Honour - BISCAY 1940-45
The qualifying area was waters between the Latitudes of Ushant and Cape
Ortegal, from 12°W to the coast of France.
Ships and submarines on patrol which took part in a successful action qualified for the honour. Interception and sinking of a blockade runner however did not qualify.
After the capitulation of France, Germany began construction of heavily fortified bases on the French Atlantic coast at Brest, Lorient, St. Nazaire, La Rochelle and Bordeaux.
U-boats based there enjoyed a 50% reduction in transit time to their operational areas in the North Atlantic. In addition they did not have to transit the heavily defended English Channel or brave the dangerous northern passages round the north of Britain.
This resulted in greatly increased allied losses in merchant shipping. The French bases also provided havens early in the war for German major surface vessels.
The Battle of the Bay of Biscay swung to and fro and although it included the 20th Century addition of aircraft was in essence similar to the traditional British Royal Navy blockade over the centuries.
This page last edited -
29 January, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.