Robert Winklareth is to be congratulated for shedding new light on this famous naval battle of 24 May 1941, and subsequent events, that many consider the effective end of the battleship era as air power took over.
This 300+ page work does not focus on the Battle of the Denmark Strait alone, for no work this size could do so without multiple repetition. What it does is set the scene leading up to the battle and offer an alternative viewpoint on the course the German squadron followed throughout the battle. For this, the author's technical and military background is tested to the full through a minute, almost freeze-frame, examination of a dozen photographs and a battle film.
From these, he proffers a thesis that is not universally accepted but which adds to the debate - without a shadow of a doubt. Winklareth has shown courage and determination in bringing his findings to a wider audience. The truth as to what exactly happened on Sat. 24 May 1941 in the cold seas off Iceland may never be fully known. However, this work adds value to the body of knowledge we already possess.
The text is well written with but very few errors. As well as many photographs of the protagonists, it is enhanced by the author's own simple but effective drawings, maps and illustrations. One fault, at least in the mind of this reviewer, is a tendency to over-elaborate the technical specifications of every ship and aircraft involved, even remotely, in the hunt for the Bismarck. Equally, it may be churlish to carp a little at excessive detail when cutting corners would be a much more serious failing. Winklareth cannot be censured in that regard.
The author's credentials as an expert in this field are validated by his sharing with us his knowledge of how the fatal torpedo hit on Bismarck of 26 May was delivered. His findings trumped those of other experts in this field and demonstrate that he is to be taken seriously as a credible and knowledgeable author: not bad for an 'amateur!' All in all, a very entertaining and informative read.