"Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews" Provided by Rob Jerrard

Pen & Sword Books & DVD's Reviewed in 2011

ShipCraft Special: Grand Fleet Battlecruisers
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Steve Backer
ISBN: 9781848321045
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £25
Publication Date: 23rd May 2011

Publisher's Title Information

The 'ShipCraft' series provides in-depth information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. Lavishly illustrated, each book takes the modeller through a brief history of the subject class, highlighting differences between sister-ships and changes in their appearance over their careers. This includes paint schemes and camouflage, featuring colour profiles and highly-detailed line drawings and scale plans. The modelling section reviews the strengths and weaknesses of available kits, lists commercial accessory sets for super-detailing of the ships, and provides hints on modifying and improving the basic kit. This is followed by an extensive photographic gallery of selected high-quality models in a variety of scales, and the book concludes with a section on research references - books, monographs, large-scale plans and relevant websites.rnrnThis volume follows the format of the highly successful Flower Class where the extent has been doubled to include far more illustrations of the many different designs, from the Invincible of 1906 to the Renowns of 1915, and including the hybrid 'large light cruisers' Courageous, Glorious and Furious.


This would be a perfect partner to the two books mentioned below. An excellent description is given of the many kits available. This is certainly a must for those intending to build a model. I have seen several of Steve Backer's books and they are all of a very high standard

Books on the Grand Fleet which you may also find of interest are, 'The Grand Fleet, Warship Design and Development 1906-1922' and 'Cox's Navy Salvaging the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow 1924-1931'.

Rob Jerrard

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Battle on the Seven Seas: German Cruiser Battles 1914 - 1918
Maritime History Books
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Gary Staff
ISBN: 9781848841826
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 31st March 2011

The Publisher's Title Information

The cruisers of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserlische Marine) were active throughout the First World War and saw action all around the globe, tying up valuable Allied naval resources out of all proportion to their number. Drawing on first-hand accounts and original research in German archives, the author here describes in detail some of their most significant and/or audacious battles. Some are well known, such as their role at Jutland, Goeben's attack on the Russian fleet (which brought Turkey into the war) and the sagas of Konigsberg and Emden; but others have been unduly neglected. Gary Staff deliberately focuses on the latter to bring new material to the attention of the reader and to demonstrate the global span of the cruisers' activities. The blow-by-blow accounts of the action (drawing heavily on first-hand Allied and especially German accounts) are supported by dozens of photographs, many previously unpublished, from the author's own impressive collection.
The battles described include: Helgoland Bight, August 1914; Coronel, November 1914; Falklands December, 1914; Doggerbank, January 1915; Goeben and the Russian fleet, Black Sea, May 1915; Ostergarn July 1915; Jutland, 1916; Second Heligoland Bight, November 1917; Imbros, January 1918.

The Author

Gary Staff has had a life-long passion for the history of the German Imperial Navy and has translated many contemporary and original documents on the subject. He contributed to a Channel 4 documentary on Jutland, exploring the Imperial Navy's experience of the battle. He grew up in Australia and currently lives in Victoria.


During the First World War the Kaiserliche Marine, the Imperial Navy, fought across the seven seas of the world. The Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Black Sea, Adriatic Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea and Indian Ocean all served as theatres of operations for the cruisers of the Imperial Navy. The battles of the German cruisers truly made World War One a global conflict, as far as the Germans were concerned more so than in World War Two. For the most part the German cruisers around the world's oceans were defeated, but this does not detract from their excellent service or importance to the German war effort. On the other hand the exploits of the cruisers based at home in the Baltic and North Sea were sometimes shining lights in a war which had settled down into a static conflict.

This book is not an academic book, it is a narrative of German cruisers in action during the First World War. It depicts historical events in an accurate and informative manner, where the story of German cruisers has often never been told before. Some of the story is told by actual participants in quotes taken directly from their written work. By using contemporary accounts it is hoped that some of the atmosphere of the time, and of a naval battle at sea, can be captured and conveyed to the reader. Contemporary accounts are extremely valuable, especially now as the last survivors of this war have passed away. Using firsthand accounts by people involved at the time often gives a better view of that time, before later political meddling and influence could take effect. Many of the participant accounts used in this book were taken as evidence from survivors after the loss of their ship. The only criticism that can be levelled is that sometimes their times are not accurate, which is understandable under the circumstances.

Likewise, contemporary books and war diaries have been used widely. German combat reports and war diaries of individual ships are excellent source material, and contain many details and thoughts. Some ships' commanders were better writers than others, however, with some reports being more replete with detail than others, which shows when command of a ship changed. The German official history of the war at sea, Der Krieg zur See 1914-1918, is an excellent document that was written between 1920 and 1964, with one volume being revised and updated in 2006. Der Krieg zur See is mostly a very exacting document, with some analysis, and almost all the action. In the various war diaries various sections of the written work are underlined in red pencil, and this was the marking left by the authors of Der Krieg zur See of what to include in their work. So therefore the official German history was essentially written by the participants.

One thing which is very important is not to stigmatize the events, writing and history of the First World War with the events and inhumanity of the Second World War. Many authors find themselves unable to do this. The First World War must be viewed as a standalone event, after all when it concluded nobody had any inkling that there would be a second World War, and it had been the war to end all wars. Therefore the German official history was written honestly and without an alternative agenda. Conversely many British books written since the war seek to put a post-war spin on proceedings, trying belatedly to influence events.

On the other hand the official British history, Naval Operations, does not contain as much detail and seems more concerned with analysing command decisions. At times it lapses into parochialism and jingoism. The British ships' logs are also not as detailed, and contain no details of damage. Even the reports contained in the excellent Jutland Dispatches are not so detailed, although they are concise.

Russian details of necessity are taken from books now available. Many are still in print and date back to the immediate post-war period and are written by authors who were involved in the action. Some have been influenced by the Communist Government but these books are easily recognisable by their exaggerations. Russian literature is very interesting and mostly very detailed.

In writing this book I have been assisted by various institutions and individuals. The Bundesarchiv-Militar Achiv have been very helpful. All Imperial Navy War Diaries, as well as much other important research material, are freely available there, and I have been given much assistance by Frau Webel and Frau Meier there. I must also sincerely thank Sebastian Remus for his very valuable research at the BA-MA. He is an expert at finding material on any subject in the Archiv and I am indebted to him for his work. Much help has also been given by the Marine-Offizier-Vereinigung, the Naval Officers Association, and I am sincerely thankful to Fregattenkapitan aD. Vangerow for allowing me to look at material possessed by the Association. Two friends have also beeri very helpful in my search for information and photographs of the Imperial Navy. Herr Carsten Steinhorst is an expert on many aspects of the history of the Imperial Navy, in particular the cruisers, and Mr. Stuart Haller has been very helpful over a very extended period with information and photographs of the cruisers of the High Sea Fleet. I am very thankful and grateful for their help and assistance.

This book is meant to be an accurate narrative history of the battles fought by the German cruisers during the First World War, told in part by the men who fought the ships. I hope it is as enjoyable to read as it was to write and I hope that it brings new insight into a period which is too frequently forgotten.

Gary Staff February 2010

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The British Pacific Fleet
The Royal Navy's Most Powerful
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: David Hobbs
ISBN: 9781848320482
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £35
Publication Date: 2011

Publisher's Title Information

In August 1944 the British Pacific Fleet did not exist. Six months later it was strong enough to launch air attacks on Japanese territory, and by the end of the war it constituted the most powerful force in the history of the Royal Navy, fighting as professional equals alongside the US Navy in the thick of the action. How this was achieved by a nation nearing exhaustion after five years of conflict is a story of epic proportions in which ingenuity, diplomacy and dogged persistence all played a part. As much a political as a technical triumph, the BPF was uniquely complex in its make-up: its C-in-C was responsible to the Admiralty for the general direction of his Fleet; took operational orders from the American Admiral Nimitz; answered to the Government of Australia for the construction and maintenance of a vast base infrastructure, and to other Commonwealth Governments for the ships and men that formed his fully-integrated multi-national fleet.
This ground-breaking new work by David Hobbs describes the background, creation and expansion of the BPF from its first tentative strikes, through operations off the coast of Japan to its impact on the immediate post-war period, including the opinions of USN liaison officers attached to the British flagships. The book is the first to demonstrate the real scope and scale of the BPF's impressive achievement.

The Author

David Hobbs served in the Royal Navy as a pilot for 33 years, flying both fixed and rotary wing. His log books contain 2,300 flying hours and over 800 carrier landings, 150 at night. While in the MOD he was responsible for developing carrier operating techniques for the Invincible class to operate STOVL fighters. The Deck Approach Projector Sight was introduced by him and was a vital component of ship-borne equipment for recovering Sea Harriers at night and in bad weather. He was the RN representative on an Information Exchange Project with the US Navy being closely involved in AV-8B trials at sea.

After retiring from the RN, he worked for some years as the Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton. He has lectured to audiences in Australia, New Zealand, USA and France, as well as appearing on radio and television in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The author of a number of books on naval aviation, including a comprehensive encyclopaedia of the world's aircraft carriers, he won the Aerospace Journalist of the Year Best Defence Submission in 2005. His previous book was A Century of Carrier Aviation published in 2009.


It is part pleasure and part sadness to review this book. A pleasure because like the author I served in HMS Victorious between 1963 and 1964.

The sadness because I have a good friend who served in the British Pacific Fleet in HMS Implacable from 1944 to 1946 He would have loved to have read this book but he is in a Nursing Home and unable to read anymore. Even the youngest who were there are now well into their 80's. He always lit up when he talked about those days.

My eye caught what the author says on page 15 about action working dress being adopted after the crew of Victorious wore blue shirts and jeans whilst under US Navy Command. The result must have been the No 8's we wore for daily work. When I looked it up in B.R. 1938 Naval Ratings Handbook (1965) I was reminded that we wore No 10a or 10a with sandals in the tropics. What we referred to as 'night clothing' is listed as No 4 ( or if caught out just a towel round you). Whilst looking this up I spotted at the front of B.R. 138 a really good photograph of Victorious, Ark Royal and Hermes steaming in line ahead: Vic and Hermes being identified by the 984 Radar.

This book is packed with information, photographs and appendices. Appendix J is Admiral Fraser's speech on leaving Australia. I know those who served in the British Pacific Fleet always talk of the warm welcome that they received.

Admiral Fraser said; inter Alia, 'With the co-operation of the Australian people and the Americans, we just managed it with the barest margin. We got through with very few casualties, but let no one ever forget that for the men at sea it was a tough war, and I am very proud of them.

Since the peace, the human side becomes even more complicated, the compassionate cases to deal with, the demobilisation, the resettling in civil life. At the same time the work of the Navy, which never ceases, must go on. In these difficulties, in a world still unsettled with many internal conflicts, let us remain cool, calm and collected, whatever disappointments or setbacks we may have. The stabilising influence of the British Commonwealth of Nations is very great - we must keep strife and suspicion away from our doors, and preserve the integrity on which the world so much relies...

And now the year draws to a close. I feel more and more convinced, as time goes by, that the ties which have been cemented in Australia between you and us, will never be severed however many thousands of miles we are away'.

Those ties still existed when HMS Chichester visited Australia in 1958 and I am sure they still exist today.

Rob Jerrard

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Racing Ace - The Fights and Flights of 'Kink' Kinkead DSO, DSC*, DFC*
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Dr Julian Lewis
ISBN: 9781848842168
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £25
Publication Date: 28th Feb 2011

Publisher's Title Information

Based on original dispatches, war diaries and news reports, Racing Ace is the story of Samuel Kinkead who won six decorations for gallantry as a fighter ace on the Western Front and in the Russian Civil War. The narrative alternates between Kink's action packed life and contemporary debates on strategy and policy at the highest level in 'the Armed Forces, in Parliament and in Government.
Kink also fought in the Aegean in 1916 *nod Iraq in the early 1920s. He took part in the RAF expedition from Cairo to the Cape in 1926, and joined the High Speed Flight which won the Schneider Trophy contest the following year. On 12 March 1928, as the nation watched, he was killed in the Solent in a forerunner of the Spitfire, while trying to break the 300 mph barrier. Kink was 31 when he died.
Racing Ace contains 65 striking photographs -- most previously unpublished drawn from Kink's albums at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, as well as the superb Hulton Archive, the Solent Sky collection and other private sources.
All his adventures are set in the context of the wider historical picture, with full accounts of forgotten campaigns made accessible and exciting. It is a gripping tale of dauntless courage and derring-do `Biggles' with a sad ending.
Samuel 'Kink' Kinkead won two DSCs with the Royal Naval Air Service, two DFC with the fledgling RAF and the DSO in Russia.
A brilliant pilot, post-war he was a long range aviation pioneer and leading racing ace selected for the international Schneider Trophy in Venice in 1927. Tragically he was killed aged just 31 in 1928 attempting to shatter the World Air Speed record. He is honoured by several memorials, at Cranwell, the RAF Club in Piccadilly, at Fawley and a permanent exhibition in the Kinkead Room at Calshot from where he set out on his final flight.
Julian Lewis has pieced together Kink's extraordinary story of achievement during his short but eventful and glamorous life. A fascinating account of flying derring-do in war and peace.

Extracts from Reviews to date

An extraordinary biopic of an extraordinary, larger-than-life man. Thoroughly readable. This man could almost have been one of the inspirations for Biggles, but you have to remind yourself that nearly a hundred years ago, such...
Books Monthly- March 2011
New Forest Post - March 2011
Fascinating biography
Southern Daily Echo - March 2011
As the author of Schneider Trophy to Spitfire, I had the occasion to be in contact with Dr. Lewis and was impressed by the careful research that appeared to be going into his book....]
Dr.J.K. Shelton - March 2011
Samuel ''Kink'' Kinkead was an astonishing British Empire hero, and in Julian Lewis he has found the ideal biographer who combines a complete mastery of the sources with a novelist's observational eye. '
Andrew Roberts
Julian Lewis has brought back to life the quiet-man-of-the-air, ''Kink'' Kinkead - an extraordinary figure whose short life spanned service in the Great War, the Allied expedition against the nascent Soviet Union and 1920s Iraq,...]-
Peter Hennessy
In this splendid book, Julian Lewis gets into the mind-set of a modest young South African airman - six times decorated for gallantry in battle - who was happy to risk his life repeatedly for...]-
M.R.D. Foot
The best biographies are thoroughly contextual and this one is no exception. The narrative is rich in observation and explanation, yet still enticingly easy to read. Its subject comes across as someone quite remarkable for...
Neville Brown
A brilliant book, full of humanity . . . A glittering triumph of well-researched scholarship, first-rate writing, and a powerful conviction of integrity, dedication, courage and patriotism.
Jeremy Black
Just finished the above book and although the period, WW1 and the inter war years is not my usual area of interest, I can say that it is written in such a way that it...]
March 2011
Julian Lewis has painstakingly researched and pieced together Kinkead's extraordinary story and has compiled a fascinating account of aviation derring-do in war & peace.
The Herald - Feb 2011

The Author (Facts taken from his own website)

Julian has been MP for New Forest East since 1997.
On 6 May 2010, he was re-elected with a majority of 11,307.
Julian was elected as the Conservative MP for New Forest East in May 1997 and re-elected in June 2001 and in May 2005 with a greatly increased majority. From November 2002 until May 2010, he was the Shadow Defence Minister for the Royal Navy, the nuclear deterrent and strategic issues. He held this post continuously, except for a period as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office between September 2004 and the 2005 General Election.
The New Forest East constituency was created at the 1997 General Election. A fifth of its electors came from the former New Forest seat; four-fifths came from the former Romsey and Waterside seat. A full description of New Forest East was included in Julian's maiden speech.
As a result of boundary changes, Sway is now included in the constituency for the first time.

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Stringbags in Action
Edition: 2011: Originally Published as The Attack on Taranto 1973 & The Loss of the Bismarck 1972
Format: Hardback
Author: B B Schofield
ISBN: 9781848843882
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 9th Feb 2011

Publisher's Title Information

Admiral Schofield's accounts of the Taranto and Bismarck battles make for unforgettable reading.
The author traces the development of British naval aviation from its early beginnings in 1912, through the First World War and the frustrations of the inter-war years. The November 1940 attack on the Italian fleet in its strongly defended base at Taranto demonstrated for the first time the battle-winning capability of carrier-borne aircraft - from HMS Illustrious. The lesson was quickly learnt by the Japanese who just over a year later inflicted such devastating losses on the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour.
In the second part the Author recounts the legendary action that culminated in the sinking of the Bismarck. While this action involved large numbers of Royal Navy ships, not least the battle cruiser Hood sunk with terrible loss of life, the Rodney, Prince of Wales and numerous cruisers, aircraft from Ark Royal and Victorious played a pivotal role.
No two naval actions better demonstrate the early use of air power.

The Author

Vice Admiral B B Schofield had a distinguished naval career serving in both World Wars. He was closely involved in the planning of naval operations for D-Day and his insider view is told in Operation NEPTUNE (republished by Pen and Sword Maritime in 2008). He died in 1984. His daughter Victoria Schofield, the leading biographer and author, lives in West London.


My Stringbag flies over the ocean,
My Stringbag flies over the sea.
If it weren't for King George's Swordfish,
Where the hell would the Royal Navy be?
The popular lyric sung by Fleet Air Arm pilots to the tune of 'My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean' during the Second World War makes a valid point. Without the legendary Swordfish plane, the Royal Navy would not have retained its mastery of the seas. Threatened by the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean and German submarines in the Atlantic, if Britain was to prevail in the inevitable naval battles to come, it was essential to have the ability for aerial attack.

'Stringbags in Action' tells the story of two major events in 1940 and 1941 the attack on Taranto and the sinking of the Bismarck - in which the Swordfish played a significant role. With a cruising speed of less than 100 mph, the slow-moving bi-plane had been bat in the 1930s by Fairey Aviation Company. Designed to spot the fall of a warship's gunfire, with a torpedo strapped under the fuselage, the plane was effective both in naval reconnaissance and as an aerial torpedo bomber. Officially called the Fairey Torpedo-Spotter Reconnaissance, with space-saving folding wings, it was given the name Swordfish; the bracing wires between the wings, and its ability to carry an assortment of pieces of equipment - like a housewife's shopping bag - also meant that the Swordfish was affectionately called a 'Stringbag' by the brave young men who flew in it. Against its deficiencies, it surpassed the speedier monoplanes by being easy to handle and was relatively resistant, both against attack and in seaborne sorties in adverse weather conditions. 'Although obsolescent when the war began,' writes my father, B B Schofield, 'the Swordfish remained operational throughout the war and proved its value in anti-submarine warfare many times over.'

After Italy's entry into the war in June 1940, Swordfish planes, based in Malta, started to attack Italian shipping in the Mediterranean, sinking on average 50,000 tons of shipping per month. Then came the ambitious plan to attack the Italian fleet based in southern Italy in the harbour of Taranto. Twenty-one Swordfish planes were used 'on which,' my father writes, 'the success or failure of the operation depended.' The following year, the German battleship, Bismarck, embarked on her first and only mission, leaving the safe haven of the Baltic Sea with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. With a speed surpassing any of the British battleships, the Bismarck posed the greatest threat yet to Britain's merchant shipping. Once intelligence reports were received that she was heading for the Atlantic, the British Home Fleet seized the opportunity to deploy a large force, involving Royal Navy battleships, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers, to attack her. After the disastrous sinking of HMS Hood, the pursuit of the Bismarck became an epic battle to fmd and destroy her, before she could reach safety in the French port of Brest. Yet again, the Stringbags were in action.

Victoria Schofield, 2010.

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The Secret Capture
U-110 and the Enigma Story
Edition: 2011 with a new Introduction. 1st Published in 1959
Format: Hardback
Author: Stephen Roskill
ISBN: 9781848320987
Publishers: : Pen & Sword
Price: £16.99
Publication Date: 31st Jan 2011

Publisher's Title Information
For fifteen years after the end of the war all official Admiralty records showed the German submarine U 110 as sunk on 9 May 1941 by the surface escorts of convoy OB.318. As this book was the first to reveal, this was a deliberate deception, as the U-boat was actually captured and its contents fully investigated before being allowed to sink a day later, a fact skillfully kept from even the survivors of the submarine's crew. As the official historian of the naval war, Roskill had followed the party line when writing his authorised account, but provoked by exaggerated claims concerning a US Navy capture of a U-boat in 1944, Roskill decided to set the record straight. His narrative is prefaced by brief coverage of previous submarine captures by the Royal Navy - three Italian and one German - before covering the U 110 operation in great detail, underlining the skill and bravery of those involved.
We now know that the reason for the secrecy was that the U-boat gave up valuable codebooks, charts, ciphers and, most significantly, a complete and undamaged Enigma machine. At the time of the book's first publication, Ultra was still a secret, so Roskill (who clearly knew about it) had to be discreet about the exact details of what was taken from the submarine while insisting on its crucial value to the war effort. However, a new introduction puts the capture into context, making clear its vital importance in the history of allied codebreaking in World War Two.

The Author

Stephen Roskill, a retired Royal Navy captain, was the author of the official history of the Second World War at sea and a prodigious number of other highly regarded naval books, including a biography of Admiral Beatty and a study of Churchill and his admirals. He died in 1982.

New Introduction by

Barry Gough has had a distinguished career teaching Canadian and Commonwealth history and has published widely on Anglo-Canadian naval subjects. His recent dual biography of Arthur Marder and Stephen Roskill was published by Seaforth.

Forward by

Charles Baker-Cresswell, son of the captain of HMS Bulldog, was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade for his National Service and mentioned in dispatches while serving in the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya in 1955.

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Second U-Boat Flotilla
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Lawrence Patterson
ISBN: 9780850529173
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.95
Publication Date: 6th June 2002

Publisher's Title Information

Fritz-Julius Lemp's tragic sinking of the Athenia in a Second U-Boat Flotilla boat opened Germany's U-boat war against England. The following six years of bitter combat found the flotilla at the forefront of distant operations. Leading the attack, Legendary commanders such as Albrecht Achilles, Werner Hartenstein and Reinhard Hardegen littered the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with the twisted steel of sunken ships. Drawn extensively from various war diaries and veterans' personal reminiscences, the Second U-Boat Flotilla describes the tumultuous fortunes of the most successful unit of Karl Donitz's Grey Wolves.

In 1942 when German U-boats struck with devastating force for the first time against distant targets in the waters of the North and South Atlantic, the large cruiser submarines of the Second U-Boat Flotilla were at the spearhead of each assault.

The Second U-Boat Flotilla Saltzwedel was formed in 1936 and survived nine long years to the day of Nazi Germany's eventual surrender. During the Spanish Civil War it bad been a Saltzwedel boat that made the only successful submarine sinking of an enemy warship. Three years later Fritz-Julius Lemp's tragic destruction of the Arkerria in another Saltzwedel boat, triggered Germany's U-boat war against England. Leading the attack, legendary commanders such as Albrecht Achilles, Werner Hartenstein and Reinhard Hardegen littered the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with the twisted steel of sunken ships. However, while the Second U-Boat Flotilla mounted the most shattering submarine offensives of the Second World War, it was the intact capture of two of its boats, complete with their Enigma code machines, that would ultimately spell doom for Germany's undersea warriors.
Drawing extensively from various war diaries and veterans' personal reminiscences, Second U-Boat Flotilla describes the tumultuous fortunes of the most successful unit of-Karl Donitz's 'Grey Wolves'.

The Author

Born in Matamata, New Zealand, Lawrence Paterson became an avid scuba diver at an early age while also developing a deep interest in the history of the Kriegsmarine. He combined the two in 1998 when he moved to France, living close to the Brest U-boat bunkers. He became President of the Brittany Marine Research Society dedicated to the discovery and survey of German Second World War wrecks.
Now living in Portsmouth England, he is a member of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum's Archive Group specializing in U-boat and Kriegsmarine research. In addition to contributing to specialist journals and undertaking consultancy work, he is the author of First U-Boat Flotilla, (Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword Books, 2002) to which this work is the companion volume.


The fierce war for domination of the Atlantic Ocean between 1939 and 1945 remains one of history's greatest and most terrible naval campaigns. German U-boats, mainstay of the assault on British merchant lifelines strung between the New World and the Old, continue to elicit an emotional response from both those who participated in the action and those who study and remember the bitter convoy war.

Experiences of the various U-boat flotillas involved in this battle varied widely. Combat for the 2nd U-Flotilla 'Saltzweder began with an active, though covert, role in Spain's brutal civil war. It was also a U-boat of the `Saltzweder Flotilla that opened Germany's naval attack against Britain on 3 September 1939. Thereafter `Saltzweder was continually involved in front-line operations. While most combat units concentrated on the crucial onslaught within the Atlantic, the 2nd U-boat Flotilla was the first to use high-endurance -U-cruisers to widen the boundaries of the struggle, ranging as far as Malaya. It was this unit that launched the devastating attack on America in 1942, 'Operation Paukenschlag' , and the extremely successful assault against rich Caribbean oil and raw material arteries only months later. Long-distance boats of the 2nd U-Flotilla were also the first to cross three oceans to the Far East and form an uneasy alliance with Japanese naval forces. Indeed, among the top ten highest scoring U-boats of the Second World War, six belonged to the 2nd U-Flotilla.

Ultimately, as Germany's fortunes faded, so too did the composition of the flotilla until it was reduced to an infantry war in trenches around the ruined shell of Lorient, France, holding out until May 1945 and the general German surrender. Any seaworthy boats had long since transferred to Norway, where, although the flotilla still existed on paper, they were distributed among other units to join the struggle for survival in seas that no longer held any sanctuary for Germany's 'Grey Wolves'.

This book is not a day-to-day breakdown of flotilla actions, but, with extracts from War Diaries, veterans' recollections and records from Germany, Great Britain, France and the United States, to name but a few, it paints a dramatic picture of the war as experienced by the 2nd U-boat Flotilla 'Saltzweder.'


"The faces of the men shine again.
These are the young recruits of the German U-boat arm."
Kurt Schulze, Propaganda Kompanie reporter.

By September 1936 Germany's second generation of submariners celebrated one year of existence for their premier flotilla 'Weddigen'. Unharnessed from the Great War's legacy of guilt by Adolf Hider's formal renunciation of armament limitations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, the 'Weddigen' Flotilla's small Type II U-boats had flourished in North Germany's Baltic ports.

The newly renamed Kriegsmarine held plans for a balanced and powerful fleet that could once again challenge the mightiest of navies on the High Sea. Fiihrer der Unterseeboote (Flag Officer Submarines) Fregattenkapitan Karl Donitz was determined that his callow U-boat service would take pride of place, their Hakenkreuz (hooked cross, or swastika) ensign on its red backing a symbol of resurgent national pride.

In that year he also realized that the small coastal boats that made up the 'Weddigen' ranks were not enough to carry his strategies into the Atlantic Ocean, scene of a bitter convoy battle between 1914 and 1918 and likely key to any future struggles that Germany may face. Their radius of action and weapon load would be unable to sustain a high-seas offensive. Larger prototypes had been developed during the previous decade in covert foreign design projects, yielding the disappointing heavy Type I, based on a large oceangoing Spanish design named El, and the more versatile medium size Type VII, developed from three 500-ton Finnish submarines, Vesihiisi, Kiu-Turso and Vetehinen, whose lineage could in turn be traced back to the successful wartime UBIII model.

By August 1936 both Type Is had been commissioned, U25 and U26, as well as U33, the first 'Type VII,' (Often erroneously called the "Type VIIA".) and a second U-boat flotilla was to be created for these new submarines. Like 'Weddigen', it too would receive the name of a U-boat hero of the Great War and so on 1 September 1936 the `Saltzwedel' flotilla was officially raised under the command of FK Werner Scheer in the placid waters of Kiel's military harbour.

Oberleutnant zur See Reinhold Saltzwedel had been wartime commander of five U-boats, in the course of twenty-two patrols sinking a staggering 111 ships and winning the coveted "Blue Max" (Pour le Merite) on 8 August 1917. But Saltzwedel's luck eventually deserted him on 2 December 1917 when his final command, UB8I, sailed into an uncharted minefieldnear the Isle of Wight and Saltzwedel and twenty-seven of his men were drowned. Fregattenkapitan Scheer was also a veteran of the First World War U-boat service, Watch Officer aboard both U30 and UB85 during the final two years of that conflict. In the newly raised Kriegsmarine U-boat arm he had spent six months in command of U10 before transfer as Senior Officer of the `Saltzweder Flotilla.

The first generation Type VII was a single-hulled and single-ruddered medium-sized submarine, with four bow torpedo tubes and a distinctive externally mounted, thus not reloadable, stern tube. The deck weapon was a quick-firing 8.8cm naval cannon (not to be confused with the more famous '88' of the Army and Luftwaffe with which ammunition was not interchangeable). Saddle tanks slung outboard of each flank provided external fuel bunkerage and gave the submarine its characteristic bulges, while above the pressure hull a substantial deck casing had been built, tapering at each end and punctured by numerous flooding and drainage holes.

By December 1936 'Saltzweder comprised nine Type VII submarines numbered consecutively U27 to U35. U26, one of the two unstable and heavy Type I designs, commanded by Kaptlt. Werner Hartmann, was also attached, ostensibly for training purposes. Both models were deficient in their mediocre turning circles, having only a single rudder between the prop wash of dual screws, but the Type I showed itself the weakest. Its diving time was extremely poor; at full speed with six tons of negative buoyancy in her diving tanks it took forty seconds to reach ten metres. The fuel bunkers' vent system was soon found to be defective as well, air bubbles running forward and aft and changing volume with ambient water pressure found at different depths. Ordinarily a nightmare to keep at stable depth, it was nearly impossible to control with this trapped air dancing back and forth. Combined with an inherent wobble while submerged brought on by the inefficient ruddering, U26 bordered on unmanageable. Nor were the problems over when she surfaced. With the centre of gravity forward of the central control room the boat was bow heavy and difficult to handle, often taking so long to recover from pitching that the diesel engines' efficiency was severely impaired, props flailing wildly in thin air as they lifted out of the water.

The problems of stability in the Type IA and the lack of space for a stem torpedo tube below the waterline in the Type VII both caused by the single rudder were not lost on German designers and the later Type VIIB and Type IXA would both incorporate twin rudders, one directly behind each screw, allowing for internal mounting of the stern torpedo tubes and better handling for both.

The 'Saltzweder flotilla' was soon joined by catch/escort ship (Fang and Sicherheitsboot) T158 and newly recommissioned U-boat tender ship Weichsel, formerly the merchant ship SS Syra. The entire flotilla soon transferred to the estuary bay of Wilhelmshaven where before long two of its boats tasted action on a genuine war footing.


The Second U-Boat Flotilla were formed in 1936 and existed for nine years. However it was the capture intact of two of its U-boats, complete with their Enigma code machines which makes the most exciting reading. The story of U-110 told in this accumulation of extracts from war diaries, veterans' recollections and records from Germany.

The story of U-110 begins on Page 92 when on 17 May 1941 the boat encountered HM ships Aubrietia, (what a wonderful name for a ship, named for French flower-painter) Bulldog and Broadway. The result was a boarding party led by Sub Lieutenant David Balme, who removed vital material and the three rotor Enigma machine. This story was first disclosed in 'The Secret Capture U-110 and the Enigma Story' by Stephen Roskill, Reprinted, Pen & Sword Books 2011. Of course no story of Enigma can now be complete without reading 'The Real Enigma Heroes' by Phil Shanahan, The History Press 2008.

Another fascinating account which was the subject of a recent Television programme was the sinking of SS Laconia by U-156. On board were 1,800 POWs, 80 women and children and 103 Polish troops guarding the Italians. The U-Boat Captain, Werner Hartenstein attempted to rescue as many as he could. Unfortunately an American B24 Liberator tried to sink the U-Boat, in fact the Pilot was ordered to do so. It did seem to be a real breakdown of communications between the Americans and the British authorities.

As the book records, “Seething at the bombing of the humanitarian gesture, Donitz radioed a final message on 17 September to all U-boats, also distributing it to flotilla headquarters everywhere. It has since become known as the 'Laconia Order' and was used by Prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials to indicate Donitz guilty of war crimes:

"1. No attempt of any kind must be made at rescuing members of ships sunk; and this includes picking up persons in the water and putting them in lifeboats, righting capsized lifeboats and handing over food and water. Rescue runs counter to the rudimentary demands of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews.

2.Orders for bringing in captains and chief engineers still apply.

3.Rescue the shipwrecked only if their statements will be of importance to your boat.

4.Be harsh, having in mind that the enemy take no regard of women and children in his bombing attacks on German cities."

In total war there are seldom issues that can be taken as purely black or white, particularly complicated command level decisions.
Rob Jerrard

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Take the Link for Second U-Boat Flotilla

Ready For Anything
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary from 1905 to the Korean War
The Fourth Force, The Untold Story of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1945
Edition: 1st
Format: Both are Hardbacks
Author: Geoff Puddefoot
ISBN: 9781848320741 & 9781848320468
Publishers: Pen & Sword (Seaforth)
Price: Both are £25
Publication Date: 2009 & 2010
Publisher's Title Information

Set up in August 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary - unofficial motto: Ready for Anything - was originally a logistic support organisation, Admiralty-owned but run on civilian lines, comprising a miscellaneous and very unglamorous collection of colliers, store ships and harbour craft. This book charts its rise in fleet strength, capability and importance, through two world wars and a technical revolution, until the time when naval operations became simply impossible without it. Its earliest tasks were mainly freighting - supplying the Royal Navy's worldwide network of bases - but in wartime fleets were required to spend much longer at sea and the RFA had to develop techniques of underway replenishment. This did not come to full fruition until the British Pacific Fleet operated alongside the Americans in 1944-45, but by then the RFA had already pioneered many of the procedures involved.

This book combines a history of the service, including many little-known wartime operations, with data on the ships, and a portrait of life in the service gleaned from personal accounts and recollections. Half way between a civilian and a military service, the RFA has never received the attention it deserves,but this book throws a long-overdue spotlight on its achievements.


Since its creation in 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary has been involved wherever ships of the Royal Navy have seen action.
Supplying the fuel, ammunition and basic necessities of life which keep the ships afloat and operating, the RFA's contribution has gone largely unnoticed, despite the fact that RFA men (and women) have frequently given their lives to ensure the smooth operation of the Navy's ships.
Franco's Spain, the Second World War, Korea, Suez, Aden, Oman, Northern Ireland, Rhodesia, Bluff Cove, Kuwait, Iraq: the areas of our naval deployment have spanned the world, and in the present world climate there is no reason to think that our reach will contract. The naval history of this era has been written in blood, some of it belonging to the men and women of the RFA.

But who were the men who operated the ships that fuelled the Russian convoys and manhandled ammunition under a burning Pacific sun, during that second war which was to end all wars?

Just the same sort as carried out a pump-over, forty years later, while simultaneously refueling HMS Plymouth, as a force 10 gale and thirty-foot waves in the Southern Ocean tried to tear the guts out of their battered, rusty ships, and an Argentinian submarine played them a deadly game of hide-and-seek. And for those who don't remember, the ships were RFAs Tidespring and Brambleleaf and the place was 200 miles north of a tiny speck on the chart called South Georgia.

Chronicles of the Royal Navy are myriad, but the RFA's story still remains largely untold. Finding out about the ships isn't hard, but the story of the men who worked them still remains something of a mystery.
And it's that story that this book and its companion volume, The Fourth Force, sets out to tell.

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What interesting and informative books these are, full of historical information and interviews with ex-RFA Officers and Crew.

RAS (Replenishment at Sea) was always an interesting and fulfilling experience every time and my first memories are of RFA Resurgence and RFA Olna.
Both these photographs were taken with a Kodak 127 camera from HMS Chichester. Resurgent in the Indian Ocean 27th November 1958 and the stern of Olna can be seen as we took on fuel 21st March 1959. In the Olna photograph, astern of us is HMNZS Royalist. During this period (1959) we also took fuel from USS AO-148 Ponchatoula. In this photograph taken at the time she is fuelling USS Yorktown as we approach.

I also have a photograph taken on HMS Lion between 1960-62, which shows clearly that much care was needed. In the photograph is Leading Seaman Saunders. Of course fuel wasn't what we individuals wanted, more likely we hoped for beer, ice cream, chocolates and the latest film.

The Fourth Force covers all the years since 1945 including periods such as Korea, Aden, the Indonesian Confrontation and the Falklands which brings me to recall that I have a friend who served in the Falklands in RFA ships and he has allowed me to copy photographs of Regent, Olmeda (A124), Sir Percival , Bayleaf, Eddyfirth and Pearleaf. Some photographs of Pearleaf are of her arriving back at Devonport after the Falklands War.

Ready for Anything covers the story from 1905 until 1950. To remember any of these times would take you to an age of 85 plus. This is certainly a very valuable history of the RFA. One ship mentioned, is that of HMS Bulawayo, ex-Nordmark a captured German Fleet Oiler and her story can also be found in 'Under three Flags' by Geoffrey Jones. In this book reviewed there are some excellent photographs of Bulawayo which in fact never served as an RFA ship.

She was refitted for service in 1947 and on completion was renamed HMS Bulawayo in July 1947. She served as such until she was scrapped in 1955

Both books contain ships data tables and are very full of other facts and figures. If you have an interest in the RFA then these two books are a must.

Rob Jerrard

A Wander Through Wartime London
Five Walks Revisiting the Blitz
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Authors: Neil Bright & Clive Harris
ISBN: 9781848841727
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 29th Nov 2010

Publisher's Title Information

Through a series of five walks this book discovers the sights, sounds and experience of the capital at war; it details the remaining tangible evidence of the dark days via air raid shelter signs, bomb damage on buildings and memorials detailing heroic and often tragic events.
The new routes cover a wide area of London and reveal further evidence of the experiences of four years air war in the skies above our capital city. The East End & Docks, Greenwich, Bermondsey, Southwark and the West End are all featured, along with detailed maps and numerous contemporary photographs that accompany the text for each walk.
The book also contains a number of appendices relating to the wider picture of the war. A well deserved story of London's Home Guard is told. A list of Civil Defence casualties that occurred within the boroughs covered by the walks is included as well as a detailed list of the locations of wartime fire and ambulance stations across the capital.
This book will appeal to both the enthusiast and anyone with an interest in London's past. It is a further record of the memories and tangible evidence of this dramatic period of our capital's past and a tribute to those who lived through the Blitz and sadly so often, those who did not.


Redundancy in 1992 led me to hastily arrange some First World War battlefield trips in addition to several trips already organised. The guide on the first trip was none other than Clive Harris, my co-author. We quite quickly struck up a friendship. I think it was initially because I am from South London and Clive wished he was! Joking aside Clive told me he was close to having his first book, Walking the London Blitz, published and that, as a Londoner, I should research my area in that period. I became more and more fascinated by the Blitz. Living in Southwark it was quickly apparent that the area was in the front line and despite my parents telling me some of their stories, I did not realize the scale of devastation and loss of life involved.
Many hours of research followed, as did talks and walks and now this volume. I am never ceased to be amazed when I hear new stories of the Blitz. In writing this many people have given - up their precious time to help with the research and have plodded the streets of Southwark with me. I would naturally like to thank Clive, for his great help, true friendship and unceasing enthusiasm on any battlefield. Many thanks go to Steve Hunnisett for a tremendous amount of encouragement, his toil in many archive centres, pounding the beat and great friendship. Local historian, Stephen Humphrey, has been fantastically helpful as have Steve Potter and the staff of Southwark Local Studies Library and London Metropolitan Archives. Greenwich Heritage has also been wonderfully helpful. I would also like to thank walkers; Michele and Richard Page Jones, Marietta Crichton Stuart, Mike Garbett, Peter and Alison Campbell, Maurice Klingels and Andy Pepper. Please excuse me if I have left omitted you. You are all fantastic.
Lastly and most importantly I would like to thank my lovely wife, Tracey. She is my rock, chauffeur and my dearest friend.

Neil Bright, Southwark 2010

Neil Bright
NEIL BRIGHT has had a lifelong fascination with the First World War, and in recent years with the Blitz. Neil has his own research company, Beaucourt Research Ltd; Beaucourt being the village on the Somme where his Great Uncle Harry was killed in November 1916. Neil has visited Harry’s grave and indeed the Western Front many times. Since forming his own company, Neil has undertaken research for people who want their ancestors’ First World War service traced.
In 2006 Neil was asked to participate in the ‘Kennington Park Trench Shelter’ project and has given talks to schools and local groups on the subject. Neil is a member of several societies including the Western Front Association and the Metropolitan Police Military History Society.

A faded piece of paper in my Grandfather's drawer was uncovered after his death;
"Dear Sir, I have received a letter signed by a large number of people living in Green End and Hawkshead Roads asking me to convey their thanks for all those who gave help at the occurrence in Green End Road on Saturday 19 April 1941. Particular reference is made to the valuable work you did before the official parties arrived and I am accordingly glad to be able to tell you how much your assistance was appreciated by the people concerned.
Yours Faithfully, H. Lockyer (Town Clerk and ARP Controller)
He had never spoken of it but my Grandfather, Charles Peter Miller, then just 18, had played his part in London's story during the last war. I feel that that story is also mine, through fortune of post war migration I grew up as a bona fide "Mockney" and proud of it, Welwyn Garden City my home and South & West London my roots. Some relatives did speak of the war and those dinner table reminiscences inspired me to discover more. In 2002, when I wrote Walking the London Blitz, I asked readers to "find the last rusty curtain hooks of the war before they disappeared forever". Thankfully that statement was premature and researching this book turned up more remaining reminders than I could have ever imagined. My thanks must go to Neil who worked tirelessly to traipse the streets of his native South London to bring his neighbourhood's history to life again, fellow Addict and friend Steve Hunnisett who went above and beyond the call of duty in his assistance with the book, my mates Dave Saunders, John Mogie and Julian Whippy for walking the walks and enduring my endless talk of London's war, my fan :illy, as ever, played their part from son Georgie Addam, now -four years old but already a keen historian to my soul mate Ali, my beautiful blue, for her love and loyalty throughout and finally my father Brian, who has shown us all, and himself, that some things in life are worth fighting for. I am very proud to call him my Dad and love him very much.

Clive Harris, "Highwood" Knebworth 2010

Clive S Harris

Clive served in the Royal Signals and with Hertfordshire Constabulary before embarking on a career in military history in 1998. In addition to the publication of "Walking the London Blitz", " Wander through Wartime London” and "The Greater Game" he has contributed to Time Team, Time Watch, Blitz Spirit and CBS's Legacy of War, his specialist battlefield subjects are The Retreat of 1914, The Ypres Salient, 1918, The London Blitz and the Italian Campaign of 1943/44.

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Bismarck - The Epic Chase
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: James Crossley
ISBN: 9781848842502
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 8th Nov 2010
Bismarck: The Epic Chase

Publisher's Title Information

When the German Battleship Bismarck was commissioned in 1940 she was one of the fastest and most powerful ships afloat. To the Royal Navy and the security of Allied shipping in the Atlantic she posed an enormous threat - she must be destroyed. When she broke out into the Atlantic in 1941, some of Britain's most powerful ships were sent to pursue and sink her. The first encounter proved disastrous for the British Battleship HMS Hood, which was sunk at 0800 on 24 May. Bismarck had sustained several hits from HMS Prince of Wales but the Royal Navy were unsure of the extent of the damage and whether she would attempt to return to Germany for major repairs or sail for France to lick her wounds. Previous written accounts suggest that the whereabouts and course of Bismarck were unknown to the Allies until discovered by an RAF Catalina at 1030 on 26 May. This was followed an hour later by the arrival of a Fairey Swordfish flying off HMS Ark Royal. This aircraft hit the Bismarck with her torpedo and severely damaged her steering gear. It was now only a matter of time before the full firepower of the British capital ships would close in and destroy Germany's greatest ship.
This new book revises previous theory of the events, in which earlier publications have failed to reveal the full extent of the capabilities of both British and German Radar or the significance of British ULTRA signal intercepts.

The Author

Jim Crossley is a retired engineer and a keen sailor. He has a history degree from Cambridge and has previously written a novel 'Something Wrong with Our Ships' and a book on early British destroyers to be published by Osprey. He lives in Norfolk.

In Chapter 1 of the book; that is May 1941, Britain stood alone. This chapter explains the strategic situation, the reality being that Germany had thought that there was no possibility of war with Britain until 1945 at the earliest and the 'Z' Plan was far from complete, with only a third of the number of ships actually built (Table Page 3).

We are taken through the events that led up to 11 May 1941, when Bismarck and Prinz Eugen slipped out of Gotenhafen (now called Gdynia).

Yes, Britain stood alone, but as the author puts it, 'two elephants were in the room'. The Soviet Union was bound to Germany and the USA were slowly becoming aware that the British cause was not hopeless.

The scene is set for what was a fool-hardy operation. Operation Rhine Exercise, which saw two major ships go out into the South Atlantic with no air cover and no Destroyer escort.

The outcome we know, we are also aware that HMS Hood was not the largest and most powerful ship afloat. Admiral of the Fleet Lord Chatfield made this clear in his letter published in 'The Times', 26 May 1941. The Hood had to fight a ship 22 years more modern than herself.

What is discussed in more detail in this book is the part played by Radar and ULTRA. HMS Sheffield had Type 79Y Radar fitted in August 1938 and I recall being told by our Radar Instructor (PRI) in 1956 that she was the first ship in the Royal Navy to be fitted with Radar. What is more important is that HMS Norfolk had a more modern Type 286M. HMS Suffolk had a Type 284 with a range of up to 20 miles. Suffolk used it very effectively to shadow Bismarck. This combined with our intelligence being more superior meant that the ultimate outcome would be as it was.

In the end, Dorsetshire, without orders, on her own imitative finished off Bismarck with torpedoes.

This is a very well written book laid out in a logical order and it examines very many aspects of the entire incident including many not covered by this review.

It is certainly recommended and even if you thought you knew all there was to know about the sinking of the Bismarck, you would certainly learn more from this account. However, there are still lots of questions left unanswered.

Rob Jerrard

For more Information go to the Pen & Sword Website:


Diving Stations
The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Peter Dornan
ISBN: 9781848843219
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 4th Oct 2010

Publisher's Title Information

Diving Stations is the inspiring story of Captain George Hunt's career. Born in Uganda and then educated in Glasgow he was determined to join the Navy and at 13 years old he entered HMS Conway.
His pre-war years saw him serving worldwide. In 1939, on the outbreak of war he was already serving in submarines. Over the next six years he was rammed twice, sunk once and had hundred of depth charges dropped around him. He gave more than he got! While in command of the Unity Class Submarine Ultor, mainly in the Mediterranean he and his crew accounted for an astonishing 20 enemy vessels sunk by torpedo and 8 by gunfire as well as damaging another 4 ships. His fifteenth mission was described by the Admiralty as 'unsurpassed in the Annals of the Mediterranean Submarine Flotilla'.
After the War George continued his distinguished naval career becoming Senior Naval Officer West Indies (SNOWI). He emigrated to Australia where he lives today.

The Author

Peter Dornan is a freelance writer on military and medical matters. For his work as a Sports physiotherapist with many international teams (the Wallabies and Australian Cricket Team) he was awarded the Commemorative 2000 Australian Sports Medal. In 2002 he was appointed as a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM).Reviews to Date


“Sub-titled The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor, Diving Stations is as much a story of one submarine's outstanding record as it is a salute to the career of the four-times decorated submariner. Hunt's second world war, service was certainly remarkable. He survived an accidental collision that sank one submarine on which he was serving and came through a terrifying ramming incident before going on to command his own submarine to huge success during the course of no fewer than 15 war patrols. Australian author Peter Dornan has combined interviews with research from contemporary records to present a rounded and thoroughly readable story of a true naval hero.”
Eastern Daily Press 04/12/10
“From Prologue right through to the very last page this is an inspiring account of the life of Captain George Hunt. From a youthful age George knew exactly where he wanted to go in life, the Royal Navy. His striving and passion to reach his dream never ceased and only grew into greater ventures as he achieved each goal. This is a heroic tale of submarine warfare and Peter Dornan's quick paced style delivers thrills and explosive blows at the turn of every page. This is far from just a triumphant tale of wartime efforts however, it is an incredible story of survival as we explore some of Captain hunt's most miraculous escapes from a watery grave giving insight into the traumas which carved the hero who went on to defeat no fewer than twenty enemy vessels in Mediterranean waters. This book is so much more than a maritime museum's memorial placards to a maritime Captain, but an energetic, thrilling account of a phenomenal man's efforts and his undying conviction to the sea. Peter Dornan's book is more than worthy of a read.”

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Battleship Yamato, Japan's Secret Fleet
Edition: 1st
Format: 2 x DVD 14.9/16.9 PAL
Author: Supplied via Pen & Sword
ISBN: 4260110581493
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 7th Oct 2010

Publisher's Title Information

Displacing 72,000 tons, the vessels of the Yamato class were the largest, heaviest, and most heavily-armed battleships ever constructed. These marvels of naval design carried the largest naval artillery ever fitted to a warship, sporting nine 460 millimetre naval guns capable of firing 2,998 pound shells over 26 miles. In order to understand these epic battleships and rank their importance, this DVD starts by analysing the evolution of the Japanese fleet after the Battle of Tsushima in 1905. This astonishing battle, fought as part of the Russo-Japanese War, saw the Japanese destroy two-thirds of the Russian fleet.
Due to the strict secrecy of the Japanese it was impossible for decades to show the original archive footageof these huge ships. Moreover, many of the original design documents and photographs for these ships were destroyed by Japanese special service-officers, meaning only fragmentary records remained. For almost 70 years details of these glorious ships have been scarce, with original footage rarely seen in the Western world, until now. With the discovery of a rare and unseen Japanese archive, these gigantic warships can finally be shown in detail using over 60 minutes of unique Japanese film.
With 3 bonus archive films about the Japanese fleet and U.S. Navy, as well as 20 photo galleries, this DVD offers a complete reference of all the Japanese Battleships and Battle Cruisers in the Second World War and is compulsive viewing for any maritime enthusiast.

Reviews to Date

“The vessels of the Yamato class were the largest, heaviest and most heavily-armed battleships ever constructed. These awesome navy vessels carried the largest naval artillery ever fitted to a warship. In order to understand these epic battleships and their importance, this DVD looks at the evolution of the Japanese fleet after the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, and goes on to explain and document how the ships were subsequently developed. Owing to strict secrecy, it was impossible for decades to show the original archive footage of these huge ships, while many of the design documents and photographs were destroyed by Japanese special service-officers, meaning only fragmentary records remained.” Ships Monthly - Sept 09

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The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Peter Edwards
ISBN: 9781848843073
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £25
Publication Date: 28th Oct 2010
Publisher's Title Information

This book describes in considerable detail the people, events ships and aircraft that shaped the Air Service from its origins in the late 19th century to its demise in 1945. The formative years began when a British Naval Mission was established in Japan in 1867 to advise on the development of balloons for naval purposes. After the first successful flights of fixed-wing aircraft in the USA and Europe, the Japanese navy sent several officers to train in Europe as pilots and imported a steady stream of new models to evaluate. During World War One Japan became allied with the UK and played a significant part in keeping the German fleets of ships and submarines at bay in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. However, in the international naval treaties that followed they felt betrayed, since the number of capital ships, battleships and cruisers, that they were allowed was below those of the USA and the UK. Aircraft carriers were not included, so a programme of carrier building was started and continued until World War Two. At the same time they developed an aircraft industry and at the beginning of war their aeroplanes were comparable, and in some instances superior, to those of the British and Americans. Much pre-war experience was gained during Japan s invasion of China, but their continued anger with America festered and resulted in their becoming allied with Germany, Italy and the Vichy France during World War Two. There followed massive successful attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, the Southern Islands, Port Darwin and New Guinea. The British were decimated and the USA recoiled at the onslaught, taking over a year to regroup and take the war to the Imperial Japanese forces. Throughout the conflict many sea battles were fought and the name Zero became legendary. When Japan eventually capitulated after the Atomic bombs were dropped the Japanese Imperial Air Service was disbanded.

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"Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews", Copyright Rob Jerrard 2011

Warfare is a new, completely free online publication, launched in May 2011 by Wharncliffe Publishing.(Pen & Sword)