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The Gathering Storm: The Naval War September 1939 to April 1940

av Geirr H. Haarr

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
291812,946 (4.5)2
"A top-of-the-line examination of operations in north European waters during the first eight months of [WWII] . . . by far the best work on that subject."--Stone & Stone   The term "the phony war" is often applied to the first months of the Second World War, a term suggesting inaction or passivity. That may have been the perception of the war on land, but at sea it was very different. This new book is a superb survey of the fierce naval struggles, from 1939 up to the invasion of Norway in April 1940.   The author begins the book with the sinking of the German fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919 and then covers the rebuilding of the Kriegsmarine and parallel developments in the Royal Navy and summarizes relevant advances in European navies. The main part of the book then describes the actions at sea starting with the fall of Poland. There is a complex, intertwined narrative that follows. The sinking of Courageous, the German mining of the British East Coast, the Northern Patrol, the sinking of Rawalpindi, small ship operations in the North Sea and German Bight, the Altmark incident are all covered. Further afield the author deals with the German surface raiders and looks at the early stages of the submarine war in the Atlantic.   As with his previous books, Geirr Haarr has researched extensively in German, British, and other archives, and the work is intended to paint a balanced and detailed picture of this significant period of the war when the opposing naval forces were adapting to a form of naval warfare quite different to that experienced in WWI.… (mer)
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In the aftermath of the declaration of war in September 1939, the first seven months of the conflict seemed anticlimactic. While the major powers of Europe were now officially at war, there were no major clashes between Germany, France, and Britain. As anticipation gave way to boredom, some people began calling it a "phony war," with the civilians at home and the soldiers clustered at the front waiting for the fighting to begin.

For the navies, however, the "phony war" was a myth. From the start of the conflict warships were sent out to assert control over the oceans and disrupt enemy commerce. Though this combat took place throughout much of the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere, during these months the fighting was concentrated in the waters between Britain and Germany. It is this part of the war that forms the subject of Geirr Haarr's book. In considerable detail he describes the campaigns waged by Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine as they sent out their ships and planes to interdict merchant ships, sow mines, and challenge the presence of their foes. What emerges from these chapters is of two sides learning how to engage their respective enemies, often with new or improved technologies that changed the nature of naval warfare from what their forces had experienced just two decades previously. Yet in many ways the two sides continued to fight with the old assumptions, with the Kriegsmarine's leader, Erich Raeder, pining for a surface fleet he would never possess, and the Royal Navy asserting a wasteful offensive approach towards engaging the resurgent threat of the U-boats.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book in this respect is how these months served to foreshadow the rest of the naval war that was to follow. Yet this point is one of many that Haarr leaves unmade. While the book is full of details (though not all of it accurate), it is sorely lacking in analysis that would connect all of this information into conclusions about the the relative performance of the two sides, or how these events shaped broader developments both then and later. For those seeking operational details about this part of the war the book is a treasure, but the absence of this sort of broader examination prevents Haarr's book from becoming a truly definitive study of its subject. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
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Wikipedia på engelska (3)

"A top-of-the-line examination of operations in north European waters during the first eight months of [WWII] . . . by far the best work on that subject."--Stone & Stone   The term "the phony war" is often applied to the first months of the Second World War, a term suggesting inaction or passivity. That may have been the perception of the war on land, but at sea it was very different. This new book is a superb survey of the fierce naval struggles, from 1939 up to the invasion of Norway in April 1940.   The author begins the book with the sinking of the German fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919 and then covers the rebuilding of the Kriegsmarine and parallel developments in the Royal Navy and summarizes relevant advances in European navies. The main part of the book then describes the actions at sea starting with the fall of Poland. There is a complex, intertwined narrative that follows. The sinking of Courageous, the German mining of the British East Coast, the Northern Patrol, the sinking of Rawalpindi, small ship operations in the North Sea and German Bight, the Altmark incident are all covered. Further afield the author deals with the German surface raiders and looks at the early stages of the submarine war in the Atlantic.   As with his previous books, Geirr Haarr has researched extensively in German, British, and other archives, and the work is intended to paint a balanced and detailed picture of this significant period of the war when the opposing naval forces were adapting to a form of naval warfare quite different to that experienced in WWI.

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