Warfare in the North Atlantic [DVD]
Karlheinz J. Geiger
This film is based on authentic image sequences from WWI to World War II. The story line is based on the action from the North Atlantic, which was the main battlefield for those German U-boats.
The film begins by discussing how the Germans, during the blockade in the first World War, chose not to come out with their ships, either through part of Scotland and the English Channel. This meant that the Germans were deprived of raw materials and were a victim of the immense superiority of the English fleet. In WWI the British Navy successfully maintained the blockade of the German merchant fleet, and the Germans sought a truce in 1918. There is born the idea of making use of submarines, in order to get at the enemy merchant ships, to strike quickly and then disappear just as quickly, which in turn was an excellent tool against enemy convoys.
The film takes us through both the realm of the mighty English and German battleships and cruisers. Particularly striking are the changing images of the people, who fought for those two countries in the conflict that would last until 1945. The film mixed with realism and German propaganda films, in constructing the submarine fleet, and takes the viewer close to the battlefield, where the fighting is conducted. The documentary explores the Arctic convoys the between Iceland and Russia. The German Navy had, even though it had lost some of its major vessels, succeeded in building up a lot of submarines, enough to shake England. The United States was no exception. U-boats were very successful against the US at the onset of the war. The submarine force thrived, until land-based aircraft and ASW destroyers developed into major barriers to wolfpacks. Radar and new innovations with advanced equipment arrived to produce a damaging effect on the U-boat. The year 1943 was a climax for the submarine force, especially during "Black May". U-boats were now lucky to get home in one piece after a mission.