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More about the "Tenth Fleet" in WWII
The following is an excerpt from the:
THIRD AND FINAL
REPORT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
Covering the period 1 March 1945 to 1 October 1945
by Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King,
Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations
(Issued 8 December 1945)
The operations of the United States Navy in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Theaters culminated in the victory of the Allied nations in Europe. The success of the joint antisubmarine campaign and the tremendous achievements in shipbuilding were essential preludes to the landings in Normandy and southern France and the great land offensive, which in three months carried the Allied Expeditionary Forces to the German frontier and brought total victory on German soil six months later. This victory was possible because ships were available and their protection by the Navy effective.
In the antisubmarine campaign our Atlantic Fleet had responsibility for Atlantic areas under United States operational command, and the British Admiralty was responsible for North Atlantic and European operations in which United States naval task forces participated. In the British control areas Commander U.S. Naval Forces in Europe assured proper liaison between the Admiralty and the Tenth Fleet organization in my Headquarters, which was responsible for convoy and routing of United States shipping and the development of plans, weapons, and tactics to be employed in antisubmarine operations.
In the final month of the European war, German submarines made a last determined effort, in great strength, to reach the eastern coast of the United States. That attempt was thwarted by a powerful task force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, which, during an engagement lasting several days, destroyed five U-Boats. The United States Navy's final successful action against German submarines occurred on 6 May, only two days before V-E day, when a U-boat was sunk off Block Island by the destroyer escort ATHERTON with the frigate MOBERLY assisting. The development of new techniques, the intensive training of antisubmarine crews, and the persistence with which the U-Boats were hunted offensively all played vital parts in the surrender campaign. German submarines began to surface and surrender shortly after V-E day, and U.S. Atlantic Fleet escort vessels brought several of them to the United States east coast ports.
A review of antisubmarine and convoy operations since 1939 illustrates clearly these major naval contributions to victory in Europe. The summarized statistics on the Battle of the Atlantic are as follows:
German Allied Submarines Shipping New Construction Net Gains Sunk Sunk | U.S. | British | Total | Or Losses (Number) (In thousands of tons) 1939 (4 months) 9 810 101 231 332 -478 1940 22 4,407 439 780 1,219 -3,188 1941 35 4,398 1,169 815 1,984 -2,414 1942 85 8,245 5,339 1,843 7,182 -1,063 1943 237 3,611 12,384 2,201 14,585 +10,974 1944 241 1,422 11,639 1,710 13,349 +11,927 1945 (4 months) 153 458 3,551 283 3,834 +3,376 --- ------ ------ ----- ------ ------- Totals 782 23,351 34,622 7,863 42,485 +19,134
|From the foregoing statistical summary
the chief features of the Battle of the Atlantic are clear:
(a) Until the closing months of 1942 the German submarines were continuing to reduce the available total of Allied tonnage;
(b) Antisubmarine operations resulted in the sinking of an average of 12 German submarines per month after 1 January 1943, or a total of 480 in the two years 1943-44;
(c) American shipyards alone produced an average of a million tons per month of new merchant ships after 1 January 1943, or a total of 24,000,000 tons in two years.
In the 12 months from 1 June 1944, 135 convoys arrived in United Kingdom ports from overseas with a total of 7157 merchant ships totaling more than 50,000,000 gross tonnage. The escort of this shipping and the provision of trained naval armed guard crews aboard the merchant vessels were among the primary tasks performed by the United States Navy in the prosecution of the war in Europe. The Navy's antisubmarine campaign with the British-United States integrated convoy system was in great part responsible for the vital shipping necessary for the Allied land offensive which broke into the Fortress of Europe in 1944 and overwhelmed the Germans ashore in 1945.
On 15 June 1945 the Tenth Fleet was dissolved. This effective organization was established 20 May 1943 under my direct command, with Headquarters in the Navy Department, to exercise unity of control over United States antisubmarine operations in that part of the Atlantic Ocean under United States strategic control. The first Chief of Staff of the Tenth Fleet was Rear Admiral Francis S. Low, who was relieved in January 1945 by Rear Admiral A. R. McCann.
To the Tenth Fleet were assigned the following tasks:
(a) Destruction of enemy submarines.
(b) Protection of Allied shipping in the Eastern, Gulf, and Caribbean Sea Frontiers.
(c) Support of other antisubmarine forces of our own and of the other Allied nations operating in the Atlantic areas.
(d) Exercise of control of convoys and shipping that were United States responsibilities.
(e) Correlation of United States antisubmarine training and materiel development.
To accomplish these tasks the Tenth Fleet was organized into four principal divisions: Operations; Antisubmarine Measures (materiel, training, analysis and statistics, and operational research); Convoy and Routing; and a Scientific Council composed of distinguished civilian scientists.
The Tenth was a fleet without a ship. However, this highly specialized command coordinated and directed our naval forces in the Battle of the Atlantic, making available the latest intelligence to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and to other fleet and sea frontier commanders who directed the actual operations at sea, and supplying antisubmarine training and operating procedures to our forces afloat. The Tenth Fleet correlated the antisubmarine developments of the various technical bureaus of the Navy Department and the fleet training schools concerned with antisubmarine activities. In addition, it worked closely with the General Staff of the United States Army and with the British Admiralty and Canadian Naval Headquarters to avoid duplication and confusion, and to insure that maximum effort would be directed against the German underseas fleet. The effective work of the Tenth Fleet contributed outstandingly to the success of the United States naval operations in the Battle of the Atlantic.
**** END EXCERPTED TEXT OF FLEET ADMIRAL KING's 3rd REPORT to SECNAV ****