The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 - April 1940
Author: Geirr H. Haarr
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing
The term 'the phony war' is often applied to the first months of the Second World War, a term suggesting inaction or passivity. That may have been the perception of the war on land, but at sea it was very different. This new book is a superb survey of the fierce naval struggles, from 1939 up to the invasion of the Norway in April 1940.??The author begins the book with the sinking of the German fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919 and then covers the rebuilding of the Kriegsmarine and parallel developments in the Royal Navy, and summarises relevant advances in European navies. The main part of the book then describes the actions at sea starting with the fall of Poland. There is a complex, intertwined narrative that follows. The sinking of Courageous, the German mining of the British East Coast, the Northern Patrol, the sinking of Rawalpindi, small ship operations in the North Sea and German Bight, the Altmark incident are all covered. Further afield the author deals with the German surface raiders and looks at the early stages of the submarine war in the Atlantic.??As with his previous books, Geirr Haarr has researched extensively in German, British, and other archives, and the work is intended to paint a balanced and detailed picture of this significant period of the war when the opposing naval forces were adapting to a form of naval warfare quite different to that experienced in WWI.
“The authors set themselves a bold purpose, to examine six technologies (two weapons, two tools, and two platforms), chart their influence on naval warfare, and provide “new perspectives and insights” into how technological innovation develops and progresses. The authors recognize this is a ‘vast subject,’ but they have done a very effective job at examining the six technologies and their use in war. I believe this is one of the great strengths of the book, the emphasis on actual use, because—as the authors correctly point out—theories about the potential of technology must regularly be revised once a new technology collides with the reality of its utility.” —Trent Hone, author, Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945 Innovating Victory: Naval Technology in Three Wars studies how the world’s navies incorporated new technologies into their ships, their practices, and their doctrine. It does this by examining six core technologies fundamental to twentieth-century naval warfare including new platforms (submarines and aircraft), new weapons (torpedoes and mines), and new tools (radar and radio). Each chapter considers the state of a subject technology when it was first used in war and what navies expected of it. It then looks at the way navies discovered and developed the technology’s best use, in many cases overcoming disappointed expectations. It considers how a new technology threatened its opponents, not to mention its users, and how those threats were managed. Innovating Victory shows that the use of technology is more than introducing and mastering a new weapon or system. Differences in national resources, force mixtures, priorities, perceptions, and missions forced nations to approach the problems presented by new technologies in different ways. Navies that specialized in specific technologies often held advantages over enemies in some areas but found themselves disadvantaged in others. Vincent P. O'Hara and Leonard Heinz present new perspectives and explore the process of technological introduction and innovation in a way that is relevant to today’s navies, which face challenges and questions even greater than those of 1904, 1914, and 1939.
A bold and authoritative maritime history of World War II which takes a fully international perspective and challenges our existing understanding Command of the oceans was crucial to winning World War II. By the start of 1942 Nazi Germany had conquered mainland Europe, and Imperial Japan had overrun Southeast Asia and much of the Pacific. How could Britain and distant America prevail in what had become a “war of continents”? In this definitive account, Evan Mawdsley traces events at sea from the first U-boat operations in 1939 to the surrender of Japan. He argues that the Allied counterattack involved not just decisive sea battles, but a long struggle to control shipping arteries and move armies across the sea. Covering all the major actions in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as those in the narrow seas, this book interweaves for the first time the endeavors of the maritime forces of the British Empire, the United States, Germany, and Japan, as well as those of France, Italy, and Russia.
Given the dearth of scholarship on the Phoney War, this book examines the early months of World War II when Winston Churchill’s ability to lead Britain in the fight against the Nazis was being tested. Graham T. Clews explores how Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed to fight this new world war, with particular attention given to his attempts to impel the Royal Navy, the British War Cabinet, and the French, toward a more aggressive prosecution of the conflict. This is no mere retelling of events but a deep analysis of the decision-making process and Churchill’s unique involvement in it. This book shares extensive new insights into well-trodden territory and original analysis of the unexplored, with each chapter offering material which challenges conventional wisdom. Clews reassesses several important issues of the Phoney War period including: Churchill’s involvement in the anti-U-boat campaign; his responsibility for the failures of the Norwegian Campaign; his attitude to Britain’s aerial bombing campaign and the notion of his unfettered “bulldog” spirit; his relationship with Neville Chamberlain; and his succession to the premiership. A man of considerable strengths and many shortcomings, the Churchill that emerges in Clews’ portrayal is dynamic and complicated. Churchill’s Phoney War adds a well-balanced and much-needed history of the Phoney War while scrupulously examining Churchill’s successes and failures.
This is the first comprehensive account of how intelligence influenced and sustained British naval power from the mid nineteenth century, when the Admiralty first created a dedicated intelligence department, through to the end of the Cold War. It brings a critical new dimension to our understanding of British naval history in this period while setting naval intelligence in a wider context and emphasising the many parts of the British state that contributed to naval requirements. It is also a fascinating study of how naval needs and personalities shaped the British intelligence community that exists today and the concepts and values that underpin it. The author explains why and how intelligence was collected and assesses its real impact on policy and operations. It confirms that naval intelligence was critical to Britain’s survival and ultimate victory in the two World Wars but significantly reappraises its role, highlighting the importance of communications intelligence to an effective blockade in the First, and according Ultra less dominance compared to other sources in the Second. It reveals that coverage of Germany before 1914 and of the three Axis powers in the interwar period was more comprehensive and effective than previously suggested; and while British power declined rapidly after 1945, the book shows how intelligence helped the Royal Navy to remain a significant global force for the rest of the twentieth century, and in submarine warfare, especially in the second half of the Cold War, to achieve influence and impact for Britain far exceeding resources expended. This compelling new history will have wide appeal to all readers interested in intelligence and its crucial impact on naval policy and operations.
In 2002 the wreck of a British cruiser was located by divers off the coast of Tunisia. The stunning photographs of the wreck inspired Dr Richard Osborne to delve into the controversy surrounding the loss of one of the Royal Navy's proudest ships HMS Manchester. After taking part in the Norway campaign of 1940, Manchester was sent to the Mediterranean, where she was involved in the dangerous Malta convoys. On her first convoy she was struck by a torpedo and badly damaged. In danger of sinking at any minute, her skipper, Captain Harold Drew, managed to save his ship.Her next operation was to prove her last. In Operation Pedestal, the vital Malta relief convoy, Manchester was again hit by a torpedo. This time, rather than risk the lives of his crew Drew decided to scuttle his ship. For this Drew was court-martialled in what would become the longest such case in the history of the Royal Navy.Using the testimony of those involved, the highly respected naval historian Dr Osborne pieces together one of the most intriguing stories to emerge from the Second World War. Coupled with photographs of the wreck and a detailed account of its discovery, The Watery Grave: The Life and Death of HMS Manchester, will shed new light on this remarkable tale.
The Routledge History of the Second World War sums up the latest trends in the scholarship of that conflict, covering a range of major themes and issues. The book delivers a thematic analysis of the many ways in which study of the Second World War can take place, considering international, transnational, and global approaches, and serves as a major jumping off point for further research into the specific fields covered by each of the expert authors. It demonstrates the global and total nature of the Second World War, giving due coverage to the conflict in all major theatres and through the lens of the key combatants and neutrals, examines issues of race, gender, ideology, and society during the war, and functions as a textbook to educate students as to the trends that have taken place in how the conflict has been (and can be) interpreted in the modern world. Divided into twelve parts that cover central themes of the conflict, including theatres of war, leadership, societies, occupation, secrecy and legacies, it enables those with no memory of war to approach it with a view to comprehending what it was all about and places the history of this conflict into a context that is international, transnational, and institutional. This is a comprehensive and accessible reference volume for anyone interested in the most up to date scholarship on this major conflict.
The Fighting Life and Loss of HMS Havock from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean 1939–42
Author: Richard Osborne
Publisher: Pen and Sword
It was headline news on 8 April 1942: One of the Navys most famous destroyers, a ship which survived bombs, torpedoes and full scale battles, has been wrecked. That destroyer was HMS Havock, described in another newspaper as Britains No 2 Destroyer of this war second only in fame and glory to the Cossack.Havock had earned her reputation guarding the convoys across the Atlantic in 1939 and at Narvik in the abortive bid to stave off the German occupation of Norway in 1940. Havock was then transferred to the Mediterranean, fighting at the Battle of Cape Spada in 1940 and in 1941 at the Battle of Matapan and in the evacuations of Greece and Crete.Havocks duties in the Med continued, escorting the convoys to the besieged island of Malta and the equally beleaguered garrison at Tobruk. Then in the Battle of Sirte in 1942 Havock was badly damaged and she limped into Malta for repairs. There she was heavy bombed and when Havock made a bid to reach Gibraltar, she was wrecked off Cape Bon. Her crew was captured and imprisoned in the infamous Laghouat internment camp.The authors have tracked down fifty of the surviving crew and from interviews have been able to compile one of the most detailed, and certainly one of the most dramatic, histories of a destroyer during the Second World War. Destroyer at War tells the story of the battles and operations of a famous ship, and its sad destruction, through newspaper reports, official documents, and the words of the men who sailed and fought in HMS Havock as she earned an astonishing eleven battle honors in her brief but glorious career.
The RAF and Luftwaffe during Operation Dynamo, 26 May – 4 June 1940
Author: Harry Raffal
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
The evacuation of Dunkirk has been immortalised in books, prints and films, narrated as a story of an outnumbered, inexperienced RAF defeating the battle-hardened Luftwaffe and protecting the evacuation. This book revives the historiography by analysing the air operations during the evacuation. Raffal draws from German and English sources, many for the first time in the context of Operation DYNAMO, to argue that both sides suffered a defeat over Dunkirk. . This work examines the resources and tactics of both sides during DYNAMO and challenges the traditional view that the Luftwaffe held the advantage. The success that the Luftwaffe achieved during DYNAMO, including halting daylight evacuations on 1 June, is evaluated and the supporting role of RAF Bomber and Coastal Command is explored in detail for the first time. Concluding that the RAF was not responsible for the Luftwaffe's failure to prevent the evacuation, Raffal demonstrates that the reasons lay elsewhere.
A new book from this bestselling author covering the events at sea in the early years of World War II, in which he has compiled comprehensive research and insight into a highly readable and detailed account of British and Allied submarine warfare in north European waters at the beginning of the war. The early chapters describe prewar submarine development, including technical advances and limitations, weapons, tactical use and life onboard, and examine the men who crewed them and explore their understanding of the warfare that they would become involved in.The core of the book is an account of the events as they unfolded in 'home waters' from the outset of war to the end of 1940, by which time the majority of the Allied submarines were operating in the Mediterranean. It is a story of success, triumph, failure and tragedy, and it tells of the tremendous courage and endurance shown by a small group of men learning how to fight a new kind of war in claustrophobic, sub-sea vessels with limited information about the enemy, or what they would meet off the alien coasts to which they were heading. Extensive primary sources are used to document the many aspects of this war, some of which remain controversial to this day. Max Horton, Vice Admiral Submarines 1940, said: 'There is no room for mistakes in submarines. You are either alive or dead.' This book makes plain how right he was.