Big Guns in the Atlantic

Germany’s battleships and cruisers raid the convoys, 1939–41

Big Guns in the Atlantic cover

Big Guns in the Atlantic

Germany’s battleships and cruisers raid the convoys, 1939–41

Quantity
In stock
$21.00 RRP $30.00 Website price saving $9.00 (30%)

Description

In the early months and years of World War II, it was Germany's cruisers and battleships that most ravaged the Atlantic Convoys. This is the history of those raids, and how the success of 1941's Operation Berlin led directly to the Kriegsmarine sending into the Atlantic its greatest battleship - the mighty, ill-fated Bismarck.

At the outbreak of World War II the German Kriegsmarine still had a relatively small U-boat arm. To reach Britain's convoy routes in the North Atlantic, these boats had to pass around the top of the British Isles - a long and dangerous voyage to their "hunting grounds". Germany's larger surface warships were much better suited to this kind of long-range operation. So, during late 1939 the armored cruiser Deutschland, and later the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were used as commerce raiders, to strike at Allied convoys in the North Atlantic. These sorties met with mixed results, but for Germany's naval high command they showed that this kind of operation had potential. Then, the fall of France, Denmark and Norway in early 1940 dramatically altered the strategic situation. The Atlantic was now far easier to reach, and to escape from.

During 1940, further moderately successful sorties were made by the cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper. By the end of the year, with British mercantile losses mounting to surface raiders and U-Boats, plans were developed for a much larger raid, first using both cruisers, and then the two battlecruisers. The climax of this was Operation Berlin, the Kriegsmarine's largest and most wide-ranging North Atlantic sortie so far. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau remained at sea for two months, destroying 22 Allied merchant ships, and severely disrupting Britain's lifeline convoys. So, when the operation ended, the German commander, Admiral Lütjens was ordered to repeat his success - this time with the brand new battleship Bismarck. The rest, as they say, is history. These earlier Atlantic raids demonstrated that German surface ships could be highly effective commerce raiders. For those willing to see though, they also demonstrated just how risky this strategy could be. Covering a fascinating and detailed analysis of the Kriegsmarine's Atlantic raids between 1939 and 1941, this book will appeal to readers interested in World War II and in particular in Germany's naval operations.

Table of Contents

introduction
Initial Strategy
Planning For War
The Atlantic Sorties
Aftermath
Analysis
Conclusion
Further Reading
Index

Product details

Published Aug 17 2021
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 80
ISBN 9781472845962
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Raid
Short code RAID 55
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors

Author

Angus Konstam

Angus Konstam hails from Orkney, off the north of…

Illustrator

Edouard A. Groult

Edouard Groult grew up inspired by watching histor…

Resources

Discover More

Visit our exclusive member's website to see artwork, maps, and more from this book.

Resources

Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases