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Convoy Paperback – 27 Jul 1978

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 July 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140046135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140046137
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 722,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The book: In February 1943, 63 merchant ships were sunk in the Battle of the Atlantic, and 19 U-boats. Britain was losing 700,000 tons more imports than were arriving, and reserves would be exhausted in April; while Germany was losing half the number of U-boats compared to new ones being built. This was the crisis of the battle of the Atlantic. At this time, convoys SC.122 (slow) and HX.229 (fast) set out from New York, with a third HX.229A split off due to the sheer number of freighters and tankers: 141 ships carrying 920,000 tons of vital cargo (fuel, meat and other food, timber, minerals, steel, gunpowder, lorries, locomotives, invasion barges, aircraft, tanks...) and 1,000 passengers. Twenty escorts crossed with them, mostly elderly Flower class corvettes, a few destroyers, frigates, trawlers and sloops. German naval intelligence was reading most Admiralty ciphers, and 45 U-boats were on their way to sink as many as possible. This book is the story of this part of the battle.

My opinion: Middlebrook dovetails UK, US and German sources with personal accounts, and does it well. He combines strategic overview with personal drama, and it all forms a fascinating and harrowing whole. He interviewed Donitz as well, plus 39 U-boat men, in additions to scores of Allied merchant sailors and Navy personnel.
A fascinating portrait of the crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic, while the Air Gap was still open...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martin Middlebrook's famous account of these 2 Eastbound North Atlantic convoys HX229 and SC122 needs no introduction from myself. Just read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By ted bojanowski - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Middlebrook writes what may be called "a most comprehensive" account of three convoys crossing from the Americas to England and being attacked on the way by German wolfpack subs. - The first half of the book is devoted to one of the best reviews I have seen of the American/British/German submarine infrastructure as it existed in early 1943, and is very scholarly and informative for students of this period of naval history. The second half of the book THEN describes in exciting detail how convoys SC122, HX229, and HX229A -- all sailing at the same time -- suffered at the hands of the German subs on their way across. Middlebrok's method of reviewing, first, the scenario, and then the actual battles makes for added understanding and appreciation. An excellent account! Hard to put down...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The forgotten battle 21 Dec. 2000
By j campano - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Having been born in the mid 40s WWll was a part of growing up for me as all the other school kids fathers had served in the armed services.There were always an abundance of war stories and portraying your father as John Wayne seemed to work well for everyone. The Pacific war or ground war in Europe always got most of the attention even to this day,followed by the air war over Germany.Atlantic Convoy duty has never recieved the attention it deserved.My father served in the Atlantic on The USS Gleaves all I remember him talking about was cold miserable watches and long sleepless nights at general quarters.The Gleaves had been doing Convoy duty since 1939 and seen its share of the battle of the Atlantic .Not until I read Martin Middlebrooks Convoy did I appreciate what my father,his shipmates and all the combatants went through. The book is not a sterile document of facts,figures and conclusions,but rather a link to the past which brings those great ships and men alive in your thoughts.There are many interesting facts learned through the authors interviews with former U-boat crews about the men and equipment,like which shipyard made the most soundly built boats or which yard put small extra items on their boats. The author also does a good job at explaining the Convoy designations HX,SC etc. planning and routing from NY Harbor to England and commanders on each side of the Atlantic. There are far more gallant men than cowards depicted in this book valor and devotion was apparent by both sides .The U-Boats paid a heavy price for their success in these Convoys ,only several of the 40+ U-Boats involved made it to the end of the war,most being sunk with all hands over the next 3 years of the war. My thanks to U-406s Engineering officer Rudi Toepfer for recomending this book to me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Merchant Marine Perseveres in Battle 17 Sept. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
During peacetime, democracies get lazy. They forget how vulnerable their lifelines are. In September 1939, U-boats took up where they finished twenty years before- but even more deadly. A 'merchie' could be in sight of port, and Bang! a torpedo punches a hole and she begins to sink (unless it was a tanker, then it burns). Belatedly, British authorities organize Atlantic routes into a convoy system for protection. However, all they have is old destroyers, corvettes, and slow whalers; many 'escorts' have no radar, just guns and depth charges. They will be reactive, but not aware when they steer toward danger.
In March 1943, two convoys leave New York for England- HX.229 and SC.122; 141 ships sail toward two lines of submarines.
In the excellent analysis chapter, Middlebrook summarizes their fate:
Faced by 41 U-boats, of which 33 made contact and 17 fire 90 torpedoes. One was sunk.
HX.229 loses 13 ships.
SC.122 loses 22 ships.
Total of 360 crew members and 12 passengers die (1100 rescued), cargo sunk: 186,000 tons, made of frozen meat, petroleum, general and military cargo.
This book is a tale of the penalties paid when free nations neglect their defense.
U-boats vs Destroyer Escorts: The Battle of the Atlantic (Duel), Iron Coffins: A Personal Account Of The German U-boat Battles Of World War II
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