15 MAY 1941, Page 2

A Month's Losses at Sea

That the battle of the Atlantic is now being fought in its utmost intensity, and that our counter-attack has a long war to go before we can begin to speak of victory, is shown by the shipping losses for the month of April. These totalled 488,124 tons, of which 293,089 tons were British. Jt is true that allowance must be made for the fact that, of these, 187,054 ton; (largely Greek) were lost in German attacks on Greek ports during the recent operations in the Balkans, and may justly be put in a non-recurrent category, being connected with the exceptional circumstances of the Greek campaign. Making this allowance we are left with a loss of 301,500 tons in the month, not counting damage done to ships which were able to reach port. Considered in this way—and it is fair treatment —the losses are less than in any month since May of last year. The facts show that our counter-offensive is telling, though they afford no grounds for complacency. If our ships long continued to be sunk at that rate it would be difficult indeed to meet the double necessity of importing food and munitions to this country and supplying the increasing needs of the army in the East. But at least the signs are clear that our attack on enemy submarines at sea and at their bases is not ineffective. and that the ocean bombers from the air are not getting it all their own way. In the Indian Ocean a German armed merchant cruiser has been sunk and a German supply ship and a captured tanker have been intercepted. Thanks to the damage done by our bombers it is likely to be long before the Schamhorst ' and the Gneisenau ' will be fit to put to sea. The attacks on Hamburg and other shipyards are striking at the submarines at the source. All that counts. But the crisis in the battle of the Atlantic still lies ahead.