- Naval History and Heritage Command
- Clip: [The Atlantic's] Civil War Commemorative Issue | badufyjuhi.cf
- The Civil War Issue
L incoln is a president I turn to often. An eyebrow, arched. An upturned lip. The faintest hint of a smile. That, I believe, is why, a century and a half after he took office, Lincoln is revered by the American people. Such reverence is richly deserved, but it comes at a cost. The Lincoln who holds a place in our national memory is less a man than an icon—a face carved in black hills, a marble giant towering over us on a mall.
Naval History and Heritage Command
But Lincoln saw beyond the bloodshed and division. On March 10, , the Germans added a refinement to the U-boat Enigma key, which blinded the Allied codebreakers at Bletchley Park for 9 days. The supply situation in Britain was such there was talk of being unable to continue the war, with supplies of fuel being particularly low. The situation was so bad that the British considered abandoning convoys entirely.
In April, losses of U-boats increased while their kills fell significantly. Two weeks later, SC saw at least three U-boats destroyed and at least one U-boat damaged for no losses. The Battle of the Atlantic was won by the Allies in two months. There was no single reason for this; what had changed was a sudden convergence of technologies, combined with an increase in Allied resources. The mid-Atlantic gap that had previously been unreachable by aircraft was closed by long-range Consolidated B Liberators. General Arnold ordered his squadron commander to engage only in "offensive" search and attack missions and not in the escort of convoys.
Agreement was reached in July and the exchange was completed in September Further air cover was provided by the introduction of merchant aircraft carriers MAC ships , and later the growing numbers of American-built escort carriers. Larger numbers of escorts became available, both as a result of American building programmes and the release of escorts committed to the North African landings during November and December In particular, destroyer escorts similar British ships were known as frigates were designed, which could be built more economically than expensive fleet destroyers and were more seaworthy than corvettes.
Not only would there be sufficient numbers of escorts to securely protect convoys, they could also form hunter-killer groups often centred on escort carriers to aggressively hunt U-boats. By spring , the British had developed an effective sea-scanning radar small enough to be carried in patrol aircraft armed with airborne depth charges. Centimetric radar greatly improved interception and was undetectable by Metox. Of this total, 90 were sunk and 51 damaged by Coastal Command. Allied air forces developed tactics and technology to make the Bay of Biscay , the main route for France-based U-boats, very dangerous to submarines.
The Leigh Light enabled attacks on U-boats recharging their batteries on the surface at night. 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 U-boat operations in the region centred in the Atlantic Narrows between Brazil and West Africa beginning autumn , only in the following year did these start to raise serious concern in Washington.
Germany and Italy subsequently extended their submarine attacks to include Brazilian ships wherever they were, and from April were found in Brazilian waters. Although the Brazilian Navy was small, it had modern minelayers suitable for coastal convoy escort and aircraft which needed only small modifications to become suitable for maritime patrol.
One example was the sinking of U in July , by a coordinated action of Brazilian and American aircraft. By fall , the decreasing number of Allied shipping losses in the South Atlantic coincided with the increasing elimination of Axis submarines operating there. Germany made several attempts to upgrade the U-boat force, while awaiting the next generation of U-boats, the Walter and Elektroboot types. Among these upgrades were improved anti-aircraft defences, radar detectors, better torpedoes, decoys, and Schnorchel snorkels , which allowed U-boats to run underwater off their diesel engines.
A series of battles resulted in fewer victories and more losses for UbW. The Luftwaffe also introduced the long-range He bomber and Henschel Hs guided glider bomb, which claimed a number of victims, but Allied air superiority prevented them from being a major threat. To counter Allied air power, UbW increased the anti-aircraft armament of U-boats, and introduced specially-equipped " flak boats" , which were to stay surfaced and engage in combat with attacking planes, rather than diving and evading.
These developments initially caught RAF pilots by surprise. However, a U-boat that remained surfaced increased the risk of its pressure hull being punctured, making it unable to submerge, while attacking pilots often called in surface ships if they met too much resistance, orbiting out of range of the U-boat's guns to maintain contact. Should the U-boat dive, the aircraft would attack. Immediate diving remained a U-boat's best survival tactic when encountering aircraft. According to German sources, only six aircraft were shot down by U-flak s in six missions three by U , one each by U , U and U The Germans also introduced improved radar warning units, such as Wanze.
To fool Allied sonar, the Germans deployed Bold canisters which the British called Submarine Bubble Target to generate false echoes, as well as Sieglinde self-propelled decoys. This was initially very effective, but the Allies quickly developed counter-measures, both tactical "Step-Aside" and technical " Foxer ". None of the German measures were truly effective, and by Allied air power was so strong U-boats were being attacked in the Bay of Biscay shortly after leaving port. The Germans had lost the technological race. Their actions were restricted to lone-wolf attacks in British coastal waters and preparation to resist the expected Operation Neptune , the invasion of France.
Over the next two years many U-boats were sunk, usually with all hands. With the battle won by the Allies, supplies poured into Britain and North Africa for the eventual liberation of Europe. The U-boats were further critically hampered after D-Day by the loss of their bases in France to the advancing Allied armies. Designs were finalised in January but mass-production of the new types did not start until In the first week of May, twenty-three boats were sunk in the Baltic while attempting this journey. The last actions in American waters took place on May 5—6, , which saw the sinking of the steamer Black Point and the destruction of U and U in separate incidents.
The last actions of the Battle of the Atlantic were on May 7—8. The remaining U-boats, at sea or in port, were surrendered to the Allies, in total. Most were destroyed in Operation Deadlight after the war. The Germans failed to stop the flow of strategic supplies to Britain. This failure resulted in the build-up of troops and supplies needed for the D-Day landings.
The defeat of the U-boat was a necessary precursor for accumulation of Allied troops and supplies to ensure Germany's defeat. Victory was achieved at a huge cost: between and , 3, Allied merchant ships totalling During the Second World War nearly one third of the world's merchant shipping was British. Over 30, men from the British Merchant Navy lost their lives between and More than 2, British ships were sunk. The British officers wore uniforms very similar to those of the Royal Navy.
The ordinary sailors, however, had no uniform and when on leave in Britain they sometimes suffered taunts and abuse from civilians who mistakenly thought the crewmen were shirking their patriotic duty to enlist in the armed forces. To counter this, the crewmen were issued with an 'MN' lapel badge to indicate they were serving in the Merchant Navy. The British merchant fleet was made up of vessels from the many and varied private shipping lines, examples being the tankers of the British Tanker Company and the freighters of Ellerman and Silver Lines. The British government, via the Ministry of War Transport MoWT , also had new ships built during the course of the war, these being known as Empire ships.
In addition to its existing merchant fleet, United States shipyards built 2, Liberty ships totalling More than 70 Canadian merchant vessels were lost. Information obtained by British agents regarding German shipping movements led Canada to conscript all its merchant vessels two weeks before actually declaring war, with the Royal Canadian Navy taking control of all shipping August 26, At the outbreak of the war, Canada possessed 38 ocean-going merchant vessels.
By the end of hostilities, in excess of cargo ships had been built in Canada. U-boats disrupted coastal shipping from the Caribbean to Halifax, during the summer of , and even entered into battle in the Gulf of St. Canadian officers wore uniforms which were virtually identical in style to those of the British. Before the war, Norway's Merchant Navy was the fourth largest in the world and its ships were the most modern.
The Germans and the Allies both recognised the great importance of Norway's merchant fleet, and following Germany's invasion of Norway in April , both sides sought control of the ships. He was ignored. All Norwegian ships decided to serve at the disposal of the Allies. The vessels of the Norwegian Merchant Navy were placed under the control of the government-run Nortraship , with headquarters in London and New York. Nortraship's modern ships, especially its tankers, were extremely important to the Allies.
Norwegian tankers carried nearly one-third of the oil transported to Britain during the war. More than 3, Norwegian merchant seamen lost their lives. It is maintained by some historians [ who? Others, including Blair  and Alan Levin, disagree; Levin states this is "a misperception", and that "it is doubtful they ever came close" to achieving this.
The focus on U-boat successes, the "aces" and their scores, the convoys attacked, and the ships sunk, serves to camouflage the Kriegsmarine 's manifold failures. 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. 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. Despite their efforts, the Axis powers were unable to prevent the build-up of Allied invasion forces for the liberation of Europe.
This may be the ultimate example of the Allied practise of evasive routing. In and the Allies transported some 3 million American and Allied servicemen across the Atlantic without significant loss. By the USN was able to wipe out in mid-Atlantic with little real difficulty a wolf-pack suspected of carrying V-weapons. Third, and unlike the Allies , the Germans were never able to mount a comprehensive blockade of Britain.
Nor were they able to focus their effort by targeting the most valuable cargoes, the eastbound traffic carrying war materiel. Instead they were reduced to the slow attrition of a tonnage war. In only four out of the first 27 months of the war did Germany achieve this target, while after December , when Britain was joined by the US merchant marine and ship yards the target effectively doubled. The , ton target was achieved in only one month, November , while after May average sinkings dropped to less than one tenth of that figure.
By the end of the war, although the U-boat arm had sunk 6, ships totalling 21 million GRT, the Allies had built over 38 million tons of new shipping. The reason for the misperception that the German blockade came close to success may be found in post-war writings by both German and British authors.
Blair attributes the distortion to "propagandists" who "glorified and exaggerated the successes of German submariners", while he believes Allied writers "had their own reasons for exaggerating the peril". 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.
Clip: [The Atlantic's] Civil War Commemorative Issue | badufyjuhi.cf
It is this which led to Churchill's concerns. 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". Historians disagree about the relative importance of the anti-U-boat measures. Max Hastings states that "In alone, Ultra [breaking the German code] saved between 1. Obviously this subdivision of the data ignores many other defensive measures the Allies developed during the war, so interpretation must be constrained. Codebreaking by itself did not decrease the losses, which continued to rise ominously.
More U-boats were sunk, but the number operational had more than tripled. The development of the improved radar by the Allies began in , before the United States entered the war, when Henry Tizard and A. Hill won permission to share British secret research with the Americans, including bringing them a cavity magnetron , which generates the needed high-frequency radio waves. Western Approaches , British colour film dramatising the experience of merchant sailors in a lifeboat. The Enemy Below , film about the captain of an American destroyer escort who matches wits with a German U-boat captain.
Das Boot , German film about a German U-boat and its crew. U , film about a U-boat boarded by disguised United States Navy submariners. The battle of the Atlantic also resulted in civilian deaths. 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. The day after, Hitler ordered that no more attacks were to be made on passenger ships.
Despite this, many more ships were torpedoed by German U-boats over the war years, many killing civilians. One of the most famous tragedies was the sinking of SS City of Benares on 17 September , miles off the coast of Ireland. It was carrying passengers, of whom were children evacuees,  , of which 87 children and adults drowned. Not all attacks were as deadly, such as the sinking of the City of Simla , which sunk off the coast of Glasgow, resulting in three dead and survivors.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Atlantic campaign. See also: First Happy Time. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: High-frequency direction finding. See also: German Navy 3-rotor Enigma.
See also: Second Happy Time. Main article: Leigh Light. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Bitter Ocean: The Battle of the Atlantic, — United States: Nelson Current. National Museum of the Royal Navy. Retrieved Feb. Admiral Carney was assistant chief of staff and operations officer to Admiral Arthur L. Bristol , commander of the support force of United States ships and planes providing North Atlantic trade convoy escort services.
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Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute. Levine, Alan J. In Lee, Loyd E. World War II: crucible of the contemporary world.
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The Civil War Issue
The War at Sea. Part 2. The Atlantic Campaign. Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh . Votaw, Homer C. Welchman, Gordon . The Hut Six story: Breaking the Enigma codes. New edition updated with an addendum consisting of a paper written by Welchman that corrects his misapprehensions in the edition. Woodman, Richard The Real Cruel Sea. John Murray. Behrens, C. Cremer, Peter. Convoy Escort Commander London. Autobiography of a former escort group commander Macintyre, Donald. U-boat Killer London. The Golden Horseshoe London. Walker R. London Iron Coffins : The account of a surviving U-boat captain with historical and technical details.
Blair, Clay. Hitler's U-boat War. Two volumes. Harper and Row. Links to related articles. Regions 1. Submarine warfare Intensified submarine warfare Unrestricted submarine warfare. World War II. Allies leaders. Axis and Axis-aligned leaders. Africa Asia Europe. Bengal famine of Chinese famine of —43 Greek Famine of Dutch famine of —45 Ruzagayura famine Vietnamese Famine of Bibliography Category Article index Portal. United States Coast Guard. Category:United States Coast Guard.
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