"Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews" PROVIDED BY - Rob Jerrard
Books by Casemate Publishing 2010
The Age of the Great Flying Boats
Edition: 1st published in 1991 Paperback 2010
Author: Robert Gandt
Publishers: Naval Institute Press (Casemate)
Publication Date: 15th Oct 2010
Publisher's title Information
When the China Clipper shattered aviation records on its maiden six-day flight from California to the Orient in 1935, the flying boat became an instant celebrity. This lively history by Robert Gandt traces the development of the great flying boats as both a triumph of technology and a stirring human drama. He examines the political, military, and economic forces that drove its development and explains the aeronautical advances that made the aircraft possible. To fully document the story he includes interviews with flying boat pioneers and a dynamic collection of photographs, charts, and cutaway illustrations.
Robert Gandt is a former naval officer, international airline captain, and military historian. A resident of Daytona Beach, FL, he is the author of thirteen books, including The Twilight Warriors.
Why the Flying Boat?
By the third decade of powered flight, when aeronautical technology had evolved to the contemplation of over-ocean travel, not one major civil airport yet possessed a long, flat, paved surface sufficient to accommodate the weight of an oceangoing transport airplane. Nor was any airline or sponsoring government inclined to construct such a surface. A more expedient option seemed availablethe two-thirds of the planet that happened to be already flat, unobstructed, and, incidentally, covered with water.
Thus arrived the age of the great flying boats. It lasted sixteen years, commencing with the news of the Dornier Do X project and ending with the postwar scuttling of the Boeing boats. This brief episode occurred at a crossroads in history. It was a time when the ancient rites of the sea were joined, for just a moment, with the infant craft of flight.
From the beginning, its days were numbered. Even the unlikely nameflying boatwas an anachronism. The hybrid craft was regarded just as its name implieda boat that happened to be capable of flight.
It was never a wholly satisfactory scheme. "Neither grand pianos nor airplanes belong in sea water," quipped the critics, with justification. For airplanes, the ocean was a place of peril Salt water ate like acid into metal components. Flotsam and submerged objects ruptured fragile din-alumin hulls. Ice floes lurked like mine fields in northern waters. Giant swells turned sheltered harbors into heaving, mountainous seascapes. Boarding docks and motor launches were required to embark and deplane passengers, often in tossing seas.
These harsh realities are often blurred in latterday recountings. Histories of the flying boat, like those of the airship and steam locomotive, tend to conjure up nostalgia. Mystique substitutes for fact. Which aircraft
was the most "romantic?" The most famous? Appeared in the most headlines? Engaged in the most spectacular flights? Carried the most eminent passengers? Which was the fairest of them all?
Aeronautical history ought to interweave with function. As a prerequisite to understanding, we must ask unromantic questions: What was the aircraft's weight? Tare? Wing loading? Power-to-weight? Load-totare? Range with a revenue payload? Without? When and where did it fly?
But there is more. The pure "fact book" disregards the subtle historical nuances of an era. In aviation history, machines are inextricably bound to the lives of the men who construct them, fly them, deploy them, destroy them. The account is punctuated by human pride, greed, courage, soaring ambition, egregious folly. Soulless machines become imbued with the passions of their flesh-and-blood builders.
People thus count for as much as machines. From the record of the great flying boats, we ought to ask: By whom was this airplane built? Why? By whom flown? What was it designed to do? Did it do it well? If not, why not?
The feel and flavour of the flying boat era were eloquently conveyed to me during the past decade by three pioneer captains, Marius Lodeesen, Horace Brock, and William Masland, all now deceased. Further valuable insight was contributed by old boat captains Fran Wallace, Jim O'Neal, Harry Beyer, Bob Ford, Al Terwilleger, Thomas Roberts, and Ken Ray - mond, all veterans of Pan American.
Navigator/instructor E. F. "Blackie" Blackburn contributed his knowledge of celestial navigation as practiced on the flying boats.
Mr. Sergei Sikorsky kindly reviewed the text concerning his father, Igor Sikorsky, and made available the archives of United Technologies Corporation, which are managed by Ms. Anne Milbrooke.
The considerable resources of Pan American World Airways were indispensable in the research for this book. For this kind assistance I am indebted `to Pan -Am's Vice Preident for Corporate Communications, Jeff Kriendler, and librarian Li Wa Chin. Valuable materials were also contributed by the Martin Marietta Corporation, Dornier GmbH, Lufthansa, British Airways, and the Boeing Company.
Old friend and colleague, Captain J. P. Wood, produced the excellent line drawings and the appended graphics.
Of particular assistance with French flying boat data was Stephane Nicolaou of the Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace at Le Bourget Airport. Materials and advice about the German boats were generously given by historian Fred Gutschow of Munich, Germany. Mr. R. E. G. Davies, Curator of Air Transport at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, lent frequent help and provided the recently unearthed story of the Martin M-156. A special acknowledgment is owed Dr. R. K. Smith, author and historian, for his forthright critique throughout the production of this work.
The Essential Facts and Figures for the German Navy
150 b/w & colour photographs, diagrams & maps
Author: David Porter
Publishers: Amber Books Ltd ( Casemate )
Publication Date: 19th Sept 2010
Publisher's Title Information
Germany's navy, the Kriegsmarine, played a critical role in the Third Reich's attempt to restrict the flow of supplies, men and materiel from the United States to Britain in the early years of the war and from North America and Britain to the Soviet Union from 1941. Such was the success of the U-boats in particular, by the end of the war more than 3000 Allied ships with a combined gross tonnage 14.5 million had been sent to the bottom of the sea.
World War II Data Book: The Kriegsmarine, 1939-45 gets behind this massive organization to reveal the workings of the German Navy through its organization, command structure, economic resources, production figures, recruitment, training and philosophy. Broken down by key campaigns and subject areas, the book includes exhaustive reference tables, diagrams, colourful maps and charts, presenting all the core data in easy-to-follow formats.
World War II Data Book: The Kriegsmarine, 1939-45 is an essential reference guide for anyone interested in the history and structure of Germany's wartime navy.
David Porter has a life-long interest in military history. Since leaving the British Ministry of Defence in 2006 after 29 years' service, he has worked on a number of research projects. David is the author of The Essential ID Guide: Soviet Tank Units, 1939-45, The Essential ID Guide: Western Allied Tanks, 1939-45, Order of Battle: The Red Army in World War II and World War II Data Book: Hitler's Secret Weapons, 1933-45.
The Laughing Soldier - The British Armed Forces Jokebook
Author: The Veteran's Charity - Project 65
ISBN: 978 1612000381
Publication Date: Nov 2010
AL MURRAY AND CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER IN NEW JOKE BOOK TO GIVE UK TROOPS A BOOST
The Chancellor George Osbourne, Al Murray and Alan Titchmarsh are among the contributors to a new charity joke book in aid of the British Armed Forces
PROJECT 65 - The Veterans Charity has created and compiled The Laughing Soldier: The British Armed Forces Jokebook which will go on sale at all good bookshops and online retailers from 26th November, published by Casemate (www.casematepublishing.co.uk), ISBN 978-1-61200-038-1 and priced at £6.99. Hundreds of free copies are also being sent to troops serving in Afghanistan.
The book features over 180 jokes, each sent in with a message of support for the members of our armed forces serving around the world. Jokes have been sent in by politicians, comedians, celebrities and dozens of ex-forces veterans and relatives of those serving today.
Forewords have been written for the book by top British comedian Al Murray and triple amputee former Royal Marine Mark Ormrod.
CEO of Project 65 - The Veterans Charity, Danny Greeno said, “the idea for The Laughing Soldier came from a love of the legendary military sense of humour, the unique ability to find humour in the toughest of situations but also for inspiring some of the sharpest humour there has ever been. I know from the work we do with veterans of all ages that a good sense of humour is vital to keeping morale high and to lift spirits in tough times. I hope the many messages of support will also show our troops just how proud we all are of the incredible job they are doing.”
The charity, which was founded in 2008, has been asking people to submit jokes through a dedicated website over the last few weeks and has been inundated with jokes and messages of support from all over the world.
Business Development Director for Casemate, Simone Drinkwater said, “we are extremely honoured to be working with Project 65 - The Veterans Charity on The Laughing Soldier. As a military history publisher, we are of course very aware of the sacrifices our troops make on all our behalf and hope that this book goes some way to show how much we appreciate their efforts.”
A donation from the sale of each book will go to PROJECT 65 - The Veterans Charity, helping them to continue their work in funding the vital care and support of armed forces veterans and forces families and establishing new initiatives to offer more support to those who need it most.
Contact Simone Drinkwater 01635 email@example.com
About Project 65
Project 65 - The Veterans Charity was founded in 2008 to raise funds for the care and support of wounded armed forces veterans and their families.
There are hundreds of different issues faced by UK armed forces veterans and families of the armed forces community. Project 65 - The Veterans Charity focuses on being able to help fund the vital care and support available for EVERY issue faced by those associated with forces life.
These issues include:
Treatment and rehabilitation following wounding or injury
Every pound raised by Project 65 - The Veterans Charity will make a difference to the amount of money we can provide for our chosen beneficiaries and will enable them to continue providing the vital care and support they give to individuals and families affected by injury or trauma as a result of service in the UK armed forces. These do not just include the current and recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan but also Kosovo, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Borneo, Aden, Korea and of course WWII.
More information about the charity and how you can help or get involved can be found at www.project65.net
For an interview with Danny Greeno contact:
Buckinghamshire SL0 0NH
08447 365 265
Strangling the Confederacy
Coastal Operations in the American Civil War
Author: Kevin Dougherty
Price: £20, $32.95
Publication Date: 14th April 2010
Publisher's Title Information
A selection of the Military Book Club While the Civil War is mainly remembered for its epic battles between the Northern and Southern armies, the Union was simultaneously waging another campaigndubbed “Anaconda”that was gradually depriving the South of industry and commerce, thus rendering the exploits of its field armies moot. When an independent Dixie finally met the dustbin of history, it was the North's coastal campaign, as much as the achievements of its main forces, that was primarily responsible.
Strangling the Confederacy examines the various naval actions and land incursions the Union waged from Virginia down the Atlantic Coast and through the Gulf of Mexico to methodically close down every Confederate port that could bring in weapons or supplies. The Rebels responded with fast shipsblockade runnersthat tried to evade the Yankee fleets, while at the same time constructing formidable fortifications that could protect the ports themselves. While Union troopships floated offshore, able to strike anywhere, mobile Confederate forces were kept at hand near crucial points, albeit in smaller numbers, to resist Federal irruptions into their homeland.
In the final analysis, the Union's Navy Board, a unique institution at the time, undertook the correct strategy. Its original decision to focus on ten seaports that had rail or water connections with the Confederate interiorfrom Norfolk to Charleston to Mobile to New Orleansshows that the Navy Board understood the concept of decisive points. In a number of battles the Federals were able to leverage their superior technology, including steam power and rifled artillery, in a way that made the Confederate coastal defenses highly vulnerable, if not obsolete. On the other hand, when the Federals encountered Confederate resistance at close-quarters they often experienced difficulties, as in the failures at Fort Fisher, the debacle at Battery Wagner, the Battle of Olustee, and in other clashes.
What makes this book particularly unique is its use of modern military doctrine to assess and analyze the campaigns. Kevin Dougherty, an accomplished historian and former career Army officer, concludes that, without knowing it, the Navy Board did an excellent job at following modern strategic doctrine. While the multitude of small battles that flared along the Rebel coast throughout the Civil War have heretofore not been as well known as the more titanic inland battles, in a cumulative sense, Anacondathe most prolonged of the Union campaignsspelled doom for the Confederacy.
Reviews to date
”Even the oldest Civil War buffs will learn a few bits of new information….” Lone Star Book Review , 2010-09-22
D-Days in the Pacific with the US Coastguard
The Story of Lucky Thirteen
Edition: 1st Published in 2007
Author: Ken Wiley
Publication Date: 15th Feb. 2010
Publisher's Title Information
Winner of the 2008 Foundation for Coast Guard History Book Award the images of soldiers and marines coming ashore on hostile shores are embedded in our collective memory of World War II. But what of the sailors who manned the landing craft, going back and forth under fire with nowhere to take cover, their craft the special targets of enemy gunners?
In this book, Ken Wiley, a Coast Guardsman on an Attack Transport in the Pacific, relates the intricate, often nerve wracking story of how the United States projected its power across 6,000 miles in the teeth of fanatical Japanese resistance. Each invasion was a swirl of moving parts, from frogmen to fire support, transport mother ships to Attack Transports, the smaller Higgins boats (LCVPs), and during the last terrifying stage the courageous men who would storm the beaches.
The author participated in the campaigns for the Marshall Islands, the Marianas the Philippines and Okinawa, and with a precise eye for detail relates numerous aspects of landing craft operations, such as ferrying wounded, that are often discounted. He conveys the terror and horrors of war, as well as, on occasion, the thrill, while not neglecting the humour and camaraderie of wartime life.
An exciting book, full of harrowing combat action, D-Days in the Pacific also provides a valuable service in expanding our knowledge of exactly how World War II's massive amphibious operations were undertaken.
Reviews to date
“…delightfully written with an engaging mix of humour, modesty, information and character sketches.”
Miniature Wargames(UK), , 2010-09-01
“…brings the reader close to the experiences… a real understanding of the brutal yet bonding nature of war at the sharp end.”
Military Illustrated UK , 2010-09-01
The Last Seven Miles
This story is about the U.S. Coast Guard's role in World War II, as told from the perspective of a teenage boy who played a part in that great global struggle. It is also about an unheralded boat that played an insignificant and yet very important role in America's response to restoring freedom to a part of the world enslaved by an evil tyranny. Lucky 13my boatwas a weapon specifically designed and mass produced in the United States to bridge the 6,000-mile ocean gap and carry the war to the shores of the enemy. The "Higgins" boats were lowered from troop ships with one mission: to carry the infantry and equipment the last seven miles of the long and perilous journey onto the beaches of enemy-held islands.
I grew up in the U.S. Coast Guard. Although I was only a kid of seventeen when I enlisted, I was a man when I left the service at twenty. You grew up quick in those days and under the circumstances so many of us experienced. I spent six short weeks in Boot Camp in St Augustine, Florida, where I saw my first ocean; nine weeks in Landing Craft School with the Marines at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina, where I saw and was given my first landing craft and on to a waiting Attack Transport, and where I was hoisted aboard my first ship as a Cox'n of an LCVP (Higgins boat). Six months after I joined the Coast Guard I was heading for Kwajalien in the Marshall Islandsmy first invasion in the Pacific theatre of war.
I was one of five brothers who served in the military during WWII. We all volunteered. One of us did not come back. The three older boys were in the Army Air Corps, one younger brother was in the Army, and I served as the only sailor in the family with the unheralded amphibious forces that island-hopped its bloody way to Japan. The environment of the world, the times, the war, and most of all the shaping of the minds of the 15 million young people in uniform is the key to understanding how it was back then. Most of us were teenagers. We couldn't legally drink or vote. We were the children of the 1930s and we carried our experiences from childhood and the Great Depression into the Great War of the 1940s.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, where they destroyed a number of our capital warships and killed thousands of men. We were not at war when they attacked, and there was no advance warning. By the spring of 1942, the Japanese had conquered the Philippines, Singapore, much of Southeast Asia, Guam, Wake Island, and New Guinea. In less than four months they had effectively built a wall around the vast central and southwest Pacific ocean. They had killed, driven out, or captured Allied forces in order to do so. Imperial Japan was well positioned for further conquests. After Pearl Harbor, American isolation was no longer an option. Our choices were limited to fighting for our freedom and utterly defeating our enemies, or surrendering to them. There was no middle ground.
On the other side of the world in Europe, Nazi Germany had enslaved France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Romania, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Greece, and Ethiopia. Most of western Russia had also fallen to invading Axis forces. England, driven off the European mainland in 1940, was locked in a death struggle to stave off a German invasion of its homeland. Would it survive long enough to turn the tide with the help of American troops and equipment? No one knew the answer to that question. The Free World had reached its nadir.
The Japanese intended to take all of Burma, India, Australia, Midway, the Aleutians, and Hawaii before forcing us to surrender to avoid an invasion of our western states. Japan and Germany were allied in their war against the Western democracies. Japan had nine million men in the military, twice as many fighting ships and aircraft carriers as we did and perhaps more importantly, a home field advantage. Our troops numbered fewer than one million at the beginning of the war. After losing most of our battleships and fighter aircraft at Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy was hard pressed to carry the war against its Pacific enemy.
We had to do the impossible, and do it immediately: carry the war into Japanese waters while assisting England in defeating Germany thousands of miles away. The specter of a two-front war was a daunting one, but the alternative was unthinkable. In order to stop Japan, we had to move our troops and equipment 6,000 miles across theiocean in ships we didn't have to fight an enemy already firmly entrenched on scores of islands with air fields, supported by a powerful navy several times the size of our own battered fleet.
And we did it.
'D-Days In The Pacific' is the story of how we achieved this remarkable feat, as told through the eyes of a teenager in command of his own boat.
On Seas Contested - The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War
Authors: Vincent P. O'Hara, W. David Dickson, & Richard Worth
Publishers: Naval Institute Press
Publication Date: 15th Oct 2010
Publisher's Title Information
An essential reference about the Navies of WWII, all in one volume
A team of naval historians have pooled their expertise for this definitive single-volume reference on how the major navies of World War II were organised and how they trained, operated, and fought.
They provide a point-by-point evaluation on the inner workings of the navies of the United States, the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, and the Soviet Union. Each Navy has its own chapter with such key features as weaponry, training, logistics, and doctrine. In bringing together data buried in specialised works in various languages, the authors deliver a fresh, multinational view of the naval war.
On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War is an dented collaboration by an International team of naval historians who have pooled their expertise to explain how the major navies of the Second World War svelte organized, how they trained, how they planned to operate, and how they fought.
The book delivers a point-by-point evaluation of the United States Navy, the Royal Navies of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, Japan's Nihon Kaigun, the German Kriegsmarine, the Italian Regia Marina, Frances Marine Nationale, and the Soviet Voenao-Morskoi Floteach navy has its own chapter in a consistent format leading through the key features such as weaponry administration, training, logistics, and doctrine. The result is an illuminating history that pioneers a new perspective on the war at sea; the definitive reference collected into a single volume.
On Seas Contested provides a comprehensive shady of the inner workings of the great fleets, collecting data that have been buried is specialized works, in various languages. The book contains much rarely encountered information that the specialist will find valuable, yet it is written in an accessible style and covers topics that will appeal to the general reader. Its multi-national orientation delivers a fresh view of the naval war in contrast to many English-language accounts that are written from the perspective of the American and British victors.
About the Authors
Vincent P. O'Hara is the author of three other books published by Naval Institute Press. He lives in Chula Vista, CA.
W. David Dickson, an expert on Japanese naval doctrine and carrier design, is an author who lives in Hernando, MS.
Richard Worth specialises in warship design. A resident of Bolivar, MO, he is the author of several books.
The Royal Navy and The Battle of Britain
Anthony J. Cumming
Author: Anthony J Cumming
Publishers: Naval Institute Press
Publication Date: 15th Sept 2010
Publisher's Title Information
Controversial, revisionist account of the Battle of Britain, weighing the outcome more firmly in the hands of the Royal Navy, rather than the RAF
This persuasive study attacks the key myths surrounding the Battle of Britain to revise the relative status of maritime and aviation factors in the defence of Britain. Without denigrating the heroism of the fighter pilots, Anthony Cumming challenges the effectiveness of the Royal Air Force in 1940 and gives the Royal Navy much greater prominence than others have. He vigourously asserts the ability of British warships to frustrate German plans for Operation Sea Lion and to repel Luftwaffe attacks.
The author argues that the RAF took the lion's share of the glory only because its colourful image could easily be used manipulate American opinion. Cumming contends that the 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain should celebrate the contributions of the many rather than focusing on the pilot elite, an assertion certain to provoke discussion.
Anthony J. Cumming, after a long career in the British civil service, earned a Ph.D. in history in 2006 and won the University of London's Julian Corbett Prize for his research. He lives in Devon, UK.
This and a previous book I have reviewed (Hitler's Armada, The Royal Navy and the Defence of Great Britain April-October 1940, Pen & Sword, 2008) both challenge the key myths surrounding the actual situation during 'The Battle of Britain'. Both books do not in any way denigrate the heroism of the RAF pilots, but was there ever a 'Battle of Britain'? Was it not overall a 'Battle for Britain'? For Germany there never was a 'Battle of Britain'.
It seems only correct that such a study as this gives credit where it is due, not focussing on the Pilot elite, but just as much on an efficient Royal Navy fully supported by the Fleet Auxiliaries and Merchant Navy.
Looking at the whole picture it seems very unlikely that Operation Sea lion could have succeeded and at the time Winston Churchill did not believe the invasion possible.
It seems grossly unfair to suppose that a large Navy such as we possessed, which was built on hundreds of years of training, proficiency and traditions would simply stand by and allow it. The fact is the Royal Navy defeated Operation Sea lion, simply by existing. Compare the two navies, the German surface fleet was in a precarious state, 'Z' plan called for a number of ships to be completed by 1947/8, the German navy simply was not ready. Admiral Raeder is quoted as saying his navy would, “just about be able to show that they could die with dignity”.
I hope many of the younger generation will read this book and conclude that alongside 'The Few' of the RAF were also the 'Many' of the Royal Navy standing firm against the German menace.
The Other Side Of The Night
The Carpathia, the Californian, and the Night the Titanic was Lost
16-page photo section
Author: Daniel Allen Butler
Publication Date: 29th June 2009
Publisher's Title Information
Written by the best-selling author of “Unsinkable”: The Full Story of RMS Titanic
Reveals incredible story of how hundreds of passengers could have been saved if not for one man
After every disaster, someone has something to hide...
A few minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage to New York, struck an iceberg. Less than three hours later she lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. While the world has remained fascinated by the tragedy, the most amazing drama of those fateful hours was not played out aboard the doomed liner but aboard the decks of two other ships, one 58 miles distant from the sinking Titanic, the other barely ten miles away.
The masters of the steamships Carpathia and Californian, Captain Arthur Rostron and Captain Stanley Lord, were informed within minutes of each other that their vessels had picked up the distress signals of a sinking ship. Their actions in the hours and days that followed would become the stuff of legend, as one would choose to take his ship into dangerous waters to answer the call for help, while the other would decide that the hazard to himself and his command was too great to risk responding. After years of research, Daniel Allen Butler now tells this incredible story, moving from ship to ship on the icy waters of the North Atlanticin real-timeto recount how hundreds of people could have been rescued, but in the end only a few outside of the meager lifeboats were saved. He then looks alike at the U.S. Senate Investigation in Washington, and ultimately the British Board of Trade Inquiry in London, where the actions of each captain are probed, questioned, and judged, until the truth of what actually happened aboard the Titanic, the Carpathia and the Californian is revealed.
FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA...
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
U-Boat Adventures - Firsthand Accounts from World War II
Author: Melanie Wiggins
Publishers: Naval Institute Press
Publication Date: 15th April 2010
Publisher's Title Information
Twenty-two U-boat veterans tell their chilling stories in this collection of their combat experiences in World War II, recorded by the author during several years of travel throughout Germany. It is one of very few books to examine the lives of the enlisted crew in the infamous submarines. Melanie Wiggins interviewed seventeen men and five of their commanders to take readers into the terrifying world of underwater warfare where every man helped determine the fate of his boat.
While tracking down the U-boat veterans, Wiggins came across photographs and secret diaries and gained access to personnel records. A reunion of the U-682 crew and interviews with Admiral Otto Kretschmer two months before his death and the ninety-four-year-old Commander Jürgen Wattenberg netted a wealth of information. Among the individual sagas included are Radioman Hans Bürck's description of his 1942 patrol to Aruba and Herman Wien's description of U-180 transporting an Indian anarchist to Madagascar.
Wiggins, a resident of League City, Texas, has also written a book about Galveston and the U-boats, among others.
Historical writers for years have spotlighted the most noted U-boat commanders and their achievements in both world wars, leaving it great many crewmen's adventures untold. Melanie Wiggins' book presents fresh insight into submarine warfare as experienced by radiomen, helmsmen, watch officers, engineers, and petty officers, as well as some of the commanders who survived.
Wiggins' well-documented book about German U-boats, Torpedoes in the Gulf: Galveston and the U-boats, 1942-1943, was published in 1995, and her research for that project led to the discovery of many German submarine veterans who wanted to relate their stories. Wiggins' current work encompasses the adventures- of twenty-one U-boatmen who came forth with diaries, letters, photographs, and interviews for this collection. Their dramatic accounts reveal every conceivable German U-boat situation from 1939 to the bitter end of World War II and include scenes in postwar prisoner of war camps.
One of the older U-boat captains, Jurgen Wattenberg, recalls his early navy career and the sinking of U-162 off the coast of Trinidad, plus his remarkable escape from a POW camp. Wattenberg's story is complemented by the experiences of Wolfgang von Bartenwerffer in U-536, sent into the Gulf of St. Lawrence to pick up Otto Kretschmer and other German submariners who were to break out of Camp Bowmanville in Canada. Kretschmer, top U-boat ace of the war, reminisces about his navy life, the sinking of his boat and his capture in 1941, and his years as a prisoner of war.
Some of the first missions into the North Atlantic are describednotably by Georg Hogel, who went on the initial patrol of U-30, when she sank the British liner Athenia and was later attacked by aircraft of the carrier Ark Royal in September 1939. In July 1940 Ernst Gothling survived the sinking of his boat, U-26, by convoy escorts, only to be a POW for the next seven years.
In the Caribbean we have Hans Burck's secret diary of U-67's journey in February 1942 to Aruba in Operation Neuland, and Hermann Wien and Otto Diet; crewmen on U-180, remember the time they transported Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose and his aide to the Japanese submarine 1-29 off Madagascar. From the Mediterranean the commander of U-616, Siegfried Koitschka, tells of his many successful patrols against the Allied invasion fleets off Sicily. Arctic adventures are related by Hans Georg Hess, skipper of U-995, and Walter Tegtmeier of U-997, who operated against Murmansk-bound convoys in 1944 and 1945.
Several stories chronicle the war's end, including an RAF attack on the German naval base at Horten, Norway, in December 1944, and Helmut Wehlte's account of U-903's evacuation of civilian refugees from East Prussia in 1945. Gunther Thiemrodt tells of U-1205's participation in the rescue operation as well, and Commander Wolfgang Heibges recalls his last days on U-999 in Operation Regenbogenthe scuttling of U-boats on 4 May 1945 in Flensburg Bay. Peter Marl, who served on three U-boats for the entire war, experienced a thirty-five-day journey underwater from Bordeaux to Penang, with the final delivery of U-195 at Jakarta. Josef Matthes, in U-963, sailed off to Portugal after Germany's surrender rather than return home, and Walter Tegtmeier accompanied U-997 to Scotland in Operation Deadlight, where the Royal Navy sank the remaining German submarines.
We thank Melanie Wiggins for collecting the memories of such an outstanding group of former German submariners, with their wide-ranging experiences in all oceans during the great sea battles of World War II.
In U-Boat Adventures twenty-two German veterans tell their stories and it is claimed to be one of the few books to offer first-hand accounts. As such it would have to be said that it records part of Germany's history, which many would prefer to forget. That said it is a valuable record and offers an insight into their world.
Within the book you will find, apart from the war episodes, many historical facts that enhance the human side of this tragic story of the U-Boats, half of all crew were killed, eg the story of Otto Dietz and the capture of U-505 by the Americans. Otto finally arrived in England where he was befriended by people upon whose farm he worked. He even looked them up after the war.
What made young men join the U-Boats, perhaps Tom Poser of U-222 can answer that question?
'One day in 1936 Hitler came to pay a visit to the boys, and Poser never forgot his impression of the dictator. "I was already against him because our family had supported the emperor. But he had such power in his eyes that if he had told me to take out a gun and shoot myself, I would have.” At the ripe old age of sixteen, Tom Poser, whose father's ancestors, the Wellfs, had been officers in the King of Hannover's army, entered the engineering branch of the navy. After a short stay in boot camp he went to Flensburg Naval Academy to further his naval career in the submarine service'
So there you have the answer, or do you? I would rather end with the words of Herman Frubrich of U-845. Looking back on his battles at sea, Hermann comments: "During the war, whenever we met the so-called enemy, I never had feelings of animosity, because every sailor wore the blue uniform with three stripes around the collara tie that bound us all."
The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship
Author: Niklas Zetterling &Michael Tamelander
Price: £19.99, $32.95
Publication Date: 2009
Publisher's Title Information
The story of the battleship TirpitzBismarck's sister shipand the desperate Allied efforts to destroy it . . .
After the Royal Navy's bloody high seas campaign to kill the mighty Bismarck, the Allies were left with an uncomfortable truththe German behemoth had a twin sister. Slightly larger than her sibling, the Tirpitz was equally capable of destroying any other battleship afloat, as well as wreak havoc on Allied troop and supply convoys. For the next three and a half years the Allies launched a variety of attacks to remove Germany's last serious surface threat.
The Germans, for their part, had learned not to pit their super battleships against the strength of the entire Home Fleet outside the range of protecting aircraft. Thus they kept Tirpitz hidden within fjords along the Norwegian coast, like a Damocles Sword hanging over the Allies' maritime jugular, forcing the British to assume the offensive. This strategy paid dividends in July 1942 when the Tirpitz merely stirred from its berth, compelling the Royal Navy to abandon a Murmansk-bound convoy called PQ-17 in order to confront the leviathan. The convoy was then ripped apart by the Luftwaffe and U-boats, while the Tirpitz returned to its fjord.
In 1943, the British launched a flotilla of midget submarines against the Tirpitz, losing all six of the subs while only lightly damaging the battleship. Aircraft attacked repeatedly, from carriers and both British and Soviet bases, suffering lossesincluding an escort carrierwhile proving unable to completely knock out the mighty warship.
Trying an indirect approach, the British launched one of the war's most daring commando raidsat St. Nazairein order to knock out the last dry dock in Europe capable of servicing the Tirpitz. Of over 600 commandos and sailors in the raid, more than half were lost during an all-night battle that succeeded, at least, in knocking out the dry dock. It was not until November 1944 that the Tirpitz finally succumbed to British aircraft armed with 10,000-lb Tallboy bombs, the ship capsizing at last with the loss of 1,000 sailors.
In this book military historians Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander, authors of Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship, illuminate the strategic implications and dramatic battles surrounding the Tirpitz, a ship that may have had greater influence on the course of World War II than her more famous sister.
Reviews to date
“… accurately synthesizes the available work on Allied efforts to destroy the battleship into one entertaining read... comes alive in its descriptions…well organized…” GLOBE AT WAR , 2010-03-01
When working on our previous book about the battleship Bismarck, whose career turned out to be as brief as it was dramatic, it was impossible not to make comparisons with the fate of her sister ship, the Tirpitz. The lattercommissioned after the destruction of the Bismarck-and despite being Germany's largest warshipremained stationary and unharmed for most of her service. As the -fates of the two ships differed considerably; the way we approached the story of the Tirpitz also differs significantly from the way we approached Bismarck. The latter was the focal point of a highly dramatic week in May 1941. Of course, there was the bigger picture in which she temporarily played a part, but the narrative was built around the battleship herself, the fate of the crew manning different battle stations, and also around the commanders who made decisions that would have important implications for maritime strategy in the later parts of the Second World War.
In a sense, the Tirpitz was a focal point too, but rather as a piece in a broader game played by actors located very far from the battleship herself. The drama of the Tirpitz did not to the same extent take place on the bridge or at the battle stations of the ship. Instead, several dramatic episodes unfolded around her, as she was continuously regarded as a major threat by the Allies. Most of these episodes took place in one of the most inhospitable parts of the earththe-Arctic Sea. During the summer months, this region could offer spectators a scenery as tranquil as it was dazzling. The winters, though, could be very severe. Despite the harsh climate, many merchant ships were sent to. Murmansk and Archangelsk, bringing vital armaments and other important cargo from the Western Allies to the Soviet Union. The Tirpitz constantly threatened these convoys, and innumerable attempts were therefore made to destroy her. The German battleship, however, long defied these efforts.
There are many very good sources if one wants to study the history of the Tirpitz. Most of her war diary still remains, as do many relevant documents from the Luftwaffe and various German naval staffs. Also, a large part of her crew and many additional eyewitnesses survived the wan With so many sources available, priorities have to be made in order to produce a readable account. We have chosen not to describe the Tirpitz from a technical point of view, since we have already discussed her almost identical sister ship in our previous work. Instead we have focused upon the war in the Arctic, the convoys and the Allied efforts to destroy the battleship. No warship presents an isolated history. Not until the full picture is clear, can the importance of the Tirpitz be judged. With this book we hope to assist the reader in attaining a better understanding of the war in 'the Arctic, as well as the Tirpitz's role in it. This was our main objective.
In their Preface the authors say that with Tirpitz, dramatic episodes unfolded around her as she was continuously regarded as a major threat by the allies. This really is the story of those episodes as attempts were made to destroy a ship that remained mostly stationery for her entire career.
Within the covers of a book about Tirpitz you therefore need to discuss 'Operation Chariot' the attacks to destroy the Normandie Dock, the air attacks, the human torpedoes (Chariots) which involved the use of a fishing boat and of course the X-Craft (Midget Submarines). During all these different operations very many brave men died including some in X9, which was lost at sea when the tow parted. Finally, there were more attacks from the air.
What were Tirpitz and Bismarck for? The author sums it up.
'The Bismarck had been the last German battleship endeavoring to cut off the British transatlantic trade routes and thus cripple the British economy. The Tirpitz had been given the less ambitious task to halt Allied Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union. Neither of these aims had been achieved.'
What was the purpose of another book on Tirpitz in 2009? The author tells us:-
'There are many very good sources if one wants to study the history of the Tirpitz. Most of her war diary still remains, as do many relevant documents from the Luftwaffe and various German naval staffs. Also, a large part of her crew and many additional eyewitnesses survived the war. With so many sources available, priorities have to be made in order to produce a readable account. We have chosen not to describe Tirpitz from a technical point of view, since we have already discussed her almost identical sister ship in our previous work. (Bismarck -The Final days of Germany's Greatest Battleship, Casemate 2009) Instead we have focused upon the war in the Arctic, the convoys and the Allied efforts to destroy the battleship. No warship presents an isolated history. Not until the full picture is clear, can the importance of the Tirpitz be judged. With this book we hope to assist the reader in attaining a better understanding of the war in the Arctic, as well as the Tirpitz's role in it. This was our main objective.'
Tirpitz finally met her end on 12 November 1944, after that she was only fit for scrap.
This is a good general book covering all aspects of Tirpitz. However there are more specific books on individual parts of this story which are well recorded elsewhere. I recommend 'Underwater Warriors', 'Tirpitz, Hunting the Beast' and 'Above us the Waves' as being well worth reading, albeit there are other good books as well.
The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship
Author: Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander
Publishers: Casemate Publishing
Publication Date: 26th may 2009
Publisher's Title Information
A gripping tale of heroism and doomon the high seas . . .
The sinking of the German battleship Bismarcka masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch gunswas one of the most dramatic events of World War II. She left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance. British battlecruiser Hood was quickly dispatched from Scapa Flow to intercept the Bismarck, together with new battleship Prince of Wales. They were ordered to find the ship quickly because, on their way from the USA, several large convoys were heading for Britain.
On 24 May, Bismarck was found off the coast of Greenland, but the ensuing battle was disastrous for the British. The Hood was totally destroyed within minutes (only 3 crewmen surviving), and Prince of Wales was badly damaged. The chase resumed until the German behemoth was finally caught, this time by four British capital ships supported by torpedo-bombers from the carrier Ark Royal. The icy North Atlantic roiled from the crash of shellfire and bursting explosions until finally the Bismarck collapsed, sending nearly 2,000 German sailors to a watery grave.
Tamelander and Zetterling's work rests on stories from survivors and the latest historical discoveries. The book starts with a thorough account of maritime developments from 1871 up to the era of the giant battleship, and ends with a vivid account, hour by hour, of the dramatic and fateful hunt for the mighty Bismarck, Nazi-Germany's last hope to pose a powerful surface threat to Allied convoys.
Niklas Zetterling, a researcher at the Swedish Defense College, is most recently co-author of The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944. Together with Michael Tamelander, a part-time military author, they have written books about the battleship Tirpitz, the D-Day landings and the 1940 campaign in Norway.
This is another study of the end of Bismarck, a ship which only ever made one voyage, which was to be her last as well. Indeed as long ago as 1941 a small book was published by Hutchinson & Co called 'The Cruise of the Bismarck' by Francis McMurtrie. Within this book Reviewed we are able to read more of the German version of events, which culminate in Chapter 28, 'The End' which illustrates how terrible it was during the final moments, 'can't sink her with gunfire' the Admiral concluded. The book states only Dorsetshire still had torpedoes and she delivered the coup de grâce. Only Dorsetshire and Maori stopped briefly to pick up survivors and it is reported, just as one would have expected of Royal Naval personnel, indeed of any seamen:-
'In that moment I couldn't feel but pity for those men, and I can speak for the entire crew in saying we all felt the same. There was nothing of the usual 'you-shouldn't-have-messed-with-the Royal-Navy'-attitude, only genuine compassion.'
Seventeen-year-old George Bell, who served as Captain Martin's orderly, was of the same opinion. 'To be perfectly honest, there should have been a feeling of bitterness after the sinking of the Hood,' he recalled, 'but as soon as the rescue was begun this was all forgotten. We were simply saving shipwrecked sailors.'
Hundreds of men were left to die in the cold waters because of a possible threat from U-Boats. A British seaman from Dorsetshire is quoted as saying, 'wasn't any fault of ours, neither was it the Germans, it was the war'. Since the Germans started the war, that statement doesn't make any sense - however Chapter 29 reveals that U-74 was indeed in the area and sighted Dorsetshire and two Destroyers. U-74 picked up three German survivors. Are we to believe that given a chance her Captain would not have attacked?
U-47 was herself Sunk 2 May,1942 in the Med east of Cartagena, Spain, in position 37.32N, 00.10E, by depth charges from HM Destroyers Wishart and Wrestler and depth charges from a British Catalina aircraft (Sqdn. 202/C). 47, all hands lost.
On 5 April 1942, southwest of Ceylon, Dorsetshire was hit by 10 bombs and sank stern first at about 13:50. Of her crew, 234 men were killed in the attack; more than 500 survived in the water or on rafts, being picked up by the cruiser Enterprise and the destroyers Paladin and Panther the next day. Captain Agar was among the survivors.
HMS Maori a Tribal class destroyer was attacked by German aircraft and sank at her moorings in Malta Grand Harbour on 12 February 1942 with the loss of one of her crew. She was raised and scuttled off Malta on 15 July 1945.
Since this book relates events from the German perspective it represents a very important study, which is worth adding to your library. It is very fully referenced with footnotes, some good charts and black and white photographs.
“A fresh look at the life and death of the most famous German warship of World War II.”
”... a very interesting and useful history …once you start… you will be very hard pressed to stop until the smoke has cleared and the ship is sunk.”
Internet modeler , 2009-08-09
“…unable to put it down…I highly recommend this book for anyone that likes the study of naval battles or just wants to read about an action-packed sea battle.”
IPMS , 2009-08-09
"outstanding book about naval warfare…real time, you are there style that conveys all of the anxiety of actual combat at sea."
WWII History Magazine , 2009-09-09
The military career of the battleship Bismarck was unusually brief, embracing but nine days at sea, while the interest she has provoked has lasted for more than half a century. Perhaps it is all the mysteries that surround her, despite this single operational journey, which have attracted the curiosity of historians, military professionals and general readers alike. Most certainly, this interest in the Bismarck has also been promoted by her size, her speed, her very effective armour belt and the power and efficiency of her armament. When launched, she was, together with the British battlecruiser Hood, the largest warship then afloat. As these two giants met during the dramatic battle in the Denmark Strait, posterity was given a gripping tale and a naval story that continues to tantalize many an audience. Radio silence that was broken for reasons still unexplained; fuel tanks not topped up before departure; and the question of whether the crew of the Bismarck scuttled her during the final battle, are only some examples of the many unanswered puzzles that followed the German battleship to her grave, and which continue to baffle those searching for answers today.
One of the central issues regarding the short life of the Bismarck is why she was sent out on the Atlantic at all. What was the underlying purpose of her deployment there? It may appear as if she was sent out aimlessly onto the open sea, where she was first discovered in the Denmark Strait, fought a major battle in which she was damaged, shook off her British pursuers and turned towards German-occupied France, only to be rediscovered again. And finally went down, damaged, alone, and fighting bitterly to the very end. A partial aim of this book is to depict the Bismarck within the context created by both the German and the British maritime strategies, which in turn were mainly dictated by the trade, economy and history of these two nations. Of course, most of the space in the book is devoted to the Bismarck's dramatic journey, but we will also discuss whether the above mentioned strategies were sound or mere folly.
While working with the story of the Bismarck, it gradually became apparent to us that chance, coincidence and sheer luck play a great part in the shaping of maritime events, at least during a single episode like Operation Rheiniibung. Numerous examples spring to mind: misinterpreted orders, false assumptions, the taking of unnecessary risks. If grave, just one of these examples could mean the difference between success and utter failure; and even if minor, a number of these mishaps could combine to alter the chain of events and lead to an unexpected outcome. For us, who enjoy the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see that sometimes mistakes and misjudgements could even create advantages. Huge sums of money were spent to build, outfit and crew the huge ships, and thus responsibility weighed heavily on the vast numbers of officers and seamen who were entrusted to command and serve on them. Added to the burden of responsibility were scant intelligence, uncertainty about enemy intentions, lack of knowledge about other friendly forces, fatigue and many other hardships and ambiguities which demanded luck to result in victorious battles or operations
A problem encountered by anyone trying to follow the movements of ships on the Atlantic is time, as the ships sailed over vast expanses of ocean, covering several time zones. The Bismarck followed daylight-saving times, which was introduced in Germany in 1940. As the ships moved further and further west, sunset happened progressively later, unless the clocks on board the ships were adjusted. Indeed Admiral Lutjens ordered that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen should set back all clocks on board one hour at 13.00 hours on 23 May.' Consequently, the two ships used Central European Standard time. The British also used daylight-saving time, but unlike the Germans they adjusted the clock by two hours compared to normal time. Hence, German and British time on land coincided during this period, while Liitjens' squadron was one hour behind. British ships at sea may of course also have adjusted their clocks to suit the time zone they were sailed within. We have endeavoured to use Central European summer time in our description of the events, but the reader is asked to keep in mind that the clocks on board the ships may have differed.
An exception is the times given during Operation Berlin (JanuaryMarch 1941), when virtually all events are described from the point of view of the German squadron. We decided to use the time as it was set on board the two German battleships. During the operation, several time zones were covered, further complicating the issue.
Another time-related problem is encountered when the various messages are dealt with. A message was assigned a time when it was written. However, minutes or hours could pass before it had been coded, transmitted, received, decoded and presented to the commander for whom it was intended, so it can be tricky to settle for a specific time. Sources do not always make it fully clear what is meant when the timing of a message is given. Thus the reader is encouraged not to take all times given in the book too literally. We have tried to limit the problem by not using more exact wording than warranted by the actions described, but it has not been possible to do away with times altogether.
The terminology used at sea can place demands upon writer as well as reader Many of the words common within naval forces may be difficult to understand for landlubbers like us. We have chosen to use specific maritime terminology to some extent, as the book clearly is about naval warfare, but as we want to reach a broader range of readers, who like us may lack experience with the terminology used by navies, we have strived to reduce the professional terminology to a necessary minimum.
Some of the literature we have relied upon is available in many versions and even languages. Most important is Burkhardt von Miffienheirn-Rechberg's book, which has been available to us in Swedish, English and of course German. All page references in our footnotes refer to Miillenheim-Rechberg's German version. As very few of Bismarck's crew survived, and even fewer survived from the Hood, we have relied heavily on Miillenheim-Rechberg and Ted Briggs, respec-tively. When, as authors,we worked extensively with the thoughts and impressions of another person, we gradually developed a kind of acquaintance with him. Thus it was with regret we learned, early in June 2003, that Miillenheim-Rechberg had passed away, 62 years after the Bismarck hit the bottom of the ocean.
Ted Briggs is, at the time of writing, still alive and healthy. He is now the only survivor of the more than 1,400 men that left Scapa Flow with the Hood on 21 May 1941.
Note Ted Briggs died 4th Oct 2008
Ships of the Royal Navy
A Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century to the Present
Edition: The essential work, fully revised up to 2010 . . .
Author: JJ Colledge: Revised and updated by Ben Warlow
Publication Date: February 28, 2010
Publisher's Title Information
This is the fourth fully revised edition of a book first published in 1970. This longevity is testimony to its enduring value as a reference workindeed, 'Colledge' (as the book is universally known) is still the first stop for anyone wanting more information on any British warship from the 15th century to the present day when only the name is known. Each entry gives concise details of dimensions, armament, and service dates, and its alphabetical and chronological arrangement makes it easy to track down the right ship (otherwise the Royal Navy's tradition of re-using the same names can be misleading).
When originally published, the second of the two volumes was devoted to minor fighting ships, and hired and requisitioned vessels. For the 3rd edition, published in one volume, this material was omitted, but for this edition all the genuine fighting shipslike the numbered Coastal Forces crafthave been restored, resulting in a convenient but comprehensive single-volume listing of all significant vessels.
Since the death of Jim Colledge, who was widely respected for his pioneering research on the technical details of warships, his magnum opus has been updated, corrected and expanded with similar enthusiasm and attention to detail by Ben Warlow, a retired naval officer and author of a number of books in the field.
Preface to the 2010 Edition
This is an updated version of my 2006 edition of Volume 1 of Mr. Colledge's excellent work. It has been revised to include ships added to the Fleet since that date, and also the fate of those that were extant in 2006 but have subsequently been discarded or sold. In the 2006 volume I included some vessels built as proper warships (i e coastal forces, motor torpedo-boats, motor gun boats, motor launches etc., and Bar class boom defence vessels) which were previously listed in Volume II (which has not been reprinted). This edition has been enhanced by the addition of major requisitioned ships (armed merchant cruisers, decoy (Q-) ships, ocean/armed boarding vessels, etc.), together with landing craft, GYMS, Admiralty built trawlers, whalers, drifters and motor fishing vessels to make the volume more complete. I have also taken the liberty of adding mercantile aircraft carriers, which served under the Red Ensign, and which, therefore, appeared neither in Volume I nor Volume II. I felt it proper they (and mercantile motor gunboats) should be recorded somewhere. This has increased the number of entries by some 4,900, bringing the total to about 18,000.
The opportunity has also been taken to update some of the earlier entries, and in this I am grateful for advice from experts who have mentioned points worth clarifying. I have also inserted the final disposal of many ships transferred to other navies or to mercantile service. Also added are details of major anti-submarine weapons fitted in HM Ships.
I have tried to follow the same system as Mr. Colledge used for ease of reference and for continuity
namely: Ship name/previous name(s)/type/class or tonnage-dimensions-armament/builder/launch date/fate. Tonnage, armament, etc. vary throughout a ship's career and normally just the basic, as built, details are set out in this work. The launch date is given usually, though sometimes the date of a ship's acquisition or commissioning is listed instead. This summary can but provide a snapshot and guide in order that deeper research can be conducted elsewhere. Again, I have followed the system of listing the details of larger classes towards the end of this introduction to avoid undue repetition in the text. Ships of Royal Naval classes built for Commonwealth Navies, together with major warships built specifically for those navies are included. For ease of reference I have continued to list Canadian ships as 'RCN', rather than use the new designation `CFS' for Canadian Forces Ships.
Volume 1 contains details of principal warships, whilst Volume II contains details of trawlers, drifters, tugs and requisitioned ships (but see paragraph 1 above). My own work 'Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy' covers static ships and establishments and also nominal depot ships. These three volumes should answer any questions as to 'What was HMS...?'
I can but hope that this work is helpful to researchers in the naval field. I have been assisted in this revision by Captain Chris Page, the Head of the Naval Historical Branch, and his staff I have also been guided by many others. However, the main credit for this work must go to Mr. Colledge who provided the basis and inspiration. Many generations will remain indebted to him for his efforts. There are bound to be errors and omission in such a work, and I would be grateful to be made aware of any that are noted.
Ben Warlow, Burnham-on-Crouch, 2010
Foreword to the 1987 Edition
When they appeared nearly twenty years ago, Mr. James Colledge's historical indices, the two volumes of Ships of the Royal Navy, immediately became a standard work of reference, indispensable to researchers and enthusiasts alike. Amateurs and professionals appreciated the almost unique combination of simplicity and completeness which, in effect, eliminated a basic level of research.
The one disadvantage of the first edition of Ships of the Royal Navy was that it soon became a collector's item, to be found by the fortunate and/or in specialist second hand booksellers, at several times its original publication price. The appearance of this long overdue edition will be welcomed by those who were disappointed the first time around the feelings of owners of the first edition may, in some cases, be mixed, for it is now superseded.
Since the original text of Volume 1 'Major ships' went to press in 1968 there have been many changes in the List of the Navy. Nearly 100 ships' names have been resurrected (and Ships of the Royal Navy has been at the collective elbow of the Ships' Names Committee as an invaluable source) and some have lived out the full span of their careers during the two decades. While these additions would justify a revised edition, they are, in practice, almost a minor aspect.
It was inevitable, in collating data on 13,000 ships, that there would be a number of errors and omissions, as well as blanks which the author could not fill. In the years which have passed, Mr. Colledge has steadily worked to correct the errors, supplement the data and eliminate the lacunae. In this he has been assisted by members of the World Ship Society, who have already seen, in a special column of their magazine, Warship Supplement, the first published form of the amendments. A further significant contribution has also been made by Mr. David Lyons, another indefatigably helpful researcher, well known to users of the National Maritime Museum's documentary collection of naval records.
But the work as whole remains that of J.J. Colledge, who has now improved on excellence. The Naval Historical Library's two battered, broken and annotated copies of the original will now go into honourable retirement to join other 'first editions' I suspect that many others will be similarly retired.
David Brown, Naval Historical Library, 1987.
Ben Warlow was born and educated in Devonport, entering the Navy through Dartmouth in 1957. After training in the frigate VIGILANT and destroyer CARRON, he served in the cruiser GAMBIA, fast patrol boat BOLD PATHFINDER, cruiser TIGER, frigates TENBY, EASTBOURNE, RHYL and AJAX, and then the Commando carrier BULWARK. After spells in training establishments and on various staffs he returned to sea in Naval Parties, firstly in the RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 for the Falklands War, and then in RFA RELIANT (a trial mercantile helicopter carrier) for operations off the Lebanon. Afterwards he was at the Fleet Headquarters at Northwood for almost eight years as one of the Operations Room Officers. In all he served in the Navy for over 40 years, spending more than half of that time at sea. Such a wide-ranging career has furthered his interest in ships and the sea. He has compiled several books about ships and the Navy, and also written the definitive reference books on Royal Naval Battle Honours and on Shore establishments, as well as writing a history of the Supply and Secretariat (Logistic) Branch of the Navy. For many years he has also been the Editor of, and written articles for, the magazine Warship World.
As a Reviewer of Royal Navy books it has to be right at the top of the 'must have' list. As the 1987 Foreword points out, the great disadvantage of the first edition was that it soon became a collector's item and impossible to find at anything below three times its original price.
This fourth edition is just as welcome as the 1987; and even more so since it now combines in one volume what was not only Volumes 1 and 2 but additional material and updating.
As a test it was only natural that I should start by looking up the seagoing ships in which I served, followed by other familiar names. I found them all, viz, Grafton, Chichester, Lion, Victorious, Maidstone and Aisne. The cross-referencing is good because Lion referred me to the original name for the Tiger Class Cruiser HMS Lion, that of HMS Defence. The entries for the Tiger Class Cruisers are bound to be complicated because all seem to have undergone a change along the way, eg Tiger, ex Bellerophon. Bellorophon could be a tricky one to list because I wore such a cap tally when serving in HMS Belfast when she was HM Ships reserve fleet at Whale Island in 1967-68. I suppose because the name represented a collection of ships, this did not qualify. She was Senior Officer Reserve Fleet Base.
Some names are used over and over, however there has only ever been one Aisne and one Deepwater. HMS Deepwater was a diving tender, ex German Walter Holtzapfel, which I dived under many times on a shallow water diving course in 1959 at HMS Vernon. She was broken up in 1960 and as I recall there was a bad fire on board in 1959.
There are bound to be the odd mistake and I was pleased to see the ship that once frightened the life out of me gave me cause to smile. In about 1958; whilst, how shall I put this, looking around HMS Boxer for a spare fridge for our Mess on Chichester, all the ship's lights came on during a thunderstorm! How, she was a dead ship in reserve! Boxer is listed on Page 5 as a 'fighterection ship' - well she certainly made us sit up that day! Should that read fighter direction? She became a Radar Training ship and we just grabbed that fridge before she was broken up in December 1958.
A book which will get much use and very welcome.