Karl Dönitz (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: The head of the U-boat submarine branch of the German navy, Dönitz directed the Battle of the North Atlantic against Allied supply ships. His U-boats inflicted heavy damage on Allied ships and became one of Germany’s most effective weapons.
Karl Dönitz received his early naval training during World War I. In 1935, when Nazi leader Adolf Hitler decided to abandon the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty, Dönitz was appointed to develop and command a new U-boat fleet. He was promoted to admiral in 1942. Because of Hitler’s respect for him, he was promoted to grand admiral the following year, replacing Erich Raeder as chief naval commander.
He proved to be an able strategist in directing the Battle of the North Atlantic (1939-1945). By developing effective blockades against the British and destroying 15 million tons of Allied supply ships, the U-boat fleet almost completely disrupted Britain’s supply lines. He developed the concept of the wolfpack, in which the submarines would form groups at strategic positions and then attack approaching Allied ships. The British waged fierce battles against the U-boats, but it was the invention of microwave radar that enabled the Allied forces to...
(The entire section is 333 words.)
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