"An exquisitely researched, thoroughly absorbing history of the Coast Guard's role in the greatest sea battle ever fought."
, bestselling author of the Jake Grafton series
"Bloodstained Sea is one of the most riveting accounts of naval combat history I've seen, and a valuable reference for any military and naval enthusiast."'Vince Patton, Master Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)
In November 1941, America was not yet officially at war. Nevertheless, under orders from President Roosevelt, sailors of the U.S. Coast Guard painted their gleaming white cutters battleship gray and steamed into action against the menacing U-boats of the Third Reich. Bloodstained Sea recounts how, over the next four years, these men'normally dedicated to saving lives and rescuing ships in distress'would be locked in one of the longest and bloodiest running sea battles in history.
Americans called it Torpedo Junction; to the Germans, it was Devil's Gorge. By any name, the North Atlantic of the early 1940s was one of the most dangerous fronts in a catastrophic war. Called upon in desperate times, seven of the Coast Guard's finest ships'the sleek, efficient, tough 327-foot Secretary Class cutters'plied these unforgiving waters to protect convoys of troops and much-needed supplies.
Hunting U-boats, rescuing survivors from frigid waters, they met every challenge and undertook any task necessary to ensure that the Atlantic remained open to Allied shipping. Here, for the first time ever, author and former Coast Guard officer Michael Walling relates the full saga of these vessels and their intrepid crews.
Through eyewitness accounts based on hundreds of interviews with crew members; personal diaries, notes, and letters; and each cutter's logbooks and patrol reports, Walling plunges you into the thick of battle, re-creating some of the most desperate encounters, heroic rescues, and harrowing missions of the Second World War.
Told largely in the voices of the men who lived it, this unforgettable tale is peppered with anecdotes about life aboard ship during wartime. You'll meet the liberty-craving crew members who painted their entire ship in less than an hour; the ship's mascot who became canine-non-grata in Greenland; and the crew whose vessel was mistaken for the German battleship Bismarck and attacked by the Royal Navy.
Complete with dramatic photographs of the Coast Guard in action, Bloodstained Sea brings this epic drama life.
Michael G. Walling served as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years. He has spent more than forty years collecting stories from hundreds of World War II veterans.The heroes you've never heard of. . . .
They were trained for and dedicated to saving lives and preventing disasters at sea, but they were needed for war. And between 1941 and 1944, the officers and crews of the U.S. Coast Guard undertook one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks any group of sailors has ever had to face'escorting convoys of merchant ships filled with desperately needed supplies from the United States to Europe, across a U-boat-infested Atlantic.
"Michael Walling has done a real service for the forgotten U.S. Coast Guardsmen who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic."'Dr. Dennis L. Noble, author of Lifeboat Sailors: Disasters, Rescues, and the Perilous Future of the Coast Guard's Small Boat Stations and The Rescue of the Gale Runner: Death, Heroism, and the U.S. Coast Guard
"Michael Walling plies new waters in this World War II saga, snatching our venerable Coast Guard's history from the depths of obscurity and preserving the exploits of these brave men for future generations."'David Morris, author of Storm on the Horizon: Khafji'The Battle that Changed the Course of the Gulf War
"Bloodstained Sea is a compelling tale of courage and heroism told with all the fury and terror experienced by those Coast Guard veterans who lived it. Michael Walling's story of valor and sacrifice is one that Americans must never forget."'Robert F. Cross, author of Sailor in the White House: The Seafaring Life of FDR
"Walling brings the bloody Battle of the Atlantic alive in this action-filled vivid portrait of the U.S. Coast Guard's Secretary-class cutters during World War II. A five-star book!"'Dr. Martin Davis, author of Traditions and Tales of the Navy; executive director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum