Admiral Karl Dönitz `Wolf Pack` tactics
The Treaty of Versailles blocked the German Navy from having submarines and limited the number of officers to 1,500. One of those officers was U-boat skipper Karl Dönitz. He was assigned as commanding officer of a torpedo boat, a submarine on the surface, if you will. He began developing submarine tactics for the next war.
In 1935, as Captain, Dönitz defined his fundamental concepts for the next conflict: `Tonnage War` and `Wolf Pack`. The first replicated World War I experience: Sink ships faster than they can be replaced, for a long enough period, and you could strangle an island nation like Britain. The second: Teams of seven or eight boats attack on the surface at night submerge to escape, resurface and speed ahead to get in position for the next night`s attack. The U-boats` 15-knot surface speed was almost twice that of an average convoy and equal to that of most anti-submarine escorts.
For a while, particularly during 1941 and 1942, the tactics worked. No less a figure then Sir Winston Churchill was reported to have said: “The only thing that truly worried me was the U-boat menace”.
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