What is the connection between U Boats and the forests of Dartmoor?

Context

During the War, Britain needed to source many of its materials from overseas but traditional trade routes were being disrupted by the conflict.

This posed a big problem for the government which needed to ensure supplies were available for the Army and Navy. The people also needed more food than Britain could produce.

Objective

This task encourages you to find a quite obvious link between the German U boat campaign in the Atlantic Ocean and Britain’s urgent need for food, weapons and other resources.

Can you think why German U-boats were partly responsible for a sudden increase in pressure on Devon’s farmers?

Method

Take a look at the attached information sheet. What do the pictures show?

In the images on the left, what are the German U-boats doing to the British shipping fleet?

What consequences did the destruction of shipping have on Devon landowners and farmers?

What was the aerial ropeway used for?

Teacher Notes

It is suggested that students are shown the panels as a whole. Discussion should be focussed on the memories of Leslie Manley and the picture of the Dartmoor aerial ropeway.

The task lends itself to a simple classroom discussion. However, it could be expanded into a short essay following homework. More advanced students might also consider other impacts of the German’s intended siege of Britain and Europe.

NB: The War needed vast quantities of wood for trench building, duck boards, pit props and gun carriages.

Resources

Sources – U Boats