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The Battle of the Atlantic

Book Review

 

Title:

The Battle of the  Atlantic

Author:

Andrew Williams

Publisher:

Basic Books, New York, NY

ISBN:

0-465-09153-9

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2003

Rating:

The Battle of the Atlantic tells the story of the German submarine campaign in the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. It begins by discussing the financial and political origins of the  war, then tells how the submarine grew in importance to be the most powerful and destructive tool of the German Navy.

Get more information about the Battle of the Atlantic at amazon.comWith only a few dozen ships at the start of the war, Admiral Karl Donitz planned  to secure victory over Great Britain by blocking the vital lines of supply necessary  for the war effort of the island nation. His ships achieved enormous success at the start of the conflict, sinking more ships and freight than the British could hope to replace. The level of imported supplies began to dwindle to dangerous and unsustainable levels due to the number of ships being sunk by the U-Boats.

Slowly, the Allies began to have more success with protecting their ships. The convoy system from the First World War was implemented to improve safety. Additional escorts were added to these convoys, and the escorts themselves were improved with training and new tactics. Another important factor that turned the tide of the battle was the use of airpower by the Allies.

The Battle of the Atlantic tells the whole story from beginning to end. Much of its material is based on first person interviews with those that participated in the battle such as Admiral Erich Topp and Admiral Hartwig Looks, and this  leads to an intimate feel as the story is presented to the reader. Rarely do  historical books of this type tell the story so thoroughly and accurately as this account, with the disposition of a number of sinkings finally reconciled by this tale.

The Battle of the Atlantic is an excellent reference for anybody wanting to  know more about the role of U-Boats in the Second World War and how the leadership  and tactics of each side led to the battle's conclusion. The spotlighting of  the personalities and the roles they played adds to the enjoyment of this story.



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