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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always room for one more, 31 Mar 2011
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David McIntyre (Durham UK) - See all my reviews
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Many books have been written about this subject,a tragedy that will never lose its interest,so there will always be room for one more,well written with lots of detail,USCG Modoc is included in the text,you would expect no less from Angus Konstam, a good selection of photographs,good and numerous maps then magnificant paintings by Paul Wright---ruined by being spread over two pages, why do they do this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A victorious moment for Great Britain, 16 Jun 2011
During the dark days of early 1941 the British were under siege from a number of locales. They had just been ejected from Greece and it was looking like Crete would fall too. Tobruk was under fire and Rommel was trying to take Egypt. Iraq was trying to revolt and Alexander was trying to put that revolt down. The British were also trying to protect the convoys and resources were stretched pretty thin. Now the Royal Navy had to contend with the Bismarck breaking out into the Atlantic to reign terror on the shipping lanes. (Ever since reading about the Bismarck and despite German precedence, I could never understand why Raeder took the risk to allow the Bismarck to sail without a proper escort or why Prince Eugen was detached after Bismark was slightly damaged in the Denmark Straits. I would have had several other battleships and a u-boat or at least a number of crusiers to sail with her. History could've been much different; instead the mightiest German ship afloat was sunk after nine days on her maiden voyage into the Atlantic. The author discusses this issue but it still seems reckless for Raeder to rush.)

A brief introduction and origins describes the situation of the day and the Bismarck as the most advanced and one of the most powerful battleships in the world. The operational chronology that follows covers the time she filled her fuel bunkers on 5/18 to the Hood sinking, to Prince Eugen detaching to Bismarck's sinking on 5/27 and together these first sections brought the reader, especially new readers up to speed for the rest of the book.

The chapter on Opposing Commanders was good and included profiles on Pound, Tovey, Holland, Sommerville, Wake-Walker while on the German side included Lutjens, Lindermann, and Brinkmann of Prince Eugen.
Opposing Fleets was also competent, discussing the ships from the Home Fleet and Force H that would take part in this drama: Hood, King George V, Prince of Wales, Rodey, Victorious, Ark Royal and others. A table at the end of the chapter summaries the data.
Opposing Plans was brief and simple. Lutjens had orders to break out into the Atlantic and sink Allied ships. Pound and Tovey was ordered to locate and sink the Bismarck at any cost.

The Campaign begins on page 30 with the Break-out into the Atlantic and for an Osprey length book, it was deliberate as well as interesting. While the Bismarck was trying to sneak out by way of the Denmark Straits, the British were working even harder to find the ship and intercept. The interception was made by HMS Hood in the straits and during the battle that followed, the author explains tactics, angle of attack, salvo count, elapse time, gun sizes, firing ranges, firing trajectories and accuracies, sailing speeds, course changes as well as the disadvantages of the Hood's WWI design. When the Hood's magazine was hit, the ship broke in two and slipped beneath the waves in only three minutes, losing all but three sailors. It was a devestating event for the Royal Navy and the country and the Bismarck was still loose on the open seas with only minor damage.
Force H was brought up from the Med to help the Home Fleet. Its Swordfish would hunt down and torpedo the Bismarck and allow the rest of the Home Fleet to catch up to Bismarck when one of the torpedoes struck and jammed the mighty ship's rudder. Without escorts or air support, that one hit doomed the Bismarck.
The final battle was also deliberate with King George V, the Rodney and Norfolk moving in for the initial strike. Rodney scored the first significant hit to the Bismarck then King George V, and once they had the range Bismarck didn't have a chance.

The Campaign also includes six 2-D maps, two 3-D maps and three eye catching color battle scenes that included Bismarck firing or being fired on. The maps showed the routes taken, the interceptions and three of the maps had comments to help the reader follow the action. There were also many photos, which can be seen in other books, that are good. Some were taken during battle while the others were of the officers and ships. The two British carriers were included. The Campaign ends with Aftermath and the Shipwreck as well as a reading list.

Mr Konstam is an experienced author, having written over 30 Osprey books and his experience is evident for each of the chapters was well done and though a few things were left out the balancing act an author must do to write for Osprey was credible. Larger books will have greater political coverage, deeper profiles of the officers and more first hand experiences of the sailors but in this short format staying with the naval issues seemed prudent.
I certainly enjoyed this primer and I think many others will too. Its certainly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent quick read, 22 April 2011
This is an excellent and gripping account of the few days in 1941 that was such a tragedy for two navies and a couple of thousand men and their families. Despite thinking that I knew the story well, this was still a page-turner. The detail seems pretty much spot on, including the bit that the old film got wrong - the reason for the shadowing cruisers zig-zagging, being not because the Bismark was but because they knew there were German submarines in the area. The artwork is superb. But the book is a bit marred by two specific problems: beautiful artwork spread across two pages; and inconsistencies due to poor editing. In no sense do I blame the authors, but the publisher's staff need to be a bit more meticulous. When you start to see inconsistencies in, for example, a.m. and p.m., on the same page, you begin to wonder how many other details are not quite accurate. Poor punctuation is also a problem in places. I know that it's picky, but it's so easy to get it right. What else are editors for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best I've Read, 1 Sep 2013
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While others have gone into great detail about split photos and some minor details wrong, which they are right to point out. Overall
I found this book to be the best and most detailed of this historic action. The detailed maps of ships routes and time scales have answered many questions in my mind, I've seen the films, read some books and have the models, and yet I still learnt facts that had somehow escaped me. I highly recommend this book and I am in no doubt that some Sunday afternoon in the future I will pick it up and read it again.
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