Dönitz and the Wolf Packs (ePub)
On 17 September 1942 Admiral Karl Donitz, C-in-C U-boats, issued the following directive:
To all Commanders - 'All attempts to rescue members of ships sunk, therefore also fishing out swimmers and putting them into lifeboats, righting capsized lifeboats, handing out provisions and water, have to cease. Rescue contradicts the most fundamental demands of war for the annihilation of enemy ships and crews'.
This order ended what had hitherto been a war in which the opposing factions treated each other with a certain respect, seaman to seaman, showing mercy where mercy was due. It also marked the point at which the Battle of the Atlantic became a dirty war of attrition, with the U-boats hunting in packs snarling and snapping at the heels of the hard-pressed convoys. Ships began to go down like corn before the reaper, men were dying in their hundreds in the cold grey waters of the great ocean. This was a battle without quarter. A battle the U-boats would have won had it not been for the grit and determination of the convoy escorts and the unflagging resilience of the men who manned the vulnerable merchant ships.
This book faithfully records the progress of the Battle of the Atlantic, which began within hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939 and continued without let-up until the last torpedo was fired on the night of 7 May 1945, just one hour before Germany surrendered. The story is told from both sides of the periscope.
Dönitz and the Wolf Packs was originally published by Arms and Armour Press in 1996. It has no been republished by Pen & Sword with a striking new cover, and is one of a number of informative and readable books on the war at sea 1939-45 by Bernard Edwards.Warship annual - John Peterson
Edwards brings together the details of several significant convoy battles to help tell the story, while the inclusion of several useful maps of the North Atlantic illustrate the progress of both the convoys and the wolf packs and detail the unfolding action when the two side clashed...
... Dönitz and the Wolf Packs is a worthwhile addition to the existing canon of works about the Battle of the Atlantic.
Edwards takes us from one breathless episode to another.The International Journal of Maritime History
As seen in...Ships Monthly
Former shipmaster Bernard Edwards has a fine pedigree in producing insightful accounts of the Merchant Navy at war, and his latest title is an excellent examination of the most testing conflict that British merchant ships have faced.Nautilus International Telegraph
Bernard Edwards writes fluently, with well-drawn descriptions of the key events, and the book uses contemporary accounts - including Donitz's - to convey the stark reality of the war at sea in a powerful and dramatic way which emphasises the initially one-sided nature of the remorseless attacks on the convoys.