Learning Outcome • To know the series of events in the Battle of the Atlantic • To be able to explain multiple reasons why The Battle of the Atlantic changed in the Allies favour
Why did the battle of the Atlantic happen? • Britain could not produce enough food to feed all its people. It needed raw materials from abroad to run its industries. • In WW1 the Germans almost defeated the British by using U-Boats to destroy merchant ships carrying supplies. • The Germans realised this: ‘Britain’s ability to maintain her supply lines is the decisive factor for the outcome of the war’ Admiral Raeder, Chief of German Naval Staff • The Germans thought that this tactic would be even more effective in WWII
What happened during the Battle of the Atlantic? • After the Germans defeated France their U-boats operated from French-Atlantic ports, making it easier to attack the British ships. • The U-boats attacked in ‘Wolf packs’ of up to 40 U-boats on the surface at night. U-boat numbers grew and Britain lost increasing numbers of ships. • Losses continued. The worst period was from the beginning of 1942 to March 1943 when 7 million tons of merchant shipping was sunk. • After May 1943, the U-boats were on the defensive, and Allied shipping losses fell significantly. • The British organised their merchant ships into convoys and protected them with warships… • The Royal Navy did not have enough ships to protect its Merchant ships… • In August 1940 the US gave Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for Atlantic naval bases. After August 1941, an agreement called the Atlantic Charter which Roosevelt made with Churchill, convoys were defended by the US Navy.… • Slowly the tide did turn in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Why did the tide turn in the Battle of the Atlantic? • The British code-breakers broke the German Enigma code and broke the improved code in Feb 1942 • Sonic techniques improved (sonar) which allowed the British to detect U-boats under water. • Radar improved and by 1943 aircraft using radar could detect U-boats even in the worst weather and destroy them using newly developed air depth charges. • More warships meant Britain was able to support convoys better and aircraft carriers provided air-support. • The Allies set up hunter-killer groups of ships, including one aircraft carrier with a number of destroyer escorts, to hunt down and sink U-boats. The Germans were able to counter many of these things with innovative tactics and developments of their own but collectively these and other factors turned the Battle of the Atlantic.