by Robert C. Stern
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 306.
Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $55.95. ISBN: 1591148960
Naval historian Stern reminds us of the Navy’s role in the war with Germany.
Although the U.S. Navy was heavily focused on the fight with Japan during the Second World War, it also had an major role in that against Germany. Despite Samuel Eliot Morison’s four detailed volumes on the subject, the Navy’s war in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and adjacent waters has received much less coverage from historians, and is today hardly remembered. Stern opens with a look at the fleet’s operations in two years of American neutrality (1939-1941), starting with “Neutrality Patrol” and on through increasingly active operations to virtual outright hostilities well before Pearl Harbor, a period to which he devotes nearly a quarter of his text. Stern then follows the fleet, and several individual officers, as it took part in the war against Germany and Italy. We get a good account of the great convoy battles, the importance of the U.S. Navy’s “presence” to the containment of the German fleet, the successive invasions of Northwest Africa (which featured a rare battleship engagement), Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. He even discusses the Navy’s role in the crossing of the Rhine and the surrender of the German fleet.
The U.S. Navy and the War in Europe
is a valuable read for anyone interested in the U.S. Navy or the Second World War.