The Convoy tells the story of a wartime convoy which sailed from Britain to Gibraltar during the late winter of 1941. This though, wasn’t just any convoy. It was specially targeted by the Germans, and subjected to relentless attacks from a heavily-reinforced wolfpack of U-boats. However, thanks to Ultra intercepts, the British were aware of the threat, and so HG-76 was given an unusually powerful escort. This was led by Commander Walker, a brilliant anti-submarine expert who, until now had been sidelined by his superiors. Now, he had the chance to prove that his aggressive tactics worked.
The convoy’s other key asset was HMS Audacity, a prototype escort carrier. Her job was to provide air cover for convoys, and to help the escorts search for U-boats. She would prove her worth during the battle for HG-76. The convoy left Gibraltar on 14 December, and the first U-boat attack came three nights later. These would continue for ten gruelling days, but for once the U-Boat crews didn’t have it their own way. Thanks to Kennedy’s escorts and Audacity’s aircraft, five U-boats were sunk in the running battle, and all but two of the convoy’s 32 merchantmen reached port safely. Audacious though, was lost during the final stage of the battle. Still, the operation was deemed a major success for the Allies, as the U-boats had suffered unacceptable losses. HG-76 marked a major turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, and showed the way forward for future convoy operations.
In The Convoy, veteran naval historian Angus Konstam draws on a combination of first-hand accounts and official documents to create an engaging, fast-paced narrative which tells HG-76’s dramatic and untold story. By focusing on this one convoy, it brings to life the immediacy and drama of this hard-fought Battle of the Atlantic.
Angus Konstam is an author who specialises in maritime and military history. He is also an international authority on piracy, but claims he is losing the battle to separate pirate fact from piratical fiction.Born in 1960, Angus was brought up in Orkney. Although he no longer lives there, he still thinks of these beautiful islands as home. He then spent six years in the Royal Navy, and claims that the Senior Service gave him grounding in naval life, seamanship and navigation – all useful material for a maritime historian. He also sailed the waters of the Caribbean, a region he’d ...
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