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Old November 15th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #21
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An impressive fact is that of the thousand plus U-boats ever launched by the III Reich (more exactly, 1153) sometimes as few as only a dozen or so were available for the Battle of the Atlantic even during the early golden age of the Rudeltaktik.

Quote:
Chief of U-boats Karl Dönitz estimated he needed 300 U-boats to defeat the Allied convoys and force Britain into submission. When war broke out on 3 Sept 1939 he had 26 ocean going U-boats...

100 boats at sea for the first time
On 8 Aug 1942, nearly 3 years after the war began, the number of U-boats at sea reached 100 for the first time (some of these boats were inbound or outbound from bases)...

For the next 11 months the number rarely dipped below 100, reaching as high as 159 on 29 April 1943.
Click the image to open in full size.

Graph showing the number of U-boats at sea at any given time during WWII. Red line includes boats in the Mediterranean (blue line).

Allied tonnage sunk by U-boats

Year Tons sunk
1939 0,6 million
1940 2,3 million
1941 2,2 million
1942 5,8 million
1943 2,3 million
1944 0,6 million
1945 0,2 million
(Total) 14 million


Source: http://uboat.net/ops/combat_strength.html
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:27 PM   #22

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
No.
From May 1943 the effectiveness of the U-boat campaign in the Atlantic declined to such an extent, that in the majority of months after that date more U-boats were sunk, than Merchant ships sunk by U-boat.
For example:
June 1943, 7 Allied merchant ships lost:17 U-Boats lost

July 1943, 29 Allied merchant ships lost: 34 U-Boats lost.

August 1943, 4 Allied merchant ships lost: 20 U-boats lost

The main effectiveness of the continuing U-boat campaign after this date was in forcing the Allies to maintain a convoy system, and the naval resources to defend them.
Yep, I agree. On the whole, 1943 was a disaster for the U-boats as the new tactics started to pay dividends. But, in the early months of the year from january-march, particularly march, the U-boats had a brief resurgence and caused havoc amongst the following convoys:

Convoy_SC_118 Convoy_SC_118

Convoy_ON_166 Convoy_ON_166

Convoy_SC_121 Convoy_SC_121

UG_convoys UG_convoys

Convoy_HX_228 Convoy_HX_228

Convoys HX 229/SC 122 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


It was from May onwards, when the Allies restored this situation. May was called "Black may" for the Germans, where Johnnie Walkers tactics proved devastating to the U-Boats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_May_(1943)
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
It was from May onwards, when the Allies restored this situation. May was called "Black may" for the Germans, where Johnnie Walkers tactics proved devastating to the U-Boats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_May_(1943)
Just check out in the nice red graph above; the operative U-boats simply halved.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #24

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Just check out in the nice red graph above; the operative U-boats simply halved.
What graph?
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:34 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
What graph?
Post #21 of this same thread.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:42 PM   #26

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Post #21 of this same thread.
I see nothing, the link is broken.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
I see nothing, the link is broken.
For any reason I can still see it.
And there's also a link to the original website in my first post here.

Here comes the graphics again: Click the image to open in full size.
Graph showing the number of U-boats at sea at any given time during WWII. Red line includes boats in the Mediterranean (blue line).

And here it is the link again: Combat strength of the U-boat Force - Kriegsmarine U-boat Operations - uboat.net
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Old November 18th, 2012, 02:33 AM   #28

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Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
It was the lack of a convoy system.

Within a couple of weeks of the convoy system being set up on the US coastal routes Donitz had withdrawn his boats back into the mid Atlantic, the results were no longer were worth travelling the extra distance.
The increasing availability, range, and sophistication of airborne anti-U boat patrols also played a vital role.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 04:40 AM   #29

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
For any reason I can still see it.
And there's also a link to the original website in my first post here.

Here comes the graphics again: Click the image to open in full size.
Graph showing the number of U-boats at sea at any given time during WWII. Red line includes boats in the Mediterranean (blue line).

And here it is the link again: Combat strength of the U-boat Force - Kriegsmarine U-boat Operations - uboat.net
Thanks for the link. Yes I understand what you mean now. I couldn't when I first saw your post, as I didn't know initially how it linked to my post. Yep I agree that the removal of U-boats was a partial factor. Donitz was opposed to the removal, bearing in mind the battle of the Atlantic was a tonnage war, and they needed not only to maintain a consistent rate of sinking, but sin more than the allies could build. By that time though, I think it wasbecoming harder and harder.

To add to the graph and what im saying:

Quote:
The American historian Clay Blair estimated that in the last three months of 1941 some 3700 merchant ships passed back and forth amongst the Atlantic lifeline, and of those just 54 were sunk by U-boats. It was a feeble rate of return. Donitz blamed it on the transfer of U-boats to the mediterranean and arctic waters, decisions he vigorously opposed. This was certainly an important factor in the closing months off the year, but the rot had set in long before; inexperienced commanders, the continual lack of air support and the growing presence of the Americans had all played their part. Above all, it was the "special intelligence" and the skillful use made of it by the admiralty's submarine tracking room that was the chief cause of this dismal decline on fortunes.....The staff at Kerneval had estimated in June that to strike a "mortal blow" against Britain, U-boats would need to sink some 800,000 tons of shipping a month; the monthly average of the year was to be less than a quarter of this figure.


Source:The Battle of the Atlantic, Andrew Williams, pg 157

During the last convoy action of that year, Johnie Walker sunk five U-boats; the most sunk in a single operation to date, including one of their experienced commanders and Aces's Engelbert Endress.

This is what Walker recorded in his report to the admiralty after forcing U-574 to the surface, which had just sunk a ship named "The Stanley":

"The U-boat appeared to be turning continuously to port, just inside Stork's turning Circle. I kept her illuminated with snowflake flares and fired with the 4-inch guns until they could not be sufficiently depressed...Bursts of machine gun fire were let off when they could be brought to bear, but the prettiest shoting was made by my first lieutenant with a stripped lewis gun from over the bridge screen. He quickly reduced the conning tower to a mortuary. Eventually I managed to ram her, just before the conning tower and roll her over. He hung a few seconds on the bow, and then scraped aft where she was greeted by a pattern of 10 depth charges. I was informed that a boche in the water, who was holding up his arms and crying, "kamerad", received the content of the depth charge thrower in his face, instead."

The Germans were so disparaged by the last three months of 1941 that they questioned the validity of campaigning in the North Atlantic, and Donitz made the following concession in his diary:

Quote:
"The chances of losses are greater than the prospects of success"

By christmas day the war at sea had all but ground to a halt, with not one U-boat on station and ready for combat anywhere in the North Atlantic.


Source: Ibid, pg 160

The British view on the end of the year, which is understandable given what they had just achieved:

Quote:
At the admiralty there was a growing sense of optimism that the tide had turned. In the first two years and four months of the year U-boats had sunk 1124 ships, some 5.3 million tons of British and neutral shipping. Losses to all causes amounted to 9 million tons, which represented a substantial slice of the British merchant fleet. As a result, imports had fallen from 60 million to 30.5 million tons, yet by the end of 1941 there was reson to hope tht British forces had stopped the rot. In the ubmarine tracking room, Roger Winn logged: "There is still no sign of any renewal in attacks in the North Atlantic on any scale comparable with that of the recent campaign and the primary objective seems, at least temporarily, to be no longer detruction of merchant shipping"


Source: Ibid, pg 160


Now to the continual effective innovative and effectively destructive U-boat killing tactics of Cpt Walker:

Quote:
Bryan Butchard was first lieutenant of HMS Magpie, and by 1944 a seasoned anti U-boat campaigner. "We used to operate as a group, with one escort carrying out a slow, creeping attack, dropping depth charges with a very deep setting on the course of the U-boat, whilst the other ships would use their ASDIC sets to maintain contact. It was what Walker called "holding the ring" - if the U-boat tried to escape, one of the other ships would sink it."

When the enemy proved especially elusive the attack was carried out by three ships, a creeping barrage. Operation Plaster was usually carried out by Walker himself. It called for close co-operation between the six ships of the group; once contact was made the hunt was relentless, escape rare. Acting on good intelligence from Enigma decrypts, Western Approaches Command directed the Walker group to a U-boat concentration some 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland.

The group claimed its first victim on 31st January; U-592 was lost with all hands. Another 4 U-boats were sunk between 8-11 February; again there were no survivors. The admiralty required proof of a kill, so a ships whaler was often sent to furnish it. "It was a rather gruesome thing, pickingpcking up human remains and putting the mon the whaler," Peter Eustace recalls.
On 19th February the 2nd support group picked up another ASDIC contact, U-264: "Walker worked on me for 10 hours and that was the end" Hartwig Look recalls:

"We got around 200 depth charges and they exploded beneath the U-boat. We were accustomed to depth charges exploding above us, but the full wave of the explosion came from below. I tried to shake them off using evasive action, but that didn't work. Equipment broke away from the pressure hull, and there were various leaks. The water reached above our ankles and a fire was reported in the electric motor room, and when you're submerged and there is a fire onboard, that is the end. I thought we would have to surface, and we shot out of the water like a champagne cork, and found ourselves inside the circle made by Captain Walker's submarine chasers. The crew jumped into the sea.I was on the tower holding into an antenna to stop my legs being pulled into the tower hatch, where a whirlpool was forming. Then the U-boat sank below me."


Source: Ibid, pg 276-278
He was subsequently rescued and taken as a prisoner, noting himself the deadly acoustic torpedoes onboard the ship. The 2nd support group sank 16 U-boats under Walkers command, although he died not long after through a stroke.
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