‘One Torpedo, One Ship’: An appraisal of Otto Kretschmer’s U-boat tactics, 1939–1941

By Michele Magnozzi, published May 2021

Abstract

Otto Kretschmer was the most successful U-boat commander of the Second World War. While his wartime actions have been narrated several times, his tactics, summarized by the famous motto ‘one torpedo, one ship’, have never been systematically analysed. In this work, Kretschmer’s success is appraised through the analysis of the key characteristics of his attacks, and the conditions of the battlefield in which he operated. In doing so, both the effectiveness and limitations of Kretschmer’s tactics are clarified and put into the context of the Battle of the Atlantic.

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Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

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