By Allan Williams
Last updated 2011-06-06
An early World War Two convoy
The above reconnaissance photograph was recently discovered in the Aerial Reconnaissance Archive, with no reference details. This type of photograph is described as a low-level 'oblique', and differs from the more common 'vertical' aerial photograph, as shown elsewhere in this gallery. This one shows a typical convoy of British and Allied cargo vessels and tankers during the Battle of the Atlantic.
Winston Churchill observed that the only thing that really worried him in the war with Germany was the submarine menace. The Battle of the Atlantic reached its climax in 1943, with Britain depending heavily on the North Atlantic convoy routes for supplies and arms from America. At this time, German submarines were being concentrated in 'wolf packs' in the narrowing gap in the mid-Atlantic, with commanders willing and able to attack the convoys.
However, ULTRA decrypts provided by the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, together with photographic reconnaissance intelligence, proved decisive in enabling escorts to find and destroy the enemy submarines with accuracy. By the end of May 1943, the Battle of the Atlantic was won.
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