Sunday, October 24, 2010

Defense against the U-boat and how it was accomplished.

In the narrative A Measureless Peril,  Richard Snow writes of the need, tactics, and outcome of convoying merchant ships with military escorts across the Atlantic Ocean during WWII.  The policy of convoying was necessary due to the Nazi’s successful use of wolf-pack tactics employed by their submarines - U-Boats - to sink ships carrying men and material to the European theater of war.

Each chapter is an individual story that is interconnected to the overall theme of the book.  Many chapters link to one another through a common character, ship, or incident.

In this very entertaining and enlightening read, the author takes us back in maritime history to lay background for the development of the U-Boat tactics that were so successful during WWII.  British, American and German perspective is given to the conflict in the Atlantic.  He tells the history of the development of the torpedo in the late 1800's, the torpedo-boat (the precursor of the submarine), and the torpedo-boat destroyer (the forerunner to our present day destroyer class warships).  Snow describes the evolution of the destroyer from the original USS Bainbridge at 400-tons to the 2,000-ton Fletcher Class destroyers of WWII.  Best of all he answers the question of the differences between a Destroyer and a Destroyer Escort.

Snow’s father was an architect who joined the Navy at the outbreak of the war and served aboard a destroyer stationed in the Atlantic.  He wrote vivid letters, many accompanied with sketches, home to his wife throughout his service.  Snow draws on his father’s personal correspondence as well as research in presenting this history.