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Target Tirpitz: X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship [Hardcover]

Patrick Bishop
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

Target Tirpitz is gripping WW2 storytelling at its best and a return to the RAF territory of Patrick Bishop’s bestselling Bomber Boys and Fighter Boys.

The Tirpitz, Hitler’s greatest weapon, was reputed to be unsinkable and the battleship inflamed an Allied obsession: to destroy her at any cost.

More than thirty daring operations were launched against the 52,000 ton monster. Royal Navy midget submarines carried out an attack of extraordinary skill and courage against her when she lay deep in a Norwegian fjord in an operation that won VCs for two participants.

No permanent damage was done and the Fleet Air Arm was forced to launch full scale attacks through the summer of 1944 to try and finish her off. But still the Tirpitz remained a significant threat to Allied operations.

It was not until November 1944 that a brilliant operation by RAF Lancaster Bombers, under the command of one of Britain's greatest but least-known war heroes finally killed off Hitler’s last battleship.

Full of colour, insight and drama, Target Tirpitz is an unputdownable account of one of the great epics of the Second World War.

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Target Tirpitz: X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship + Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943 + Heroes of the Skies
Price For All Three: 39.37

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; 1st edition (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007319231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007319237
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Bishop has been a foreign correspondent for over twenty years, reporting from conflicts all over the world. He is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling 'Fighter Boys', 'Bomber Boys' and '3 Para'.

Product Description


‘This is a great wartime story, gung-ho in its praise of the men who finally sank Tirpitz, yet compassionate towards her courageous crew. Already a bestselling war historian with his books on the RAF, Target Tirpitz proves that Bishop has sea legs, and this book should add another fleet of fans to his existing army of admirers.’
Sunday Telegraph

‘The story of the successive British efforts to destroy [the Tirpitz] is remarkable indeed, and Bishop deploys all his splendid narrative gifts to do it justice.’ Max Hastings, Sunday Times

‘Spellbinding…While he is adept at explaining the strategic picture it is in his intense description of set-pieces and of the heroic dedication of their human participants that Bishop excels.’ Daily Express

‘Patrick Bishop wisely concentrates his splendid narrative on the many ingenious and extremely hazardous British attempts to destroy [the Tirpitz]…Bishop does this tale extraordinary justice…Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, Target Tirpitz is a fitting memorial to all those who perished in this relatively unknown chapter of naval warfare.’ Daily Telegraph

“The story of the successive British efforts to destroy (the Tirpitz) is remarkable indeed, and Bishop deploys all his splendid narrative gifts to do it justice” Sunday Times

About the Author

Patrick Bishop is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling ‘Fighter Boys’, ‘Bomber Boys’, ‘3 Para’ and ‘Ground Truth’. Previously, he was a foreign correspondent for over twenty years, reporting from conflicts all over the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Folly and Courage. 31 Jan 2012
Patrick Bishop has written a gripping account of the numerous missions - by air, sea and land - to sink the battleship Tirpitz. Although in many ways this is a boy's own story Bishop underpins his narrative with insight and argument. He contrasts Churchill's obsession with naval warfare to Hitler's partial indifference. The Tirpitz is totemic in representing how air power overtook that of sea power during the 20th century.
As the author rightly points out in his excellent introduction the stories intertwined around the attempts to sink the Tirpitz are filled with courage and folly. He asks questions about strategy and tactics, whilst always having a respect for the ordinary - and extraordinary - men who carried these missions out. Bishop mixes first hand accounts, technical knowledge and good writing to produce the first great book on WWII of the year.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Moving 1 Feb 2012
Along with Max Hastings and Antony Beevor Patrick Bishop stands head and shoulders above other WWII Military Historians. He writes with economy, sympathy and style. Target Tirpitz is episodic, by the nature of the various and unconnected attempts there were to sink the battleship, but the story flows and the author often returns to certain themes, such as Churchill's zeal to sink the ship - and Hitler's caution in deploying the jewel in the crown of his navy.
As you would expect from the author of Fighter and Bomber Boys Bishop captures the voices of the personnel involved magnificently - their wit, sangfroid, professionalism (but also their grief and frustration). Courage and tragedy fill the pages of this book in equal measure.
Target Tirpitz should appeal to those both interested in the RAF as well as the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost as though the X-Craft failed! 21 Jun 2013
Operation Source, mounted in September 1943 was a daring naval attack on the Bismarck's sister ship Tirpitz holed up in a Norwegian Fjord. Six British miniature submarines (X-Craft) were towed to Norway from Scotland. X-5, 6 & 7 were to attack the Tirpitz, X-8 the Lützow and X-9 & 10 the Scharnhorst. X-8, 9 and 10, however, failed to mount their attacks leaving the Tirpitz as the only target. X-6 and X-7 succeeded in placing their charges below the battleship before both craft had to be abandoned with six of the combined crews of eight men being rescued and taken on board the Tirpitz from where they saw X-5 destroyed at close range. To this day, it not known whether X-5 was retreating after having placed her own charges or was pressing home her attack when sunk. The commanders of X-6 (Donald Cameron) and X-7 (Godfrey Place) both received the Victoria Cross. Henty-Creer, commander of X-5, received only a Mention in Despatches - an award which remains contentious to this day!

Thought still afloat, the Tirpitz was now incapable of going to sea and would have been destroyed had the Germans attempted to tow her all the way back to Germany for repair. In the last stages of the war, she was moved to another location where she was rested on the seabed and used as a static gun battery. As such, she was eventually destroyed by RAF bombers from the Dambuster Squadron. In one RAF museum in the UK, I saw an RAF account of the sinking of this great ship which afforded no credit to those X-Craft whose deeds created a situation whereby the Tirpitz was a sitting target at the time she was finally sunk! But I digress.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy's own stuff in a modern wrapping. 14 Mar 2012
By Bobby Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book, as it really shows what it must have been like, submerged in an X-Craft or bomber, desperately searching to destroy the Tirpitz, the biggest ship left in Hitler's arsenal. The author, normally concentrating on the air war in previous books, has taken to the sea like a duck to water and effortlessly manages to describe life on board ships, subs and torpedo boats. I liked the way the book is arranged, with quite a few chapters documenting what life was like on the Tirpitz itself, before switching to the allies and their attempts to sink the mighty boat. In many ways the book is more a book about the battle against the German surface raiders, than it is just about the Tirpitz, as it contains agreeable voyages into the demise of the Bismarck and Scharnhorst, as well as raids like St Nazaire. In short, a top hole book that manages to show how brave those sailors and airmen were, whether they served in the RAF, the Royal Navy or even the Kriegsmarine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tirpitz 10 May 2012
This book is a virtual diary account of the Tirpitz from the cvtime it completed vits sea trials in early 1941 to its sinking in November 1944.
Initially stationed in the Baltic it moved to Norway as a deterrant to possible invasion from Britain.
Subject to continual air and sea attacks the Tirpitz saw little action except at Spitzbergen but its presence immobilisedthe British Home Fleet that had to guard against it.It was finally sunk by 2 squadrons of the RAF.
Very well written with excellent maps and illustrations. Photographs are fair but those printed on text pages are poor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very good book, telling comprehensively the story of super-battleship "Tirpitz" and her influence on both Battle of Atlantic and the Battle of Russia Convoys, from her launching in April 1939 to her destruction on 12 November 1944.

Author adopted for this book an "extended" view of one ship history, by describing also lots of events which were connected to "Tirpitz" strongly, albeit indirectly: the archifamous sortie of "Bismarck" in 1941, the Great Raid at Saint-Nazaire, the PQ-17 convoy tragedy and the battle of Barents Sea in 1942 as well as the battle of Cape North in 1943. I believe it was a good choice, as it made this book longer and more filled with dramatic events and famous episodes, but still logically coherent and focused on the main topic.

The writing is very pleasant and even if I was already quite familliar with most of the events, it was still a pleasure to rediscover them shown from an original perspective. And I still learned a lot, especially about people who actually served (and for many of them died) on board of "Tirpitz". Two of the air raids by British Fleet Air Arm which targeted "Tirpitz" are also described in great detail and this is a very usful thing, as they are less known than the RAF attacks - the attack on 9 March 1942 by twelve Fairey Albacores from HMS "Victorious" and the operation "Tungsten" on 3 April 1944, which involved no less than six (!) British carriers: HMS "Victorious", HMS "Furious", HMS "Emperor", HMS "Fencer", HMS "Pursuer", HMS "Searcher" and a total of 80 bombers and fighters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 21 days ago by terryshepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great value
Published 29 days ago by PJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by sturb
5.0 out of 5 stars Some people say reading this book is like watching loads of war films...
I 'm just a part time reader. I find it hard to get into books and quite often put them back down after a few pages. But i could not put this book down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jake buckton
5.0 out of 5 stars Target Tirpitz
Amazing book, really addicting, love it, best book ever I would highly recommend it to anyone, have one, it's epic
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. M. Matheson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story
The story of the various attacks on the Tirpitz, and the amount of detail in the telling ,makes for a fascinating read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ex navy 1950
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written piece of history
This book is very well researched and written. It includes all the various attempts to cripple and finally sink Tirpitz but not only that. Read more
Published 4 months ago by David Marker
3.0 out of 5 stars very good
I saw a tv program on this so I would like to read more about the mission.
Very good postig.
Published 4 months ago by Mr. C. Wills
4.0 out of 5 stars “...but wartime created its own dynamic”
The subject of this book is in fact rather more wide-ranging than its title suggests. Although not in great detail it covers also the sinking of the Tirpitz sister ship, Bismarck... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Grr
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and accurate story told well.
Good factual account of the Tirpitz story of old school bravery, very enjoyable and gripping read would definitely recommend to others.
Published 7 months ago by sarah h
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