Danger in the deep: Battle of the Atlantic

Jonathan Dimbleby's new book tells the story of the Battle of the Atlantic. He explains to Rob Attar how German U-boats nearly changed the course of the Second World War, and why salvation for the Allies came from the skies...

British ships on convoy duty in the North Atlantic

How important was the battle to the outcome of the war?

It was fundamental. The Atlantic was the route by which all resources came to Britain, without which the country would have collapsed. Had we lost the battle, we wouldn’t have had enough weapons – nor the industrial capacity to make weapons – and American troops would not have been able to get across for D-Day. In fact, there wouldn’t have been a D-Day.

 

Was it possible that the Allies could have lost the Battle of the Atlantic?

With the benefit of hindsight it’s clear that we were likely to win, but at the time it appeared that we could very easily lose. Had Hitler not been so obsessed with the urge to conquer Russia, and instead diverted more resources to the Atlantic, it could have been a very close-run thing.

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