By 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 struggle. Early conflict motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it will stay till the Allied advances led its final 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 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 army sooner than changing 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 jot down complete time in 2001.
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Additional info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves
Although the bulk of the US Navy was committed to the war in the Pacific, the American entry into the war would have a pronounced impact on the course of the Battle of the Atlantic. Although the German commanders would enjoy further periods of success, the tide had turned. Right: U-boats based at St Nazaire entered their home port through one of two narrow entrances, The New (South) Entrance and the Old (East) Entrance. A third entrance via the Normandie Dock and inner Bassin de Penhoet was rarely used by U-boats due to the time needed to flood its locks.
By the start of 1944 it was becoming apparent that even these improved tactics were failing to produce results. The U-boats of the 7th Flotilla continued to achieve some success, but the damage inflicted on the enemy was nothing compared to the totals achieved two years before. By January 1944 Donitz had concentrated his force to intercept convoys to the Middle East off Ireland. 56 with a combined tonnage of 9,000 tons on 25 January 1944. He also claimed to have damaged the destroyer HMS Hardy.
L 36 IN ACTION Operational patrols: 5 Allied vessels sunk: 5 Fate: Sunk on or soon after 6 August 1942 (no survivors) Reinforcements, July-December 1941 U-207 (Type VIIC) Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel Commissioned: 7 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 July 1941 Commander: ObltzS Fritz Meyer Operational patrols: 1 Allied vessels sunk: 3 Fate: Sunk on 11 September 1941 (no survivors) U-434 (Type VIIC) Builder: F. 5chichau GmbH, Danzig Commissioned: 21 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 Commander: Kptlt Wolfgang Heyda Operational patrols: 1 Allied vessels sunk: 0 Fate: Sunk on 18 December 1941 (42 survivors) U-403 (Type VIIC) Builder: Danziger Werft, Danzig Commissioned: 25 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 September 1941 First commander: ObltzS Heinz Ehlert-Klausen Subsequent commander: June 1943: Kptlt Karl-Franz Heine Operational patrols: 7 Allied vessels sunk: 2 Fate: Transferred to 11th Flotilla on 1 July 1942; sunk on 18 August 1943 (no survivors) U-453 (Type VIIC) Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel Commissioned: 26 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 First commander: Kptlt Gert Hetschko Subsequent commander: July 1941 to transfer: Kptlt Freiherr Egon Reiner von Schlippenbach Operational patrols: 17 Allied vessels sunk: 11 Fate: Transferred to 29th Flotilla on 1 January 1942; sunk on 21 May 1944 (51 survivors) U-575 (Type VIIC) Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg Commissioned: 19 June 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 September 1941 First commander: Kptlt GUnther Heydemann Subsequent commander: September 1943: ObltzS Wolfgang Boehmer Operational patrols: 10 Allied vessels sunk: 9 Fate: Sunk on 13 March 1944 (37 survivors) U-454 (TypeVIIC) Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel Commissioned: 24 July 1941 Operational in flotilla: 1 November 1941 Commander.