With the outcome of Germany’s all-out U-boat assault on shipping still seemingly much in doubt, the U.S. Navy deployed an improvised weapon in the Battle of the Atlantic in March 1943—the auxiliary, or escort, carrier. Convoys crossing the North Atlantic lacked air support in the mid-ocean area, which was beyond the range of land-based Allied aircraft. Although barely a third the displacement of the fleet carriers fighting in the Pacific, escort carriers used in close support of the convoys were able to close the mid-ocean gap. But when the “baby flattops” were cut loose from their convoys to pursue the U-boats wherever they may be, the Battle of the Atlantic’s wolves became the prey.
The Navy's Escort Carrier Offensive
In the spring of 1943, U-boats became the prey when U.S. aircraft carriers built on merchant-ship hulls entered the Battle of the Atlantic.
By Jeffrey G. Barlow