In that global conflagration, only one battle—the struggle for the Atlantic—lasted from the very first hours of the conflict to its final day. Hitler knew that victory depended on controlling the sea-lanes where American food and fuel and weapons flowed to the Allies. At the start, U-boats patrolled a few miles off the eastern seaboard, savagely attacking scores of defenseless passenger ships and merchant vessels while hastily converted American cabin cruisers and fishing boats vainly tried to stop them. Before long, though, the United States was ramping up what would be the greatest production of naval vessels the world had ever known.
Then the battle became a thrilling cat-and-mouse game between the quickly built U.S. warships and the ever-more cunning and lethal U-boats. The historian Richard Snow captures all the drama of the merciless contest at every level, from the doomed sailors on an American freighter defying a German cruiser, to the amazing Allied attempts to break the German naval codes, to Winston Churchill pressing Franklin Roosevelt to join the war months before Pearl Harbor (and FDR’s shrewd attempts to fight the battle alongside Britain while still appearing to keep out of it).
Inspired by the collection of letters that his father sent his mother from the destroyer escort he served aboard, Snow brings to life the longest continuous battle in modern times.
With its vibrant prose and fast-paced action, A Measureless Peril is an immensely satisfying account that belongs on the small shelf of the finest histories ever written about World War II.
They were the deadliest ships of World War II--nine German commerce raiders disguised as peaceful cargo ships, flying the flags of neutral and allied nations. In reality, these heavily armed warships roamed the world's oceans at will, like 20th-century pirates. They struck unsuspecting freighters and tankers out of the darkness of night or from behind a curtain of fog and mist. For almost three years they led the Royal Navy on a deadly chase from sea to sea, seeding Allied ports with hundreds of mines and, on one occasion, even bombarding a shore installation.
Masquerading as unarmed merchantmen, the raiders carried an awesome array of weapons cleverly hidden behind false structures and concealed inside empty packing crates on their decks. Seaplanes and motorboats helped them seek out their victims on the vast seas. They then fed off of these unsuspecting targets, pumping fuel from their prey into their own tanks and taking food from captured pantries to feed their own crews and the thousands of prisoners that they picked up along the way. These secret ships also acted as supply ships for U-boats, helping their fellow hunters remain at large for longer periods. At sea for months--or even years--those raider sailors lucky enough to survive were hailed as heroes when they returned home.
This epic story opens at the hour the Greatest Generation went to war on December 7, 1941, and follows four U.S. Navy ships and their crews in the Pacific until their day of reckoning three years later with a far different enemy: a deadly typhoon. In December 1944, while supporting General MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey neglected the Law of Storms, placing the mighty U.S. Third Fleet in harm's way. Drawing on extensive interviews with nearly every living survivor and rescuer, as well as many families of lost sailors, transcripts and other records from naval courts of inquiry, ships' logs, personal letters, and diaries, Bruce Henderson finds some of the story's truest heroes exhibiting selflessness, courage, and even defiance.
This is the compelling story of the most exciting and decisive battles fought under harsh Arctic conditions during the Second World War. Each battle is described in detail, with discussions of the various weapons and strategies that led to victory or defeat, and an analysis of how the battle affected the overall course of the war. The failure of early attempts to supply the Soviets with vital mat DEGREESD'eriel would eventually give rise to tensions among the Allies that would continue long after the end of the war, and would ultimately lead to the Cold War. Despite the fears of many men on both sides that they were being sacrificed for political expediency, their brave and heroic actions became an integral part of the war effort for each coalition.
The Arctic was a difficult and costly theater where battle was often characterized by massive convoys and lurking U-Boats. Some of the worst weather in history hit the Arctic in the midst of the war, making the elements as tough an opponent as any human enemy. The enormous scope of the war, combined with political and economic limitations to restrict the available resources of both sides. Evans's access to recently declassified documents and his use of the personal accounts and reflections of the men who fought there sheds an entirely new light on this often-neglected theater.
When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the clamoring in the press for a strong army largely overshadowed the need for considerable naval contributions to the war effort. Although it was small at the time, the U.S. Navy transported thousands of doughboys to France, all the while battling the predatory German U-Boats. Henry Ford tried to put his mass-production techniques to work to produce hundreds of submarine chasers to patrol American coastlines. The fledgling Naval Air Service was assigned the daunting task of dealing with enemy aircraft over France and in the Adriatic Sea. This is the personal account of men who served on the sea and in the air, as well as the captains of industry who made victory possible.
Industrial innovations contributed greatly to the Allied cause. George Eastman's Kodak Company developed ship and aircraft camouflage, and the General Electric Company perfected the hydrophone, a precursor to modern sonar. While many are aware of the exploits of Eddie Rickenbacker, the U.S. Army's ace, few know that the Navy also had an ace. After more than 80 years, these forgotten naval heroes receive the recognition that they well deserve in an account that attempts to give the war a human face through personal diaries, letters, and photographs.