German U-Boat Tactics
During WWII the Germans deployed U-Boats, submersible boats. German naval commander Karl Dönitz used the term Rudeltaktik to describe his strategy of submarine warfare in the Atlantic against the United States and European forces. The word is best translated as tactics of a pack and became best known in English as “WolfPack”.
U-Boats were controlled by the German version of the Commander of Submarines known as the Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote (BdU). The BdU closely coordinated their submersibles much more so than American submarines controlled. During the war American Sub Commanders had great leeway once they were on patrol. But their German counterparts coordinated their efforts constantly with the BdU.
As the U-Boats were on patrol and strung out in co-ordinated lines across likely convoy routes, they reported back to the BdU when they sighted enemy targets. Once the target was reported to the BdU, as many U-Boats as possible in the area would make their way to the target area.
Often the U-Boat commanders were given a probable number of U-Boats that would show up, and then when they were in contact with the convoy, make call signs to see how many had arrived. If their number were sufficiently high compared to the expected threat of the escorts, they would attack. – Wikipedia
The tactic proved to be a very serious threat to Allied forces. It was also impressive enough that the Americans employed the same tactic against Japanese forces in the Pacific.
Although the wolfpacks proved a serious threat to Allied shipping, the Allies developed countermeasures to turn the U-boat organization against itself. Most notably was the fact that wolfpacks required extensive radio communication to coordinate the attacks. This left the U-boats vulnerable which allowed Allied naval forces to determine the location of the enemy boats transmitting and attack them. – Wikipedia
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