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 conflict motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France while the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it'll stay till the Allied advances led its closing boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed carrier 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 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 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 put in writing complete time in 2001.
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Additional resources for 7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves
DEFEAT IN THE ATLANTIC: JUNE 1943 TO MARCH 1944 By the summer of 1943, aircraft were seen as the worst enemy of the U-boat. Flak armament was increased, and boats were re-deployed to the south, around the Azores, which was thought to be beyond Allied air cover. The most dangerous area was now considered the Bay of Biscay, which boats had to cross en route to their hunting grounds. Donitz ordered that boats travel together, to maximise their flak strength. This proved another failure, as the Allies simply attacked in larger formations.
Erich Topp was transferred to a shore post in September 1942, becoming commander of the 27th (Training) Flotilla, where he was responsible for preparing the next generation of U-boat commanders. l in late December 1942. This operation involved 15 U-boats operating in several small groups to attack a vital tanker convoy bound for Britain. The year thus ended on a high note for the flotilla, but any high hopes were dashed by the losses incurred during the following few months. At the end of December 1942 the 7th U-boat Flotilla consisted of 22 boats, not counting the three that had been transferred to training flotillas.
Flotilla strength had now dropped to 18 U-boats. 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.