sunk: 9 Fate: Sunk on 13 March 1944 (37 survivors) U-454 (TypeVIIC) Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel Commissioned: 24 July 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 Commander.
Most U-boat crews had little experience in manoeuvring their boats in confined harbour spaces, a problem which was exacerbated by the location of the helmsman below decks, where he was unable to see what was happening outside. This photograph most probably shows the U-46 passing out of the New Entrance, while her crew fend her off from the lock walls. Below: AU-boat heading out to sea through the New (South) Entrance to St Nazaire's U-boat Basin. The lack of damage to the lock-side buildings in both these photographs suggest they were taken before the heavy Allied air raids of 1942.
As no more than a third of these were likely to be on patrol at anyone time, it was hardly surprising that few successes were achieved. D6nitz was forced to bow to the inevitable. In March 1944 he abandoned Rudeltaktik for the second and last time. The Kriegsmarine was defeated because it lost its technological lead, and German shipyards proved unable to match the losses inflicted by the Allies, and to introduce new and improved boats in time to alter the course of the campaign. D6nitz had lost the Battle of the Atlantic.
7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves by Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Angus Konstam
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