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

Patrick Bishop
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 July 2012

A gripping account of the epic hunt for Hitler’s most terrifying battleship – the legendary Tirpitz – and the brave men who risked their lives to attack and destroy this most potent symbol of the Nazi’s fearsome war machine.

Tirpitz was the pride of Hitler’s navy. To Churchill, she was ‘the Beast’, a menace to Britain’s supply lines and a threat to the convoys sustaining Stalin’s armies. Tirpitz was said to be unsinkable, impregnable –no other target attracted so much attention.

In total 36 major Allied operations were launched against her, including desperately risky missions by human torpedoes and midget submarines and near-suicidal bombing raids. Yet Tirpitz stayed afloat. It was not until November 1944 that she was finally destroyed by RAF Lancaster Bombers flown by 617 Squadron – the Dambusters – in a gruelling mission that tested the very limits of human endurance.

The man who led the raid – Willie Tait – was one of the most remarkable figures of the war, flying missions almost continuously right from the start. Until now his deeds have been virtually unknown. With exclusive co-operation from Tait’s family, Patrick Bishop reveals the extraordinary achievement of a man who shunned the spotlight but whose name will be renowned for generations to come.

The book is a magnificent, accessibly written wartime adventure, perfect for fans of Ben Macintyre’s ‘Agent Zigzag’ or ‘Operation Mincemeat’.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000731924X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007319244
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,469 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

Review

‘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.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Folly and Courage. 31 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
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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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Moving 1 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover
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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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
Format:Hardcover
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Target Tirpitz 6 Mar 2012
By Papyrus
Format:Hardcover
Target Tirpitz: X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship Many readers will, like me, be familiar with the invidual incidents described in this book, eg., the hunt for the Bismarck, the Channel Dash, the sinking of the Scharnhorst, the midget subs and the various air attacks, but Mr Bishop draws them all together in a contextual pattern making for an excellent,highly informative read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 3 days 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 13 days 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 1 month 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 3 months ago by sarah h
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
The author's use of the Tirpitz to provide the reader with an insight into various aspects of WWII planning & plots etc is masterful. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gers
4.0 out of 5 stars The dormant giant
This is a thorough,gripping and informative book. It is long, and includes a lot of background information,such as an account of the sinking of the Bismarck and the St Nazaire... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pappashanga
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
A great book for anyone interested in the real history of WWII. The author does occasionally stray from the core story but this does not distract from the story in any way. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MikeTango
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Book , and fast delivery !
Am still reading this book , good naval history,and I did not know that Tirpitz was lying near Trondheim !!
Published 6 months ago by Casper M TROUWBORST
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Having read a number of books on the subject, this is yet another good read. One can appreciate why Tirpitz was targeted so much, and the lengths that were undertaken by brave men... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr Keith D Russ
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for those Interested in WW2
As a fan of the WW2 classic "Above us the Waves" I decided to learn more about the midget submarine mission to destroy the Tirpitz. Read more
Published 8 months ago by A man
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