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Encyclopedia > Second Battle of the Atlantic
Battle of the Atlantic
Part of World War II

Officers on the bridge of an escorting British destroyer keep a sharp look out for enemy submarines, October 1941
Date: September 3, 1939 to May 7, 1945
Location: Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Irish Sea, Labrador Sea, Gulf of St. Lawrence
Result: Decisive Allied Victory
Combatants
Royal Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Flag of the United States (1912-1959) United States Navy
Kriegsmarine
Regia Marina
Commanders
Sir Percy Noble
Sir Max K. Horton
Flag of the United States (1912-1959) Ernest J. King
Erich Raeder
Karl Dönitz
Casualties
30,248 merchant sailors
3,500 merchant vessels
175 warships
28,000 sailors
783 submarines

The Second Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of World War II, running from 1939 right through to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and was at its height from mid-1940 through to about the end of 1943. The naval battle pitted the German Navy against convoys from North America to the United Kingdom, protected mainly by the British and Canadian navies and air forces, which were later aided by United States forces. The Germans were assisted by a small number of Italian submarines after the country joined the Axis Powers. Although many ships were sunk, the Allies gradually gained the upper hand. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the use of images on this page may require cleanup, involving adjustment of image placement, formatting, size, or other adjustments. ... Image File history File links Officers_on_the_bridge. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ... The Irish Sea (Irish: Muir Éireann) separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. ... Labrador Sea is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between Labrador and Greenland. ... The Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the worlds largest estuary, is the outlet of North Americas Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches. ... Image File history File links Canadian_Blue_Ensign. ... The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was the navy of Canada from 1911 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Armed Forces. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... The Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) of the United States Navy is the part of the Navy responsible for operations in around the Atlantic Ocean. ... Image File history File links War_Ensign_of_Germany_1938-1945. ... The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ... Ensign of the Regia Marina. ... The Italian Regia Marina (literally: Royal Navy) dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 after Italian unification. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Sir Percy Lockhart Harnam Noble (1880-1955) was a British Naval Officer who rose to the rank of Admiral and was the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Western Approaches Command for two crucial years during the Second World War. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Admiral Sir Max Kennedy Horton (29 November 1883 - 30 July 1951) was a British First World War submariner and commander-in-chief of the Western Aproaches in the latter half of the Second World War, responsible for British participation in the Battle of the Atlantic. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Admiral Ernest Joseph King (November 23, 1878 - June 25, 1956) was the Commander in Chief of the United States Navy during World War II. As such, he was Chester Nimitzs immediate superior but himself was subordinate to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. ... Image File history File links War_Ensign_of_Germany_1938-1945. ... Erich Raeder. ... Image File history File links War_Ensign_of_Germany_1938-1945. ... Karl Dönitz (IPA pronounciation: ); September 16, 1891 – December 24, 1980) was a German naval leader, famous for his command of the Kriegsmarine during World War II and for his twenty-day term as Reichspräsident after Adolf Hitlers suicide. ... In the military sciences, a military campaign encompass related military operations, usually conducted by a defense or fighting force, directed at gaining a particular desired state of affairs, usually within geographical and temporal limitations. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the use of images on this page may require cleanup, involving adjustment of image placement, formatting, size, or other adjustments. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... USS Los Angeles A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate underwater. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The group of countries known as the Allies of World War II consisted of those nations opposed to the Axis Powers during the Second World War. ...

Contents


Strategic objectives

As an island nation with an overseas empire, the United Kingdom was highly dependent on sea-going trade. Britain required more than a million tons of imported food and material per week in order to be able to survive and fight on against Germany. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was the Allied struggle to maintain, and the Axis struggle to cut off in a tonnage war, the shipping that enabled Britain to survive. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... A tonnage war is a military strategy aimed at merchant shipping. ...

Erich Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy from October 1928 to January 1943.
Erich Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy from October 1928 to January 1943.

Grand Admiral Erich Raeder File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Grand Admiral Erich Raeder File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ...

The air threat

Following some early experience in support of the war at sea during the Norwegian Campaign, the Luftwaffe contributed small amounts of forces to the Battle of the Atlantic from 1940 to 1944. These were primarily long-range reconnaissance planes, first with Focke-Wulf 200, and later Junkers 290 maritime patrol aircraft. The initial Focke Wulf aircraft were very successful, claiming 365,000 tons of shipping in early 1941. The development of escort carriers and increased efforts by RAF Coastal Command soon made the task more dangerous and less rewarding for the German planes though. From 1943 onwards, He 177 bombers with guided missiles were sometimes used for attacks on convoys, claiming minor successes. Operation Weserübung was the German codename for Nazi Germanys assault on Scandinavia during World War II. The name translates as Weser Exercise, the Weser being a German river. ... Battle of the Atlantic can refer to either of two naval campaigns, depending on context: World War I - First Battle of the Atlantic World War II - Second Battle of the Atlantic A Third Battle of the Atlantic was envisioned to be be part of any Third World War that arose... Focke-Wulf Fw 200 The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 was a German all-metal four-engined monoplane that entered service as an airliner and later as long range reconnaissance and anti-shipping bomber aircraft for the Luftwaffe. ... The Junkers Ju 290 was a long-range transport, maritime patrol aircraft and bomber used by the Luftwaffe late in World War II. The Ju-290 was the only four-engined heavy-duty aircraft used by the Luftwaffe in World War II and was the forerunner of the subsequent transatlantic... Coastal Command was an organization within the Royal Air Force tasked with protecting the United Kingdom from naval threats. ... The Heinkel He 177 Greif {Griffin] was a 4-engined long-range World War 2 bomber of the Luftwaffe. ...


The Luftwaffe also contributed fighter cover for U-boats venturing out into and returning from the Atlantic, and for returning blockade runners. U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... A blockade runner is a ship designed to provide vital supplies to countries or areas blockaded by enemy forces during wartime. ...


The mining threat

The U-boat fleet, which was to dominate so much of the battle of the Atlantic, was very small at the beginning of the war and much of the early action by German forces involved mining convoy routes and ports around Britain. The German submarines also operated in the Mediterranean Sea and its coasts, in the Caribbean Sea, and in U.S. coasts. U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy ships or submarines. ... A convoy is a group of vehicles or ships traveling together for mutual support. ... Satellite image The Mediterranean Sea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia. ... Map of Central America and the Caribbean The Caribbean (pronounced or ) Sea is a tropical sea in the Western Hemisphere, part of the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. ...


Initially, contact mines were employed, which meant that a ship had to physically strike one of the mines in order to detonate it. Contact mines are usually suspended on the end of a cable just below the surface of the water and laid by ship or submarine. By the beginning of World War II most nations had also developed mines that could be dropped from aircraft, making it possible to lay them in enemy harbours (although they simply floated on the surface). The use of dredging and nets was effective against this type of mine, but nonetheless this process was time-consuming and involved the closing of harbors while it was completed.


Into this arena came a new mine threat. Most contact mines leave holes in ship's hulls, but some ships survived mine blasts, limping back to port with buckled plates, popped rivets, and broken backs. This appeared to be due to a new type of magnetic mine, detonating at a distance from the ships, and doing the damage with the shockwave of the explosion. Often ships that had successfully run the gauntlet of the Atlantic crossing were destroyed entering freshly mineswept harbors on Britain's coast. More shipping was now being lost than could be replaced, and Churchill ordered that the intact recovery of one of these new mines was to be given highest priority. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC(Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman and author, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. ...


Then the British experienced a stroke of luck in November 1939. A German mine was dropped from an aircraft laying mines onto the mud flats of the Thames estuary, well above the waterline. As if this was not sufficiently good fortune, the land happened to belong to the army, and a base, including men and workshops, was close at hand. Experts were quickly dispatched from London to investigate the mine. They had some idea by this time that the mines used magnetic sensors, so they had everyone remove all metal, including their buttons, and made new tools out of non-magnetic brass. They then disarmed the mine and rushed it to labs at Portsmouth, where scientists discovered a new type of arming mechanism inside. The Thames Estuary is a large estuary where the River Thames flows into the North Sea. ... Portsmouth is a city of about 189,000 people located in the county of Hampshire on the southern coast of Great Britain. ...


The arming mechanism had a sensitivity level that could be set, and the units of the scale were in milligauss. Gauss is a measurement for the strength of a magnetic field, demonstrating how it went off before coming into contact with the ship. Using the detector from the mine, they were able to study the effect of a ship passing near it. A ship or any large ferrous object passing through the earth's magnetic field will concentrate the field at that point. The detector from the mine, sensitive to this effect, was designed to go off at the mid-point of the ship passing overhead. Current flowing through a wire produces a magnetic field (B, labeled M here) around the wire. ...


From this crucial data, methods were developed to clear the mines. Early methods included the use of large electromagnets dragged behind ships, or on the undersides of low-flying aircraft (a number of older bombers like the Vickers Wellington were used for this purpose). However both of these methods had the disadvantage of "sweeping" only a small strip at a time. A better solution was found in the form of electrical cables dragged behind ships, passing a large current through the seawater. This induced a huge magnetic field and swept the entire area between the two ships. The older methods continued to be used in smaller areas; the Suez Canal continued to be swept by aircraft, for instance. The Vickers Wellington was a twin-engine, medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs Chief Designer, R.K. Pierson. ... 1881 drawing of the Suez Canal. ...


While these methods were useful for clearing mines from local ports, they were of little or no use for enemy-controlled areas. These were typically visited by warships, and the majority of the fleet then underwent a massive degaussing process, where their hulls' had a slight "south" bias induced into them. This offset the concentration effect almost to zero. Degaussing is the process of reducing or eliminating an unwanted magnetic field. ...


Initially major warships and large troopships had a copper degaussing coil fitted around the perimeter of the hull, energised by the ship's electrical system whenever in suspected magnetic-mined waters, some of the first to be so-fitted being the carrier HMS Ark Royal and the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth troopships, however this was felt to be impracticable for the myriad of smaller warships and merchant vessels, not least due to the amount of copper that would be required, however, it was found that sailing a vessel over coils laid in shallow water and energised from the shore temporarily 'wiped' the ships magnetic signature sufficiently to nullify the threat. This started in late 1939, and by 1940 merchant vessels and the smaller British warships were largely immune for the few months at a time until they once again built up a field. Many of the boats that sailed to Dunkirk were degaussed in a marathon four-day effort by hard-pressed degaussing stations. An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and recover aircraft—in effect acting as a sea-going airbase. ... HMS Ark Royal (91), the lead ship of her class of aircraft carrier, was the third ship of the Royal Navy to be named in honor of the flagship of the English fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada. ... RMS Queen Mary was a Cunard Line (then Cunard White Star Line) ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. ... RMS Queen Elizabeth was a steam-powered ocean liner of the Cunard Steamship Company. ... Combatants United Kingdom, France Germany Commanders Lord Gort Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A), Ewald von Kleist (Panzergruppe von Kleist) Strength approx. ...


The Germans had also developed a pressure-activated mine and planned to deploy it as well, but they saved it for later use when it became clear the British had beaten the magnetic system.


Surface ships

In relation to its small size, the German surface navy had reasonable success in interfering with Allied shipping, in drawing Allied forces away from other theaters and even against Allied war ships. However the short life of German warships in the Atlantic, there facing the greatly superior Allied navies, discouraged them from continuing to expend ships after the loss of the Bismarck in May 1941. The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. ...


The 'Happy Time'

Karl Dönitz, commander of the German U-boat fleet between 1935 and 1943, and Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy from January 1943 to May 1945
Karl Dönitz, commander of the German U-boat fleet between 1935 and 1943, and Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy from January 1943 to May 1945

Prior to the war the admiral of the U-boats, Karl Dönitz, had advocated a system known as the Rudel or wolf pack, in which teams of U-boats would gang up on convoys and simply overwhelm the defending warships accompanying them. He also developed a theory of destroying an enemy fleet, not by attacking their ships directly, but by cutting off their supplies so they could not be used — an economic war. In order to be effective he calculated that he would need 300 of the latest Atlantic Boats (the Type VII), which would create enough havoc among British shipping that she would be knocked out of the war. Portrait of Karl Dönitz, taken from [1]. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Portrait of Karl Dönitz, taken from [1]. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Karl Dönitz (IPA pronounciation: ); September 16, 1891 – December 24, 1980) was a German naval leader, famous for his command of the Kriegsmarine during World War II and for his twenty-day term as Reichspräsident after Adolf Hitlers suicide. ... The term wolf pack refers to the mass-attack tactics against convoys used by U-boats of the Kriegsmarine during the Battle of the Atlantic and submarines of the United States Navy against Japanese shipping in the Pacific Ocean in World War II. Karl Dönitz used the term Rudel... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... Type VII U-boats were the workhorses of the German World War II U-boot-waffe, and appeared in several sub-types. ...


However the U-boat was still considered by much of the naval world as a poor-man's weapon, and the deliberate hunting of merchant ships used only by cowards. This was true in the Kriegsmarine as well, and the Grand Admiral, Erich Raeder, successfully lobbied for monies to be spent on large capital ships instead. This was a dubious expenditure considering the numerically superior British fleet facing them, and even Raeder himself suggested they would be wiped out very quickly in the event of war. The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ... Erich Raeder. ... The capital ships of a navy are its important warships; the ones with the heaviest firepower and armor. ...


Thus the U-boat Service began the war consisting mainly of short-range Type II only useful primarily for mine-laying and operations in and around the British coastal areas. They had neither the range nor the supplies to operate far from land, and as a result the RAF was able to counter the U-boats to some degree with standing patrols by Coastal Command aircraft. Early operations of aircraft against the U-boats were somewhat comical, but the crews gained experience quickly and the Western Approaches were soon cleared of the threat. The Type II U-boat was designed by Germany as a coastal submarine, modeled after the Finnish CV-707. ... Coastal Command was an organization within the Royal Air Force tasked with protecting the United Kingdom from naval threats. ... The Western Approaches is a rectangular area of the Atlantic ocean lying on the western coast of the United Kingdom. ...


Meanwhile Royal Navy destroyers were being equipped with increasingly powerful sonar systems (known to the RN as ASDIC) and were able to block the exits into the North Sea and the Channel with some success. ASDIC was unable to find U-boats on the surface where they spent the vast majority of their time, but with aircraft cover forcing them underwater, running to the Atlantic could be a somewhat dangerous operation. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches. ... USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer In naval terminology, a destroyer (French: contre-torpilleur, German: Zerstörer, Spanish: destructor, Italian: cacciatorpediniere) is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range attackers... The F70 type frigates (here, La Motte-Picquet) are fitted with VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) type DUBV43 or DUBV43C tugged sonars SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) â€” or sonar â€” (British ASDIC) is a technique that uses sound propagation under water to navigate or to detect other vessels. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ...


Atlantic operations

However with the fall of France the Kriegsmarine gained direct access to the Atlantic ocean. Huge fortified concrete ports for the U-boats were built, which resisted any successful bombing throughout the course of the war. Most of the U-boat fleet was moved to these bases where they also had excellent air cover, making it much harder for both the RAF and RN to do anything about it.


In addition, the new Type VIIc design started arriving in large numbers in 1940. The VII was much more powerful than the Type II it replaced, including both a rapid-fire 88 mm deck gun and four forward torpedo tubes. It also was much larger than the Type II, and could spend long times at sea, well away from land. Earlier VIIa and VIIb's had already reached service in small numbers, but the c was put into full production and eventually 585 of them would be delivered.


The Type VII dramatically increased pressure on the British. The boats would operate long distances from shore, well out of the range of land-based aircraft. The only counter was the Royal Navy's ships, but these elements were hard-pressed to cover the vast region of the North Atlantic.


The RN had yet to institute the policy of convoys, primarily because all boats cruise at the speed of the slowest. The few Type VII's already delivered were able to escape into the Atlantic at night and then wait for ships to pass. They would then run on the surface and hunt down the scattered cargo ships with their guns. The early operations were spectacularly successful, and the U-boat crews became heroes to the people in the Fatherland. The crews referred to this as the 'happy time'.

Flower Class Corvette at work
Flower Class Corvette at work

The RN quickly introduced a convoy system which allowed them to concentrate escorting warships especially corvettes, warships tailored for anti-submarine work, near the one place the U-boats were likely to engage the convoys. This had some effect, but not what they had hoped. The speed of these newer boats compared to their WWI counterparts meant that they could often run to the front of the convoy, wait for the convoy to sail into torpedo range underwater, fire a salvo, and leave long before the escorts could get to them. Image File history File links Corvette. ... Image File history File links Corvette. ... A convoy is a group of vehicles or ships traveling together for mutual support. ... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russian Empire Kingdom of Serbia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria German Empire Ottoman Empire Commanders Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Ferdinand Foch Nikolay II Nikolay Yudenich Radomir Putnik Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Wilhelm II Reinhard Scheer Franz Josef I Oskar Potiorek Ä°smail... A modern torpedo, historically called a locomotive torpedo, is a self-propelled projectile that (after being launched above or below the water surface) operates underwater and is designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. ...


However the German effort also had weaknesses. Torpedoes continued to fail with an alarming rate, and the director in charge of their development continued to claim it was the crews' fault. Eventually this came to a head when one U-boat ace shot three perfect hits into the side of the HMS Ark Royal, only to watch all three explode harmlessly far away from the ship's side. Scenes like this continued until the matter was finally taken to hand in April 1940, although it wasn't until early 1942 that the problems were completely addressed. HMS Ark Royal (91), was the third ship of the Royal Navy to carry the name and the second to be an aircraft carrier. ...


Another issue was finding the convoys in a very large ocean. The Germans had nowhere near the number of patrol boats or tracking stations needed to make accurate fixes from shore. Instead they had a handful of very long range aircraft (namely the Fw 200 Condor) used as spotters. To this they added codebreaking efforts, which eventually succeeded in breaking the British Merchant Marine code book, allowing them to time the convoys as they left North America from Halifax, Sydney, Nova Scotia, and St. John's, Newfoundland. The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 was a four engine airliner. ... Cryptanalysis (from the Greek kryptós, hidden, and analýein, to loosen or to untie) is the study of methods for obtaining the meaning of encrypted information without access to the secret information which is normally required to do so. ... Motto: Template:Unhide = E Mari Merces (Wealth from the Sea) Logo: Location City Information Established: April 1, 1996 Area: (former city) 79. ... Downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia Sydney, Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island Sydney is a community and former city in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is located on its namesake harbour in eastern Cape Breton County. ... St. ...


But the primary source of tracking was the U-boats themselves. They were strung out in lines across the North Atlantic waiting for a passing convoy. Once spotted, the position would be radioed to Kriegsmarine headquarters, where a furious effort would begin to vector other U-boats onto the attack. As the numbers of U-boats and the proficiency of the headquarters grew, they were eventually able to consistently form the wolfpacks that Dönitz wanted.


At the same time, a number of technical developments looked set to aid the Allies. Firstly, new depth charges were developed that fired to the side of the destroyers rather than simply dropping them over the stern as the destroyer passed over. The asdic contact was lost directly underneath the boat, and the U-boats often used this to escape. In addition, depth charges were fired in patterns, to 'box' the enemy in with explosions. The shockwaves would then destroy the U-boat by crushing it in the middle of these explosions. A device to supplement this was the Hedgehog, the name deriving from the firing spindles. This fired twenty-four contact-fused bombs in a circular or elliptical area about 100 feet (30m) in diameter at a fixed point about 250 yards directly ahead of the attacking ship. The Hedgehog was a particularly effective weapon, raising the percentage of kills from 7% of attacks to nearer 25%. Depth charge explosions, set for a certain depth, made asdic re-acquisition of the target impossible due to the turbulent water, but the Hedgehog charges only exploded if they hit a U-Boat. Depth Charge used by U.S. Navy later in World War II The depth charge is the oldest anti-submarine weapon. ... The F70 type frigates (here, Motte-Picquet) are fitted with VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) type DUBV43 or DUBV43C tugged sonars Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technique that uses sound propagation under water to navigate or to detect other watercraft. ... Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon An anti-submarine weapon developed by the Royal Navy during World War II, the Hedgehog was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers to supplement the depth charge. ...


Aircraft ranges were also improving all the time, but the Atlantic was far too large to be covered completely at the time. A stop-gap measure was instituted by fitting ramps to the front of some of the cargo ships known as Catapult Armed Merchantmen (CAM ships), armed with a lone expendable fighter aircraft. When a German spotter plane approached, the fighter was fired off the end of the ramp with a large rocket to shoot down or drive off the German aircraft, the pilot ditching in the water and being picked up by one of the escort ships if land was too far away. A CAM ship was a World War II-era British merchant ship used in convoys as a cheap emergency solution to the shortage of escort carriers. ... JATO is an acronym for Jet Assisted Take Off. ... A Mute Swan performs a water landing Water landing is, in the broadest sense, landing on a body of water. ...


One of the most significant developments was improved direction-finding radio equipment. A new design enabled the operator to instantly see the direction of a broadcast. Since U-boats had to surface to radio, they gave their positions away as soon as they radioed in the position of a convoy. A destroyer could then engage the U-boat, preventing a coherent attack on the convoy.


Finally, the rigorous training of new naval personnel by such officers as Gilbert Stephenson has also been cited as a factor in providing crews who were well prepared for the demands of the battle. Sir Gilbert O. Stephenson was a British Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy. ...


Through dogged effort, the Royal Navy slowly gained the upper hand through until the end of 1941. Although achieving limited damage to the U-boats themselves, they were managing to keep them from the convoys to an increasing degree. Shipping losses were high, but manageable.


Operation Drumbeat, the 'Second Happy Time'

The U-boat crews called this the second happy time. The second happy time was a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America. ...

Table showing total Allied and neutral losses in GRT during WW2, the North Atlantic is clearly on top
Table showing total Allied and neutral losses in GRT during WW2, the North Atlantic is clearly on top

This began when the US joined the war, by declaring war against Japan after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Germany then declared war on the US and promptly attacked US shipping. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... This article is about the country in North America. ... Satellite image of Pearl Harbor. ...


Dönitz had only 12 boats of the Type IX class that were able to make the long trip to the US East Coast, and half of them were removed by Hitler's direct command to counter British forces. One of those was under repair, leaving only five ships to set out for the US on Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag). What followed is considered by many to be one of the most victorious naval campaigns since the Battle of Trafalgar. The Type IX U-boat was designed by Germany in 1935 and 1936 as a large ocean-going submarine for sustained operations far from the home support facilities. ... Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Combatants United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland First French Empire, Spain Commanders The Viscount Nelson † Pierre Charles Silvestre de Villeneuve Strength 27 ships of the line France: 18 ships of the line Spain: 15 ships of the line Casualties 449 killed 1,214 wounded Total: 1,673 4,480...


The US, having no direct experience of modern naval war on its own shores, did not employ shore-side black-outs. The U-boats simply stood off the shore of the eastern sea-board and picked off ships as they were silhouetted against the lights of the cities. Worse, the U.S. Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Ernest King, rejected the RN's calls for a convoy system out of hand. King has been criticised for this decision, but his defenders argue that the United States destroyer fleet was limited and King believed that it far more important to protect Allied troop transports than shipping. This decision effectively gave the U-Boats a free hand. Ernest King Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King (November 23, 1878 – June 25, 1956) was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (COMINCH-CNO) during World War II. As CNO, he directed the United States Navys operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the...


The first boats started shooting on January 13th, 1942, and by the time they left for France on February 6th they had sunk 156,939 tonnes of shipping without loss. After six months of this the statistics were grim. The first batch of Type IX's had been replaced by Type VII's and IX's refueling at sea from modified Type XIV Milk Cows (themselves modified Type IX's) and had sunk 397 ships totalling over 2 million tons. At the same time, not a single troop transport was lost. In 1943, the United States launched over 11 million tons of merchant shipping, that number would decline in the latter war years, as priorities moved elsewhere. The Type XIV U-boat was a modification of the Type IXD, designed to resupply other U-boats. ...


In May, King (by now promoted to Commander-in-Chief U. S. Fleet and the Chief of Naval Operations) instituted a convoy system. This quickly led to the loss of seven U-boats. But the US did not have enough ships to cover all the holes, and the U-boats continued to operate freely in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico (where they effectively closed several US ports) until July. Central America and the Caribbean (detailed pdf map) The Caribbean (Spanish: Caribe; French: Caraïbe; Dutch: Caraïben; Portuguese: Caribe or Caraíbas) is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. ... Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ...


Operation Drumbeat did have one other effect. It was so successful that Dönitz's policy of economic war was seen even by Hitler to be the only effective use of the U-boat, and he was given complete command to use them as he saw fit. Meanwhile, Dönitz's commander Raeder was being demoted as a result of a disastrous operation in the Barents Sea in which several German cruisers had been beaten off by a small number of RN destroyers. Dönitz was eventually made Grand Admiral of the fleet, and all priorities turned to the construction of U-boats.


The Leigh Light

The Introduction by the British of the Leigh Light in June 1942 was a significant factor in the North Atlantic struggle. It was a powerful searchlight that was used in conjunction with airborne radar to allow allied aircraft to accurately target U-boats recharging batteries on the surface at night, forcing German submarine skippers to switch to daytime recharges. A drop in allied shipping losses from 600,000 to 200,000 tonnes per month was attributed to this simple device. The Leigh Light (abbreviated L/L) was a British World War II era anti submarine device used in the Second Battle of the Atlantic. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... This long range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to detect, determine the distance of, and map, objects such...


Turning point

Canadian seamen raise White Ensign over a captured German U-boat in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Canadian seamen raise White Ensign over a captured German U-boat in St. John's, Newfoundland.

With the US quickly arranging convoys, losses to the U-boats quickly dropped and Dönitz realized his boats were better used elsewhere. On July 19, 1942 he ordered the last U-boats withdrawn from the United States Atlantic coast and by the end of July 1942 he shifted his attention back to the North Atlantic, where the battle would enter its final terrible phase. Image File history File links Atlanticflagsub. ... Image File history File links Atlanticflagsub. ... The White Ensign. ... St. ... July 19 is the 200th day (201st in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 165 days remaining. ...


By this point there were more than enough U-boats spread across the Atlantic to allow several wolfpacks to attack the same convoy. In most cases 10 to 15 boats would attack in one or two waves, following the convoys by day and attacking at night. Losses quickly started to mount again, and in October alone 56 ships of over 258,000 tonnes were sunk in the limited area between Greenland and Ireland that was still free of the ever-increasing Allied air patrols.


Operations slowed over the winter, but in the spring of 1943 they returned again with the same ferocity. In March another 260,000 tonnes were sunk, and the supply situation in England was such that there was talk of being unable to continue the war effort. Supplies of fuel in particular were critical.


It appeared that Dönitz was winning the war. And yet March was the end of the battle. In April, losses of U-boats shot up while their kills of ships fell dramatically. By May the wolfpack was no longer. The Battle of the Atlantic was won by the Allies in two months.


There was no single reason for this, but a number that took effect at almost the same time. The result was a huge blow from which Dönitz was unable to recover. The four major changes were largely technological.


Aircraft coverage

Among these was the introduction of an effective sea-scanning centimetric radar small enough to be carried on the patrol aircraft armed with airborne depth charges, turning anti-submarine aircraft into efficient hunter-killers. Although they had long been able to detect a surfaced boat from many miles, the aircraft themselves had limited range. This changed with the improved numbers of the very long range Shorts Sunderland and B-24 Liberator aircraft, which could cover large areas of the ocean. The history of radar began in the 1900s when engineers invented reflection devices. ... The Sunderland, S.25, was a flying boat patrol bomber, developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers, based on their successful S.23 Empire flying boats, the flagship of Imperial Airways. ... Royal Canadian Air Force B-24 Liberator A B-24 Liberator photographed from above while in flight The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft, and was used by most of the Allied air forces in World War II. Designed as a...


But land-based aircraft, even the very long range types, couldn't cover it all. The remaining holes were closed by the introduction of the Merchant aircraft carrier or MAC ship and later the escort carrier. Flying Grumman Wildcats primarily, they formed into the same convoys and provided the much needed air cover and patrols all the way across the Atlantic. Merchant aircraft carriers (MAC) were minimal aircraft carriers used during World War II by Great Britain and Holland as an emergency measure until the United States-built escort carriers became available. ... The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, was a small aircraft carrier developed by the Royal Navy in the early part of World War II to deal with the U-boat crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic. ... The Grumman F4F Wildcat was the standard carrier-based fighter of the United States Navy for the first year and a half of World War II. An improved version built by General Motors (the General Motors FM Wildcat) remained in service throughout the war, on escort carriers where newer, larger...


Hunter-Killer groups

In addition the British introduced the new River class frigates, built with a single purpose in mind — destroying U-boats. They were much faster than previous frigates, better armed, and had a better radar system and ASDIC. Formed into hunter-killer groups (one of the major tactical reasons for the victory) by the new commander of the Western Approaches, they would sail far from the convoys in small groups, making it almost impossible for the wolfpacks to form up under their constant sneak attacks. The River class frigates were 151 frigates launched in 1941–1944. ... Frigate is a name which has been used for several distinct types of warships at different times. ...


The Americans introduced similar ships known as destroyer escorts. While fleet destroyers were still more effective for anti-submarine warfare, the destroyer escort and frigate types outweighed this by being able to be built considerably faster and at significantly lower cost. Destroyer escorts were also considerably more seaworthy than corvettes. A Destroyer Escort (DE) is classification for a small, comparatively slower warship designed to be used to escort convoys of merchant marine ships, primarily of the United States Navy in WWII. It is usually employed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, but also some protection against aircraft and smaller attack vessels... USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer In naval terminology, a destroyer (French: contre-torpilleur, German: Zerstörer, Spanish: destructor, Italian: cacciatorpediniere) is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range attackers... French steam corvette Dupleix (1856-1887) Canadian corvettes on antisubmarine convoy escort duty during World War II. A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, smaller than a frigate. ...


Detection

Improvements to Huff-Duff (High-Frequency Direction-Finder radio-triangulation equipment used as part of ELINT) meant that a U-boat's location could be found even if the messages they were sending could not be read, as happened when the Germans introduced changes in their encryption systems. Improvements to ASDIC (SONAR), coupled with Hedgehog depth charges, improved the likelihood of a surface attack sinking a U-boat. High Frequency Direction Finder is usually known by its acronym HF/DF, pronounced Huff-Duff. ... ELINT stands for ELectronic INTelligence, and refers to intelligence-gathering by use of electronic sensors. ... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... The F70 type frigates (here, La Motte-Picquet) are fitted with VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) type DUBV43 or DUBV43C tugged sonars SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) â€” or sonar â€” (British ASDIC) is a technique that uses sound propagation under water to navigate or to detect other vessels. ... Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon An anti-submarine weapon developed by the Royal Navy during World War II, the Hedgehog was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers to supplement the depth charge. ...


Enigma Cipher

A major factor in the victory was the cracking of the Naval Enigma machine cipher, combined with German tactics that were formed with certainty that their cipher could not be broken. The Royal Navy knew where the U-boat packs were forming and sent in hunter-killer groups to destroy them. In this they were aided by the German Naval Headquarters' insistence on directing U-boat operations in detail via Enigma-encrypted radio messages. This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... A three-rotor German military Enigma machine showing, from bottom to top, the plugboard, the keyboard, the lamps and the finger-wheels of the rotors emerging from the inner lid (version with labels). ...


The efforts were so successful that it is a wonder the Kriegsmarine didn't realise that this was happening. It appears that they seemed to have some idea, but repeated questions from Dönitz to German intelligence services always resulted in claims that there was no way the cipher could be broken. One would think that simply looking at the statistics would be enough – U-boat losses dropped every time a new version of the cipher was introduced – but time lags, luck, pigheadedness, and astounding efforts on the British part kept this from ever becoming clear.


Last gasps

In the next months the vast majority of the U-boat fleet would be sunk, typically with all hands.


With the battle won, supplies started to pour into England for the eventual invasion of France. This was clear even to the Germans, who became desperate to restart the battle.


Several attempts were made to salvage the Type VII force. Notable among these attempts were the fitting of massively improved anti-aircraft batteries, radar detectors, and finally the addition of the Schnorchel (snorkel) device to allow them to run underwater off their diesel engines to avoid radar. None of these were truly effective however, and by 1943 Allied air power was so strong that the U-boats were being attacked right in the Bay of Biscay as they left port. Map of the Bay of Biscay. ...


Elektroboote

The last, and most impressive, to re-open the battle is the stuff of legend. Since even before the war the rocket designer Hellmuth Walter had been advocating the use of hydrogen peroxide (known as Perhydrol) as a fuel. His engines were to become famous for their use in rocket powered aircraft — notably the Me 163 Komet — but most of his early efforts were spent on systems for submarine propulsion. Hellmuth Walter (August 26, 1900 – December 16, 1980) was a German engineer who pioneered research into rocket engines and gas turbines. ... Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears clear in a dilute solution, slightly more viscous than water. ... The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was the only operational rocket fighter aircraft. ...


In these cases the hydrogen peroxide was reduced chemically and the resulting gases used to spin a turbine at about 20,000rpm, which was then geared to a propeller. This allowed the submarine to run underwater at all times, as there was no need for air to run the engines. However the system also used up tremendous amounts of fuel, and any boat based on the design would either have to be absolutely huge, or have terribly limited range. The most fundamental reactions in chemistry are the redox processes. ...


Thus the system saw only limited development even though a prototype was running in 1940. But when problems with the existing U-Boat designs became evident in 1942, the work was stepped up. Eventually two engineers came up with a simple solution to the problem.


Instead of running the submarine 100% on the perhydrol, they used it strictly for bursts of speed when needed. Most of the operations would then be carried out as with a normal boat, using a diesel engine to charge batteries. However while a conventional design would use the diesel as the primary engine and the batteries for short periods of underwater power, in this case the boat would run almost all the time on batteries in a low-speed cruise, turning on the perhydrol during attacks. The diesel was now dedicated entirely to charging the batteries, which it needed only three hours to do.


The perhydrol design suffered from several design flaws which were not fixed before the end of the war. As an intermediate solution, the perhydrol propulsion system was dropped in favour of a conventional diesel/electric solution, but retaining the streamlined hull-shape. The battery capacity was increased significantly along with fuel stores, and the boat was designed to operate underwater for long periods.


The result was the "Elektroboot" series, the Type XXI U-boat and a short range Type XXIII U-boat, finalized in January 1943 but production only commencing in 1944-1945. When underwater the Type XXI managed to run at 17 knots, faster than a Type VII running full out on the surface and almost as fast as the ships attacking her. After the war, tests carried out by the US Navy on two captured Type XXIs showed they could outrun some ASW ships by going in the direction of heavy seas. (Impressed, the US Navy's first atomic-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, used a modified Type XXI hull shape.) For most of the trip it ran silent underwater on batteries, surfacing only at night, and then only to Schnorchel depth. Weapons were likewise upgraded, with automated systems allowing the torpedo tubes to be reloaded in less than one-fourth of the time, firing homing torpedoes that would attack on their own. Even the interior was improved: it was much larger and fitted with everything from showers to a meat refrigerator for long patrols. Type XXI U-boat U 3008, postwar photo Type XXI U-boats, also known as the Elektroboots, were the first submarines designed to operate entirely submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a temporary, awkward mode of operation. ... Type XXI U-boat U 3008, postwar photo Type XXI U-boats, also known as the Elektroboote, were the first submarines designed to operate entirely submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a temporary, awkward mode of operation. ... Type XXIII U-boats were designed to operate in the shallows of the North Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea where larger Type XXI Elektro boats were at risk in World War II. They were so small they could carry only two torpedoes, which had to be loaded externally. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Six ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Nautilus. ...


The design was to be produced in two versions, primarily the Type XXI, and smaller numbers of the smaller Type XXIII. Both were much larger and more difficult to build than the existing designs, the Type XXI taking some 18 months. Mass production of the new type didn't really get started until 1944 and subsequently only one combat patrol was carried out by a Type XXI before the war ended, making no contact with the enemy. A number of boats were commissioned into allied navies after the war for research purposes, and one into the Bundesmarine of post-war Germany. The German Navy has had several names depending on the political structure of Germany at the time: Deutsche Marine (German Navy) (1848)-(1852) Norddeutsche Bundesmarine (Northern German Federal Navy) (1866_1871) Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) (1872-1918) Vorläufige Reichsmarine (1919-1921) Reichsmarine (State Navy) (1921-1935) Kriegsmarine (War Navy) (1935_1945...


Outcomes

The Germans undoubtedly failed to strangle the flow of strategic supplies to Britain and this ultimately led to the Normandy landings. Battle plans for the Normandy Invasion, the most famous D-day. ...


Winning the battle was however achieved with huge losses; between 1939 and 1945, 3,500 Allied ships were sunk (gross tonnage 14.5 million) at a cost of 783 German U-boats.

Allies Germans
30,248 merchant sailors 28,000 sailors
3,500 merchant vessels 783 submarines sunk
175 warships  

See also

// 1939 September September 3, 1939 German submarine sinks the SS Athenia. ... The United Kingdom, along with France, declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939 as part of the United Kingdoms pledge to defend Poland to the invasion of Poland. ... The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United States and the United Kingdom to the northern ports of the Soviet Union - Archangel and Murmansk. ... SC-7 was a World War II convoy of 35 merchant ships which sailed eastbound from Sydney, Nova Scotia for Liverpool, England and other British ports on October 4, 1940. ... Captain Frederic John Walker For the English cricketer, see Frederic Walker. ... The Aces of the Deep were the ten German U-Boat commanders during World War II who sunk the most enemy merchant ships during their naval services, ranked according to the total tonnage of the ships they sunk. ... Denys Rayner in 1943 Denys Arthur Rayner DSC and Bar, VRD, RNVR, (9 Feb 1908-5 Jan 1967) fought throughout the second Battle of the Atlantic. ... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russian Empire Kingdom of Serbia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria German Empire Ottoman Empire Commanders Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Ferdinand Foch Nikolay II Nikolay Yudenich Radomir Putnik Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Wilhelm II Reinhard Scheer Franz Josef I Oskar Potiorek İsmail... The First Battle of the Atlantic (1914–1918) was a naval campaign of World War I, largely fought in the seas around the British Isles and in the Atlantic Ocean. ... The Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission (Nortraship) was established in London in April 1940 to administrate the Norwegian merchant fleet outside German controlled areas. ... Das Boot (IPA: , German for The Boat) is a film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, adapted from a novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. ... Silent Hunter III is a submarine simulation developed and published by Ubisoft. ... It has been suggested that Bismarck Chase be merged into this article or section. ... Immediately following the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in April 1940, the United Kingdom occupied the stragically important Faroe Islands to pre-empt a German invasion. ...

Sources & references

Official histories

  • Morison, S.E. The Two Ocean War and History of United States Naval Operation in World War II in 15 Volumes. Volume I The Battle of the Atlantic and volume X The Atlantic Battle Won deal with the Battle of the Atlantic
  • Roskill, S.W. The War at Sea. Four volumes. (London: HMSO 1954-61)
  • Schull, Joseph. The Far Distant Ships

Biographies

  • Cremer, Peter. U-333
  • Dönitz, Karl. Ten Years And Twenty Days
  • Gretton, Peter. Convoy Escort Commander (London). Autobiography of a former escort group commander
  • Macintyre, Donald. U-boat Killer (London). Autobiography of another former escort group commander
  • Rayner, Denys, Escort: The Battle of the Atlantic (London: William Kimber 1955)
  • Robertson, Terence. The Golden Horseshoe (London). Biography of the top German U-boat ace, Otto Kretschmer

Denys Rayner in 1943 Denys Arthur Rayner DSC and Bar, VRD, RNVR, (9 Feb 1908-5 Jan 1967) fought throughout the second Battle of the Atlantic. ...

Other works

  • Blair, Clay. Hitler's U-boat War. Two volumes. Comprehensive history of the campaign
  • Macintyre, Donald. The Battle of the Atlantic (London 1961). Excellent single volume history by one of the British Escort Group commanders
  • Rohwer, Dr. Jürgen. The Critical Convoy Battles of March 1943 (London: Ian Allan 1977). ISBN 0-7110-0749-7. A thorough and lucid analysis of the defeat of the U-boats
  • Williams, Andrew, The Battle of the Atlantic: Hitler's Gray Wolves of the Sea and the Allies' Desperate Struggle to Defeat Them
  • Herbert A. Werner, Iron Coffins: The account of a surviving U-boat captain with historical and technical details. (The hardback version has photographs)

External links


Campaigns and theatres of World War II
European Theatre
Poland | Phony War | Denmark & Norway | France & Benelux countries | Britain
Eastern Front 1941-45 | Continuation War | Western Front 1944-45
Asian and Pacific Theatres
China | Pacific Ocean | South-East Asia | South West Pacific | Manchuria 1945
The Mediterranean, Africa and Middle East
Mediterranean Sea | East Africa | North Africa | West Africa | Balkans
Middle East | Madagascar | Italy
Other
Atlantic Ocean | Strategic bombing | Bombing of North America
Contemporary wars
Chinese Civil War | Soviet-Japanese Border War | Winter War | French-Thai War | Anglo-Iraqi War
World War II
Theatres     Main events     Specific articles     Participants    

Prelude:
Causes
in Europe
in Asia To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the use of images on this page may require cleanup, involving adjustment of image placement, formatting, size, or other adjustments. ... Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini The European Theatre was an area of heavy fighting from 1939 to 1945 during World War II. // Preceding events Main articles: Events preceding World War II in Europe, Causes of World War II After Germany was defeated in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles... British Ministry of Home Security Poster The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German invasion of Poland. ... German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign led to the first direct confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Germanys... Combatants France United Kingdom Canada Australia New Zealand Poland Belgium Netherlands Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand (French) Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) H.G. Winkelman (Dutch) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H... The Eastern Front of World War II was the theatre of war covering the conflict in central and eastern European regions from June 1941 to May 1945. ... The Continuation War or War of Continuation (Finnish: , Swedish: ) June 25, 1941-September 19, 1944, was the war that was fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on December 6, 1941, but did not participate actively. ... During World War II, the Western Front was the theater of fighting west of Germany, encompassing France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemberg, and Denmark. ... US landings in the Pacific, 1942–1945 The Pacific War was the part of World War II that occurred in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, 1937 to 1945. ... The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ... South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was the name given to one of the four major Allied commands in the Pacific theatre of World War II, during 1942-45. ... Combatants Soviet Union Japan Commanders Alexandr Vasilevskij Otsuzo Yamada Strength Soviet Union 1,577,225 men, 26,137 artillery, 1,852 sup. ... The Mediterranean region. ... The name African Theatres of World War II encompasses actions which took place in World War II between Allied forces and Axis forces, between 1940 and 1943 both on the African mainland and in nearby waters and islands. ... The Middle East Theatre of World War II is defined largely by reference to the British Middle East Command, which controlled Allied forces in both Southwest Asia and eastern North Africa. ... Battle of Mediterranean Conflict World War II Date Place Mediterranean Sea Result Allied victory The Naval Battle of the Mediterranean was waged during World War II, to attack and keep open the respective supply lines of Allied and Axis armies, and to destroy the opposing sides ability to wage... The East African Campaign refers to the battles fought between British Empire and Commonwealth forces and Italian Empire forces in Italian East Africa during World War II. This campaign is often seen as part of the North African Campaign. ... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... The name West African campaign refers to two battles during World War II: the Battle of Dakar (also known as Operation Menace) and the Battle of Gabon, both of which were in late 1940. ... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania, Greece, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Yugoslavia Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Strength unknown unknown Casualties unknown unknown The Balkans Campaign was the Italian and German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece during World War II. It began with Italys annexation of... The Middle East Campaign was a part of the Middle East Theatre of World War II. // Overview This campaign included: The British police actions in Palestine. ... Strategic Bombing during World War II was unlike anything the world had previously witnessed. ... It has been suggested that Axis plans for invasion of the United States during WWII be merged into this article or section. ... Combatants Chinese Nationalist Party Chinese Communist Party Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Mao Zedong Strength 3,600,000 circa June 1948 2,800,000 circa June 1948 The Chinese Civil War (Traditional Chinese: 國共内戰; Simplified Chinese: 国共内战; Pinyin: guógòng neìzhàn; literally Nationalist-Communist Civil War) was a conflict in... Combatants Soviet Red Army Imperial Japanese Army Commanders Georgy Zhukov Michitaro Komatsubara Strength 57,000 30,000 Casualties 6,831 killed, 15,952 wounded 8,440 killed, 8,766 wounded The Battle of Khalkhin Gol, sometimes spelled Halhin Gol or Khalkin Gol and known in Japan as the Nomonhan Incident... Combatants Finland Soviet Union Commanders Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim Kliment Voroshilov, later Semyon Timoshenko Strength 200,000 men, 32 tanks, 119 aircraft (In the beginning), 250,000 men, 30 tanks, 130 aircraft (At the end) 460,000 men, 1,500 tanks, 1,000 aircraft (In the beginning), 1,000,000... The French-Thai War (1940 - 1941) was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over the areas of Indochina that once belonged to the former belligerent. ... Combatants Iraq United Kingdom Commanders Rashid Ali General Sir Edward Quinan Strength five divisions about two divisions Casualties 2,500 1,200 The Anglo-Iraqi War was a short war fought between the United Kingdom and the Iraqi nationalist government, from April 18 to May 30, 1941. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the use of images on this page may require cleanup, involving adjustment of image placement, formatting, size, or other adjustments. ... Participants in World War II involves all nations who either participated directly or were affected by any of the theatres or events of World War II. // Alliances World Map with the participants in World War II. The Allies depicted in green (those in light green entered after the Attack on... This article lacks information on the importance of the subject matter. ... This article is concerned with the events that preceded World War II in Asia. ...


Main theatres:
Europe
Eastern Europe
Africa
Middle East
• Mediterranean
Asia & Pacific
China
Atlantic Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini The European Theatre was an area of heavy fighting from 1939 to 1945 during World War II. // Preceding events Main articles: Events preceding World War II in Europe, Causes of World War II After Germany was defeated in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles... The Eastern Front of World War II was the theatre of war covering the conflict in central and eastern European regions from June 1941 to May 1945. ... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... The Middle East Theatre of World War II is defined largely by reference to the British Middle East Command, which controlled Allied forces in both Southwest Asia and eastern North Africa. ... The Mediterranean region. ... US landings in the Pacific, 1942–1945 The Pacific War was the part of World War II that occurred in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, 1937 to 1945. ...


General timeline:
Timeline For events preceding September 1, 1939, see the timeline of events preceding World War II. // 1939 September German soldiers supposedly destroying a Polish border checkpoint. ...

  

1939:
• Invasion of Poland
• Phony War
1940:
• Norwegian Campaign
• Battle of France
• Battle of Britain
1941:
• Operation Barbarossa
• Attack on Pearl Harbor
• Battle of Moscow
• Siege of Leningrad
• Battle of Sevastopol
1942:
• Battle of Stalingrad
• Operation Torch
• Battle of Midway
• Second Battle of El Alamein
1943:
• Battle of Kursk
• Italian Campaign
1944:
• Battle of Normandy
• Operation Dragoon
• Operation Bagration
• Warsaw Uprising
• Battle of the Bulge
• Battle of Leyte Gulf
• Operation Market Garden
1945:
• Battle of Berlin
• End in Europe
• Hiroshima & Nagasaki
• Surrender of Japan
Combatants Poland Nazi Germany Soviet Union Slovakia Commanders Edward Rydz-Śmigły Fedor von Bock (Army Group North) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group South) Ferdinand Čatloš (Field Army Bernolak) Strength 39 divisions 16 brigades 4,300 guns 880 tanks 400 aircraft Total: 950,000[1] 56 German divisions 4 German... British Ministry of Home Security Poster The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German invasion of Poland. ... German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign led to the first direct confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Germanys... Combatants France United Kingdom Canada Australia New Zealand Poland Belgium Netherlands Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand (French) Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) H.G. Winkelman (Dutch) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H... Combatants United Kingdom Germany Italy Commanders Hugh Dowding Hermann Göring Albert Kesselring Strength 700 fighters 1,260 bombers, 316 dive-bombers, 1,089 fighters Casualties 1,547 aircraft, 27,450 civilian dead, 32,138 wounded 2,698 aircraft One of the major campaigns of the early part of World... Combatants Axis Powers Soviet Union Commanders Supreme commander: Adolf Hitler Supreme commander: Josef Stalin Strength ~ 3. ... Combatants United States Empire of Japan Commanders Husband Kimmel (USN), Walter Short (USA) Chuichi Nagumo (IJN) Strength 8 battleships, 8 cruisers, 29 destroyers, 9 submarines, ~50 other ships, ~390 planes 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 8 tankers, 23 fleet submarines, 5 midget submarines, 441 planes Casualties... Combatants Germany Soviet Union Commanders Fedor von Bock Georgi Zhukov Strength ~ 1,500,000 ~ 1,500,000 Casualties 250,000 700,000 The Battle of Moscow refers to the defense of the Soviet capital of Moscow and the subsequent counter-offensive against the German army, between October 1941 and January... Combatants Axis Powers, Spanish Blue Division Soviet Union Commanders Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb Georg von Kuechler Kliment Voroshilov Georgy Zhukov Strength 725,000 930,000 Casualties Unknown 300,000 military, 16,470 civilians from bombings and estimated 1 million civilians from starvation The Siege of Leningrad (Russian: блокада Ленинграда) was the German... Combatants Germany, Romania Soviet Union Commanders Erich von Manstein Filipp Oktyabrskiy, Ivan Petrov Strength 350,000+ 106,000 Casualties at least 100,000 killed, wounded or captured. ... Combatants Axis Powers Soviet Union Commanders Erich von Manstein Friedrich Paulus Hermann Hoth Georgy Zhukov Vasily Chuikov Aleksandr Vasilevsky Strength German Sixth Army German Fourth Panzer Army Romanian Third Army Romanian Fourth Army Hungarian Second Army Italian Eighth Army 500,000 Germans Unknown number Reinforcements Unknown number Axis-allies Stalingrad... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Germany Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham Erwin Rommel François Darlan Strength 73,500 - Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1346+ dead 1997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World... Combatants United States Empire of Japan Commanders Chester Nimitz, Frank J. Fletcher, Raymond A. Spruance Isoroku Yamamoto, Chuichi Nagumo, Tamon Yamaguchi† Strength Three carriers, ~50 support ships, 233 carrier aircraft, 127 land-based aircraft Four carriers, ~150 support ships, 248 carrier aircraft, 16 floatplanes Casualties 1 carrier and 1 destroyer... Combatants British Commonwealth Poland Free French Greece Germany Italy Commanders Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Strength 200,000 men 1,030 tanks 900 guns 530 aircraft 100,000 men 500 tanks 500 guns 350 aircraft Casualties 23,500 dead or wounded 710 tanks 12,000 dead or wounded 25,000 captured... Combatants Germany Soviet Union Commanders Erich von Manstein, Günther von Kluge, Walther Model Georgy Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Nikolai Vatutin Strength 800,000 infantry, 2,700 tanks, 2,000 aircraft 1,300,000 infantry, 3,600 tanks, 2,400 aircraft Casualties 500,000 dead, wounded, or captured 500 tanks 200... The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war. ... Combatants United States British Empire Canada Free France Nazi Germany Commanders Dwight Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander) Bernard Montgomery (land) Bertram Ramsay (sea) Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air) Gerd von Rundstedt (OB WEST) Erwin Rommel (Heeresgruppe B) Friedrich Dollmann (7. ... A map of the operation. ... Combatants Axis Soviet Union Commanders Ernst Busch Konstantin Rokossovski Georgy Zhukov Aleksandr Vasilevsky Strength 800,000 1,700,000 Casualties (Soviet est. ... Combatants Poland Germany Commanders Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Antoni Chruściel, Tadeusz Pełczyński Erich von dem Bach, Rainer Stahel, Heinz Reinefarth, Bronislav Kaminski Strength 50,000 troops 25,000 troops Casualties 18,000 killed, 12,000 wounded, 15,000 taken prisoner 250,000 civilians killed 10,000 killed... Combatants United States United Kingdom Germany Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Gerd von Rundstedt Strength Dec 16 - start of the Battle: about 83,000 men; 242 Sherman tanks, 182 tank destroyers, and 394 pieces of corps and divisional artillery. ... Combatants United States, Australia Empire of Japan Commanders William Halsey, Jr Jisaburo Ozawa Strength 17 aircraft carriers 18 escort carriers 12 battleships 24 cruisers 141 destroyers and destroyer escorts Many PT boats, submarines and fleet auxiliaries About 1,500 planes 4 aircraft carriers 9 battleships 19 cruisers 34 destroyers About... Combatants United Kingdom United States Poland Nazi Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Gerd von Rundstedt Strength XXX Corps, 35,000 airborne 20,000 Casualties 18,000 casualties 13,000 casualties Operation Market Garden (September 17-September 25, 1944) was an Allied military operation in World War II. Its tactical objectives were... Combatants Nazi Germany Soviet Union (incl. ... The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II and the German surrender took place in late April and early May 1945. ... The Fat Man mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rises 18 km (60,000 ft) into the air from the hypocenter. ... The Surrender of Japan in August 1945 brought World War II to a close. ...

  

Blitzkrieg
Cryptography
Equipment
Home Front
Production
Resistance
Technology
One of the defining characteristics of what is commonly known as Blitzkrieg is close co-operation between infantry and tanks. ... Cryptography was used extensively during World War II, with a plethora of code and cipher systems fielded by the nations involved. ... // Aircraft List of aircraft of World War II List of World War II military aircraft of Germany List of aircraft of the Armée de lAir, World War II List of aircraft of the USAAF, World War II List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force, World War II... During the war, women worked in factories throughout much of the West and East. ... Resistance during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation and propaganda to hiding crashed pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns. ... German Enigma encryption machine. ...


Civilian impact and atrocities:
Holocaust
Dutch famine of 1944
Japanese war crimes
Strategic bombings
Allied war crimes It has been suggested that Holocaust Cruelty be merged into this article or section. ... After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, conditions grew worse in Nazi occupied Netherlands. ... The term Japanese war crimes refers to events which occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. ... Strategic Bombing during World War II was unlike anything the world had previously witnessed. ... At the end of World War II, several trials of Axis war criminals took place, most famously the Nuremberg Trials. ...


Aftermath:
Effects
Casualties
Cold War Note: This section was copied from the article World War II and removed from that article in order to reduce the size of the article. ... Piechart showing percentage of military and civilian deaths by alliance during World War II. World War II was the single deadliest conflict the world has ever seen, causing many tens of millions of deaths. ... The Cold War (Russian: Холодная война Kholodnaya Voina) was the protracted geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle that emerged after World War II between the global superpowers of the Soviet Union and the United States, supported by their military alliance partners. ...

  

The Allies
•  Soviet Union
•  United Kingdom
•  United States
•  China
•  Poland
•  France
•  Netherlands
•  Belgium
•  Canada
•  Norway
•  Greece
•  Yugoslavia
•  Czechoslovakia
•  Australia
•  New Zealand
•  South Africa
•  India
•  Egypt
•  Brazil
• more...
The group of countries known as the Allies of World War II consisted of those nations opposed to the Axis Powers during the Second World War. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Soviet_Union. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Republic_of_China. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Poland. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_France. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Netherlands. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Belgium. ... Image File history File links Canadian_Red_Ensign_1921. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Norway. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Greece_(1828-1978). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_SFR_Yugoslavia. ... Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija in all South Slavic languages, Југославија in Serbian and Macedonian Cyrillic) is a term used for the three separate but successive political entities that existed during most of the 20th century on the Balkan Peninsula in Europe. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Czech_Republic. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Australia. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_New_Zealand. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_South_Africa_1928-1994. ... Image File history File links Imperial-India-Blue-Ensign. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Egypt_1922. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Brazil. ... The group of countries known as the Allies of World War II consisted of those nations opposed to the Axis Powers during the Second World War. ...


The Axis
•  Germany
•  Japan
•  Italy
•  Hungary
•  Bulgaria
•  Romania
•  Finland
•  Thailand
• more... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Japan. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Hungary_1940. ... Image File history File links Bulgaria_flag. ... Image File history File links Romania_flag. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Finland. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Thailand. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

See Also

• Category: World War II
Topics
Military engagements
Conferences
Total war
WWII in contemporary culture
Military awards of World War II
Attacks in North America
United States Army enlisted rank insignia of World War II // Military engagements For military topics (land, naval, and air engagements as well as campaigns, operations, defensive lines and sieges), please see List of military engagements of World War II. Political and social aspects of the war Causes of World War II Appeasement Occupation of Denmark Netherlands in World War II... German soldiers during the Battle of Stalingrad. ... List of World War II conferences of the Allied forces In total Churchill attended 14 meetings, Roosevelt 12, Stalin 5. ... This article is about Total War. ... The influence of World War II has been profound and diverse, having an impact on many parts of life. ... Military awards of World War II were presented by most of the combatants. ... It has been suggested that Axis plans for invasion of the United States during WWII be merged into this article or section. ... The U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia that was used during WWII vastly differs from the current system used today. ...


More information on World War II:

 World War II from Wiktionary
 WWII Textbooks from Wikibooks
 WWII Quotations from Wikiquote
 WWII Source texts from Wikisource
 WWII Images and media from Commons
 WWII News stories from Wikinews
Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Image File history File links Wikinews-logo. ...

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Second Battle of the Atlantic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4733 words)
The Second Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of World War II, running from 1939 right through to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and was at its height from mid-1940 through to about the end of 1943.
In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was the Allied struggle to maintain, and the Axis struggle to cut off in a tonnage war, the shipping that enabled Britain to survive.
Timeline of the Second Battle of the Atlantic
Battle of the Atlantic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (173 words)
Battle of the Atlantic can refer to either of two naval campaigns, depending on context:
A Third Battle of the Atlantic was envisioned to be part of any Third World War that arose out of the Cold War.
Trans-Atlantic convoys would have to be protected from the Soviet Navy and as a result, the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy developed anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
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