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.
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.