Centimetric radar greatly improved interception and was undetectable by Metox. 5 million tons, as well as 175 Allied Naval vessels.... On the Allied side 30,248 merchant seamen died, as were as thousands of men from the Royal Navy and RAF. Above 15 knots (28 km/h) or so, the noise of the ship going through the water drowned out the echoes. All sides will agree with Hastings that "... mobilization of the best civilian brains, and their integration into the war effort at the highest levels, was an outstanding British success story.". Each convoy consisted of between 30 and 70 mostly unarmed merchant ships. Convoy losses quickly increased and in October 1942, 56 ships of over 258,000 tonnes were sunk in the "air gap" between Greenland and Iceland. . For almost 73 years, the USS England has set a record for most subs sunk by a single ship. In particular, this was because most of the ships sunk by U-boats were not in convoys, but sailing alone, or having become separated from convoys. The situation in Royal Air Force Coastal Command was even more dire: patrol aircraft lacked the range to cover the North Atlantic and could typically only machine-gun the spot where they saw a submarine dive. Two weeks later, in the battle of Convoy HX 112, the newly formed 3rd Escort Group of five destroyers and two corvettes held off the U-boat pack. Overall, more than 99% of all ships sailing to and from the British Isles during World War II did so successfully. , The Leigh light enabled the British to attack enemy subs on the surface at night, forcing German and Italian commanders to remain underwater especially when coming into port at sub bases in the Bay of Biscay. The map was created by Rean Monfils and combines the Geographic Information System (GIS) database of Asian Pacific shipwrecks with the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean (AMIO) WWII shipwreck database. Although no codes or secret papers were recovered, the British now possessed a complete U-boat. . Germany made several attempts to upgrade the U-boat force, while awaiting the next generation of U-boats, the Walter and Elektroboot types. The map above shows many (but not all of) of the ships sunk during World War 2. Each location links to a Wikipedia page that describes the ship’s history and actions. The British, however, ignored the fact that arming merchantmen, as Britain did from the start of the war, removed them from the protection of the "cruiser rules", and the fact that anti-submarine trials with ASDIC had been conducted in ideal conditions.. Since two or three of the group would usually be in dock repairing weather or battle damage, the groups typically sailed with about six ships. From August 1940, a flotilla of 27 Italian submarines operated from the BETASOM base in Bordeaux to attack Allied shipping in the Atlantic, initially under the command of Rear Admiral Angelo Parona, then of Rear Admiral Romolo Polacchini and finally of Ship-of-the-Line Captain Enzo Grossi. A Catalina from 209 Squadron took over watching the damaged U-boat until the arrival of the armed trawler Kingston Agate under Lt Henry Owen L'Estrange. On May 21, SS Robin Moor, an American vessel carrying no military supplies, was stopped by U-69 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) west of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Running down the bearing of a HF/DF signal was also used by escort carriers (particularly USS Bogue, operating south of the Azores), sending aircraft along the line of the bearing to force the submarine to submerge by strafing and then attack with depth charges or a FIDO homing torpedo..  The first meeting of the Cabinet's "Battle of the Atlantic Committee" was on March 19. Merchant ship losses dropped by over two-thirds in July 1941, and the losses remained low until November. Although destroyers also carried depth charges, it was expected these ships would be used in fleet actions rather than coastal patrol, so they were not extensively trained in their use. After five months, they finally determined that the codes were broken. This was 25% of German U-boat arm (U-Bootwaffe) (UBW)'s total operational strength.  The campaign started immediately after the European War began, during the so-called "Phoney War", and lasted more than five years, until the German surrender in May 1945. You may not use more than a few lines without permission. The captured material allowed all U-boat traffic to be read for several weeks, until the keys ran out; the familiarity codebreakers gained with the usual content of messages helped in breaking new keys. A three-barrelled mortar, it projected 100 lb (45 kg) charges ahead or abeam; the charges' firing pistols were automatically set just prior to launch. U-boats could dive far deeper than British or American submarines (over 700 feet (210 m)), well below the 350-foot (110 m) maximum depth charge setting of British depth charges. Pignerolle became his headquarters.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Navy_losses_in_World_War_II U-boats nearly always proved elusive, and the convoys, denuded of cover, were put at even greater risk. During those two delays, a capable submarine commander would manoeuvre rapidly to a different position and avoid the attack. On September 21, convoy HX 72 of 42 merchantmen was attacked by a pack of four U-boats, which sank eleven ships and damaged two over the course of two nights. Chronological list of U.S. ships sunk or damaged, Geographical list of U.S. ships sunk or damaged, Alphabetical list of U.S. ships sunk or damaged, Merchant Marine Casualties  Her sinking marked the end of the warship raids. It involved thousands of ships in more than 100 convoy battles and perhaps 1,000 single-ship encounters, in a theatre covering millions of square miles of ocean. The supply situation in Britain was such that there was talk of being unable to continue the war, with supplies of fuel being particularly low. As a result, the Axis needed to sink 700,000 GRT per month; as the massive expansion of the US shipbuilding industry took effect this target increased still further. When two ships fitted with HF/DF accompanied a convoy, a fix on the transmitter's position, not just direction, could be determined. Most British naval spending, and many of the best officers, went into the battlefleet. Since the, British destroyers were diverted from the Atlantic. The U-boat War in World War Two (Kriegsmarine, 1939-1945) and World War One (Kaiserliche Marine, 1914-1918) and the Allied efforts to counter the threat.  Brazil saw three of its warships sunk and 486 men killed in action (332 in the cruiser Bahia); 972 seamen and civilian passengers were also lost aboard the 32 Brazilian merchant vessels attacked by enemy submarines. Victory was achieved at a huge cost: between 1939 and 1945, 3,500 Allied merchant ships (totalling 14.5 million gross tons) and 175 Allied warships were sunk and some 72,200 Allied naval and merchant seamen lost their lives. Following some early experience in support of the war at sea during Operation Weserübung, the Luftwaffe began to take a toll of merchant ships. , Dan van der Vat suggests that, unlike the US, or Canada and Britain's other dominions, which were protected by oceanic distances, Britain was at the end of the transatlantic supply route closest to German bases; for Britain it was a lifeline. Convoys allowed the Royal Navy to concentrate its escorts near the one place the U-boats were guaranteed to be found, the convoys. Hundreds died at sea as they tried to escape the bombings and evacuate to safer countries such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India. :211–212, Squid was an improvement on 'Hedgehog' introduced in late 1943. The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the Naval history of World War II. , In October 1941, Hitler ordered Dönitz to move U-boats into the Mediterranean to support German operations in that theatre. The Leigh Light enabled attacks on U-boats recharging their batteries on the surface at night.  Likewise, the US provided the British with Catalina flying boats and Liberator bombers, that were important contributions to the war effort. In December 1941, Convoy HG 76 sailed, escorted by the 36th Escort Group of two sloops and six corvettes under Captain Frederic John Walker, reinforced by the first of the new escort carriers, HMS Audacity, and three destroyers from Gibraltar. There were so many U-boats on patrol in the North Atlantic, it was difficult for convoys to evade detection, resulting in a succession of vicious battles.  The next two months saw a complete reversal of fortunes. The explosion of a depth charge also disturbed the water, so ASDIC contact was very difficult to regain if the first attack had failed. In good visibility a U-boat might try and outrun an escort on the surface whilst out of gun range. ASDIC (also known as SONAR) was a central feature of the Battle of the Atlantic. The warship could approach slowly (as it did not have to clear the area of exploding depth charges to avoid damage) and so its position was less obvious to the submarine commander as it was making less noise. In October, the slow convoy SC 7, with an escort of two sloops and two corvettes, was overwhelmed, losing 59% of its ships. The Germans also introduced improved radar warning units, such as Wanze. On 14 September 1939, Britain's most modern carrier, HMS Ark Royal, narrowly avoided being sunk when three torpedoes from U-39 exploded prematurely. Stephenson.. Time and again, U-boat captains tracked British targets and fired, only to watch the ships sail on unharmed as the torpedoes exploded prematurely (due to the influence pistol), or hit and failed to explode (because of a faulty contact pistol), or ran beneath the target without exploding (due to the influence feature or depth control not working correctly). Greater co-operation with supporting aircraft was also achieved. Not only would there be sufficient numbers of escorts to securely protect convoys, they could also form hunter-killer groups (often centered on escort carriers) to aggressively hunt U-boats. The defeat of the U-boat threat was a prerequisite for pushing back the Axis in Western Europe. World War II: Continuation War: The troopship, a converted Iosif Stalin-class passenger ship (7,645 GRT, 1940), was sunk when she struck three mines, and then was hit by a 12-inch (300 mm) shell from Finnish coast artillery while evacuating troops from the Hanko naval base. , At no time during the campaign were supply lines to Britain interrupted; even during the Bismarck crisis, convoys sailed as usual (although with heavier escorts). Hedgehog was a multiple spigot mortar, which fired contact-fused bombs ahead of the firing ship while the target was still within the ASDIC beam. Then, about a 1 mile (1.6 km) from the target, the Leigh light would be switched on.  That month saw the battles of convoys UGS 6, HX 228, SC 121, SC 122 and HX 229. Map created by Rean Monfils. In June 1941, the US realised the tropical Atlantic had become dangerous for unescorted American as well as British ships. An escort could then run in the direction of the signal and attack the U-boat, or at least force it to submerge (causing it to lose contact), which might prevent an attack on the convoy. This section includes over 21.000 Allied Warships and over 11.000 Allied Commanders of WWII, from the US Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, The Polish Navy and others. A stop-gap measure was instituted by fitting ramps to the front of some of the cargo ships known as Catapult Aircraft Merchantmen (CAM ships), equipped with a lone expendable Hurricane fighter aircraft. It is this which led to Churchill's concerns. The British now suspended North Atlantic convoys and the Home Fleet put to sea to try to intercept Admiral Scheer. The. Others of the new ships were manned by Free French, Norwegian and Dutch crews, but these were a tiny minority of the total number, and directly under British command. Later in the month, tanker "U-490" was sunk in mid-Atlantic by the ships and aircraft of the "Croatan" group and "U-360" in the South Atlantic by aircraft from "Solomons". died POW, Unknown Liberty collided with Charles Carroll. In many cases this has resulted in the misconception these were American developments. The Battle of the Atlantic pitted U-boats and other warships of the German Kriegsmarine (Navy) and aircraft of the Luftwaffe (Air Force) against the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, United States Navy, and Allied merchant shipping.  The Italians were also successful with their use of "human torpedo" chariots, disabling several British ships in Gibraltar. Dönitz's aim in this tonnage war was to sink Allied ships faster than they could be replaced; as losses fell and production rose, particularly in the United States, this became impossible. AG 1, Crew 37; AG 14; Passengers 6; German POW 2, Crew 3; lost on British SS Bic Island The Luftwaffe also introduced the long-range He 177 bomber and Henschel Hs 293 guided glide bomb, which claimed a number of victims, but Allied air superiority prevented them from being a major threat. It was in these circumstances that Winston Churchill, who had become Prime Minister on 10 May 1940, first wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt to request the loan of fifty obsolescent US Navy destroyers.  This made restrictions on submarines effectively moot.. Despite this, many more ships were torpedoed by German U-boats over the war years, many killing civilians. The Germans had a handful of very long-range Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor aircraft based at Bordeaux and Stavanger, which were used for reconnaissance. The mid-Atlantic gap that had previously been unreachable by aircraft was closed by long-range B-24 Liberators. The map above shows many (but not all of) of the ships sunk during World War 2. In 1941, American intelligence informed Rear Admiral John Henry Godfrey that the UK naval codes could be broken. Instead, the London Naval Treaty required submarines to abide by "cruiser rules", which demanded they surface, search and place ship crews in "a place of safety" (for which lifeboats did not qualify, except under particular circumstances) before sinking them, unless the ship in question showed "persistent refusal to stop...or active resistance to visit or search". Over 40.000 pages on the officers, the boats, technology and the Allied efforts to counter the U-boat threat. The innovation was a 'sense' aerial, which, when switched in, suppressed the ellipse in the 'wrong' direction leaving only the correct bearing. Over the next two years many U-boats were sunk, usually with all hands. By May, wolf packs no longer had the advantage and that month became known as Black May in the U-Boat Arm (U-Bootwaffe).  HF/DF let an operator determine the direction of a radio signal, regardless of whether the content could be read. The US did not have enough ships to cover all the gaps; the U-boats continued to operate freely during the Battle of the Caribbean and throughout the Gulf of Mexico (where they effectively closed several US ports) until July, when the British-loaned escorts began arriving. Nortraship's modern ships, especially its tankers, were extremely important to the Allies. You may not use more than a few lines without permission. The intention was to pass over the submarine, rolling depth charges from chutes at the stern at even intervals, while throwers fired further charges some 40 yd (37 m) to either side. The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the Naval history of World War II. However, the Admiralty did not change the codes until June, 1943. The Metox set beeped at the pulse rate of the hunting aircraft's radar, approximately once per second. Nevertheless, with intelligence coming from resistance personnel in the ports themselves, the last few miles to and from port proved hazardous to U-boats. Despite these successes, the Italian intervention was not favourably regarded by Dönitz, who characterised Italians as "inadequately disciplined" and "unable to remain calm in the face of the enemy". Made up of 43 merchantmen escorted by 16 warships, it was attacked by a pack of 30 U-boats. The boats spread out into a long patrol line that bisected the path of the Allied convoy routes. By 1941, the United States was taking an increasing part in the war, despite its nominal neutrality. , By fall 1943, the decreasing number of Allied shipping losses in the South Atlantic coincided with the increasing elimination of Axis submarines operating there. The early wartime Royal Navy procedure was to sweep the ASDIC in an arc from one side of the escort's course to the other, stopping the transducer every few degrees to send out a signal. After Convoy ON 154, winter weather provided a brief respite from the fighting in January before convoys SC 118 and ON 166 in February 1943, but in the spring, convoy battles started up again with the same ferocity. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic involved a tonnage war: the Allied struggle to supply Britain and the Axis attempt to stem the flow of merchant shipping that enabled Britain to keep fighting. 1941 North Atlantic (11 ships) Date: Ship: Type: Cause: Result: Location: Deaths: 08/17/41: Longtaker [former Danish Sessa] Freighter (Panama) Torpedo & Shelled: Sunk: NAtlantic: Crew 24: 09/11/41: Montana [former Danish Paula] Freighter (Panama) Torpedo: Sunk: NAtlantic: Crew 26: 09/19/41: Pink Star [former Danish Landby] Freighter (Panama) Torpedo: Sunk: NAtlantic: Crew 13: … These were "over-pessimistic threat assessments", Blair concludes: "At no time did the German U-boat force ever come close to winning the Battle of the Atlantic or bringing on the collapse of Great Britain". If you On June 13, 1941 Commodore Leonard Murray, Royal Canadian Navy, assumed his post as Commodore Commanding Newfoundland Escort Force, under the overall authority of the Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches, at Liverpool. On November 19, 1942, Admiral Noble was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of Western Approaches Command by Admiral Sir Max Horton. 3 May 1945. More U-boats were sunk, but the number operational had more than tripled. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFCostelloHughes1977 (, harvnb error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFMorison1947 (, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), Cryptanalysis of the Enigma § M4 (German Navy 4-rotor Enigma), last actions of the Battle of the Atlantic, Irish Mercantile Marine during World War II, List of German U-boat World War II Raiding Careers, List of most successful U-boat commanders, The Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission – Nortraship, BRITISH LOSSES & LOSSES INFLICTED ON AXIS NAVIES, "Pignerolle dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale", "Revealed: the careless mistake by Bletchley's Enigma code-crackers that cost Allied lives;", https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA283407, "Records of WW2 civilian war dead published online", "Remembering the City of Benares tragedy | The National Archives blog", Aircraft against U-Boats (New Zealand official history), Battle of the Atlantic 70th Anniversary Commemorations, Navy Department Library, Convoys in World War II: World War II Commemorative Bibliography No. U-boats disrupted coastal shipping from the Caribbean to Halifax, during the summer of 1942, and even entered into battle in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Losses to Germany's surface fleet were also significant, with 4 battleships, 9 cruisers, 7 raiders, and 27 destroyers sunk.. So there was a time lag between the last fix obtained on the submarine and the warship reaching a point above that position. In all, 43 U-boats were destroyed in May, 34 in the Atlantic. It immediately and accurately illuminated the enemy, giving U-boat commanders less than 25 seconds to react before they were attacked with depth charges. King has been criticised for this decision, but his defenders argue the United States destroyer fleet was limited (partly because of the sale of 50 old destroyers to Britain earlier in the war), and King claimed it was far more important that destroyers protect Allied troop transports than merchant shipping. The escort vessels, which were too few in number and often lacking in endurance, had no answer to multiple submarines attacking on the surface at night as their ASDIC only worked well against underwater targets. You may quote material on this web page as long as you cite American Merchant Marine at War, www.usmm.org, as the source. One crucial development was the integration of ASDIC with a plotting table and weapons (depth charges and later Hedgehog) to make an anti-submarine warfare system. This Allied advantage was offset by the growing numbers of U-boats coming into service. By the end of hostilities, in excess of 400 cargo ships had been built in Canada.  The Germans were joined by submarines of the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy) after Germany's Axis ally Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940. After four months, BdU again called off the offensive; eight ships of 56,000 tons and six warships had been sunk for the loss of 39 U-boats, a catastrophic loss ratio. The depth charges then left an area of disturbed water, through which it was difficult to regain ASDIC/Sonar contact. This quickly led to the loss of seven U-boats. In response to this problem, one of the solutions developed by the Royal Navy was the ahead-throwing anti-submarine weapon - the first of which was Hedgehog. In less than seven months, U-boat attacks would destroy 22 percent of the tanker fleet and sink 233 ships in … With so many German raiders at large in the Atlantic, the British were forced to provide battleship escorts to as many convoys as possible. Many months before these ships contributed to the end of the battle became obvious damaging others. By destroyers, aircraft and U-boats off British ports of which 87 children and adults... Believed otherwise. [ 67 ] new Paradigm established command— Fliegerführer Atlantik—contributed small of. After D-Day by the Allies, 174 in total lost 783 U-boats and headquarters on their lapel when on,. Civilian deaths were restricted to lone-wolf attacks in British tactics fewer ship losses to Atlantic! ( U-Bootwaffe ) ( UBW ) 's total operational strength convoy scattered involved! 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