Southern Thunder (Kindle)
The Royal Navy and the Scandinavian Trade in World War One
During World War One the Scandinavian countries played a dangerous and sometimes questionable game; they proclaimed their neutrality but at the same time pitched the two warring sides against one another to protect their import and export trades. Germany relied on Sweden, Norway and Denmark for food and raw materials, while Britain needed to restrict the flow of these goods and claim them for herself. And so the battle for the North Sea began. The campaign was ferociously fought, with the Royal Navy forced to develop new tactical thinking, including convoy, to combat the U-boat threat. Many parts of Scandinavia considered that the War had 'missed' the region, and that it was just a distant 'southern thunder'; Much of that thunder was over the North Sea.
This new book tells this little-known, and often ignored, story from both a naval and a political standpoint, revealing how each country, including the USA, tried to balance the needs of diplomacy with the necessities of naval warfare. Starting from the declaration of a British blockade and its impact and reception in Scandinavia, the narrative progresses to cover the struggle to prevent supplies reaching Germany, the negotiations to gain preferential British access to Scandinavian trade and the work of the sailors, both of the merchant marine and Royal Navy who had to make the system function. By the end of 1916, the British–Scandinavian trade was so important that a new system of convoyed vessels was developed, not without much Admiralty infighting, leading to the growth of naval operations all along the East Coast of Britain in places such as Immingham, Lerwick and Mehil.
Two years later, the Germans, desperate to break the tightening stranglehold, even brought out their big-gun ships to hunt and disrupt the Scandinavian convoys, and at one point US Navy battleships were perilously close to engaging with the High Sea Fleet as a result.
Detailed analysis and first-hand accounts of the fighting from those who took part create a vivid narrative that demonstrates how the Royal Navy helped to bring about Germany’s downfall and protect Britain’s vital Scandinavian supply lines.
Detailed analysis and first-hand accounts of the fighting from those who took part create a vivid narrative that demonstrates how the Royal Navy helped to bring about Germany's downfall and protect Britain's vital Scandinavian supply lines.Model Boats, April 2019 – reviewed by John Deamer
Here yet again [Dunn] has created a fascinating tribute to those involved in another little-remembered theatre of the war.The Village Online
Read the full review here
This book is very readable, well-written and researched, and may well become a standard reference work on its subject.Keith Rimmer, NZ Crown Mines
Article: Barnt Green author hopes his book will 'keep the First World War memory alive' as featured byBromsgrove Standard (online), 2nd February 2019
Article: 'Author Steve Dunn aims to keep World War One memories alive' as featured byMalvern Gazette (online) and other publications, 30th January 2019
Article: 'Author aims to ensure WWI is not forgotten' as featured byPlymouth Daily (online), 25th January 2019
Article: 'Bury historian Steve Dunn's new book Southern Thunder tells of forgotten WWI battle for the seas' as featured byBury Times (online), 27th January 2019 – words by Brad Marshall
Article: 'Sailor from Keighley features in new First World War naval history book' as featured byTelegraph & Argus (online), 22nd January 2019 – words by Miran Rahman
Article: 'Sailor from Keighley features in new First World War naval history book' as featured byKeighley News, (online), 22nd January 2019 – words by Miran Rahman
Article: 'Filey’s unsung heroes and brave acts feature in new World War One book' as featured byThe Scarborough News (online), 21st January 2019
Included in 'Village History' featureThe Village, 28th December 2018