Book Review: The Battle of the Narrow Seas: The History of the Light Coastal Forces in the Channel & North Sea, 1939-1945


by Peter Scott

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2009. Pp. xii, 228. Illus., maps, append., notes, index. $36.95. ISBN: 1591140412

Originally published in 1945, The Battle of the Narrow Seas, by former Royal Navy Lt. Cdr. Peter Scott (son of the famous "Scott of Antarctica"), deals with the almost continuous skirmishing, patrolling, and desperate combat of what was the longest naval campaign of the Second World War, the struggle by Allied -- primarily British -- light naval forces against the their Kriegsmarine counterparts for control of the shallow waters off northwestern Europe and around the British Isles.  As this edition is a reprint of the original, it retains the many flaws that characterized Scott's effort.  Lacking much information on the German side, Scott had to rely heavily on British sources.  Nevertheless, The Battle of the Narrow Seas truly "telleth of much fight," covering in some detail scores of the literally hundreds of small surface actions that took place during the greatest sea war ever, many in considerable detail..

In addition to its often fine description of small unit action at sea, the book also throws light on the evolution of the vessels involved, the development of weapons and tactics, and something of the character of the men who served. 

With a new introduction that provides some insights into the German side of things, The Battle of the Narrow Seas is of great value for students of naval warfare in the twentieth century and for naval wargamers in particular.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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