7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves by Angus Konstam

By Angus Konstam

The seventh U-Boat Flotilla - 'Wegener' - used to be shaped in Kiel in June 1938 with six boats, just one of which survived operationally to the top of the struggle. Early struggle motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it can stay till the Allied advances led its final 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 nearly introduced Britain to its knees. the tale of the flotilla begins with the tale of the convoy predators; in the course of 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 sooner than turning 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 write down complete time in 2001.

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Extra resources for 7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves

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D6nitz had lost the Battle of the Atlantic. 58 IN ACTION 5 PEA RHE AD: 7TH U-BOAT FLOTILLA Right: The clean coat suggests this picture was taken before, rather than after, action. The double barrels of a 20mm twin anti-aircraft gun can be seen towards the right. Far right: Another view of watchers on the conning tower. Note the torpedo aimer, which can clearly be seen in the foreground, although the special water resistant binoculars are not clipped in place. Below: AType VIle with modified platforms to carry heavier anti-aircraft guns but with the weapons not yet fitted.

Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg It was not until March that serious Commissioned: 26 November 1942 Operational in flotilla: 1 May 1943 wolfpack attacks were attempted against First commander: ObltzS Ernst von Witzendorff convoys. 121, transfer: ObltzS Rudolf Zorn sinking 12 ships. 122. 122 on 17 March. Although U-435 was not officially a 7th Flotilla boat, she was attached to the flotilla as a temporary secondment. Vessels from other flotillas sank another dozen merchantmen. All this was achieved with the loss of only one U-boat.

Experienced commanders were becoming a rarity. Since the outbreak of the war, 160 U-boats and their commanders had been lost, and the newly-trained commanders lacked hard-won experience, and often lacked the skill and aggressiveness of earlier commanders. This influx of new crews came at the same time as the Allies introduced new radar sets for aircraft and 51 Above: Individual boat emblems are recorded in Georg Hagel's excellent book, U-boat Emblems of World War Two. This black cat first appeared on the most successful boat of the war (U-48) when it was still part of the 7th U-Flotilla.

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