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PQ17 Convoy to Hell - the survivors' Story [Mass Market Paperback]

Paul Lund , Harry Ludlam
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: New English Library (1973)
  • ISBN-10: 0450012999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450012990
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Hell is colder than you think 30 Aug 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the authors was there, on one of the ships that wasn't sunk. There is a great amount of detail about the build-up, the ships, the convoy up to and after the fatal order to "scatter", and a good chunk of the book is about the survivors in Russia; which ironically is different to what I've read in other books about cold and heartless Soviets completely ignoring them - there is some of that in this book, but also a fair amount on the ordinary people, especially the women, whom the writers clearly regard as a breed apart! The "scatter" order itself is dealt with at the end - there's actually nothing in the book until then about what was going on away from the ships in the convoy eg the Admiralty, the Allied Governments or the British Home Fleet.
The conclusions are interesting, although not really going into any depth. The writers are more critical of the 15-year secrecy from the Admiralty than the order itself. They are also, interestingly, critical of the Germans - they argue that with what they had, the Germans should have wiped the convoy out with ease (four Uboats were involved in attacking one of the merchantman).
I'd recommend this. I'd probably also recommend that it not be the only book you read about PQ-17.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Highly recommended. A fine account of Arctic convoy PQ17 of June 1942 which was decimated by the Germans. Out of the 35 merchant ships which sailed from Iceland for Murmansk 7 survived to return to Iceland with the return convoy QP14. Because of the fear of a sortie by the battleship Tirpitz the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty ordered the cruiser and destroyer escort to abandon the convoy. The merchant ships, rescue ships and other escorts were ordered to scatter. The decision was made over the heads of the local fleet commanders and was a terrible mistake. The Tirpitz never got close to the convoy but the isolated merchant ships were easy prey to U-boats and aircraft. This is possibly the lowest point in the otherwise illustrious history of the Royal Navy in WWII.

The book is compelling. It captures many poignant moments in the tragedy such as the SOS signal from the lone merchantman Earlston "Am being attacked by 7 dive bombers and 3 U-boats - have repulsed them so far." Earlston was sunk after a three hour fight. One lifeboat of survivors made it to Russian territory after a five day journey. The other lifeboat got to Norway after ten days and the crew were made prisoners. There is the inspiring account of how the trawler Ayrshire took 3 American merchantmen under her wing and the four ships hid out in the polar icepack and made it to safety.

One of the authors, Harry Lund, served on the anti-submarine trawler Lord Austin in the convoy. He does a fine job in letting compelling events speak for themselves without emotive editorializing. Yet as a survivor he is also well placed to speak for those on the end of this awful mistake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a really good read 8 May 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
for those of you who like me as a child never understood just what very brave men sailed the oceans and who without them we could so easily have been starved into submission during the second world war,
this book portrays as well as shows an insight just to how these convoys managed to deliver the necessary every day foods, and machines throughout the entire length of the war
a must for those who like me enjoy reading about these unsung and almost forgotten heroes, of W.W.2

this book came well wrapped, delivered on time and the price was good too,.
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