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The Cruel Sea Retold: The Truth Behind Monsarrat's Epic Convoy Drama Hardcover – May 1, 2009
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Bernard Edwards recounts the history that Nicholas Monsarrat used as the basis of his famous adventure novel, The Cruel Sea, which tells the tale of British ships trying to evade destruction by U-boat wolf packs hunting them in the North Atlantic. This work--a factual retelling--describes the actions of the three British convoys featured in the novel, first detailing the experiences of Convoy OG 71 when it attempted to sail from Liverpool to Gibraltar on 14 August 1941 with twenty-two merchantmen and eight escorts. During the trip, ten ships were lost without a single U-boat being sunk, and the convoy had to seek refuge in Lisbon. A month later, Convoy HG 73 sailed from Gibraltar with twenty-five merchantmen and thirteen escorts. Ten more ships were lost and only one U-boat was damaged. British fortunes began to improve when Convoy HG 76 sailed from Gibraltar in December with thirty-one merchantmen and a heavy escort of fifteen warships. During a six-day running battle, five U-boats were sunk and seven British ships lost.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591141451
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591141457
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,679,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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THE CRUEL SEA RETOLD, THE TRUTH BEHIND MONSARRAT'S EPIC CONVOY DRAMA relates the action seen by Convoy OG 71, HG 73 and HG 76. Monsarrat took part in the first convoy, a run from Liverpool to Gibraltar by 22 merchantmen and eight escorts in August 1941. U-boats savaged the convoy, sinking two escorts and eight merchantmen. No U-boats were lost in return. HG 73, the second convoy, lost eight merchantmen and an escort during on the return run to Liverpool in September. Again, no U-boats were lost. In December 1941, the tide turned with HG 76, another run to Gibraltar comprising 31 merchantmen and 15 escorts. Led by the legendary RN sub-killer 'Johnny' Walker, this time the escorts destroyed five U-boats which only claimed seven merchantmen in return.
THE CRUEL SEA RETOLD has several items in its favor. The first is its tantalizing subject. Sea war buffs might wonder how the fictional events in THE CRUEL SEA stacked up against reality. Now they know. Secondly, not only is Edwards a gifted writer, he knows his subject initmately since he was a seafarer like Monsarrat. (Edwards served in merchant ships at the end of World War II, eventually rising to command). His extensive knowledge of and love for the sea are evident on every page of this eminently readable book.
Sea war enthusiasts will greatly enjoy THE CRUEL SEA RETOLD. The combination of fascinating subject material and the author's literary skills make for a great read. Highly recommended.