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 top of the warfare. Early struggle motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France while the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it's going to stay till the Allied advances led its ultimate boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed carrier with the flotilla and such a lot 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; throughout 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 ahead of turning into Curator of guns on the Royal Armouries. After a spell as a marine archaeologist he turned leader Curator on the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. He moved again to England to put in writing complete time in 2001.
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Additional info for 7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves
Below left: The pumping station in the background, which is still standing, confirms this shows a boat leaving the ew (South) Entrance at St azaire while on its way out to sea. Although all forms of identification were supposed to have been removed at sea, it was common for U-boats to go into battle with their flotilla or their own boat's emblem still proudly displayed on the conning tower. that the flotilla had just lost three of its best commanders: KarlThurmann, who moved to the 2nd Flotilla at La Pallice, and Gerd Kelbling and Albrecht Brandi, who moved to the new Mediterranean command, the 29th U-boat Flotilla.
Kriegsmarine ratings were rarely called upon to perform security duties, as U-boat crews were considered too highly trained to risk in skirmishes on land with commandos or resistance groups. 45 SPEARHEAD: 7TH U-BOAT FLOTILLA Right: The officers mess at La Baule in 1942. The flotilla's Chief Engineering Officer, Kptlt Claus Erhardt, can be seen on the left. Third from the left is Kvkpt Erich Topp of U-552. Considerable effort went into making the men's accommodation as comfortable as possible. Minor points, such as the positioning of potted plants and cut flowers, received detailed scrutiny.
Several tactics were tried, such as the deployment of long-range scout boats, or the use of smaller wolfpacks. 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.