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 tip 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 can stay till the Allied advances led its closing boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed provider with the flotilla and so much of them served within the North Atlantic the place their operations nearly introduced Britain to its knees. the tale of the flotilla starts off with the tale of the convoy predators; in the course of the grim realities of the convoy method 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 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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Extra info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves
While the Kriegsmarine went to great lengths to fortify its ports, little was done to protect the boats at sea, even in the confined and shallow approaches to the bases in Brittany. Below: The U-boat pens at St Nazaire included workshop facilities; one is shown to the left of Pen 12 , a windowless concrete structure behind the six rectangular ventilation ports shown in the photograph. Note the appearance of smoke damage to the roof of Pen 12. 30 IN ACTION Above: lWo Type VII boats lying outside the main entrance to the St Nazaire V-boat pens.
44 IN ACTION Above left and Left: The aftermath of battle. Many commanders only allowed more senior men on the top of the conning tower when sailing through such horrific scenes of destruction and suffering. Left: The seafront at La Baule. Looking at this peaceful scene one would hardly guess that World War II was in full swing. Yet, despite destruction and killing on an unprecedented scale, there were still many peaceful havens left. Below left: The British Commando raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 led to heightened security in and around the port.
The Wanze radar search receivers were also fitted, giving improved warning against aircraft equipped with airborne radar. In mid-September 1943 Donitz decided to send his boats back into the North Atlantic, hoping to take advantage of new torpedoes. 18, sinking three escorts and six merchant ships, for the loss of three U-boats. One of these was U-338, depth-charged by aircraft off Iceland on 20 September. Worse was to follow. On 27 September U-221 commanded by Hans-Hartwig Trojer was sunk by an air attack off Ireland.