Atlantic Escorts: Ships, Weapons & Tactics in World War II
David K Brown

This book turned out to be Browns last and it is a fine epitaph to one of the giants of Naval History. Though primarily dealing with the vast conflict that ranged across the Atlantic from the first to the last day of WWII, a large proportion of its contents can be affixed to wherever these RN vessel types served.

The book is lavishly furnished with photographs (all B&W) and numerous tables. These tables range from the mundane and easily accessible information found elsewhere, to the more obscure such as Escort turning circles, Percentage tables dealing with operational availability and Design stress tables etc. Though the latter aren’t as ‘glamorous’ as the usual armament , armour, range and speed details that many focus on when discussing the Atlantic campaign, they are equally valid in building up a detailed understanding of Why events unfolded the way that they did. One could be forgiven that this is a dry book in reading terms but Brown has produced a narrative that combines the complexities and technicalities inherent in such a campaign, with a parlance akin to a fast steaming destroyer.

Its first seven chapters deal with the campaign using a timeline based upon various aspects in how the battle was undertaken. Obviously this book isn’t as detailed as others in terms of the actual individual battles but that isn’t its main purpose. The larger picture is used as a background for Brown to detail out the innovations, mistakes, requirements and experiences of the Atlantic escorts. The last three chapters deal with particular technical aspects, production numbers and evaluation of the whole escort gamut, and are a fitting way to end the main part of this book. The following four appendices are a tad disappointing in there content, though thankfully the book is well noted & referenced with a good solid Bibliography and Index which some publishers feel is no longer required.

I found the book a superb read which carried me along in a logical fast paced understanding of how and why events occurred. Browns focus was naturally towards the efforts undertaken by the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navies, thus the important role of the United States Navy is somewhat passed by. This aside I can foresee this book becoming a well thumbed addition on many a bookshelf.

(Reviewed by Andy H)
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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