22 October, 2010

Day 105 - Battle of Britain

Today sees what can only be regarded as a "planted" story on the front page of the Daily Mirror. Too close to the convoy disasters of SC7 and HX79 to be a coincidence, without giving any details of the events, it tells of a "Big U-Boat Blitz on our ships," the lead text stating:
Hitler has started an intensified U-boat war in the hope of starving Britain into subjection by blockade now that his air attack and invasion plans have been rebuffed. Prowling in the wastes of the Atlantic, U-boats are hunting shipping, attacking on a scale greater than ever before. Scantily armed cargo boats, carrying food, raw material and munitions are their prey.
More U-boats have been ordered into the Atlantic than at any time since the outbreak of war, the paper continues. In remote shipyards in Norway and the Baltic work has been pressed forward to repair the losses inflicted on the German underwater fleet in the early stages of the war by the Royal Navy and the RAF. The new vessels have been dispatched direct from their trials with the instructions, "Britain must be blockaded at all costs. Merchant ships must be intercepted and sunk."

This is F├╝hrer Directive No. 9 writ large. It has never really gone away and now, of the three options for defeating Britain, it is the only one left. As the paper acknowledges, openly, "air attack and invasion plans have been rebuffed." The "terror" bombing has failed. That leaves the economic war - the blockade.

But, says the Mirror, Britain's food chiefs give the lie to Hitler's starvation threat. It will be averted, said Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, last week. "By the grace of God and the vigilance of the Royal Navy, the courage of the Mercantile Marine, the devotion of the dock labourers and transport workers and of food traders and the patient efforts of the farmers."

With the recent disasters yet to be released, this has every sign of a piece which has been designed to soften people up for the bad news. Soon, convoy survivors will be coming ashore and talking. Details of the sinkings cannot be concealed for ever.

COMMENT: Battle of Britain thread