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Atlantic Linchpin (Hardback)

The Azores in Two World Wars

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing P&S History > By Century > 19th Century WWI WWII

By Guy Warner, Foreword by Hugo Miguel Baptista Cabral
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 200 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399010900
Published: 4th October 2021


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On a map the Azores appear as nine tiny specks in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but their location was to prove strategically vital in two world wars The Atlantic became a crucial battleground twice within the space of 25 years, as the US ‘arsenal of democracy’ sent firstly stores, arms and equipment, followed by many thousands of troops to fight in Europe. In both desperate and closely fought struggles at sea, Germany sought to stem the flow and thereby win the war, by cutting this vital lifeline, using a new weapon – the ocean-going submarine.

In the First World War the Azores became a mid-Atlantic refuelling location, a base for US and Portuguese naval vessels and – in a hugely innovative contribution to the anti-submarine war – for the patrol seaplanes and flying boats of the US Marine Corps. Portugal was neutral during the Second World War but when Winston Churchill invoked a treaty dating from 1373, permission was given in 1943 for an RAF Coastal Command base to be very rapidly established at Lagens. From there convoys could be protected and U-boats could be harried and sunk, so closing the notorious mid-Atlantic gap. Later, it also became an important staging post for US aircraft, as it had been in the previous conflict.

The significance of the Azores has been overlooked in most military histories, but this extensively researched and copiously illustrated book from historian Guy Warner provides a detailed but balanced appraisal. The author has had access to archives and photographic collections in the UK, USA, Portugal and the Azores, consulting with local historians to produce a book that sheds much new light on a hitherto under-appreciated facet of twentieth-century history.

"Warner’s extensive research conducted on the military and aviation history of the Azores culminates in Atlantic Linchpin. His thorough examination of personal accounts and government documents permits him to brilliantly describe the careful planning and politicking behind the military operations on the islands. He compliments the grander narrative of the formation of American and British aviation presence there with passages from local newspapers and soldiers’ journal entries, portraying the intersection of military and island life. Atlantic Linchpin: The Azores in Two World Wars remains an excellent companion for anyone interested in learning about the naval and aeronautical roles these islands played in, and between, both World Wars."

Nautical Research Journal Volume 68 (2023)

"...Warner’s Atlantic Linchpin is a welcome addition to the historiography of both conflicts. He sheds light on a lesser known subject while encouraging further research by readers of military history into the role of Portugal as a neutral nation making aviation history in both wars. Casual readers may find a new twist to a history they thought they knew."

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Summer/Été 2023) - the Canadian Nautical Research Society

"Guy Warner’s book draws welcome attention to an under-researched subject, and Atlantic Linchpin is a readable account of life for American and British service personnel stationed there during the two world wars."

Warship Annual - 2023

As well as the really interesting history of what happened in the Azores during both world wars, the text is well illustrated throughout with maps and with a large number of archive images, many of which were new to me. I found this a really interesting addition to my own knowledge of the history of the Battle of the Atlantic while having so much more as well. I have no hesitation in recommending this one.

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Military Model Scene

"This interesting story is well told."

Aviation World - Summer 2022

Guy Warner's "detailed and diligent research has been rewarded by the ‘Atlantic Linchpin’. Background information is provided about the long and historical relationship Britain has had with Portugal. Portugal’s contribution to the First World War has been relegated and overshadowed and the author’s research has revealed previously, little known information about aviation in the Azores.

This very readable and absorbing book combines maritime history with the social history of the Azores."

Roger Coleman, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

"This interesting story is well told".

Air-Britain Aviation World Summer 2022

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Rum Ration

I’m going to run to 4.5 anchors on this book. Yes, it’s only going to appeal to a narrow audience, but if you fit into that audience, I don’t think you’ll find the information presented here anywhere else. The author has packed a lot of detail and information into relatively few pages.

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Navy Net

Video review on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

I congratulate you on your latest book
“ Atlantic Linchpin – The Azores in two World Wars”

It is truly a “magnum opus” endeavor. Some of the photos brings back many memories of my childhood.

Roy C. Teixeira

Guy Warner has extensively researched and authored a comprehensive history of military aviation in the Azores during World War One and World War Two.

Guy's detailed accounting of the 1st US Marine Aeronautical Company deployment to the Azores during World War One is of particular interest. This is a subject that has received little attention historically and this book has splendidly corrected that. The book is enhanced by the presence of many photos, some of which haven't been published before.

All in all this book is a valuable contribution to US Naval Aviation history.

Robert H. Thomas - National Naval Aviation Museum Research Volunteer Pensacola, Florida

A fascinating account of the islands that make up the Azores and their role in global conflicts.

Books Monthly

"All of this is recounted in appropriate detail, and the text is amplified by a remarkable 200 photographs."

RAF Historical Society

"All four chapters make an interesting read whatever your aviation or historical tastes, which leave you longing for more."

Derek Straw - 206 Squadron Association - 206 Sqn Newsletter (Dec21)

Guy Warner provides extensive and detailed References, Appendices and Notes cataloguing the maritime and aviation activities on and around the islands during both World Wars and the interim period of peace also. In typical Guy fashion he hasn’t left a stone unturned so if you’re looking for any information about military activity on the Azores during either World War, if you are looking for detailed social and economic context for this activity from a local viewpoint then this book is for you!! I found this publication a most enjoyable, informative and enthralling read which I am pleased to commend to historian and casual reader alike.

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Paul Fry

For those with an interest in World War 1 and 2, this book is a must for their library illuminating as it does this vitually unknown facet of both World Wars!

Martin Willoughby, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association
 Guy Warner

About Guy Warner

Guy Warner is a retired schoolteacher and former MOD civil servant, who has written more than 30 publications on aviation, military and naval history, four of which have been published by Pen & Sword, as well as several hundred articles for magazines in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Canada and the USA. He also gives talks on these topics, reviews books, makes contributions to TV and radio programmes and acts as a consultant to museums and universities. He and his wife Lynda have a great love of the Azores, which they have visited numerous times.

About Hugo Miguel Baptista Cabral

Capitão-de-fragata Hugo Miguel Baptista Cabral.

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