17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Great Story Telling,
This review is from: Sea Wolves: The Extraordinary Story of Britain's WW2 Submarines (Hardcover)
This is the first book that I have read covering the men and operations of the British submarine force in the Second World War. I have read heaps of books on German U-boats, US Pacific submarines, and Japanese submarine operations in the Pacific but never anything on the British. This book offers a very good account of the men, officers and ratings, and their submarines during operations in European waters, the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
The British submarines tended to operate close to shore in mined and heavily patrolled waters, and in parts of the Mediterranean, in very shallow and clear waters that accounted for the high losses suffered in that theatre. Whilst operating off Norway in the early stages of the war the British crews had to work with long daylight hours, which caused all sorts of problems not experienced by other navies' submarines during WW2. This is best expressed in the following passage from the book:
"Somehow the horror of that grim summer which claimed half our flotilla lies almost forgotten - the translucent seas, with never a ripple to hide us from our foes above; the cloudless skies, that seldom darkened in those northern latitudes to give us the blessed shield of invisibility for which we craved to charge our batteries; the everlasting anxiety as to when we could venture up to change the foul air in the boat; men panting like dogs in the carbon-dioxide laden stench we breathed; the plaintively repeated signals from our base asking for one or other of our flotilla mates to report their position - the sign that yet another boats was overdue; all these things are but unreal memories." - (Sub-lieutenant Ben Bryant who survived the war and retired as a rear-admiral in 1957).
Under these conditions the submariners suffered devastating casualties, comparable with RAF Bomber Command. This book offers the reader a vivid and insightful story of the men who served in British submarines during the Second World War. It is well worth the read as the book places you with these men as they face the terror of being depth-charged and the horror of trying to escape from a sunken submarine filled with the bodies of their comrades.