Surviving The Arctic Convoys, The Wartime Memoir of Leading Seaman Charlie Erswell

The Arctic Convoys to the Soviets were the most arduous naval actions of WWII. The far left have always made much of how the Soviets won the war. The courage of Red Army troops and pilots was impressive, but what is frequently neglected is the part British seamen played in the epic convoy battles to supply the Soviets Most Highly Recommended

NAME:  Surviving The Arctic Convoys, The Wartime Memoir of Leading Seaman 
Charlie Erswell
FILE: R3365
AUTHOR: John R McKay
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £19.99                                              
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   Eastern Front, WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, 
World War Two, war at sea, naval warfare, Arctic Convoys, Kriegs Marine, Luftwaffe, 
Soviet Frontal Aviation, torpedo attacks, U-Boats, surface warships, air attacks
 
ISBN: 1-39901-303-3

PAGES: 181,  16 pages of B&W in a photo-plate section, and B&W maps/charts in the 
body of text 
IMAGE: B3365.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/6h5etws
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Arctic Convoys to the Soviets were the most arduous naval 
actions of WWII. The far left have always made much of how the Soviets won the
 war. The courage of Red Army troops and pilots was impressive, but what is 
frequently neglected is the part British seamen played in the epic convoy battles to 
supply the Soviets  Most Highly Recommended

The Arctic convoys faced hostility at every turn of their propellers. Through the trip they had to face some of the most difficult sailing conditions on the way from Britain to the Soviet port of Murmansk and then they had to turn around and do it all the same on the way home. The sea conditions alone were a continuing battle, but on top of that the sailors faced almost continuous attack from the air, from German surface warships, and from U-Boats.

This book is a gritty personal account by a Leading Seaman who endured and survived. What irked some was the lack of appreciation from the Soviets, who just took. HMS Royal Sovereign was a battleship loaned to the Soviets. It had to fight its way from Britain to Murmansk and when it arrived the Soviet sailors griped about anything and everything as they insisted on conducting a minute audit of the ship and all it contained. When the Royal Navy recovered the battleship at the end of the war it was filthy, rusty, with many failures of equipment and looted of anything portable.

The RN escorts often had to fight very hard. Some gun crews on capital ships built igloos from collision mats hosed down with steam hoses. This provided some protection from sea conditions between German attacks. One gunner on a destroyer ended up in a whaler with some dozen comrades after their ship attacked a major German warship in an unequal fight that gave the merchantmen time to disperse before the German guns came into range. The gunner watched his comrades die and expected to follow them. Then he saw a rescue tug that had been following the convoy to assist stragglers and survivors. He struggled to his feet, holding the mast with one hand and waving the other as he shouted, hoping to attract the tug. It saw him but, by the time it reached him, the rescuers had first to saw through the mast, to which his left hand was frozen.

Stories like these have rarely been told and it is great to read another rare account of life and survival against enemy and weather.