The death of 749 men in their E-boat attack during exercise tiger was completely avoidable

“The death of 749 men in their E-boat attack during exercise tiger was completely avoidable.” Use the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view or not.

During Exercise Tiger 749 men tragically died because German boats attacked allied boats. There are many reasons they died such as inadequate training and lack of cover. But were the deaths of 749 men totally avoidable or was the tragedy unavoidable.


Sources A and B conclude that it was a surprise attack by the German ships. Source A says the attack was a tragedy and the surprise attack was unavoidable. Source B says the exercise went horribly wrong and agrees with Source A by saying the surprise attack was unavoidable. Source A isn’t completely reliable as it is a memorial that was put up by the U.S.A, so it would be in their best interest to make it seem like it wasn’t their fault. Source B was is an extract from a U.S army magazine so again it’s obviously going to say it wasn’t the army’s fault.

Sources C and I agree that the troops should have been told the attack was not part of the exercise. Source C says there was confusion because they didn’t know whom they were firing back at. Source I says that troops should have been told that the tracer fire was not part of the exercise. By telling the troops that the attack was not part of the exercise they could have avoided the severe loss of life. Source C can’t be viewed as a 100% reliable source because the author may have exaggerated the book in order to make it more interesting.

Sources C, I and J state that the loss of lives could have been avoidable if they had been given better training. Source C says that there was lack of instruction such as “abandon ship”. Source C also says that the inadequate training led to men dying because they were jumping in water with rifles and backpacks on and they also wore lifejackets incorrectly. All these errors resulted in the men being too heavy causing them to drown. Source I says that the officers had no idea what to do in the event of an attack. Source I also says there was an inadequate escort ship. Source J says it was a complete panic. All these things make it clear that mistakes cost lives during exercise tiger.

Using my own knowledge I’ve found if certain errors had no been made then many lives would have been spared. One of the mistakes that were made was someone made a typing error, which lead to the wrong radio frequencies being given. The meant that the vessels had no way of communication with each other because they were on different radio frequencies. The speed of the LST’s was far too slow (four knots) making them an easy target for Germans.

In conclusion the deaths of the 749 men in the E-boat attack during exercise tiger were in fact avoidable. If the Army had done its job and not overlooked so many things then those men wouldn’t have been killed.

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