Question #09f57

1 Answer
Oct 28, 2017

Through German naval power.


The German surface fleet in 1939 was still a fraction the size of the British navy, but there were still powerful ships such as Bismark, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Graf Spee. However their success in attacking merchant shipping was very limited.

Of far greater significance and indeed success was the use of the German submarines or U boats. Hitler hoped that his submarine fleet would destroy merchant shipping crossing the Atlantic thus defeating the UK.

The Germans came very close to winning the Battle of Atlantic with phenomenal losses being suffered from 1941-'43. However gradually the tide changed. Better use of convoys, the development of long range planes such as the Sunderland , improved weapons such as depth charges and the breaking of the German enigma code led to a significant increase in successful sinkings of Germany's U boat fleet. The vast majority of those serving on them were killed in action.