The ships were unaccustomed to working together, and often had no common battle plan or tactics. Any tactical arrangements had to be made on the spot, and communicated by al lamp to each ship in turn.
Edcort edit ] On the basis of experience during World War Ithe Admiralty instituted trade convoys in United Kingdom coastal waters from September These escorts were not numerous enough or sufficiently long ranged to accompany convoys across the Atlantic, but would screen convoys to and from meeting points thought to be beyond U-boat range defining the edge of the Western Approaches. Banff of the escort force fell to the senior officer present, and could change as each new escort arrived.
Initially unprotected, a force of 11 warships were assembled but 12 ships in the convoy were sunk from attacks during the night while none of the U-boats were escoort.
In a ten-day period infour U-boats excort sunk with the loss of three of Germany's top U-boat commanders. These deficiencies led to a major defeat in October when Convoy HX 79 from Halifax to Liverpool was attacked by a wolfpack of five U-boats remaining after an attack on convoy SC 7.
Convoy escorts bxnff initially ased on an ad hoc basis, dispatched as and when available, and arrived singly or in small groups. The 36th through 44th escort groups remained relatively unchanged escorting convoys between Liverpool and Gibraltar and Sierra Leone.
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The WATU was a RN analysis team founded in early to study the conduct of convoy operations using wargames and lectures. By operating together under a single leader, groups were able to develop group tactics and practice their use; with the issue of a single short command the various ships of the group, often out of sight of each other, could be relied upon to act in a co-ordinated fashion.
The unit, made up of naval officers and the young women of the WRNS disseminated instructions to over 5, Allied officers with "considerable success". The ships of the earlier groups which had only a short range and were unsuitable for MOEF duty were reased to the Western Local Escort Force or duty with coastal convoys or the arctic convoys supplying the Soviet Union. Over the next three days they fought off attacks by the wolfpack for the loss of five ships and one corvette; 28 ships arrived safely.
It was not unknown for U-boats to get in each other's way whilst sscort, or collide with each other. Time and again during the Battle of the Atlantic relatively small, well-handled escort groups were able to frustrate attacks by more numerous groups of U-boats, and ensure the "safe and timely arrival" of their charges. Although the wolfpack was co-ordinated in that a of boats would be concentrated on a target convoy, once gathered the boats would attack individually without any attempt at further co-operation.