The Battle of the Atlantic
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The Battle of the Atlantic. RECALL. France had fallen in 1940 United Kingdom was out of money. In December 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war. However… The Battle of the Atlantic….started in 1939.

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The Battle of the Atlantic

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The Battle of the Atlantic


  • France had fallen in 1940

  • United Kingdom was out of money.

  • In December 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war.


  • The Battle of the Atlantic….started in 1939

  • The longest continuous military campaign of World War II, running from 1939 right through to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945

  • At its height from mid-1940 through to about the end of 1943

  • World War II lasted for a total of 2,075 days.

  • The Battle of the Atlantic lasted for 2,073 of these.

  • It started with the sinking of the passenger liner Athenia on the day Britain and France declared war on Germany.

  • Canada Remembers


  • German U-Boats patrolled the Atlantic against the British blockade of Europe and in an effort to stop supplies from America from ever reaching Britain.

  • U-boats operated in groups of 10 called "wolf packs."

  • The German navy, carried out submarine warfare to cut off Britain's imports and military supplies.

  • U-boats


  • The Allies developed a convoy system where merchant ships were guarded by destroyer escorts.

  • The British developed a system for detecting U-boats that resembled radar.

  • This development gave the Allies the edge in the Battle for the Atlantic.


  • became a port for ships escaping war from Europe-refugees

  • Convoys of ships formed in Halifax harbour loaded with troops, guns, tanks, shells, foodstuffs and headed across the Atlantic.

  • Convoys: Groups of merchant ships that are protected from enemy attack by naval escort ships or air force planes.

  • Germans did everything to stop supply lines.

  • Convoy ships were mined or torpedoed within hearing distance of Halifax

  • New technology was developed: corvettes, depth charges, sonar

  • In Halifax, "Plotters" tracked ship movements and U-boats.

  • Many of them were the women of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS)

St. Lawrence

  • U-boats began attacking ships in the St. Lawrence river.

  • On Aug. 27, 1942 the American ship Chatham was sunk

  • Oct. 13,1942 the passenger ferry, the SS Caribougoing from Nfld. to Nova Scotia was sunk by a single torpedo =173 dead civilians

  • From the summer to the fall of 1942, German U-boats sank 21 ships in the St. Lawrence.

The campaign pitted the German Navy’s surface raiders and U-boats against Allied convoys from North America and the South Atlantic to the United Kingdom and Russia, protected mainly by the British and Canadian navy’s and air forces, later aided by United States ships and aircraft.

The British and their allies gradually gained the upper hand, driving the German surface raiders from the ocean by the middle of 1941 and decisively defeating the U-boats in a series of convoy battles between March and May 1943


  • More than 2,000 merchant ships were lost to a submarine attack in the North Atlantic and more than 30,000 merchant seamen died as a result.

  • About 330 convoys in the Atlantic were attacked by U-boats.

  • 565 escorts and 234 stragglers were sunk.

  • 1,100 proceeding independently were also sunk.

  • 96,977 crossings were completed successfully.

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