U-Boats Beyond Biscay - Dönitz Looks to New Horizons, Bernard Edwards

U-Boats Beyond Biscay - Dönitz Looks to New Horizons, Bernard Edwards

This book focuses on one particular part of the U-Boat war - operations outside the normal North Atlantic battle, in the period between early 1941 and January 1943. The time period comes across as somewhat random. We are dropped into the cruise of one U-boat early in 1941, and the main text ends equally randomly with the attack on Convoy TM-1 in January 1943. As the epilogue makes clear, later in 1943 the Germans made their most ambitious attempt to spread the U-boat war into far distance seas, sending U-boats in Far Eastern waters, and I would have liked to have had some detailed information on these missions. There is also very little context - we generally follow a selection of U-boats on their cruises, without any idea of how many other U-boats were operating in a similar way.

Within those limits the individual stories are well researched and well written with lots of detail from both sides. This was generally a successful period for the boats involved, as the main Allied defensive efforts were taking place on the main Atlantic routes, so even when merchant ships were travelling in convoys they were weakly defended, while many of the individual ships weren't expecting an attack. One nice touch is that many of the merchant ships are followed for some time prior to the actual attack, so we get a better idea of the sort of journeys that were being so violently disrupted.

Overall this book contains some interesting stories from the U-boat war, but a bit more scene setting and background information would have been useful.

1 - Far Away Places
2 - The Road to the Cape
3 - Island Rendezvous
4 - West of Africa
5 - Lady Shirley and the U-boat
6 - Return to harbour
7 - An Unwelcome Caller
8 - East of Gibraltar
9 - The Middle Sea
10 - U-514 and Drumbeat
11 - The Spanish Main
12 - A Chance Encounter
13 - The Wolves Gather
14 - No Quarter Given

Author: Bernard Edwards
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime
Year: 2017

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