The Arctic convoys that sailed through the cold malevolent waters of the Barents Sea ran the gauntlet of German air and sea attacks as they struggled to transport vital supplies to Britain’s Russian allies.
Convoy JW51B sailed in December 1942 with a small close escort of five destroyers, plus a reserve of two light cruisers, which shadowed the main convoy at a distance of seventy miles. The convoy was attacked on 31 December by a powerful German force that included the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, the pocket battleship Lützow and six destroyers. The ensuing engagement proved the worth of the British destroyers and the bravery of the men who sailed in them.
It was a naval engagement that had far-reaching consequences and resulted in many capital ships of the Kriegsmarine being decommissioned for the rest of World War II.
A gripping tale of the war at sea under the direst of conditions.
|Publisher:||Pen and Sword|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Michael Pearson has had a lifelong interest in maritime history and shipping. He worked in the shipping industry in the city of London for over twenty years. He now researches history full time. He lives at Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex.
Table of Contents
Maps and Diagrams x
Russian Roulette 1
Cold Comfort 21
The Best Laid Plans... 31
Fog of War 50
'The Whole Place was Alight' 64
'Steer for the Sound of the Guns' 72
'Roll out the Barrel' 93
Seeing Red 100
Outline Details of German Warships with Notes on Development and Wartime Careers 116
Outline Details of British Warships with Notes on Development and Wartime Careers 127
Outline Details of the Merchant Ships in JW51B with Notes on the Merchant Marine 137
Select Bibliography 143
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this book because my grandfather perished in the Barents Sea during WWII on the merchant vessel, the Puerto Rican. I wanted to read more about these missions and get a glimpse into his life. I found this book very difficult to read. While a previous reviewer spoke of how well the book was written and wouldn't cause a reader to skip pages, I feel the opposite. I often skipped ahead to see how many pages were left in a chapter or put it down for days because it was just too boring to read. It took me 10 times longer to read the 159 pages of this book than a book 3 times it's length. It really needed much better editing as the sentences are just poorly constructed and caused me to have to re-read them 2 or 3 times to understand the author. I read voraciously so I don't mean this to sound rude to the author. I think he wrote as he speaks and that isn't always the best way to construct a book. Better editing could have fixed this and improved the book tremendously. The author did include an incredible amount of detail which helped me learn alot about this time period and these particular missions. However, alot of it was taken from other sources and footnoted, making it difficult to read. I'm not sorry I bought it but if you're going to, I don't recommend buying the e-book version. There are maps and footnotes throughout the book that are very difficult to navigate on black and white e-readers.
The author takes all the available facts and presents them in a manner that is exciting and interesting from cover to cover. At no time does he get into the sort of detail that can make a book boring and cause the reader to skip pages. He also manages to introduce the human element and to maintain it right through so that the reader can actually feel, for instance, the agony that Sir Dudley Pound must have felt when he was making the decision to scatter the convoy. He also clearly shows Stalin's thought processes when he was doubting the sincerity of the efforts of Churchill and Roosevelt. This is a very balanced and well-written presentation of one of the least known naval battles of WWII, but one which was far-reaching in its consequences.