By Angus Konstam
The seventh U-Boat Flotilla - 'Wegener' - was once shaped in Kiel in June 1938 with six boats, just one of which survived operationally to the tip of the battle. Early conflict motion from Kiel replaced thoroughly after the autumn of France whilst the flotilla moved to St Nazaire, the place it is going to stay until eventually the Allied advances led its last boats to maneuver to Norway.
Some 114 boats observed provider with the flotilla and such a lot of them served within the North Atlantic the place their operations nearly introduced Britain to its knees. the tale of the flotilla begins with the tale of the convoy predators; throughout 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 earlier than 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 write down complete time in 2001.
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Additional resources for 7th U-Boat Flotilla. Dönitz’s Atlantic Wolves
Note the torpedo aimer, which can clearly be seen in the foreground, although the special water resistant binoculars are not clipped in place. Below: AType VIle with modified platforms to carry heavier anti-aircraft guns but with the weapons not yet fitted. The fact that there are so many men on deck would suggest this was probably taken in a safe part of the Baltic at a time when those waters were still out of reach of enemy aircraft. 60 IN ACTION DEFEAT IN EUROPE: APRIL 1944 - MAY 1945 Following the end of the Battle of the Atlantic, the U-boat flotillas stationed on the French coast were able to overhaul their battered U-boats, and to introduce new modifications during the relatively lax months of April and May 1944.
Above right: St Nazaire was practically flattened by Allied bombers during the war, and has since been rebuilt. Apart from the V-boat pens themselves, few wartime landmarks survive. Exceptions are the lighthouses and outer moles protecting the New (South) Entrance to the Submarine Basin. Right: Looking from the larger of the two sea locks towards the V-boat bunker in the non-tidal part of the harbour at St Nazaire. On the right, below the long arm of the crane, is the smaller sea lock with the German bunkered lock behind it.
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.