Home / History / World War Two / Battle of the Atlantic


German_U-Boats_in_the_Atlantic

Battle of the Atlantic

During the Second World War, around one-third of all merchant shipping in the world was British. This shipping was particularly vulnerable to the U-Boats and therefore the Battle of the Atlantic became highly significant in Britain’s survival.  As Churchill said after the war, “‘The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-Boat peril”.

Question:  Which was the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War? 

Answer: The Battle of the Atlantic   It ran from the 3rd September 1939 to the 8th May 1945.

Question: In WW2 what were German submarines called?

Answer: U-Boats

Question: German U-boats operated in groups that spread out in a long line across the projected course of a convoy.  What name was given to these Groups?

Answer: Wolf Packs 

Question: What was the main weapon that the Royal Navy used to destroy U-Boats? 

Answer: Depth Charges 

Question: Who, during WW2, was the Fleet commander of the German U-Boats?

Answer: Admiral Karl Dönitz 

Question: What was the name of the main site for British codebreakers during World War Two that played such a vital part in the outcome of the Battle of the Atlantic and other theatres? 

Answer: Bletchley Park  

Question: British merchant ships, upon which the country depended for survival, were very vulnerable to U-Boats. The Royal Navy bunched them together for protection and escorted them across the Atlantic. What name was used for these escorted groups of ships? 

Answer: Convoys 

Question: From mid 1940 to early 1941, Britain had no answer to the U-Boat threat. By what name did the U-Boat crews call this period?

Answer: The Happy Time 

Question: What was the equipment called that was installed on Royal Navy ships to track and locate U-Boats?

Answer: ASDIC (also known as SONAR) SONAR stood for SOund Navigation And Ranging. The origin of the name ASDIC is unknown as the Admiralty claimed that it stood for Allied Submarine Detection Investigation Committee but no committee of this name has ever been found in Admiralty records.

Question: Name the Naval Engagement in 1941 in which Britain’s last Battlecruiser, HMS Hood was sunk? 

Answer: The Battle of Denmark Strait  This was part of the operation to sink the German Battleship Bismark.

Question: Traditionally the Headquarters of Western Approaches had always been in Plymouth. To where was it moved by the Admiralty during the Battle of the Atlantic in order to co-ordinate better with the Convoys? 

Answer: Liverpool 

Question: Britain’s Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the inventor of RADAR, also invented a radio traffic locator that was used most successfully to find U-Boats.  What was this devise called? 

Answer: Huff-Duff High-frequency direction-finding.