The Battle of the Atlantic
On 3 September 1939, the German submarineU-30,  sank the SS Athena  off the coast of Ireland.

Thus began the longest continuous battle of World War Two, The Battle of the Atlantic. Civilian ships as well cargo ships were targeted and sunk by the Germans  between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945.

The purpose of the German attacks was to deny  the British vital supplies from USA which joined the war against Germany in December 1941. Prior to that, the British relied heavily on imported food and material for their war effort despite the Americans being neutral.

The importance of the battle was summed up by Winston Churchill, the British leader in his later writings:

"The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war. Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea or in the air depended ultimately on its outcome."
The loss of ships to both sides was large: 3500 allied merchantmen and 738 U-boats.

Although not as deadly as the U-boat fleet, the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen were considered a major threat and eliminating them from the battle would have been a priority for the Royal Navy..

Allied tanker torpedoed in Atlantic Ocean by German submarine.

Help & About

Thanks must go to those who gave support to this project and include;

Kent County Councillors
Eileen Rowbotham
Mike Eddy
Mr McKenna
Mr Neaves
Mr Birkby

and the Dover Harbour Board.

This site is owned by the Channel Dash association, registered charity number 1139128.

Copyrights are property of their respective owners . No part of this site may be copied or used with permission. E&OE.


Jim Williams

Jim Williams - Coordinator of the Memorials and Project Leader of Schools IT Project.

Peter Nixon

Peter Nixon - Chairman of Channel Dash Memorial Trust.

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For teachers

This site covers the section "challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day" as defined by the History programmes of study:key stage 3 National curriculum in England (Reference: DFE-00194-2013).

The key area covered is the Second World War and the key historical event is the Battle of The Atlantic.

Study notes are based on understanding the individual events in the context of the consequence of these events to the Battle of The Atlantic.