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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Folly and Courage.
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...
Published on 31 Jan. 2012 by Heather K. B.

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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!
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...
Published 19 months ago by Ned Middleton


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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
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
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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.

In this extensive work by Patrick Bishop, we appear to have a number of additional elements to the entire story of the loss of the Tirpitz which, for many authors, ends with the X-Craft attacks and the immediate aftermath. In this account, however, we have the added intrigue of secret agents and mention of 24 different operations to sink the mighty warship - ranging from the foolhardy to the ridiculous, although all were brave.

The book is well written and quite comprehensive to which the author brings two very clear abilities; Firstly, he has undertaken all the requisite research - essential to a work of this nature. Secondly, he has a most engaging style of writing. All things considered, therefore, I learned a great deal more about a story of which I already knew much.

My problems with the work are, however, twofold; Firstly, the remarkable, outstandingly brave and dramatic events of Operation Source are such that a number of Hollywood movies have been based on the exploits of those X-Craft commanders. To my knowledge, none have been based on the RAF operation which finally sank this battleship. In this work, I was disappointed to find the heroism of success almost entirely laid at the feet of those Aircrews in such a way that one `might' even come away believing Operation Source had been a complete failure!

My second problem concerns the way in which the book is finally produced. 390 pages tightly packed into a paperback measuring 7¾x 5 in. (198 x 128 mm) is a very thick book. With the writing tightly squeezed to the edges of each page, the reader will find themselves struggling at times to read what is written close the book's central crease.

A curious assortment of diagrams and photographs are reproduced on the low-quality paper used for the text in addition a further 32 historic photographs on glossy paper placed together in two sections.

NM
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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 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars The mighty beast which tied up dozens of warships for years and how was she finally slain..., 22 May 2013
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
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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.

Operation "Source", the most daring and strategically significant operation of midget submarines until now, is extremely well described. Immediately after finishing this book I decided to re-watch "Above us the waves"...

This is an excellent book, worth every penny. I am totally keeping it on the shelf and I recommend it with all my heart. Enjoy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Target Tirpitz, 6 Mar. 2012
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading, 20 April 2012
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excellent first half of book,and makes one realise just how inconcievably brave these men were.And just how lucky we are that they were willing to give their lives for our generation
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but tendency to wander off the subject, 9 Nov. 2012
By 
Clipper 314 (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
As with other books by the author there is an excellent core of material but,(to me), a frustrating tendency to go off the subject to cover aspects only partially related to the focus of the book. For example whilst knowledge of the Bismarck and the action to sink her is related in the sense of rooting the dangers of battleships in the consciousness of the British, the majority of the first 40 pages are solely relating to Bismarck. By this time I did wonder if I was reading the right book. Throughout there is the same tendency, which whilst interesting if you didn't already know it, it does break the continuity of the story of the efforts to sink Tirpitz. When eventually the tale returns I had forgotten where it had left off. Having said that the X craft saga is excellently told as with some of the air assaults. For me however the most effective part of the book is on the last page when Willie Tait visited the wreck in Sept 1945 and the words he used to describe it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 1 May 2012
By 
J. Towell (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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It is often said that you should never judge a book by it's cover. That is true of this book which shows a photo of Guy Gibson's Lancaster, Admiral Prune and his crew on 106 Squadron none of which had anything to do do with the Tirpitz. Why do publishers persist in using inappropriate images for covers?

Fortunately Patrick Bishop's writing is rather more more accurate and he has a very readable style. A very enjoyable and informative read.
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