From Nelsonic to Newtonian: the Development of Anti-Submarine Warfare in the North Atlantic 1939-45

By Marc Milner, published November 2006


For most of WW2, the U-boat war was largely fought on the surface with consequences for the ways in which Anti-Submarine Warfare developed. By May 1943, the Allies had perfected these methods and radar location by aircraft increasingly facilitated the identification of and attack on U-boats travelling on the surface. Following the introduction of the schnorkel, submarines had to be identified underwater, requiring much greater data analysis to distinguish them from wrecks, rocks and other underwater obstacles. The author contrasts the “Nelsonic” battles of the early years of the war involving ramming, gunnery and efforts designed to keep U-boats on the surface with the “Newtonian” analysis necessary to find and target U-boats operating underwater at all times when fitted with schnorkels.

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Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Submarines

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