DEUTSCHE  UNTERSEEBOOTE  OPERATIONEN  IM  ZWEITEN  WELTKRIEG
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DEUTSCHE UNTERSEEBOOTE OPERATIONEN IM ZWEITEN WELTKRIEG. OVERVIEW. INTRODUCTION U-BOOT OPERATIONS U-BOOT TACTICS ENIGMA “ACES OF THE DEEP” LIFE ONBOARD U-156 LEGACY QUESTIONS.

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OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION

U-BOOT OPERATIONS

U-BOOT TACTICS

ENIGMA

“ACES OF THE DEEP”

LIFE ONBOARD

U-156

LEGACY

QUESTIONS


INTRODUCTION

  • Submarines used be Germany during WW I (1914-1918)

  • “Unrestricted Submarine Warfare”

  • Sinking of the LUSITANIA

  • Germany has a limited coastline – easily blockaded

    • During WW II (1939 – 1945) established based in conquered countries – France and Norway

  • Primary mission to disrupt Allied shipping and control sea lanes

  • German Navy (Kriegsmarine) not fanatic supporters of Nazi regime (unlike the Army and Air Force – Luftwaffe)


BEFEHLSHABER der UNTERSEEBOOTE ( BdU )

Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz


Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz

1891 - 1980


U-BOOT SHIPYARDS

  • U-BOOT construction in Northern Germany

    • North Sea & Baltic Sea

  • 1153 U-boats commissioned into the Kriegsmarine during 1935-1945

  • Largest builder was Blohm + Voss



U-BOOT OPERATIONS

I

  • German U-Boats operated WORLDWIDE

    • PRIMARILY in the ATLANTIC

    • Mediterranean

    • Caribbean

    • Black Sea

    • MONSON U-Boats in the Far East (Penang Malaysia, Jakarta & Sabang Indonesia)

      • Assisted Imperial Japanese Navy

  • Primary mission to disrupt merchant shipping, allied naval convoys and navy escorts


  • U-BOOT TACTICS

    • Primary tactic developed by Donitz was the “Wolfpack” (Rudeltaktik)

    • Enough U-boats and facilities available after the fall of France in 1940

    • Simple concept: gather U-boats in patrol lines to scout for convoys


    “WOLFPACKS”

    • Once a convoy was spotted the first boat was designated "shadower" and would chase the convoy and report its heading and speed to BdU

    • This would allow other boats to form around it and attack, more or less all at once, usually on the surface at night


    OPERATION “DRUMBEAT”, 1942

    • Largest U-Boat offensive against America

    • Commenced after Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

      • Germany declared war on US on Dec 11, 1941

      • U.S. Navy had already been countering German U-Boats through work with Royal Navy

    • Operation DRUMBEAT (Paulkenschlag)

      • Attacks on U.S. merchant shipping on East Coast

      • Massive damage inflicted – over 3,000 nm away

        • “Die Glückliche Zeit” (The Happy Time)

      • Sunk 2 million tons (600 ships); 5000 killed

        • Only 7 U-Boats lost

    • Operations commenced from bases in France




    “BLACK MAY” - 1943

    • Turning point in May, 1943

    • U.S. Navy established effective convoys

    • By Late 1942, shifted focus back to North Atlantic

    • Remained spread out across Atlantic

    • By Spring, 1943, Allies were able to defeat the Wolf Packs

    • Primary reasons for reversal:

      • “Hunter-Killer” Groups

      • Improved Detection capabilities

      • Aircraft Coverage

      • Breaking of Enigma Code

        • U-Boats being attacked leaving port

    • By end of 1943, majority of U-Boat fleet would be sunk

      • Most would be lost with ALL HANDS


    SPIES & SABOTEURS

    • Saboteur Landings in 1942 & 1944

    • German Military Intelligence (Abwehr) directed by Hitler to conduct sabotage operations inside American borders

    • Abwehr sabotage school located in Berlin

    • Teams delivered by U-Boats

      • Operational failure

      • Arrested by FBI

      • 6 of 10 captured saboeurs executed

    • Intended targets included power plants, infrastructure, industry, canals, etc.

    Admiral Wilhelm Canaris

    1887 - 1945



    ULTRA INTELLIGENCE

    • Enigma was a portable cipher machine

    • Used to encrypt and decrypt secret messages

    • Enigma utilized very sophisticated cryptanalysis techniques by changing the substitution alphabet

    • Allied codebreakers were able to decrypt a large number of messages that had been enciphered on the machine

    • The intelligence gained through this source — codenamed “ULTRA” — was a significant aid to the Allied war effort

    • By 1945, almost all German Enigma traffic (Wehrmacht, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Abwehr, SD, etc.) could be decrypted within a day or two


    “ACES OF THE DEEP”

    • The Aces of the Deep were the ten 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

    • The term is related to flying ace, a World War I name for a pilot who shot down five or more enemy planes

    • The currently accepted list is as follows:

    • 1 Otto Kretschmer

    • 2 Wolfgang Lüth

    • 3 Erich Topp

    • 4 Heinrich Liebe

    • 5 Victor Schütze

    • 6 Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock

    • 7 Karl-Friedrich Merten

    • 8 Herbert Schultze

    • 9 Günther Prien

    • 10 Georg Lassen


    Otto Kretschmer

    1912 - 1998

    Fregattenkapitän (Crew 30)

    Successes40 ships sunk for a total of 208.954 GRT3 auxiliary warships sunk for a total of 46.440 GRT1 warship sunk for a total of 1.375 tons5 ships damaged for a total of 37.965 GRT1 ship taken as prize for a total of 2.136 GRT2 ships a total loss for a total of 15.513 GRT


    Wolfgang Lüth

    1913 - 1945

    Kapitän zur See (Crew 33)

    Successes46 ships sunk for a total of 225.204 GRT1 warship sunk for a total of 552 tons2 ships damaged for a total of 17.343 GRT


    Erich Topp

    1914 - 2005

    Fregattenkapitän (Crew 34)

    Successes34 ships sunk for a total of 197.233 GRT1 auxiliary warship sunk for a total of 227 GRT1 warship sunk for a total of 1.190 tons4 ships damaged for a total of 32.317 GRT


    Günther Prien

    1908 – 1941

    Korvettenkapitän (Crew 33)

    Successes30 ships sunk for a total of 162.769 GRT1 warship sunk for a total of 29.150 tons8 ships damaged for a total of 62.751 GRT


    Joachim Schepke

    1912 - 1941

    Kapitänleutnant (Crew 30)

    Successes36 ships sunk for a total of 153.677 GRT4 ships damaged for a total of 17.229 GRT1 ship a total loss for a total of 2.205 GRT


    U - 156

    Kapitänleutnant Werner Harten


    LACONIA INCIDENT

    • On 12 September, 1942 U-156 sank the Allied liner LANCONIA west of Africa

    • 136-man crew, some 80 civilians, military material and personnel (268 men)

    • Approx. 1800 Italian prisoners of war onboard

    • In the next days U-156 rescued some 400 survivors - 200 on board and the other 200 in lifeboats

    • On Sept 15, at 1130 hours U-506 under Kptlt Erich Würdemann arrived at the scene and continued to rescue the survivors

    • U.S. B-24 spotted and attacked U-156, forcing her to submerge


    LACONIA ORDER

    • Resulting rescue attempt infuriated German High Command

    • Prompted one of the most controversial order Dönitz ever issued

    • Known as the Laconia order:

      • No U-boats were to take part in any rescue operations

      • Leave any survivors in the sea

    • Up until that time U-boats had on very many occasions helped the survivors of their victims with supplies, water, directions to nearest land










    WEBSITES ABOUT U-BOATS

    http://www.uboat.net/index.html

    http://www.u-boot-archiv.de/index.php


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