Germany has decided to begin a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare. Its U-boats will be ordered to attack enemy merchant ships on sight, without stopping them to check their cargos or to give their crews time to abandon ship safely. To prevent Allied ships avoiding interception by flying neutral flags, the U-boats will also be allowed to attack neutral ships at will.
The new policy does not come into effect until February. However the U-boat campaign is already beginning to increase in intensity. Previously U-boats sailing to the Atlantic would sail around the north of Scotland. Now though they begin to make the more risky passage directly through the narrow seas of the English Channel. This will give them more time on patrol to attack enemy ships.