Sept. 1939 to May 1940 German had success with U-boats (submarines) in WWI. British ships lacked adequate escorts. Hitler avoided attacking ships of neutral nations. The US was officially neutral.
June 1940 to March 1941 After Germany defeated France and Norway, the Germans used French and Norwegian ports. German U-boats traveled in “wolf packs” to maximize attacks. Late 1940 was known as “the happy time” for German U-boats.
April 1941 to Dec. 1941 The British added more escorts. The British improved their radar systems. The Americans began assisting the British, but still remained officially neutral. Germans were still commanding the sea.
Jan. 1942 to July 1942 The US entered the war against the Axis Powers (Germany, Japan, Italy). American Navy was preoccupied with the Pacific (Japan), not the Atlantic (Germany). An effective convoy system was not yet in place.
Aug. 1942 to May 1943 American escorting improved. Shipping losses moved away from areas nearest USA. Allied code-breaking and radar improved. Germans could not replace lost U-boats fast enough to keep up.
June 1943 to May 1945 After mid-1943, German U-boats became less of a threat. Long-range scout planes improved. The Portuguese allowed the Azores to be used as an Allied airbase. In 1944, the “wolf pack” tactic was abandoned.
Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1945 Allied Shipping Losses: 686 Ships Lost to U-boats (out of 1,598 total lost) 1,698 Ships lost to U-boats (out of 2,563 total lost) 208 Ships lost to U-boats (out of 265 total lost) 235 Ships lost to U-boats (out of 396 total lost) German U-Boat Losses: 37 U-boats lost – 22 Operational U-boats left 154 U-boats lost – 210 Operational U-boats left 145 U-boats lost – 200 Operational U-boats left 457 U-boats lost – 160 Operational U-boats left Sept. 39 March 41 April 41 March 43 April 43 Sept. 43 Oct. 43 May 45
Battle of the Atlantic Summary What is a U-boat? What did Germany use its U-boats for? How did the Battle of the Atlantic end?
Battle of the Atlantic Summary What is a U-boat? A U-boat is an undersea boat, or submarine. What did Germany use its U-boats for? The Germans attacked ships bringing supplies from USA to its allies (UK and USSR). How did the Battle of the Atlantic end? The Allies used armed convoys, built increasing numbers of ships, and destroyed U-boats faster than the Germans could replaced them.