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The Sea and the Second World WarMaritime Aspects of a Global Conflict$
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Marcus Faulkner and Alessio Patalano

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781949668049

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9781949668049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Schnellboote, Strategy, and the Defense of Festung Europa, 1943–1944

Schnellboote, Strategy, and the Defense of Festung Europa, 1943–1944

(p.115) 5 Schnellboote, Strategy, and the Defense of Festung Europa, 1943–1944
The Sea and the Second World War

G. H. Bennett

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter by G.H. Bennett argues that in the historiography of D-Day there has been a failure to analyze and understand the inability of German coastal forces to contest the invasion more effectively. The outcome of the naval battles off the Normandy coast was not the inevitable result of Allied material superiority. In the the development of German naval strategy since 1870, the Kriegsmarine reached a moment of strategic choice in the spring of 1943. It could either continue to try and fight an oceanic tonnage war, or to pursue a strategy of coastal defense of the German empire in the west. There was a failure to accept, articulate, and imaginatively manage the strategy of coastal defense that might have given the German Army more of a chance on 6 June and the days thereafter. Much of this failure can be put on Admiral Dönitz, although it was also structural. However, the performance of German coastal forces against the Allied invasion flotilla was more significant than has been recognized by historians, serving as an indicator of the greater successes that might have been achieved if a strategy of littoral defense had been adopted.

Keywords:   coastal defense, D-Day, Germany, Kriegsmarine, Normandy, Schnellboote, U-boat

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