Why Deck Guns Were Removed From U-boats

Why Deck Guns Were Removed From U-boats | World War Wings Videos

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In earlier engagements, German U-boats would almost always dive if they spotted Allied patrolling aircraft.

Fight Back Policy

To escape from the embarrassment of continuous air coverage, the Germans changed their tactic in late spring of 1943.

At this time, the U-boats began to stay on the surface and fight it out with the attacking aircraft.

Some U-boats were converted to be dedicated anti-aircraft flak platforms and act as submarine escorts – much like the fighter escorts for the bombers.

Arming The U-Boats

Escort U-boats had additional anti-aircraft armaments that included a single 37mm AA gun and two 20mm Quad Auto-Cannon AA guns.

Several heavy flak guns, like the 88mm and 105mm deck guns, were used but considered ineffective against aircraft since it required a direct hit.

Why It Didn’t Work

German POWs stated that AA training for U-boat crews were hurried and inadequate, contributing to the ineffectiveness of AA fire.

The Germany Navy also found out that the quadruple 20mm guns failed to bring down attacking planes despite of direct hits.

In other cases, the planes were only brought down after they dropped their bombs successfully.

While the “Fight Back Policy” was in effect for three months, the Allies sank 26 U-boats and damaged 17 more while losing 32 planes. The Fight Back order was rescinded and was eventually considered a failure.

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