"The Destruction of Convoy PQ.17" (used book)
The Destruction of Convoy PQ.17
by David Irving
About the Book
Used Book. Hardcover. Dust jacket included. Good condition.
-- from the dust jacket
“Sorry to leave you like this. Good luck. It looks like a bloody business.” Commander “Jack” Broome, RN, in his signal to the Commodore of the Murmansk/Archangel Convoy PQ.17 spoke truer than her knew. The destruction of the helpless Convoy PQ.17 was one of the bloodiest businesses of the Second World War.
It was July 1942. Axis military accomplishment was at its zenith. Germany dominated Asia. The Eighth Army stood precariously at Alamein and Russia seemed doomed by the armoured juggernaut of the German summer offensive. It was in this atmosphere of despair, in the long days of the Arctic summer, that Convoy PQ.17, consisting of thirty-five Allied merchant ships, predominantly American and British, was ordered to sail to Russia. She had a close escort of nineteen Royal Navy vessels, including six destroyers; she was covered by Admiral Hamilton’s Anglo-American force of four cruisers and three destroyers; and in the background steamed Admiral Tovey’s battle fleet of two battleships, three cruisers, an aircraft-carrier and fourteen destroyers.
Yet only eleven of the thirty-five merchantmen reached the dubious haven of a Russian port – hunted, frightened, bitter, angry, convinced then as are many still that they had been shamefully deserted by a Navy which lost only a fleet oiler in the convoy’s passage. Some 3,350 motor vehicles, 430 tanks, 210 bombers, and 99,316 tons of general cargo lay beneath the sea; 153 merchant sailors had been killed or died in the rafts and lifeboats that littered the bitter Arctic waters. The word “Why?”? began a thousand question that merchant and naval seamen asked then and since. Why in the first place did the convoy sail at such a time? Why did the greater part of the Navy’s escort leave it? Why was the convoy ordered to scatter and fend for itself, in bomber range of German-occupied airfields, with a U-boat pack snapping at its heels?
Many people would have preferred that the full truth of the blunders, the miscalculations and misunderstandings that led to the massacre of PQ.17 should remain hidden like so much dirty linen. On occasion, elaborate deceptions have been practised to ensure this. But David Irving has traced and interviewed over three hundred eye-witnesses and survivors of the convoy and its attackers; literally thousands of official documents and records in Britain, America and Germany, private letters and diaries, have been examined, translated and cross-checked.
Mr. Irving’s five intensive years of meticulous research in Allied countries and in Germany have provided the answers to the questions that shadow PQ.17. They do not make for pleasant reading, but they combine to form one of the most terrible of all sea sagas, a chilling story that no novelist could invent and dare call credible.