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Q-Ships Versus U-Boats

Book Review

 

Title:

Q-Ships Versus U-Boats

Author:

Captain Kenneth M  Beyer (Ret.)

Publisher:

Naval Institute Press, Anapolis, MD

ISBN:

1-55750-044-4

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

July, 2002

Rating:

Early in 1942, the United States became desperate  to reduce the losses they suffered from German U-Boats on their merchant shipping. Q-Ships Versus U-Boats tells the story of a secret program they started to sink the raiding submarines.

Get more information about Q-Ships at amazon.comThe  author was intimately familiar with the Q-Ships because he was selected at the  beginning of the program and assigned duty as a supply officer on the first  of these secret ships. The Q-Ship program re-configured standard merchant vessels to include hidden deck guns and depth charge racks. The navy sailors chosen for this program operated outside the normal boundaries of military protocol. The supplies and equipment they used were paid for from secret bank accounts  registered in the name of private companies and the men dispensed with normal  military uniforms. They were instructed to "not get caught."

After a short period of retrofit and training, these ships took to the seas  off the coast of the United States to trap and sink the raiding submarines that took a daily toll of merchant ships and seamen. Captain Beyer tells the story  from his personal vantage point, and also includes the view of the battle from  the periscope of the German U-Boats by interviewing the surviving German Captains. His story overlays the routes of the two combatant forces as the battle developed  and explains how both groups felt as things began to go wrong.

This novel adds an interesting, once secret, and little known chapter to the history of the Second World War. The first hand account by Captain Beyer truly gives the reader an accurate picture of this program from beginning to end and relates the terror that the merchantmen felt as they sailed the treacherous waters of the east coast of the United States.

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