chapter  5
25 Pages

“The art of war”


The Royal Navy employed the general per ception of ASDIC as the 'antidote' to the submarine to mislead potential foes about the true state of Britain's anti-submarine defences. This British campaign of deception did have a discernible impact: before 1939 the German Navy failed to discover the realities behind ASDIC'S image, and this intelligence failure helped to shape U-boat policy. The French had refused to co-operate in 1919 and again at the Washington Naval Conference in 1921-22. As a potential means of achieving a breakthrough to advance British interests at Geneva, therefore, Admiralty officials turned to deception. On the strength of accurate intelligence such as this, the Admiralty knew that the Kriegsmarine was predisposed to swallow its exaggerated claims. The place to start is Grand Admiral Donitz's memoirs. One of the prime factors inhibiting Germany from expanding the U-boat arm before 1939, Donitz recalled, was the stream of false information on ASDIC emanating from London.