7th U-Boat Flotilla: Doenitz's Atlantic Wolves by Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Angus Konstam

By Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Angus Konstam

The seventh U-Boat Flotilla - 'Wegener' - used to be shaped in Kiel in June 1938 with six boats, just one of which survived operationally to the top of the conflict. Early conflict motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France while the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it can stay until eventually the Allied advances led its last boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed carrier with the flotilla and so much 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; in the course of the grim realities of the convoy approach 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 prior to 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 jot down complete time in 2001.

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This shows a house in La Baule used to accommodate U-boat men. Below: Named after the Kapitdnleutnant of the same name (see photograph page 91), Bigalk House in St Nazaire was rented by the Kriegsmarine and used - until its destruction in a bombing raid - to support the operations of the flotilla. 44 IN ACTION Above left and Left: The aftermath of battle. Many commanders only allowed more senior men on the top of the conning tower when sailing through such horrific scenes of destruction and suffering.

Many commanders only allowed more senior men on the top of the conning tower when sailing through such horrific scenes of destruction and suffering. Left: The seafront at La Baule. Looking at this peaceful scene one would hardly guess that World War II was in full swing. Yet, despite destruction and killing on an unprecedented scale, there were still many peaceful havens left. Below left: The British Commando raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 led to heightened security in and around the port. 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.

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.

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