Running the Gauntlet (Hardback)
Cargo Liners Under Fire 1939–1945
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The British Merchant Navy dominated the world trade routes in the years leading up to the Second World War. The star players of the fleet were the cargo liners, faster and larger than the tramps and offering limited passenger accommodation. On the outbreak of war these cargo liners became crucial to the nation’s survival using their speed and expertise to evade Nazi warships, raiders and U-boats.
Initially operating alone, but increasingly relying on Royal Navy protected convoys, these key elements of the Merchant Navy plied the oceans and seas despite mounting losses, throughout the war years.
This superbly researched book describes numerous dramatic incidents. Some ended in disaster such as the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Turakina which was sunk after a running battle with the German raider Orion. Others were triumphs for example Operation Substance when six fast cargo liners succeeded against all the odds in reaching besieged Malta with vital supplies.
The common denominations in all these historic voyages were the courage and skilled seamanship of the Merchant Navy crews. As Running The Gauntlet vividly illustrates, their contribution to victory, too long overlooked, cannot be overstated.
In conclusion, it seems most fitting that this thoroughly recommended book, and the memory of all those crews who served the country so valiantly throughout six years of war, can perhaps be best summed up in a précis of the very words of brave Captain Capon himself on his return to Liverpool in September 1942:Arrse
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"This excellent book guides the reader around the oceans and seaways of the world from the beginning of the Second World War to the D-day landings in June 1944."Roger Coleman, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association
I really enjoyed this book, as gripping as a good novel, until it hit home how inappropriate is the word ‘enjoyed’. The men in this book are not fictional characters from some author’s imagination. This is the story of some of the brave men who did a very dangerous job many of whom died in the course of their work. Some were blown to pieces in an instant others died after many days adrift in an open boat or on a Carley float. The job those fellow merchant seamen who survived did, showing courage and skilled seamanship, was crucial to the nation’s survival.Clash of Steel
This well researched book covers only a few of the losses to the merchant navy fleet but it is well representative of the service we should never forget.
Once started it is a difficult book to put down and we highly recommend it.
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Beware Raiders! (Hardback)
This is the fascinating story of two German surface raiders and the havoc they caused amongst Allied shipping in World War II. One was the 8-inch gun cruiser Admiral Hipper, fast, powerful and Navy-manned: the other a converted merchantman, Hansa Line's Kandelfels armed with a few old 5.9s manned largely by reservists, and sailing under the nom de guerre of Pinguin. Contrary to all expectations, the amateur man-of-war reaped a rich harvest and went out in a blaze of glory. Her purpose-built sister, on the other hand, was hard-pressed even to make her mark on the war and ended her days in ignominy.…By Bernard Edwards, Captain Bernard Edwards
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