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Torpedo junction, A Book Review

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#1 Belasar


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:59 PM

Torpedo Junction-By Homer H. Hickam,Jr. 1989, Naval Institute Press, 305 Pages, Photos, Charts, Appendix, Softcover,Amazon New $13.61, Used $4.00.

Torpedo Junction is a history of Operation Paukenschlag off the American coast from January to August 1942. Seen from primarily the Allied perspective, the German side also is covered. The author makes it clear that the U-boat offensive off the American coast was not the grand effort to cripple the US before it could aid Britain, but rather more an ad-hoc effort to take advantage of weak US defences. Donitz wanted a much greater effort, but Hitler's insistence on providing for his 'Zones of Destiny' off Norway and in the Mediterrainian limited the number of boats off the US coast. Rarely more than half dozen boats were available at any one time.

With a handfull of boats, many smaller type VIIc's, there was positively a slaughter of Allied merchantmen. There were many reasons for this, aggressive U-boat commanders, too few escorts and patrol aircraft, poor ASW training, stubborn and careless shipmasters, unwillingness to adopt a convoy system and a unwillingness to divert needed resources to fix the problem. Enough blame to go around.

Still within 6 months Donitz is forced to withdraw his sea wolves as the 'Second Happy Time' comes to a close as the American's learn the lessons the British already had. The USCGC Dione and her crew figure prominately in this book. They help demonstrate both the flaws and the eventual success of the American effort to crush the German threat to the US shipping lanes.

Written in a clear, storytelling style that brings humanity to what could seem a endless list of torpedo attacks, the book is both easy and enjoyable to read. The story of the USCGC Dione and the seagulls, both before the war and after the end of Operation Paulkenschlag, is both touching and poetic.

Highly reckommended.


Edited by belasar, 15 April 2012 - 01:44 AM.

Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)

#2 George Patton

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:03 PM

I read this book about 6 or 7 years ago, and have only good things to say about it. It is by the far the best book I've read on "Drumbeat" - and maybe the best on the U-Boat war as well. I also highly recommend it.
Best Regards,

#3 SteveM



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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:11 PM

I also read this book about 7 years back (ironically I picked it up in a bookshop on the Outer Banks when on vacation), and I too thoroughly enjoyed it.
Author of Why Germany Nearly Won: A New History of the Second World War In Europe and Editor in Chief of The Globe At War - an online community dedicated to exploring the past century of global warfare with a special emphasis on the Second World War. The Globe At War is currently seeking articles, book reviews, or pictures.

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