Naval War College Review


William J. Cox


In modern naval writings, rarely is the Gulf of Mexico mentioned as a strategic area of combat operations. It seems that we have already forgotten the painful lessons learned by a previous generation of combat veterans who fought a war in our own backyard barely 44 years ago. For a German perspective of the strategic significance of a Gulf campaign, the eminent German historian, Dr. Jurgen Rohwer, explains that "for Admiral Karl Donitz, the ultimate and decisive criterion for the use of the U-Boat weapon was the quickest possible sinking of the greatest possible enemy tonnage, and tonnage that was potentially useful to the enemy...He wanted his u-boats to be used economically, that is to say, at those points where they could sink the greatest possible tonnage of enemy shipping in the shortest possible space of time."