One of Our Submarines (Pen & Sword Military Classics) Paperback – 30 Sep 2004
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"In the very highest rank of books about the last war. Submarines are thrilling beasts, and Edward Young tells of four year's adventures in them in a good stout book with excitement on every page. He writes beautifully, economically and with humour, and in the actions he commands he manages to put the reader at the voice-pipe and the periscope so that sometimes the tension is so great that one has to put the book down."
About the Author
Edward Young developed an interest in the Meiktila campaign whilst writing his book Air Commando Fighters of World War II. Previous work includes Aerial Nationalism: A History of Aviation in Thailand (Smithsonian Institution, 1995). He has also contributed to numerous British and American aviation magazines. Edward is by profession a financial analyst in New York City and lives with his family in New Jersey.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a well written book which tells a story. Though centred on the wartime life of the author, it is not a book which is just about him and his boat (submarines are boats, not ships). It is about the people and the events which he encountered along the way and theirs is a story which forms part of the huge jigsaw which was World War Two. Such a contribution was a vital part of the overall war effort and is made all the more interesting by the way in which it is told.
At over 300 pages of well written dialogue with the addition of just the right amount of photographic plates and maps, this book represents real value for money and reads better than any novel.
Funnily enough, the author of this book designed both the orange and white stripped cover and the penguin logo used on the old copy.
This is a fantastic insight into life on a wartime submarine. From the first time he stepped aboard one, to when, as captain of his own sub, he returned to England at wars end, Edward Young DSC, doesn't hide the problems he encountered, nor does he try to "big up" his role in the war. He didn't take part in any famous battle, nor did he sink thousands of tons of enemy ships. That doesn't mean he wasted his time. He landed spies on enemy islands, sank small coastal ships and (in the far east) junks and supplied food and other supplies to Malta when that island was under siege.
Unlike a work of fiction, this isn't continuous action, but features quite a bit of "hurry up and wait." But neither is it boring. I expect anyone who's served in the military will recognise the way things progress - 90% waiting for action, 10% far too much action.
If you're interested in WW2 naval operations, then this is a unique insight into how they affected a single man and the submarines he served on. Either way. this is an excellent book, and deserves a place on your bookshelf.
Interestingly, his story covers the bulk of the war, from the frozen North Sea off Norway to the Med, and then the Japanese War out of Ceylon, and finally Perth. That's just about all the theatres of war you could drive a submarine in.
Young is upfront about his mechanical shortcomings, and you can feel his frustration with some initial poor shooting with his torpedoes: he is an ordinary man doing a hard job that needs doing. He also holds up a mirror to Britain's dawning realisation that her Navy - so long her pride - was being outstripped, easily so, by the growing USN both in quantity and quality.
This is a superb little memoir of WWII submarining, when you submerged by day but for a periscope, and surfaced by night in the safety of darkness - its completely different to submarine operations today, when you can stay underwater for months on end. As a little piece of history, this is an excellent read.
In fact, though sticking to the facts, Young provides an important sub-text, and I found myself questioning the logistics of the submarine service. For example, Young was given command of his first operational submarine - to patrol an area in the extreme arctic, off Russia. Young arrived after an arduous trip only to find his patrol cancelled after four days: he was allocated a new billet on the other side of the world, in the Pacific.
Here he worked under the American submarine service. In Young's words "By contrast with the far-ranging Americans our own efforts in the Pacific were small beer...The American submarines, built from the start with a view to operations in the Pacific, were larger and better equipped than ours.... I felt downright ashamed of the conditions in which my men had to serve... Our bag was pitifully small". His return journey of more than 7500 miles was without sighting a single enemy ship.
Young himself, and WW2 histories, say that for the Royal Navy submarines were not a priority. (In fact on three occasions prior to WW2 Britain attempted unsuccessfully to get submarines banned - it was feared they would threaten surface fleets where Britain was dominant). Much more attention was given to successful anti-submarine warfare to protect Atlantic convoys. Young's account needs to be seen in this context.
Young's book is a good read, but it is not just an interesting account: he has something to say.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A biographical account of a RNVR submarine captain's service in WW2 theatres of war in Europe, the Middle East and Far East. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Abe
And excellent book about submarine warfare in the second world warPublished 4 months ago by ROBERT MCCLELLAND
What these men went through beggars belief. Very important to have their memoirs recorded so that the history and facts are not forgottenPublished 6 months ago by Kevin Potter
A gripping read and a real insight into the author's wartime submarine experience during an eventful 5 year campaign. Excellent book.Published 6 months ago by JON WHEALE
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