The Watery Grave, The Life and Death of HMS Manchester

This is the story of a Town Class cruiser that was sent to the Mediterranean after taking part in the Battle of Norway. Nicely illustrated study of one of the warships escorting Malta convoys, her fate and her recent discovery by divers – Highly Recommended.


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NAME: The Watery Grave, The Life and Death of HMS Manchester
FILE: R2517
AUTHOR: Richard Osbourne
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Frontline
BINDING: hard back
PAGES:  244
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, RAF, 
MTBs, MGBs, Malta Convoys, air attack, submarines, E-Boats, S-Boote. 
Wreck location, divers

ISBN: 978-1-47384-585-5

IMAGE: B2517jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/kgy5zy2
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This is the story of a Town Class cruiser that was sent 
to the Mediterranean after taking part in the Battle of Norway. 
Nicely illustrated study of one of the warships escorting Malta 
convoys, her fate and her recent discovery by divers  -  Highly 
Recommended.

The story of the Siege of Malta is a military epic. This book follows 
the fortunes of one cruiser escorting the convoys that provided fuel, 
munitions, weapons and food to enable the people of Malta to hold out 
against impossible odds. It may be the story of HMS Manchester but it 
is also the story many other warships that escorted convoys running 
the gauntlet of continuous attack by aircraft, surface vessels and 
submarines. The cost was enormous but the prize, the survival of 
Malta, was priceless.

Many of the warships available in the Mediterranean to the Royal Navy 
for convoy escort had recently come from the cold waters off Norway 
and in the North Atlantic. The problem that could not be solved was 
that convoys running East to Malta from Gibraltar were observed by 
Axis agents in Spanish territory. What ever efforts were made to hide 
the nature of Malta convoys, the enemy knew, as convoys were forming, 
or passing through the Straits, the dates and times of sailing, the 
number of ships making up the convoy and their types. As the convoys 
could only be heading for Malta, Tobruk, or Egypt the Axis forces 
could forecast with great accuracy the route to be taken and the 
speed of the convoy. That allowed them to pre-position submarines and 
surface vessels to intercept and attack. As the possible routes were 
all under the radius of Axis aircraft, a continual surveillance of 
the convoy was possible and waves of aircraft could take off to 
intercept with great accuracy. The only respire was gained during 
very bad weather.

Against the known threats, the British ships had few options. As 
every attack was likely to include submarines, surface ships and 
aircraft, the warships were fully stretched, using all of the 
available armament. As the enemy was able to employ saturation 
attacks, ammunition supplies were a major concern for the warships, 
with no means of resupply until they made final port after the 
mission. For anti-aircraft guns it was also a major concern because 
barrels frequently over -heated, the bores wore rapidly and the 
vibration could shake feed trays from precise position, leading to 
jams that took time to clear and sometimes could not be cleared. To 
add to the challenges there was no rest for the crews and exhaustion 
was a constant threat. Just to make matters worse, some gun crews 
left out safety split pins from the retaining bars on anti-aircraft 
gun feed tables. This was to allow faster access to clear fouling but 
increased the chances of a feed part openng during action.

The author has described HMS Manchester's part in two convoys to 
Malta, the damage she suffered and her final fate, the rescue of her 
crew under fire, and her discovery by divers to bring the story up to 
date. The text reads smoothly and the nicely executed photo-plate 
section shows Manchester as she was, her crew's rescuers and how she 
looks today on the seabed.

An absorbing story that is also a tribute to all those who served on 
Malta convoys.