The Decoys, A Tale of Three Atlantic Convoys 1942

b2403

With all the thousands of books published since 1945 about WWII, it 
seems impossible that any incident has escaped close attention from 
every possible angle. Here is a book to prove that there is much still 
to emerge. The author has made a first rate job of researching his 
subject and presenting a convincing account with credible conclusions. 
It is a contentious set of topics and an enthralling story. Strongly 
Recommended.

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NAME: The Decoys, A Tale of Three Atlantic Convoys 1942
FILE: R2403
AUTHOR:  Bernard Edwards
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  184
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, naval 
actions, convoys, U-boats, convoy escorts, Operation Torch, Enigma, 
wolf packs
ISBN: 1-47388-708-9
IMAGE: B2403.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zs9wqrr
LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale 
DESCRIPTION: With all the thousands of books published since 1945 
about WWII, it seems impossible that any incident has escaped close 
attention from every possible angle. Here is a book to prove that 
there is much still to emerge. The author has made a first rate job 
of researching his subject and presenting a convincing account with 
credible conclusions. It is a contentious set of topics and an 
enthralling story. Strongly Recommended.

In 1939, the Royal Navy was still a formidable naval force even 
though politicians had reduced its strength to spend the infamous 
'peace dividend' as democracies are wont to do in the face of the 
multiple lessons of history. However, the Empire and its sea routes 
could rapidly soak up enormous numbers of warships and as in every war 
before, the RN was desperately short of convoy escorts for the vital 
merchant ships that supplied Great Britain with essential supplies and 
raw materials. Fortunately, the Germans had seriously miscalculated 
and put a pitiful effort into building ocean-going U-boats in the 
numbers needed to mount an effective blockade of the British Isles. 
In 1939, Donitz had few boats capable of operating in the deep 
Atlantic. Allowing for boats in transit to and from the war patrol 
areas and boats unavailable undergoing repairs and refits, only a 
handful could be at their war patrol locations at the same time.

The Germans had broken RN codes, so they did have advanced warning of 
convoys ready to sail, and knew roughly the numbers of merchantmen 
and escorts assembled. That enabled the best use to be made of the 
numbers of U-boats available. The building program was being speeded 
up, but it was to be a rolling battle where more U-boats were to be 
countered by more escorts, improved radar and sonar, and new weapon 
systems. Even the 'Gap' in the Atlantic, where there was no Allied 
air cover, was being shrunk and eventually closed. Longer range, 
larger and more potent shore-based patrol aircraft were reinforced by 
'jeep' or escort carriers with fighters and bombers. The end result 
was that the U-boat arm was to suffer terrible casualties and the 
Allied merchant ship building program was able to replace losses and 
increase total tonnage.

Every now and then, the U-boats enjoyed a happy time when they caught 
a few convoys and wiped them out. In 1942, one of these occasions saw 
three convoys, RB 1, SC 107, and SL125 attacked by the full weight of 
140 U-boats. The reasons for this was to encourage conspiracy theory 
and suggest that the convoys were deliberately sacrificed.

The author, a former ship's captain, has used his extensive knowledge 
of ships and the sea to present the fruits of his research, against 
that experience, and drawn credible conclusions.

All of the details related to the battle of the three convoys may 
remain unknown because documents were destroyed at the end of WWII.
 This relates to what was known and what information was shared from 
the code breaking teams at Bletchley Park. Much information has 
survived, but equally, key details were burned, together with some of 
the revolutionary code breaking computers.

The three convoys presented a target to the U-boats. Donitz was quick 
to take up the opportunity and his captains pressed home their 
attacks. The convoys were almost sitting ducks, but how much of their 
vulnerability was deliberately planned, to divert German attention 
from the massive armada of ships heading for the Operation Torch 
landings on the North African coast, is open to argument and 
interpretation. What is clear is that the convoys, and other convoys, 
had greatly reduced protection because warships were needed to take 
part in support of the landings

The reader will find an absorbing story and the text is ably 
supported by a photo-plate section with an interesting selection of 
images.