Tenth Fleet History (Continued)
The Anti-submarine Measures section, led by Captain Fitz, was divided into Air and Surface sections. This branch was responsible for the correlation of ASW research, materiel development, and training. In June of 1943, they began publishing a monthly U.S. Fleet Anti-submarine Bulletin, which came to be known as the “Yellow Peril.” The Yellow Peril discussed the latest in ASW training, new technological developments, dissected previous months U-Boat battles, among other bits of data. Each issue exceeded fifty pages. Due to its comprehensiveness and reliability, demand for the Yellow Peril was extremely high, even among the Allies.
The Convoy and Routing section, chaired by RADM Martin Metcalf, was responsible for tracking the U.S. portion of convoys and planning routes they would take across the Atlantic. Known as C&R, its WAVES maintained massive wall charts detailing all ongoing convoy operations in the Atlantic. Intelligence received by the Operations Branch, once sanitized, was also added to these charts.
Rapidly proving its worth, TENTH Fleet demonstrated immediate success. On May 22, 1943, just two days after establishment, TENTH Fleet provided intelligence to the hunter-killer group led by USS BOGUE (CVE-9) and VC-9. This intelligence resulted in the sinking of U-569, which was the first U-Boat sunk by an American carrier-escort, the first of many for USS BOGUE, and the first associated with the intelligence provided by TENTH Fleet.
Another demonstration of TENTH Fleet’s effectiveness was the sinking of U-487 on July 13, 1943. From the time Allied HF-DF antennae intercepted U-487’s communications, until USS CORE (CVE-13) sank her, a mere ten hours elapsed. Also, of two U-Boats captured on the high seas, TENTH Fleet intelligence was responsible for one. With support from TENTH Fleet, USS GUADALCANAL (CVE-60) commanded by CAPT Dan Gallery, captured U-505 on June 20, 1944. Results such as these led to a high trust in the information coming out of TENTH Fleet and a sustained success against the U-Boat threat. One hunter-killer group commander said, “I treated the TENTH Fleet estimate as the Bible truth every day.”
While not the only organization in the war combating the U-Boat, the efforts of TENTH Fleet certainly helped bring about the end of the U-Boat threat. Prior to the establishment of TENTH Fleet, the Allies averaged barely more than four U-Boats sunk per month. During the month TENTH Fleet was established, the Allies sank 41, and averaged more than 23 per month thereafter. Oberleutnant zur See Herbert A. Werner, a former U-Boat commander and one of the few to survive the war, described it succinctly when he said, “The Allied counter-offensive permanently reversed the tide of battle. Almost overnight, the hunters had become the hunted, and through the rest of the war our boats were slaughtered at a fearful rate.”
Of all the victories the Allies won during World War II, the U-Boat war was arguably one of the most complete. Of 1,150 commissioned or in commission during the war, Germany had a total of 842 U-Boats that saw battle. Of these, the Allies sank 781 and captured two, accounting for nearly 93 percent of Germany’s operational U-Boat fleet. The remainder were either scuttled by the Germans or surrendered at the end of the war.