The Convoy System in the Mid-Atlantic, 1917–1918

By Augusto Salgado, published August 2019


When in February 1917 Germany started the unrestricted submarine campaign, the number of merchant ships sunken by U-boats increased, reaching its peak in April that year. From that time the number of vessels sunk started to decrease. However, a more detailed study of the number of ships sunk while navigating the area between the north Iberian peninsula and the Portuguese-held archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde, shows a different reality. In this vast area, through which most of the Allied maritime traffic sailed, there was only a real decrease in ships sunk from May 1918. This article, using mainly primary English, German, French and Portuguese sources, shows this lesser-known reality and aims to give some possible explanations for this situation.

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Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Submarines

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