HITLER'S GHOST SHIPS: Graf Spee, ScharnhorstG. H. BENNETT Book Number: 92667 Product format: Paperback
Originally published as a classified Battle Summary, Hitler's Ghost Ships is a unique record written by naval officers during World War II, and soon after 1945. Stamped restricted as classified texts and held at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, South West England. These historical accounts also contain naval maps, plans and first-hand accounts. During WWII, it was the technique of the German naval forces to use the element of disguise. This book will dive into that history with the use of original battle summaries compiled by the Royal Navy about the Battle of the River Plate and the destruction of the Graf Spee in 1939, the operation against disguised enemy raiders between 1940 and 1941, and the Battle of North Cape and the sinking of the Scharnhorst in 1943. The reader will be introduced to the Admiral Graf Spee, a ship of 100,000 tons which carried a main armament of six 11" guns in triple turrets and a secondary armament of eight 5.9" guns. She was captained by Kapitän zur See Hans Langsdof who was an officer of the old Imperial Navy who had fought in Jutland. There are fascinating insights into priorities of German High Command, namely that they attached more importance to preserving the warship Scharnhorst and keeping it intact than inflicting damage on the enemy's convoy. The reader will also discover that auxiliary cruisers would support the major German warships. This was exemplified by a history of German merchant ships which externally looked normal but were loaded with heavy armaments but, while using this camouflage, would approach ally vessels and reveal their identity, sinking one British cruiser, one armed merchant cruiser and 618,108 tons of merchant shipping. The brilliance of including battle summaries is thorough appendices offering context for readers. There are also detailed maps of the different battlegrounds and ship routes, including a diagram of torpedo attacks on the Scharnhorst between 1849 and 1900, a detailed depiction of the first phase of the Battle of the River Plate between 6.14 am and 7.40 am on 13 December 1939, and a map of action between HMS Cornwall and a German raider between 7th and 8th May 1941. Paperback, illus, 216pp.
Published price: £17
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