Another fantastic read, which has brought together lots of stories and knowledge I have gained, to become the realisation that many were linked together, something I had missed.
OK, the subject matter that I have been reading was about the Second World War, (WW2), but what I had read and researched before, were about individual incidents/campaigns/missions, and I had seen them and understood them as that, stand-alone.
Why I read the book, Target Tirpitz, was because I had just finished the book Dam Busters, the formation of the special RAF Dambusters Squadron, 617, and how they went on to finally sink the German battleship the Tirpitz. I wanted to find more information about this famous RAF Squadron.
The easy to read book, left me with the feeling that it gave both sides of the story, from the point of views of the Axis Powers and the Allies, with Patrick Bishop having obtained interviews from many people from both sides involved with this part of history.
The book starts with the launching of Tirpitz on Saturday, 1st April 1939 and follows the battleships life until it was finally finished on 11th November 1944.
In chapter one, Alfred Zuba tells his story of the final hours of how he was trapped in the then dark capsized vessel, of how he was one of only a few who were cut out of the upturned hull, leaving nearly 1,000 men who perished inside Tirpitz when the Dambusters sealed the final blow.
Although the Tirpitz really did not go into battle with Allied shipping, it did tie-up Allied Naval vessels in containing her mostly in the Norwegian Fiords, resources badly needed in other parts of the world.
The book tells how the British and the Americans were being pushed by what seems very ungrateful Russians, to supply badly needed food, materials and armaments to fight the German occupation of their country. The only way to get such goods to the Russians was by the Arctic Convoys, where many men lost their lives having their ships sunk by the German forces.
Winston Churchill, the British Leader, knew that the big German Naval force needed to be removed, especially the Tirpitz and the battle cruiser Scharnhorst. To do this required skill and daring, from the flyers of the British Navy‘s aircrews of the Fleet Air Arm, flying aircraft that had hardly been updated in thirty years, the submariners who tried to sink Tirpitz on two man torpedo shaped chariots as in the 1958 film The Silent Enemy, and the claustrophobic four man mini submarine the X-craft, as depicted in the 1955 film Above Us The Waves. How the Norwegian Resistance used the Shetland Bus route, a successful ferry services of agents and equipment over the cold and dangerous sea to play their role in the sinking.
Partrick Bishop brings into this book other related missions to give a whole picture of the death of Tirpitz, including the St. Nazaire Raid by the British on the large Normandie dry dock with HMS Campbeltown, later made into the 1952 film, Gift Horse.
So many films made about this period of history, but until now I had never linked them together, More gaps now filled in, and many more left open. A great read.