British Submarines in Two World Wars (ePub)
As seen in the Daily Mail, May 2019: 'Britain's battle beneath the waves – The Royal Navy submarines and their fearless crews who played crucial role defending UK in two world wars'
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Although the Royal Navy did not invent the submarine, Norman Friedman’s new book demonstrates how innovative the service was, to an extent which few will recognise. Its submarines performed well in combat in both world wars, and often in unheralded ways. Few will be aware that in 1914 Britain had the largest submarine fleet in the world, and that at the end of World War I it had some of the largest and most unusual of all submarines – whose origins and design are all detailed.
During the First World War they virtually closed the Baltic to German iron ore traffic, and they helped block supplies to the Turkish army fighting at Gallipoli. British submarines were a major element in the North Sea battles, and they helped fight the U-boat menace. These roles led on to British submarine operations in World War II. Readers will be aware of the role of US submarines in strangling Japan, but perhaps not how British submarines in the Mediterranean fought a parallel costly but successful battle to strangle the German army in North Africa. Like their US counterparts, interwar British submariners were designed largely with the demands of a possible Pacific War, although that was not the war they fought. And the author shows how the demands of such a war, which would be fought over vast distances, collided with interwar British Government attempts to limit costs by holding down the size (and numbers) of submarines. It says much about the ingenuity of British submarine designers that they managed to meet their requirements despite enormous pressure on submarine size.
As in other books in this series, the author demonstrates how a combination of evolving strategic and tactical requirements and evolving technology produced successive types of design. The Royal Navy was always painfully aware of the threat enemy submarines posed, and British submariners contributed heavily to the development of British anti-submarine tactics and technology, beginning with largely unknown efforts before the outbreak of World War I. Between the Wars British submariners exploited the new technology of sonar (Asdic), both to find and attack enemies and to avoid being attacked themselves. As a result, they pioneered submarine silencing, with important advantages to the US Navy as it observed the British. And it was a British submarine that pioneered the vital postwar use of submarines as anti-submarine weapons, sinking a U-boat while both were submerged. This feat was unique.
Heavily illustrated with photos and original plans, this new volume from Norman Friedman, incorporating so much original analysis, will be eagerly awaited by naval historians and enthusiasts everywhere.
This book was a real eye opener for me. I thought I knew quite a lot about submarines but my knowledge paled into insignificance when found the wealth of information before me. Here is a book that tells you all you need to know about submarines. One could probably build a period submarine with little more than the plans and descriptions here laid out. But the book is more than a technical manual. The thinking and attitudes which under pinned the planning and the execution of the Royal Navy’s submarine strategy are well described... There is no dross, ‘all meat and no gravy’ as my grandfather would say.Clash of Steel
This is a rather special book and we highly recommend it.
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This unique and fascinating book takes us through an amazing array of facts, figures and photographs of British submarines and their deployment in the two 20th century world wars. Lavishle illustrated with photogaphs and technical drawings, this amazing large-scale book delves deep into their history and their technical details which will delight anyone with a passing interest in these incredible vessels.Books Monthly
Will be eagerly awaited by submarine modellers, naval historians and enthusiasts everywhere.Model Boats, September 2019 – reviewed by John Deamer
Norman Friedman's book on submarines was a voyage of discovery [excuse the pun].Richard Gough, Military Author and Historian
One imagines a submarine is a submarine, one is just like another but the wealth of information, detail, drawings in British Submarines in two World Wars, show how misinformed one can be. The Thetis I remember, went on sea trials off the N Wales coast shortly after launch in about 1937. She went down and never came up. Well she did because later they raised, made her seaworthy, renamed her and went into war service. Later in years when writing books on SOE in the Fast East in WW ll, I wrote on the daring deed of some T- Class vessels such as the Tally Ho working with Special Forces.
Writing gives one the privilege of meeting special people, one was an agent with MI6 during WW. He parachuted into the Malayan jungle near Penang to gather intelligence on Japanese shipping and transmit it back to Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. Contacts brought word that the Azhagar, a Japanese cruiser, was preparing to leave. An urgent signal to Ceylon brought the British submarine, Trenchant,'poste haste' to sink her in the Malacca Straits. Meanwhile another submarine Tally Ho was in the Malacca Straits to land a British agent from SOE. The sinking of the enemy cruiser brought Japanese anti submarine patrol boats to the area. They missed Trenchant but discovered the Tally Ho on the surface at night, She was rammed but survived: the mission was cancelled and limped back to Ceylon, lopsided.
There must be many stories waiting to written. Each vessel and support vessels has an history just waiting to researched!
British Submarines in Two World wars is a magnificent achievement which belongs on the bookshelves of submariners past and present as well as all those fascinated by the ‘submarine boat’.Australian Naval Institute, Tim Coyle
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As with all Friedman’s books, this title is based on impeccable scholarship and analysis. For me the most valuable aspect of this is his revealing the actual decision-making processes behind the designs, the economic, political and professional pay offs that resulted in the appearance of the warships that we now know so well. On the way he brings to light much information that few will be aware of, such as the fact that in 1914 Britain had the largest submarine fleet in the world. And at the end of World War I it had some of the largest and most unusual of all submarines – whose origins and design are detailed by the author.Julian Stockwin Blog
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The remarkable photos form part of acclaimed naval historian Norman Friedman's British Submarines In Two World Wars, a hugely in-depth summary of the evolution of underwater conflict and its role in the greatest wars of the 20th century.Mail Online 27/5/19
A magnificent volume of high quality photographs, drawings and text that is a cornerstone for research and understanding of the role of the submarine in the two world wars. A stunning piece of work.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide