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 top of the battle. Early warfare motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it'll stay until eventually the Allied advances led its ultimate 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 virtually 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 process 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 military 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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Additional info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves
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. The fact that there are so many men on deck would suggest this was probably taken in a safe part of the Baltic at a time when those waters were still out of reach of enemy aircraft.
DEFEAT IN THE ATLANTIC: JUNE 1943 TO MARCH 1944 By the summer of 1943, aircraft were seen as the worst enemy of the U-boat. Flak armament was increased, and boats were re-deployed to the south, around the Azores, which was thought to be beyond Allied air cover. The most dangerous area was now considered the Bay of Biscay, which boats had to cross en route to their hunting grounds. Donitz ordered that boats travel together, to maximise their flak strength. This proved another failure, as the Allies simply attacked in larger formations.
Opposite, Above right: Security was often of secondary importance during quayside welcoming receptions, and servicemen and civilian guests mingled freely on the dock and even on the boats secured alongside Opposite, Below: Formal inspections and parades were also a feature of life in the 7th U-boat Flotilla. In this photograph, a guard of honour is formed up for inspection outside St Nazaire's Prien Barracks. Above: U-97 identifiable by its seahorse emblem, passes through the larger New (South) Lock Entrance into St Nazaire's U-boat Basin.