7th u-boat flotilla
Angus Konstam
Ian Allan Publishing
34.9 Mb

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   The history of the 7th U-boat Flotilla mirrored the course of the U-boat war in general. At the start, this force of six boats acted with immense professionalism, technical excellence and sheer daring. Responsible for some of the greatest naval coups of the early war period, the flotilla's boats developed into a finely-turned force of predators. The failures of the Norwegian campaign caused a temporary dip in flotilla morale, but the influx of new and improved boats did much to reinvigorate the flotilla. At the same time, its base of operations was changed to Brittany, cutting the transit time to the U-boat patrol areas by half. By late 1941 the flotilla strength had grown to over 20 boats, although the bare statistics belie the gruelling nature of the battle these young men were forced to fight. The heady early days of the war were over, and following the loss of many of the squadron's "aces", these newcomers had to learn quickly, or face the same fate. Ultimately Germany was to lose her race for naval supremacy, that statistical conflict of boats lost versus tonnage sunk which has portrayed so graphically in London. Although flotilla strength reached a peak in April 1943, the campaign had already been lost.

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