Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 1 decade ago

Near the end of WWII, why didn't the German U-Boat crew simply run away? instead of following HQ's orders?

I mean, if they simply didn't respond to radio messages, the HQ would assume that the boat was lost/destroyed...then the crew can just run away to somewhere

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The U-boats operated in tight groups called a "wolf-pack". Each U-boat in the pack knows the relative position and location of the other U-boats in the group (to avoid confusion and collision between each of them). If one U-boat was simply unable to answer radio messages (by radio equipment failure or by purpose), the other U-boats knows that it is still alive because they will see it from their sonar. If it was destroyed or sunk, its blip will suddenly disappear from their sonar. If it tries to escape from the group, they will see the blip moving farther away from them. Then they can report these situation to HQ.

  • 1 decade ago

    Soldiers take an oath to obey the orders of the officers appointed over them. Many (although certainly not all) soldiers and sailors take that oath to heart. Soldiers follow orders. If they don't, people die.

    In addition, the officers on a submarine or in any military organization are more invested in the military. Crewmen who decided they didn't want to obey HQ's orders would still have to obey the captain's orders, or risk being executed for mutiny. Officers could also be executed for the same failure if it was discovered, and in addition would be remembered as disgraced.

    Finally, you might note that even at the end of the war, Germany had an impressive intelligence network and relatively intact communication lines. So, if a U-boat captain should run away, (and would have to go somewhere, after all), it's possible that his command would figure it out, and would punish his family. Finally, keep in mind that military men generally didn't get much non-government issued news, and they likely had no idea just how close to collapse the Third Reich actually was. The end, when it came, was a shock to many German military personnel.

  • 1 decade ago

    Depends on what near the end your talking about. German U boats took a hellish pounding the last couple years of the war.. '44 '45.. But as a U boat captain the war was not lost.. Ever... There were a couple U boats captured.. I believe #957.. Where the enigma translater machine was captured.. Changed the course of the war. Just for your info.. The highest death rate per capita in the second world war was German U boat crews.. Something like 80%..

  • 1 decade ago

    Some did. When Germany surrendered, several U-Boats surrendered, including the u-boat ordered to deliver nuclear material to Japan since Germany was also working on an atomic bomb but didn't get to finish.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I can only answer this question with a question: Where would a german U-boat run to when we (the United States)had the water covered with ships and planes?

  • 1 decade ago

    Soldiers live by the code. Nazi soldiers were particularly strongly indoctrinated. Have you ever watched footage of the Nazi Era.

    It's the kind of blind adoration of military power that would make a modern Republican's heart swell with pride.

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