Diving Stations - The Story of Captain George Hunt and The Ultor, Peter Dornan

Diving Stations - The Story of Captain George Hunt and The Ultor, Peter Dornan

Captain George Hunt was one of Britain's most successful submarine commanders of the Second World War. During his time in command of HMS Ultor in the Mediterranean she sank more enemy ships than any other British submarine of the war, often despite fierce German or Italian opposition.

One of my first questions about this book was what was the source? The text implied a direct connection to Hunt, but there is no introduction, no diary mentioned in the bibliography. The answer was eventually found in the acknowledgements, where it becomes clear that Dornan conducted a series of interviews with Hunt, who was still alive and well in 2010 when the book was written.

The vast bulk of the book focuses on Hunt's wartime career, and in particular his time as command of the Ultor, mainly in the Mediterranean, and often in difficult waters (including a first patrol protecting the Russian convoys to Murmansk). Within this most of the material covers the Ultor's attacks (successful and unsuccessful) and in particular the trickier sinkings. One highlight was the sinking of a tanker that was protected by a strong group of anti-submarine warships and that involved passing under the defending ships to get into the right place for an attack.

Hunt's main wartime command was the U-class submarine HMS Ultor. He arrived towards the end of the fighting in North Africa, and so spent most of his time in action during the period of Allied offensives in southern Europe, from Sicily to the South of France. The Ultor spent much of its time on standard anti-shipping patrols, but she was also used to support many of the invasions, either providing part of a defensive screen or acting as a navigation beacon.

We do get some insight into life on the small U-class submarines. These were much smaller than the classic 'U-boat', with a crew of 32-36 (including 3-4 officers), a range of 500 miles, patrol duration of two weeks and carrying only eight torpedoes (with four torpedo tubes). She was so small that at one point Hunt had to chose between reloading the torpedo tubes or feeding the crew, as both activities used the same space.

1 - The Early Years
2 - The Opening Shots
3 - HMS Unity
4 - HMS Proteus
5 - First Command
6 - HMS Ultor
7 - Algiers
8 - Malta
9 - Cape d'Orlando
10 - Operation HUSKY
11 - Operation AVALANCHE
12 - Champagne
13 - French Riviera
14 - Operation SHINGLE
15 - Cape Camarat
16 - The Aegean
17 - South Coast of France
18 - Cassis
19 - Nice
20 - Cape Lardier
21 - Home
Epilogue - The After Years

Author: Peter Dornan
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 173
Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime
Year: 2013 edition of 2010 original

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