Lesson 13 War in the Atlantic

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Information about Lesson 13 War in the Atlantic

Published on October 23, 2007

Author: Malden



Sea Power and Maritime Affairs:  Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 13: War in the Atlantic, North Africa, and the Mediterranean 1935-1945 Slide2:  The U-boat Peril The U-Boat Peril:  The U-Boat Peril “The only that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.” Winston Churchill Timeline Cont.:  Timeline Cont. 9 Apr 1940: Invasion of Norway, Battle of Narvik – Despite annihilation of German naval forces, they maintained control of Narvik 11 Jun 1940: Italy enters the war. 3 Jul 1940: British destroy French fleet at Mers-El-Kebir. 15 Oct 1940: Italy invades Greece. 11 Nov 1940: Carrier raid on Taranto (Model for Pearl Harbor???) 28 Mar 1941: Battle of Cape Matapan 20 May 1941: Invasion of Crete. 22-26 May 1941: Chase of the Bismark 24 May: Bismark sinks Hood 26 May: Bismark sunk 11 Nov 1941: U-81 Sinks Ark Royal. 23 Nov 1941: U-331 sinks Barham Timeline Cont.:  Timeline Cont. 19 Aug 1942: Dieppe raid. 08 Nov 1942: Operation Torch. 14 Jan 1943: Casablanca Conference – Decision to invade Sicily; unconditional surrender proclaimed as war goal. 10 Jul 1943: Invasion of Sicily 09 Sep 1943: Invasion of Italy at Salerno 27 Mar 1942: St. Nazaire raid. Nov 1943: Teheran Conference – Decision to invade France. 24 Dec 1943: Scharnhorst sunk. 21 Jan 1944: Landing at Anzio. 06 Jun 1944: Normandy Invasion ( D-Day) 15 Aug 1944: Invasion of southern France. 12 Nov 1944: Tirpitz sunk by RAF Germany’s Invasion of Europe:  Germany’s Invasion of Europe Sept 1939, Germany invades Poland. England and France declare war on Germany 1939-1940 brings inconclusive results on the western front Britain moves to blockade Germany Germany begins commerce raiding with U-boats and surface raiders: Scuttling of the Graf Spree after the Battle of River Plate Germany’s Invasion of Europe:  Germany’s Invasion of Europe Germany invades Norway, April 1940 - Action designed to keep Britain from tightening blockade by mining northern approaches May 1940 Germans launch attack on “low countries” and France. Outflank the Maginot line. France falls June 1940 Britain withdraws troops from Europe (Miracle at Dunkirk) British attack French warships to prevent them from falling into German hands British Convoy Strategy:  British Convoy Strategy Strategy adopted from the outset Recognizes the importance of keeping the lines of communications open with the U.S. German Navy (Kriegsmarine):  German Navy (Kriegsmarine) Former WWI commander Karl Donitz was appointed by Admiral Raeder to head the German submarine force. Most thinking still centered around battleships even in the German Navy. At the start of WWII Germany only had 56 U-boats. Donitz estimated that 300 were required 1939 through the Spring of 1940 was disappointing for the U-boat force. Reason: Not enough U-boats. Convoys versus Wolfpacks:  Convoys versus Wolfpacks Things change when bases become available in France and Norway Doenitz organizes U-boats into Wolfpacks to mass attacks on convoys. Convoy positions radioed in by patrolling U-boats. U-boat sinkings climax in fall of 1940. This happy time for the German’s resulted in 217 ships sunk and only 6 U-boats lost. Convoys versus Wolfpacks:  Convoys versus Wolfpacks German luck begins to change in 1941. British knock out some on the most talented and experienced U-boat captains. British capture a German Marine Enigma machine. British capture a U-boat intact and study it for its weaknesses. By the time America officially enters the war, the British believe the U-boat menace had passed. German Surface Raiders:  German Surface Raiders Germany used surface raiders with moderate success. No large surface battles in the Atlantic as the German surface fleet had a hard time breaking out into open ocean. 22-26 May 1941: Chase of the Bismarck Undeclared War:  Undeclared War FDR an internationalist & interventionist Isolationist strength so great that FDR ran on a platform opposing intervention in ‘40 Following FDR's election to unprecedented third term, U.S. passed first peacetime “draft”. Undeclared War:  Undeclared War U.S. drifts into undeclared war against Germany. Attempts to maintain neutrality, 1939-41 Congress & people influenced by isolationists and “America first” propaganda U.S. “neutrality patrols” help British ASW “All aid to Britain short of war” includes “destroyer-bases deal” and “Lend-Lease” With the prospect of British defeat looming, Two-Ocean Navy Act was passed. Undeclared War:  Undeclared War US destroyers on escort duty: Greer fired upon, Kearny torpedoed, and Reuben James sunk FDR identifies German victory as threat to U.S. security because it would destroy British sea power, and the Royal Navy was a “shield of the Republic” since about 1890 World War II:  World War II The U.S. officially enters the war December 1941 following the attack at Pearl Harbor. Germany moves U-boat offensive to U.S. East Coast shipping. Germans experience a “Second Happy Time” as the Americans are ill-prepared for war. As convoys became more effective on the east coast of US, Doenitz moved his U-boats south. Inter-locking Convoy System finally reduced ship losses to acceptable levels. World War:  World War U-boats also very effective in cutting Allied northern supply route to Russia Doenitz shifts U-boats back in North Atlantic in 1942. Germany now has 300 U-boats Allies counteract with radar, asdic (sonar) and HF/DF to locate the Wolfpacks. New ASW weapons such as “hedge hog” caused havoc on the U-boats. Doenitz concedes defeat in the North Atlantic. World War:  World War Doenitz forced into Central Atlantic as allies strengthened convoys and developed ASW tactics. “Hunter Killer Groups” eventually mauled U-boats at sea as allies improved coverage and sank more U-boats. By the end of the war, U-boats had lost their effectiveness. Of the 1175 U-boats, 751 were lost. Competing Allied Strategies.:  Competing Allied Strategies. British preferred a peripheral strategy. War of Attrition: North Africa, Egypt, Sicily, etc. U.S. preferred direct attack on Germany through western France U.S. initially acquiesces to British peripheral strategy because: Allowed U.S. to pursue Pacific War Drew German resources off the Western Front, weakening them for an eventual cross channel invasion Allies checked German advances in Egypt; stalemated on Russian front; attacked Italy beginning in July 1943 Competing Allied Strategies:  Competing Allied Strategies Sequence for pursuing peripheral strategy in the Mediterranean Montgomery vs. Rommel in N. Africa. Securing the Suez lifeline. Landing in N. Africa (Operation Torch): Casablanca, Oran, Algeria. Invading Italy: Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio. Competing Allied Strategies:  Competing Allied Strategies Allies spend next year building up in England for cross channel invasion. Normandy invasion (June 1944) and southern France (August 1944) succeed in pushing Germans back into its borders. Spring 1945: War ends in Europe. Slide23:  Statistics Next time: The War in the Pacific

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