The Hunt for Hitler's Warship

The Hunt for Hitler's Warship

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by Patrick Bishop

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Winston Churchill called it "the Beast." It was said to be unsinkable. More than thirty military operations failed to destroy it. Eliminating the Tirpitz, Hitler's mightiest warship, a 52,000-ton behemoth, became an Allied obsession.

In The Hunt for Hitler's Warship, Patrick Bishop tells the epic story of the men who would not rest until the


Winston Churchill called it "the Beast." It was said to be unsinkable. More than thirty military operations failed to destroy it. Eliminating the Tirpitz, Hitler's mightiest warship, a 52,000-ton behemoth, became an Allied obsession.

In The Hunt for Hitler's Warship, Patrick Bishop tells the epic story of the men who would not rest until the Tirpitz lay at the bottom of the sea. In November of 1944, with the threat to Russian supply lines increasing and Allied forces needing reinforcements in the Pacific, a raid as audacious as any Royal Air Force operation of the war was launched, under the command of one of Britain's greatest but least-known war heroes, Wing Commander Willie Tait.

Patrick Bishop draws on decades of experience as a foreign war correspondent to paint a vivid picture of this historic clash of the Royal Air Force's Davids versus Hitler's Goliath of naval engineering. Readers will not be able to put down this account of one of World War II's most dramatic showdowns.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aviation historian Bishop (Bomber Boys) relies on archival data and interviews to turn the story of the German battleship Tirpitz—from its launch in April 1939 to its sinking in November 1944—into a compelling WWII story. Though the Bismarck’s sister ship never engaged in any significant combat action, it played a crucial role in the naval strategy of the Battle of the Atlantic and efforts to send supplies to Russia through the Arctic. Bishop provides an evenhanded account of German operations, but his main focus is on British efforts to counter the threat posed by the swift, heavy, and lethal Tirpitz. These ranged from a fantastic manned-torpedo operation, to stealthy midget submarine attacks, and included numerous aerial assaults. When the Tirpitz finally succumbed to an air attack using a new superpowerful bomb, the ship’s end is poignant but anti-climactic—Churchill hears about it in newly liberated Paris, and the end of the war is only months away. Still, Bishop’s take on an oft-forgotten instrument of Hitler’s formidable war machine is an enjoyable and fast-paced read. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Apr. 8)
Kirkus Reviews
Military historian Bishop (Battle of Britain, 2009, etc.) fashions an exciting, detail-packed account of the British obsession with dismantling Hitler's prize battleship. Named after the architect of the Imperial German Navy, Tirpitz was the great hope in Hitler's plan to crack the supremacy of the British navy, the lifeblood of a nation reliant on maritime trade. Along with its sister ships, the steel-plated, seemingly invincible Tirpitz was employed in the North Atlantic to disrupt British trade convoys so that Hitler could turn his attention to attacking Russia. In his patiently descriptive account of the Battle of Britain, Bishop traces the key engagements, such as the bringing down of the Bismarck after an extremely costly pummeling by British torpedoes, which underscored how outmoded and outclassed the British fleet was. Subsequently, the British were on continual lookout for the deadly but elusive Tirpitz, about which Churchill maintained: "No other target is comparable to it." Commanded initially by Capt. Karl Topp, with a crew of 2,600 living aboard in fairly luxurious style, Tirpitz was moved to Trondheim, Norway, keenly followed by British intelligence. Bomber Command devised several ill-begotten raids with "roly-poly" bombs, yet nothing could touch the massive ship, which posed a continual threat to the Russian convoys. Special Operations were enlisted to come up with a raiding plan, and new bombs and midget submarines were tested and honed in Scotland for the great mission undertaken in September 1943. Bishop builds a suspenseful story, delineating the crews involved on both sides in a sneak attack that required extraordinary courage from the seamen, who were under duress. Armchair military historians will relish this account of bringing down the biggest prey in the German fleet.

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Regnery Publishing
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Meet the Author

Patrick Bishop was born in London and went to Wimbledon College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Before joining the Telegraph he worked on the Evening Standard, the Observer and the Sunday Times and in television as a reporter on Channel Four News. He is the author with John Witherow of Battle for the Falklands based on their own experiences and with Eamon Mallie of The Provisional IRA which was praised as the first authoritative account of the modern IRA. He also wrote a memoir of the first Gulf War, Famous Victory and a history of the Irish diaspora The Irish Empire, based on the TV series which he devised.

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The Hunt for Hitler's Warship 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good reading but perhaps a little boring with some sections not related to the story.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Hunt for Hitler’s War­ship by Patrick Bishop is a non-fiction book about the attempts of the allies to sink the Ger­man bat­tle­ship Tir­pitz dur­ing World War II. This is a great book for World War II buffs, naval his­to­ri­ans or those inter­ested in naval tech­ni­cal developments. Patrick Bishop wrote an inter­est­ing book about the allies’ obses­sion with sink­ing the Tir­pitz even though she was mostly inac­tive dur­ing the war. It seemed to me the Tirpitz’s great­est con­tri­bu­tion dur­ing the war was to divert huge amounts of allied resources. Mr. Bishop’s book is also a fas­ci­nat­ing look at the naval his­tory of the North Sea dur­ing World War II. This is a dense and detailed book on a sub­ject I knew very lit­tle about and found the dynam­ics and war pol­i­tics within the British Navy fascinating. The author did a great job explain­ing how the Nimitz fright­ened the allies with her size and fire­power, but was also a lia­bil­ity for the Ger­mans with the resources she demanded to oper­ate. A fas­ci­nat­ing sec­tion of the book dis­cusses the new weapons and train­ing (such as human tor­pe­does and small sub­marines) which the allies invented. Men have strug­gled and even died dur­ing those mis­sions and some­times didn’t even know if they succeeded. I did feel the book could have used a bit of spac­ing between para­graphs to cre­ate a phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion of sec­tions. For exam­ple, sev­eral pages could talk about Churchill or the allies, while the next para­graph talks about the cap­tain of the Tir­pitz with­out the usual 1” space. It’s a small com­plaint but I had to go and re-read sev­eral para­graphs to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The book does an excel­lent job cap­tur­ing the mood and his­tory of the time, com­plete with maps show­ing move­ments of troops and ships. Churchill’s con­sum­ing infat­u­a­tion of the Tir­pitz is what put the ship in the his­tory books; oth­er­wise she might have been a foot­note as she spent most of the war anchored. Dis­claimer: I got this book for free
Anonymous More than 1 year ago