Terrible losses continued, but by Nov 1942 ship construction overtook sinkings. Tactical skill and air cover eventually drove U-boats into mid-Atlantic, beyond the range of shore-based aircraft. Further cryptographic breakthroughs in Dec 1942 and Mar 1943, roving support groups, and very long-range and carrier-borne aircraft closed the gap. In the first 3 weeks of May 1943 escorts sank 31 U-boats, forcing Germany to abandon the N Atlantic convoy routes; an attempted comeback in Sept failed.
Canada provided about half the naval escorts, primarily corvettes to protect shipping convoys, in the Newfoundland (later Mid Ocean) and Western Local Escort Forces. The tiny corvettes carried a single 4-inch cannon and minimal gear for finding and destroying a submarine. They were cramped and "rolled in a heavy dew" but they were all that could be supplied in such a short time. Most of the land-based air coverage came from Newfoundland and the Maritimes, and 7 RCAF squadrons used elsewhere by Britain's Coastal Command. Desperately short of equipment and training, Canadian forces eventually reached adequate operational standards, winning responsibility for the new Canadian Northwest Atlantic theatre. By war's end 25 421 convoyed merchant ships had crossed the Atlantic successfully, and the RCN and RCAF received credit for 47 of the 788 U-boats and 2 Italian submarines that had been destroyed.
See also U-BOAT OPERATIONS.
Author W.A.B. DOUGLAS
Links to Other Sites
3D Corvette: H.M.C.S. Sackville
Take an interactive multimedia tour through a corvette, one of most storied Canadian naval vessels used in the Second World War. A Virtual Museum website.
The Battle of the Atlantic
This illustrated Veteran’s Affairs Canada website provides a detailed account of Canada’s heroic contribution and sacrafice in the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. Also includes personal diaries, video clips, and a photogallery.
Naval Museum of Quebec
The multimedia website for the Naval Museum of Quebec. Features a virtual exhibit of naval artifacts, timeline of the "Battle of the St. Lawrence," and an illustrated glossary of navy terminology.
Testaments of Honour Historical Archives
Stunning photographs complement this digital video archive of personal recollections from Canadian veterans who fought in the Second World War. This Blake Heathcote project has been supported by the Canadian Studies Program, Canadian Heritage, and many other organizations. Note: some videos on this site may be inactive.
The Memory Project: Battle of the Atlantic
Listen to interviews with Canadian veterans who provide remarkable first-hand accounts of their wartime military service. See also related digitized artefacts and memorabilia. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
The Memory Project: Convoy
Listen to interviews with Canadian veterans about their wartime military service. See also related digitized artefacts and memorabilia. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Battle of the Atlantic marked with wreaths on land, at sea
A CBC News story about the 2013 ceremonies held in St. John's and in nearby waters that mark the Battle of the Atlantic. See also the comments at the end of the story.