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U-boat strategy

Discussion in 'Submarines and ASW Technology' started by papalou5x, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. papalou5x

    papalou5x Member

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    We know what a wolf-pack is. Yet for the life of me, tho it has been explained somewhat, I do not get what a 'stripe' is insofar as U-boat tactics, it's function (sink the enemy!) nor how it was formulated. Anyone?
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Do you have some context? or a reference?
     
  3. papalou5x

    papalou5x Member

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    Unfortunately, the original source is now long forgotten. Fortunately, however, after posting, I stumbled on something which paints a somewhat more revealing picture. Melanie Wiggins, in her U-Boat Adventures (Naval Institute Press, 1999, pg 129) quotes Wolfgang Von Bartenwerffer, exec of U-536 in Sept of '43:

    BdU ordered U-536 and two other U-boats to get together and position themselves in a row, directly in the path of the oncoming armada. This formation, called a 'stripe,' allowed the U-boats, while defending each other, to attack the convoy enmasse. submarine losses were drastically increasing in the fall of 1943, and new tactics had come into use.

    So I take it the boats were stationed along a line, a string, each one facing the one in front. Now, no boat could fire for fear of hitting the forward boat. The forward boat, I imagine, would dive quickly after emptying its tubes and scoot away, allowing the next boat to do the same, and so on, down the line.

    Interestingly enough, this tactic developed late in the conflict and perhaps was not widely practiced which may explain in part why there is no great mention of it in the annuls.

    I'm no researcher, but perhaps those who are may have alternative insights as to the lack of detailed reference to this highly innovative and clever offensive maneuver.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That sounds like a colum rather than a line. It also sounds like it would make it easier to comb the tracks and an escort attacking down the colum could make attacks on the whole formation.
     
  5. papalou5x

    papalou5x Member

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    It would seem so. Yet there must have been something in the application of the maneuver that gave u-boats a decided advantage, why else would Donitz permit it? Perhaps it was in the speed in which it was performed or the conditions, when there were fewer escorts about, for instance.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The description sound more like the U-boats were next to each other, and they fired in turn, each escaping as the next fired. The other way doesn't make much sense, as the DDs would simply lay a barrage where the original boat was located, probably endangering the next in the line.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If they form a line instead of a collum then if the attack could be coordinated they could all take advantage of any surprise and get thier torpedos away. Furthermore an escort attacking one would be presenting their side vs others. If the escort is going slow enough to use SONAR it would be fairly vulnerable.
     

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