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Days before the outbreak of World War II a handful of German commerce raiders put out to sea to prey on Allied merchantmen. Amongst them was the Panzerschiff ('armoured ship') Graf Spee, a formidable warship that boasted the firepower of a battleship but the size, speed and range of a cruiser. When World War II commenced, under the command of Captain Langsdorff the Graf Spee began a hunting spree across the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean that eventual took her to the River Plate in search of her next victim – an Allied convoy. Instead she found three Royal Navy cruisers under the command of Commodore Harwood, eager to put an end to the 'pocket battleship' that had been terrorizing Allied merchant ships. Featuring full colour artwork, archive photographs and meticulous research, this comprehensive volume explores the thrilling story behind the Battle of the River Plate, an engagement that unquestionably demonstrated the effectiveness of British seapower and diplomacy on an international stage.
Upon the outbreak of war, the British Royal Navy was deployed globally, whilst the Imperial German Navy was concentrated in two areas ? Home Waters and Tsingtao, the home port of the crack East Asia Cruiser Squadron which, under the command of Admiral von Spee contained some of Germany's most modern cruisers. As Spee made his way to the Chilean port of Valparaiso, he met the British 4th Cruiser Squadron which had been ordered to engage and defeat the German force. This resulted in the battle of Coronel where the antiquated British warships proved no match for Spee's modern cruisers. It was the first naval defeat suffered by the Royal Navy in over 100 years. When news reached London, panic reigned and two ships HMS Inflexible and Invincible were sent to lead the force against Spee. When bad weather delayed the German arrival, Spee knew that he had to stand and fight, unaware that amongst the ships opposing him were two modern battlecruisers which outclassed any of his own squadron's ships. Given the presence of Inflexible and Invincible, the result of the battle had an inevitable outcome and after several hours hard combat, Spee's ships were defeated.
This tale of the Battle of the River Plate follows the machinations of the German war machine as Kapitan zur See Hans Langsdorff commands the pocket battleship Graf Spee on a mission to cripple British shipping. Through clever subterfuge and daring, the Graf Spee takes ship after ship, ultimately forcing the British Navy to send twenty ships in search of the elusive Spee.
Norwegian investigative journalist Alf Jacobsen relates one of the most incredible tales of the Second World War, in which Royal Navy X-craft midget submarines attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway. A daring plan was hatched by the Admiralty to sink Tirpitz using midget submarines to plant high explosive mines beneath the ship's keel. On 22 September 1943, six X-craft midget submarines set out from Scotland to sink the battleship at anchor in Norway. Three never reached the fjord and X5, commanded by Lt Henty-Creer, was presumed sunk by the Germans, so only X6 and X7 made the attack. Both Lt. Donald Cameron in X6 and Lt Godfrey Place in X7 placed their charges successfully, but were forced to surrender. Both were awarded the Victoria Cross. Although Tirpitz was not sunk she was put out of action until April 1944. Lt. Henty-Creer, the commander of X5, and his crew were never seen again. Neither he nor any of his crew received any posthumous gallantry awards. Did X5 actually penetrate the anti-submarine defenses around Tirpitz and lay its explosive charges beneath the battleship? If it did, then Henty-Creer and his crew deserve to be honored for their bravery.
Operation Pointblank was the code name for the United States Army Air Force's attempt to destroy German fighter capability through the use of daylight strategic bombing in advance of the D-Day landings. Launched in 1943, the operation immediately met with severe problems, most notably the horrible attrition experienced by the US bomber forces. However, with the arrival of the P-51 Mustang, the United States was able to equip the fighters to fly on long-range-bomber escort missions and take the fight to the Luftwaffe in the skies over Germany. This book examines the entire operation from both the Allied and the German perspectives, covering all the main decisions and technological innovations made by both sides in this epic struggle.
"Remarkable...a feat of historical reconstruction."—Paul Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous campaign of World War II, climaxed in 1943, when Germany came closest to interrupting Allied supply lines and perhaps winning the war. In March of that year, German U-boats scored their last great triumph, destroying nearly 150,000 tons of supplies and fuel. • Blow-by-blow account of the largest convoy battle of the war • Analyzes the tactics, technology, and intelligence of both sides
This comprehensive reference volume is divided into two parts, the war in Europe and North Africa and the war in the Pacific. Within each section every campaign is described in detail and analysed. Chronologies show how the war progressed from one day to another. World War II remains the largest military conflict in history.--[from introduction]
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