WORLD WAR II

Battle of the Atlantic

N - Z

Nesbit, Roy Conyers. Ultra Versus U-Boats: Enigma Decrypts in the National Archives. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2008.

Christensen, Cryptologia 33.4 (Oct. 2009), comments that the material the author "has gathered is interesting - though quite repetitious.... He has selected about 200 decrypts [from the National Archives], added about 200 photographs, and arranged them chronologically.... The text is a short history of the battle against the U-boats. Codebreaking is only briefly mentioned, and what is said ... is not always correct." To Peake, Studies 55.1 (Mar. 2011), this work "is a fine contribution to WWII naval history."

Offley, Ed. Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic. New York: Basic Books, 2011.

Goulden, Washington Times, 10 Jun. 2011., refers to the author's "masterly military writing."

Rohwer, Jürgen.

1. The Critical Convoy Battles of March 1943: The Battle for HX.229/SC.122. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1977.

Sexton views this as "well documented" and "[e]ssential reading."

2. "Der Einfluß der 'Signal Intelligence' auf den Verlauf der Schlacht im Atlantik 1939-1945" [The influence of 'signals intelligence' on the course of the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945]. In Deutschland und der Westen: Internationale Beziehungen im 20. Jahrhundert. Festschrift für Klaus Schwabe zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Guido Müller, 132-142. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1998.

3. "Radio Intelligence and Its Role in the Battle of the Atlantic." In The Missing Dimension: Governments and Intelligence Communities in the Twentieth Century, eds. Christopher Andrew and David Dilks, 159-168. London: Macmillan, 1984.

4. "ULTRA and the Battle of the Atlantic: The German View." In Changing Interpretations and New Sources in Naval History: Papers from the Third United States Naval Academy History Symposium, ed. Robert V. Love, 420-443. New York: Garland, 1980.

Sexton calls this "[o]ne of the best accounts from the German perspective of the Battle of the Atlantic and the role of Sigint in it."

5. And W.A.B. Douglas. "Canada and the Wolf Packs, September 1943." In The RCN in Transition, 1910-1985, ed. W.A.B. Douglas, 159-186. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988.

Runyan, Timothy J., and Jan M. Copes, eds. To Die Gallantly: The Battle of the Atlantic. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1994.

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 20.3, the 20 essays in this volume come out of a 1992 conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. The articles "contribute[] much to the history of this critical campaign."

Sarty, Roger. "The Limits of Ultra: The Schnorkel U-Boat Offensive against North America, November 1944-January 1945." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 2 (Apr. 1997): 44-68.

In the first part of 1944, the Germans "began to install schnorkel breathing tubes on U-boats.... This was the beginning of the revolution in submarine warfare from predominantly surface to predominantly submerged operations." The author draws a very detailed picture of the impact the use of schnorkels had on the tactics and effectiveness of German submarines working along the Canadian coast in late 1944. He concludes that it was not the availability of Ultra alone that allowed the Allies to prevail against the schnorkel boats but, rather, "the crushing weight of Allied resources."

Steury, Donald P. "Naval Intelligence, the Atlantic Campaign and the Sinking of the Bismarck: A Study in the Integration of Intelligence into the Conduct of Naval Warfare." Journal of Contemporary History 22, no. 2 (Apr. 1987): 209-233.

Sexton says that this "valuable source" covers the functioning of both British and German intelligence.

Syrett, David.

1. "Communications Intelligence and the Battle of the Atlantic." Archives 22, no. 93 (Apr. 1995): 45-59.

2. "Communications Intelligence and the Battle for Convoy OG 71, 15-23 August 1941." Journal of Strategic Studies 24, no. 3 (2001): 86-106.

From abstract: OG 71 was one of the first British convoys in 1941. Out of "22 vessels, two escorts and eight merchant ships" were lost to German aircraft and U-boats. Both the British and Germans made mistakes in this battle. However, "[o]ne bright spot for the British ... was communications intelligence. The battle saw the first use of high frequency direction finders and ... skill[ed] use was made of information obtained from enemy radio transmissions.... [I]mportant lessons were learned by the British from such use of communications intelligence which would pave the way for a more effective implementation of such information in future convoy battles."

3. "Communications Intelligence and the Sinking of the U-860, April-June 1944." The Mariner's Mirror 90, no. 1 (Feb. 1999): 68-75.

4. The Defeat of the German U-Boats: The Battle of the Atlantic. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1994.

Milner, Proceedings 121.6 (Jun. 1995), says that the author's "systematic integration of the intelligence picture into the narrative is one of the great strengths of the book.... Syrett demonstrates conclusively that the defeat of the wolf packs in 1943 owed little to the direct application of special intelligence.... [T]he Germans were simply no match for Allied aircraft and warships equipped with 10 cm radar."

While also noting Syrett's conclusion that decrypts by Bletchley Park "comprised but one of several key factors in defeating the U-boats," Herwig, I&NS 11.1, is impressed by the book's presentation of "a comprehensive and ... intelligible account of how the cryptanalysts ... 'seized' the Enigma."

5. "The Infrastructure of Communications Intelligence: The Allied D/F Network and the Battle of the Atlantic." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 3 (Autumn 2002): 163-172.

"The Allies made a huge investment in infrastructure, setting up some 50 D/F stations in the Atlantic region, all connected by high-speed electronic communications.... In the absence of decryption intelligence, D/F fixes were one of the few ways, if not the only way, in which the Allies could gain knowledge of the activities and locations of the U-boats.... Even when decryption intelligence was available, D/F fixes could still be of vital importance to the Allies."

Syrett, David, ed.

1. The Battle of the Atlantic and Signals Intelligence: U-Boat Situations and Trends, 1941-1945. Navy Records Society. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1998.

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 24.2, this edited "volume contains the U-Boat Situations and U-Boat Trends [reports] written ... by Rear Admiral J.W. Clayton, RN, head of the Admiralty's Operational Intelligence Centre, and by Commander Roger Winn, RNVR, head of the Submarine Tracking Room.... They provide an insider's history of the battle and show very clearly the extent of Allied knowledge of U-boat activities at any given time."

2. The Battle of the Atlantic and Signals Intelligence: U-Boat Tracking Papers, 1941-1947. Navy Records Society. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002.

Kruh, Cryptologia 28.1, identifies this work as a "unique compilation of papers written primarily by naval intelligence officers.... These documents are fundamental for a study based on original sources of SIGINT in the Battle of the Atlantic." Syrett has written an "excellent introduction."

van der Vat, Dan. Atlantic Campaign: World War II's Great Struggle at Sea, 1939-1945. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988.

According to Sexton, the author "relates the roles played by B-Dienst and GC and CS in the Battle of the Atlantic. Closure of the mid-Atlantic air gap ... is viewed as the decisive element in the defeat of the U-boats."

Williams, Kathleen Broome. Secret Weapon: U.S. High-Frequency Direction Finding in the Battle of the Atlantic. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Jonkers, AIJ 17.1/2, notes that this book tells the "story of the development of an effective shipborne HF/DF device during WW II, including the interaction between naval and industry professionals as well as operational activities." Erskine, IJI&C 10.2, concludes that the author "puts the development of shipborne HF-DF into its overall context" and has produced a "fine book" that "deserves to be read by any one interested in naval SIGINT or the Battle of the Atlantic."

To Kruh, Cryptologia 21.2, the author "does a masterful job in revealing for the first time, the details behind the development, operation in combat by the U.S. Navy, and success of a most effective 'secret' weapon." For Bates, NIPQ 14.1, the author's criticisms of the people and organizations that impeded the development of shipboard HF/DF are justified, but she "is a little unkind in not trying to place these efforts in the context of the times."

Herwig, I&NS 12.4, finds that "Williams is on solid ground in concluding that the Battle of the Atlantic was won not by any single device or development, but rather by a multiplicity of factors" that included HF/DF. Nevertheless, this book will disappoint "those seeking hard evidence of the role of HF/DF in the great Atlantic convoy battles."

Wise, Mark [ISO/USN-RC].

1. "Intelligence in the Capture of U-505, Part 1." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 24, no. 2 (Apr. 2008): 28-29, 31.

The focus here is on the role of HF-DF.

2. "Intelligence in the Capture of U-505, Part 2." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 24, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 34-36.

3. "Intelligence in the Capture of U-505, Part 3." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 24, no. 4 (Sep. 2008): 29-32, 34.

4. "Intelligence in the Capture of U-505, Part 4." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 25, no. 2 (Apr. 2009): 48-52.

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