What Did Allied Submarines Do In The Atlantic?

In the Pacific, the US and Japan both waged unrestricted submarine warfare against each other, with plenty of targets.

In the Atlantic, German and Italian submarines had lots of warships and merchant shipping for targets.

What did Allied submarines do in the Atlantic? Submarine vs submarine combat was rare in WW2 and not very effective due to the technological limitations at the time. There were some Germany capital ships, blockade runners, and weather ships but these were few in number and usually operated in isolation.

So what were the Allied submarines up to in the Atlantic, given the shortage of prospective targets?

Did the US send most of its Atlantic submarines to the Pacific?

Did the UK send most of their submarines to India to operate against the Japanese?


US submarines generally were for the Pacific. British and Allied subs generally worked the coasts, mostly to stay out of the way of the generally-psychotic anti-submarine Allied convoy and hunter-killer groups. They plied the coast of Norway, hunting coastal traffic as I recall, and of course the Med. The Soviets used theirs in the Baltic.


The basic answer is very little because there was very little they could have done, there were just too few targets for profitable hunting. Allied submarine effort in the European theater was focussed on Soviet efforts in the Baltic and Black Sea and the RN in the Med.
The RN submarines fighting to choke the convoy lanes from Italy to N Africa was a major contribution to allied success in N Africa.
After the victory in Africa more RN submarines were deployed to the Pacific theater, but operations were primarily in areas outside the main Japanese shipping lanes, so we’re not a major contributor to the destruction of the Japanese merchant fleet. RN submarines had a significantly shorter range than the US fleet. Dutch and Polish submarines operated with the RN.


One thing that did occur is a British submarine scored the first (and as far as I know only to date) underwater, submarine to submarine torpedo kill in history.

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