Battle of the Atlantic 1939-41...

...RAF Coastal Command's Hardest Fight Against the U-Boats, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Battle of the Atlantic 1939-41

Author: Mark Lardas

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-3603-8

Number 15 in the Air Campaign series from Osprey is the first of 2 planned volumes looking at the topic of the Battle of the Atlantic. This one deals with the opening years, 1939-1941, a period when the U-Boat war caused significant losses to allied shipping but also a time when the Allies were learning the most effective tactics and developing equipment that would change the course of the campaign in the later years of the war.
The 96-page softcover book opens with an Introduction that sets the scene of the Battle, of the fears that the Admiralty had of the potential threat from German U-Boats, based on experience from WW1. The most significant answer to the problem was the patrol aircraft, but getting the right ones, with the right equipment and developing the right tactics would take time to get right. So after a basic Chronology of events, the author considers the Capabilities of both Attackers (Coastal Command) and the Defenders (the U-Boats). Then the Campaign Objectives, split into sections which take that on for both sides. Then the largest section of the book details the Campaign itself, the events that took place, the successes and the failures for both Allied and Axis forces. That leads into a separate piece on Aftermath & Analysis, which goes over the lessons of this early period and sets things up for the next book which will cover the later half of the war.
The book is well illustrated throughout with some well captioned archive photos, and a fine series of maps that illustrate the wide area of ocean covered by the campaign. There are also some very impressive pages of artwork from Edouard A. Groult which are an excellent accompaniment to the text from author Mark Lardas. Another really good addition to the series from Osprey.
 

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin