Book Review: BISMARCK: THE EPIC CHASE: The Sinking of the German Menace

Archives

by James Crossley

Barnsely, So. Yorks: Pen & Sword/Havertown, Pa.: Casemate, 2010. Pp. vi, 170. Illus., maps, diagr., appends., index. $32.95. ISBN: 1848842503

In Bismarck, Crossley, author of several works on the Royal Navy, such as British Destroyers 1892-1918, takes a fresh look at what was indeed an “Epic Chase”, one that began when the Germany battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen slipped into the Atlantic on May 21, 1941, in a bid to disrupt Britain’s maritime commerce. 

This sortie initiated a week long (May 21-27, 1941) cat-and-mouse game with the Royal Navy that by its end saw massive disruptions in maritime traffic, two great ships sunk with terrible loss of life, and British domination of the Atlantic intact.  Of course, this story has been told before, and was even the subject of the rather good motion picture Sink the Bismarck!.  What Crossley has done is to bring to the tale a hard analytical look at the decisions, actions, and options available to the commanders, something usually missing in earlier works.  Thus, he discusses why Bismarck’s fuel tanks were not properly topped off before the sortie and why Hood, despite her inadequate armor and poor radar, was placed ahead of Prince of Wales as they approached the German vessels, and addresses the curious question of whether Bismarck sank
due to British firepower or was scuttled by her crew, among other matters, while conductin a running critique of the decisions made by the principal commanders on both sides. 

Albeit unfortunately lacking in references, Bismarck: The Epic Chase is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in war at sea and in the Atlantic War in particular.

---///---



Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close