By John Peterson
Within the autumn of 1944 the second one international warfare was once coming to an finish. within the Atlantic the U-boats have been crushed again via a major programme of Allied shipbuildings mixed with tactical, technological and intelligence advancements. The risk to Allied transport had decreased. however it had no longer disappeared, and a lone U-boat on its first lively patrol slipped into the North Channel; in exactly a number of days 5 ships lay damaged at the seabed together with the Empire historical past, one of many greatest Allied ships misplaced within the whole battle. additionally misplaced was once a rescue send attacked whereas she was once attempting to rescue survivors from the Empire history, the Jacksonville, an American tanker crusing out of recent York, and a RN corvette despatched to seek the U-boat down. lots of these misplaced burned to loss of life within the sea. In a bit over per week U-482 sank 5 ships from 3 assorted convoys. In 'Darkest ahead of Dawn' John Peterson provides the tale for the 1st time of the way U-482 controlled to slide undetected into the...
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Extra resources for Darkest Before Dawn: U-482 and the Sinking of the Empire Heritage 1944
Ermland Launched in 1939, Ermland was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine in September 1940. She was despatched to act as a supply tanker for the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, but was recalled when those warships were unable to break out into the Atlantic. From January to March 1941 she served them during Operation 'Berlin', a raiding cruise against Allied merchant shipping. Shortly after the conclusion of this mission Ermland was ordered to sea again to support the damaged Bismarck as she struggled to reach the safety of occupied France, but the tanker was recalled when the news of Bismarck's sinking was received.
Although many of these might not have been applicable to service on modern warships, the character-building element of these training cruises was undeniable. These ships did carry armament for training purposes, consisting of a small number of 2cm flak guns. At the outbreak of war they were relegated to more mundane tasks such as floating administrative offices or transport vessels. It is a testament to the soundness of their design and construction that all three are still in existence today, and two are still in seagoing service - albeit not in the service of their nation of origin.
A programme of construction resulted in the appearance in the late 1930s of three new sister ships of a new class of three-masted barques: the Albert Leo Schlageter, the Horst Wessel and the Gorch Fock. These beautiful ships were to be responsible for training a new generation of naval officer cadets in seamanship over the next few years, carrying out goodwill cruises to a number of foreign ports throughout the world. 46 Albert Leo Schlageter After the outbreak of war brought her sail training voyages to an end, Albert Leo Schlageter remained in port where she served as an administration ship - in effect, floating offices.