Operation Step Aside

'Step Aside' was a British naval manoeuvre designed for employment against U-boats attacking a convoy (1944/45).

The tactic was designed specifically to cope with U-boats attacking with the G7es (T5) Zaunkönig acoustic-homing torpedo, which was optimised for attacks on escorting warships to open the way for attacks on convoy ships with conventional torpedoes.

When an escort detected a surfaced U-boat at night, the 'Step Aside' tactics called for star shells to be fired for the illumination of the area with a hope that the U-boat would be tempted to fire a G7es torpedo. The warship then turned to place the track of the approaching torpedo on the opposite side of the bow as she 'stepped aside' far enough to put her outside the acquisition angle of the torpedo’s homing system. The warship then turned parallel to the torpedo’s track and moved to intercept the U-boat, whose tactic was to dive immediately after the launch of a homing torpedo to avoid the possibility that the weapon might circle and acquire the boat rather than the warship. The warship then closed on the U-boat’s likely position to undertake a sonar search and attack.