Conclusion of the Battle of the Atlantic
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAfter Allied successes in countering German submarine attacks against shipping, the Allies effectively declared victory in the Battle of the Atlantic in Jun 1943, although the German Navy would make attempts to regain the upper hand, its efforts would be made in vain. In 1944, Type XXI and XXIII submarines entered production, which were capable of running 17 knots submerged, but by the end of the war major German submarine bases in Western Europe successively fell one by one as the Allies successfully gained a foothold in France and expanded their territory. As the Allies pushed into Germany in 1945, over 200 submarines were scuttled to prevent capture, while a few fled aboard. Although the German Navy ceased to be a significant threat by this time, actions in the Atlantic War continued through the final days of the European War; the final engagement was sinking of Allied minesweeper NYMS 382 and freighters Sneland and Avondale Park by German submarines mere hours before the German surrender.
ww2dbase"The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war", said Winston Churchill, recognizing the importance in this campaign over the sea that, through its victory, allowed Britain to become the staging point for the invasion onto continental Europe that marked the beginning of the end of the European War. "Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea, or in the air, depended ultimately on its outcome, and amid all other cares we viewed its changing fortunes day by day with hope or apprehension." The victory was achieved at a huge cost, however. Between 1939 and 1945, 3,500 Allied merchant ships (totalling 14.5 million gross tons) and 175 Allied warships were sunk and some 72,200 Allied sailors and merchant seamen were killed. Germany lost 783 submarines and 30,000 sailors in this campaign.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, 154 German submarines were captured by the Allies. 121 of them were scuttled during the late-1945 to early-1946 Operation Deadlight off Lisahally, Northern Ireland or Loch Ryan, Scotland in the United Kingdom. Some of remaining were kept in service, and two later became museum ships.
Last Major Update: Jul 2005
Conclusion of the Battle of the Atlantic Interactive Map
Conclusion of the Battle of the Atlantic Timeline
|28 Dec 1943||British cruisers HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise intercepted a force of German destroyers off France; the German ships were responding to the Allied sinking of German merchant ships. By 1600 hours, German destroyers T25, T26, and Z27 were sunk.|
|3 Jan 1944||In the Atlantic Ocean, the destroyer USS Somers intercepted the German blockade-runner, Weserland, and opened fire with her 5-in guns at 7,000 yards; continuing to fire until the German vessel stopped, exploded scuttling charges, and sank with the loss of five lives and her precious cargo of rubber from Japan. 133 survivors were rescued.|
|16 Jan 1944||Aircraft from USS Guadalcanal's anti-submarine hunter-killer group sank German Type IXC/40 submarine U-544 in the U-Boat refueling zone northwest of the Azores. There were no survivors.|
|31 Jan 1944||The Royal Navy's Second Escort Group (Captain F. J. Walker) sank the German submarine U-592.|
|10 Mar 1944||HMS Asphodel (New Zealand Lieutenant M. A. Halliday) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-575 whilst escorting convoy SL-150.|
|9 Apr 1944||Depth charges from USS Guadalcanal's anti-submarine hunter-killer group escorts Pope, Pillsbury, Chatelain, and Flaherty brought German Type IXC submarine U-515 to the surface 650 miles off Casablanca where Guadalcanal's aircraft sank it with rockets. There were 44 survivors, including the U-Boat commander Korvettenkapitšn Werner Henke.|
|10 Apr 1944||Rockets and aerial depth charges from USS Guadalcanal's anti-submarine hunter-killer group TBM Avenger aircraft sank German Type IXC submarine U-68 650 miles off Casablanca. There was one survivor.|
|13 May 1944||US destroyer escort USS Francis M. Robinson of Task Group 22.2 sank Japanese submarine RO-501, formerly German submarine U-1224, off the Cape Verde islands, killing the entire crew of 52 including Lieutenant Commander Norita Sadatoshi. RO-501 had a cargo of mercury, lead, steel, aluminum drawings, optical glass, IXC-type submarine blueprints, and Me 163A Komet jet fighter blue prints on board. USS Francis M. Robinson would later receive the Presidential Unit Citation for this action.|
|12 Jun 1944||Canadian Destroyer HMCS Haida under Commander H. C. DeWolf sank the German submarine U-971.|
|17 Jul 1944||Off Narvik, Norway, a Liberator aircraft of No. 86 Squadron RAF sank German submarine U-347 (all 49 aboard were killed) and a Catalina aircraft of No. 210 Squadron RAF sank German submarine U-361 (all 52 aboard were killed). Off Bergen, No. 333 Squadron RAF (Norwegian pilots) damaged German submarine U-994 off Norway, wounding 5 men. U-994 would be able to sail to Bergen, Norway for repairs later on the same day.|
|2 Aug 1944||German submarine U-804 sank American destroyer escort USS Fiske with torpedoes in the central Atlantic.|
|27 Jan 1945||As Allied convoy HX-332 was off Cardigan Bay in the Irish Sea it formed two columns to enter the St. George's Channel. Two ships manoeuvring into their columns were hit when U-825 (Oberleutnant zur See Gerhard Stoelker) fired a spread of torpedoes. The motor tanker SolÝr, a Norwegian 8,262-ton tanker with 11,000 tons of fuel oil and 16 gliders as deck cargo and the American Liberty ship Ruben Dario were both hit by a single torpedo. The torpedo that hit the SolÝr badly damaged her stern killing 4 of the crew and she started to take on water, the tanker was abandoned an hour later. The British rescue tug Zamalek picked up the survivors. The ship was beached at Oxwich Bay on the Welsh coast where half the oil was unloaded and the gliders saved. SolÝr broke in two and declared a total loss; most of the ship was removed for scrap. The Ruben Dario was hit on the starboard side at the No. 2 hold and destroyed the bulkhead causing flooding. The engines were secured and after emergency repairs the ship restarted at 9 knots, arriving the following day at Liverpool, England, United Kingdom where more repairs were carried out and she returned to service. Only one crew member was injured in the attack, he had been off watch and sitting on the No. 2 hatch which was blown off by the blast. The cargo of grain and gliders was not damaged.|
|17 Feb 1945||HMS Bluebell (Lieutenant G. H. Walker) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-711 in the Kola Inlet off Murmansk, Russia.|
|20 Feb 1945||HMS Vervain (Lieutenant Commander R. A. Howell) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-1276 off the coast of Ireland.|
|12 Feb 1946||U-3514 became the last captured German submarine to be scuttled during Operation Deadlight at 1004 hours.|
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George Patton, 31 May 1944