Book Drumbeat Notes - Notes on Operation Drumbeat by...

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Notes on Operation Drumbeat by Michael Gannon 7/28/11 U-boat short for unterseeboot. U-123 max speed 18 1/4 knots on the surface and 7.3 knots submerged The numbering system of U-boats was not actually accurate. It was meant to make the enemy think that the Germans had more U-boats than they actually did. When the war began, fleet numbers were removed form U-boat conning towers because of their intelligence value to the enemy. many boats chose an emblem to replace the painted numerals. Hardegen known among crew as "the old man" In 1940 Donitz gives the command "Do not rescue any men, do not take them along, and do not take care of any boats from the ship. Weather conditions and the proximity of land are of no consequence. Concern yourself only with the safety of your own boat and with the efforts to achieve additional successes as soon as possible. We must be hard in this war." 72 Originally Donitz had planned for 12 type IXB and IXC boats to strike simultaneously against offshore North America from Halifax to Cape Hatteras. Ideally he hoped for 100 boats. He ended up getting six (two IXB and 4 IXC). 74 and 76 Hitler, who never wanted or expected a U-boat war, failed to understand the necessity of rupturing Allied sea communications in the Atlantic, and instead poured the majority of Germany's industrial resources into tanks for land-based warfare. 74 When war broke out in 1939, Donitz had to go to sea with 57 U-boats, only 46 of which were operational. Donitz couldn’t place more than an average of 13 attackers on a station during 39-40. 75 Yet another blow to Donitz's operation included the drain on his resources to support operations in the Mediterranean and off Gibraltar and the diversion of boats to weather reporting 75-76 Wolfpack technique known as "rudeltaktik" in German. 89
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In Donitz's system U-boats did almost all their fighting at night on the surface, in the manner of oceangoing torpedo boats, diving only to evade enemy ships and planes or bad weather. Submerged attacks by periscope were the exception rather than the rule: Electric motor power under water could provide speeds no higher than six to seven knots, hardly enough for the maneuvering required to obtain and maintain attack positions on moving convoys. British underwater detection gear was useless for picking up non-submerged targets. 89-90 On the surface U-boats could take advantage of the darkness, they had low silhouettes and could outrun the Flower-class corvette (a ship commonly used for convoys). 90 Donitz: "The decisive point of view, in my opinion, is that the U-boat is the only weapon with which we can conduct naval warfare against England on the offensive . If one considers the battle against Britain as decisive for the outcome of the war, then the U-boats must be given no tasks that divert them from the main theaters of this battle." 93 Hoffman (an officer aboard the u-123) talking to a new member of the crew (a propaganda photographer): ".
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Book Drumbeat Notes - Notes on Operation Drumbeat by...

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