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For the British, the Battle of the Atlantic was a fight for survival. They depended on the safe transit of hundreds of convoys of merchant ships laden with food, raw materials and munitions from America to feed the country and to keep the war effort going, and they had to export manufactured goods to pay for it all. So Britain's merchant navy, a disparate collection of private vessels, became the country's lifeline, while its seamen, officially non-combatants, bravely endured the onslaught of the German U-boat offensive until Allied superiority overwhelmed the enemy.??In this important, moving and exciting book, drawing extensively on first-hand sources, the acclaimed maritime historian Richard Woodman establishes the importance of the British and Allied merchant fleets in the struggle against Germany and elevates the heroic seamen who manned them to their rightful place in the history of the Second World War.
The highly acclaimed 'Cruel Sea' is one of the all-time great naval and war thrillers. It covers the battle of the Atlantic and the people who fought it - their domestic triumphs, tragedies, worries and ambitions.The film was a smash hit when released and enjoys undiminished popularity, along with the book.
High cliffs jutting out into the Atlantic and the North Sea, many hundreds of rocky skerries, deep sea lochs, dangerous unseen reefs, powerful tides and gales that batter the land fiercely from all points of the compass . . . Scotland has a coastline of immense beauty and danger, and its cruel sea has claimed many lives down the years. Disaster at sea is a poignant part of Scotland's history, and in this chilling and awe-inspiring book, bestselling author Robert Jeffrey tells the compelling stories of the victims of the ocean deeps. Car ferries, fishing boats, troopers, pleasure yachts and Navy vessels of all sorts, including submarines, have gone to the bottom. And in brave attempts to save those in danger with lifeboats, many have died. Including the famous tales of the Princess Victoria, the ill-fated K13 submarines, the Longhope lifeboat and the Iolanthe, Scotland's Cruel Sea remembers the maritime tragedies that made headlines and became part of the folk memory of a seagoing nation.
"The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril," wrote Winston Churchill in his monumental history of World War Two. Churchill's fears were well-placed-the casualty rate in the Atlantic was higher than in any other theater of the entire war. The enemy was always and constantly there and waiting, lying just over the horizon or lurking beneath the waves. In many ways, the Atlantic shipping lanes, where U-boats preyed on American ships, were the true front of the war. England's very survival depended on assistance from the United States, much of which was transported across the ocean by boat. The shipping lanes thus became the main target of German naval operations between 1940 and 1945. The Battle of the Atlantic and the men who fought it were therefore crucial to both sides. Had Germany succeeded in cutting off the supply of American ships, England might not have held out. Yet had Churchill siphoned reinforcements to the naval effort earlier, thousands of lives might have been preserved. The battle consisted of not one but hundreds of battles, ranging from hours to days in duration, and forcing both sides into constant innovation and nightmarish second-guessing, trying desperately to gain the advantage of every encounter. Any changes to the events of this series of battles, and the outcome of the war-as well as the future of Europe and the world-would have been dramatically different. Jonathan Dimbleby's The Battle of the Atlantic offers a detailed and immersive account of this campaign, placing it within the context of the war as a whole. Dimbleby delves into the politics on both sides of the Atlantic, revealing the role of Bletchley Park and the complex and dynamic relationship between America and England. He uses contemporary diaries and letters from leaders and sailors to chilling effect, evoking the lives and experiences of those who fought the longest battle of World War Two. This is the definitive account of the Battle of the Atlantic.
'Magnificent' Robert Macfarlane Winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Our lives depend on shipping but it is a world which is largely hidden from us. In every lonely corner of every sea, through every night, every day, and every imaginable weather, tiny crews of seafarers work the giant ships which keep landed life afloat. These ordinary men live extraordinary lives, subject to dangers and difficulties we can only imagine, from hurricanes and pirates to years of confinement in hazardous, if not hellish, environments. Horatio Clare joins two container ships on their epic voyages across the globe and experiences unforgettable journeys. As the ships cross seas of history and incident, seafarers unfold the stories of their lives, and a beautiful and terrifying portrait of the oceans and their human subjects emerges. 'Tremendous' The Times
The author of this compelling memoir proved himself one of the most successful small ship commanders during the Norwegian campaign in 1940, and then served at sea continuously throughout the rest of the War.??In Norway, as second-in-command of a Black Swan sloop, he experienced the suspense and nervous strain of operating in the narrow waters of a twisting fjord under heavy air attack, but his humour was never far away. 'I don't want to appear fussy, but are we going to be greeted by cheers and kisses from Norwegian blondes, or a hail of gunfire from invisible Huns?' he remarked to his officers on approaching the small town of Andalsnes. ??His next task - in command first of a corvette and then a destroyer - was escorting East Coast convoys, and his experiences reflect the danger of this work against the menaces of E-boats, enemy aircraft and mines. He then took part in the landings at Anzio and the Normandy landings in 1944; finally, he rescued internees from the Japanese prison camp on Stanley, Hong Kong. His career was much helped by his highly developed sixth sense for danger, the deep affection of his crews and his affinity with cats which he believed brought him luck. ??This record of varied and almost incessant action ranks among the most thrilling personal stories of the war at sea.

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