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jon livesey
jon livesey
April 22, 2014 3:19 am

The video on rationing is interesting. The reduction in food imports was largely to free up shipping for imports of fuel, arms and ammunition. And as the film mentions, civilians could be sure of getting their rations, which amounted to about 2900 calories a day, which cut down deaths from diabetes and cardiac disease by enough to make up for bombing casualties, which amounted to about 60,000 deaths over the whole war.

The situation in Europe was very different. The British naval blockade cut off European supplies so effectively that Germany managed to import and use only a third as much oil a year as Britain did, with the result that the German Army relied on horse transport. Germany also suffered food shortages, and German civilians experienced skin problems and other symptoms from adulterated food.

The U-boat campaign was Germany’s answer to Britain’s naval blockade, but it never came close to success. Only one in ten convoys was attacked, and the average loss rate for the convoys that were attacked was ten percent, so 99% of sailings to and from Britain were without incident. Germany sank about 3500 merchant ships in the North Atlantic, for the loss of 750-800 U-boats, a rate of four merchant ships per U-boat, which was far too low for success. The rate for British submarines was typically around 9 ships sunk per submarine loss. British flagged forces sank about 550 U-boats, the US sank about 125, and the rest were lost to accidents.