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Decision in the AtlanticThe Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War$
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Marcus Faulkner and Christopher M. Bell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781949668001

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9781949668001.001.0001

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The Other Critical Convoy Battles of 1943

The Other Critical Convoy Battles of 1943

The Eclipse of the Schnellboote in the English Channel and the North Sea

(p.225) 9 The Other Critical Convoy Battles of 1943
Decision in the Atlantic

G. H. Bennett

University Press of Kentucky

Since 1945, the U-boat campaign has dominated the attention of scholars of the Battle of the Atlantic, and in the popular imagination 1943 remains the year in which the U-boat campaign turned decisively against Germany. That interpretation has been increasingly challenged by historians. However, many historians have completely overlooked a set of convoy battles in late 1943 that did mark a decisive turning point in the war at sea. Those battles were not fought in the Atlantic, but along the English coast from September to December. They marked the eclipse of the German Schnellboot as a serious threat to British coastal shipping, just at the point where the build-up to D-Day meant that the coastal convoys had an added strategic value in terms of the outcome of the Second World War. This chapter by G.H. Bennett examines why the German campaign against Britain's coastal convoys collapsed in 1943, and challenges an existing historiography which has failed to identify the coastal campaign as an integral part of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Keywords:   Battle of the Atlantic, Coastal Command, convoy, D-Day, Kriegsmarine, Merchant Navy, motor gun boat, Schnellboote

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