The United States experienced its most harrowing military disaster of World War II not in 1941 at Pearl Harbor but in the period from 1942 to 1943, in Atlantic coastal waters from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. Sinking merchant ships with impunity, German U-boats threatened the lifeline between the United States and Britain, very nearly denying the Allies their springboard onto the European Continent--a loss that would have effectively cost the Allies the war.
In Turning the Tide, author Ed Offley tells the gripping story of how, during a twelve-week period in the spring of 1943, a handful of battle-hardened American, British, and Canadian sailors turned the tide in the Atlantic. Using extensive archival research and interviews with key survivors, Offley places the reader at the heart of the most decisive maritime battle of World War II.
WWII's Battle of the Atlantic, where Admiral D nitz's U-boats attempted to starve Great Britain into capitulation, was one of many crucial points in that conflict that were indispensable to Allied victory. If the Germans had succeeded in interdicting its maritime lifeline, Britain would not have become the Allies' "unsinkable aircraft carrier" and staging point for invasion, which in turn meant that there would have been no second front in France, and this in turn could have lead Stalin to make a separate peace with Hitler. By examining two actions against Allied convoys in March and May 1943, Offley (Scorpion Down) demonstrates how the Allies were more responsive to changing technological and tactical conditions, while the Kriegsmarine was hampered by a failure to recognize the same changes and by a culture that encouraged reporting inflated results; curiously, both opponents had cracked the other's codes, but the Allies made better use of the intelligence. The author focuses on individual combatants, from the lowest ranks to the highest, emphasizing the human elements and making for an extremely readable text that should appeal to neophytes as well as professionals.