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Atlantic Escorts: Ships, Weapons and Tactics in World War II [Hardcover]

D. K. Brown
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

15 Nov 2007
Winston Churchill famously claimed that the submarine war in the Atlantic was the only campaign of the Second World War that really frightened him. If the lifeline to north America had been cut, Britain would never have survived; there could have been no build-up of US and Commonwealth forces, no D-Day landings, and no victory in western Europe. Furthermore, the battle raged from the first day of the war until the final German surrender, making it the longest and arguably hardest-fought campaign of the whole war. The ships, technology and tactics employed by the Allies form the subject of this book. Beginning with the lessons apparently learned from the First World War, the author outlines inter-war developments in technology and training, and describes the later preparations for the second global conflict. When the war came the balance of advantage was to see-saw between U-boats and escorts, with new weapons and sensors introduced at a rapid rate. For the defending navies, the prime requirement was numbers, and the most pressing problem was to improve capability without sacrificing simplicity and speed of construction. The author analyses the resulting designs of sloops, frigates, corvettes and destroyer escorts and attempts to determine their relative effectiveness.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing; UNKNOWN edition (15 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844157024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844157020
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 28.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying ......but...... 16 Mar 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First the good points

# The author brings his extensive personal knowledge to the subject. Spending his entire working life as a naval architect with the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, David Brown can give his own characteristic insight and observations into many aspects of the subject - but in an interesting and understandable way. This is one of the very real values of the book

# The book is not overburdened by the "laundry lists" of ship names, launch dates etc which are readily available elsewhere and probably already in the library of most people buying this book. Where tabular information is given it is relevent, and in many cases , new.

# The photographs are very well chosen, plenteous,and printed to a good size - and above all are superbly reproduced. These photos, many of which are new to me, are easily worth the modest sum charged for the book.

Now the quibbles
# This is an attempt to tell the technical and operational history of escorts in the context of the Battle of the Atlantic. In the words of the late Tony Preston "this is attempting too much on the dispacement". Too much has had to be left out of the conflict itself - for instance the part placed by Escort Carriers - to give the full picture. Also it omits some escorts, notably the "Hunt" class destroyers, which although largly absent from the Atlantic arena, one might have expected to have been given more than just a passing mention.

# A fair amount of the available space in the book has been used to reproduce the (copyright free) maps from an HMSO publication "The Battle of the Atlantic". As the author states these give a vivid impression of the geographical shifts in the battle.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very technical - but chock-full of info 8 Feb 2010
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The battle of the Atlantic was the longest battle of the second World War, and here some of the escorts are treated in some detail - the Royal Navy ones, and the Royal Canadian navy ones; US Navy escorts are only treated as far as the lend-lease is concerned.
This is not a chatty book; it is not an introduction to the subject. But for learning more, and in-depth treatments, this is it: depth-charges, radar types, ASDIC types, code-breaking, HF/DF, training, rescue... it made me (an amateur) understand about depth charge patterns for the first time. It gives a host of detail about ship classes and their adaptations. We all know Flower Class corvettes `roll on wet grass', but here actually tells you how much they rolled (up to 56 degrees -so glad I am writing this on dry land). Destroyer types; US Coast Guard cutters..
There is much on the fascinating but deadly ping-pong in tools, tactics and intelligence: radar and radar detectors, convoys and milch cows, wolfpacks and buttercup, Enigma and the German breaking of Naval codes.

Chapters are phase-by-phase (6 war phases in all), dealing with types in service, new hardware, tactics, tools (communication, intelligence) and four final chapters evaluating the technical data and the various ship types, cost-effectiveness, kill ratios...
Fascinating details, including HMS Nelson, damaged by a mine, "suffered a large number of casualties from broken porcelain toilet pans". This example gives a wrong impression - the book deals with `small' escorts, destroyers, sloops and corvettes. And the US Coast Guard cutters on lend-lease, which were very luxurious, with ice-cream machines, and "the wardroom even had a skylight"!

There are many excellent (b/w) photos of many types and varieties.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As above, a very good view on why technology choices made secured victory in the Atlantic. As with all of a Browns book he gives that inside line that separates That goes that bit further in explains the situation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Battle of the Atlantic 1939--1945 21 Mar 2014
By RED
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An I depth study of the work horses of the Atlantic convoys. An excellent reference book for anyone interested in Atlantic operations during WW2. Recommended reading.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
a nice little book on an interesting subject, it does what is says in the title.
it covers the subject reasonably well and is a good starter/ support book for the battle of the atlantic.

my main annoyance was that the dustjacket on my copy was torn.
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