The Battle of the Denmark Strait

The Battle of the Denmark Strait

Author
Robert J Winklareth
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
A Casemate paperback edition of the 2012 original.

This book covers far more than the title suggests; we get the entire life of the Nazi battleship Bismarck right back to her strategic and political genesis, and considerable detail on all the other ships ultimately acting to contrive her demise. All ship movements are meticulously analysed and described and there is exact detail on what heavy shell hit which ship where and with exactly what result.

The author often uses what one might call 'civilian' terminology(even lapses into journalese) and is not 'at home' in the RN. There is the odd howler - p.100 (Holland entered the RN in 1902), p.128 which does not recognise how a ship recommissions with a new crew after a refit (Hood's last refit ended in March 1941) and p.205 (Vian was not a Flag Officer). However this should not detract from enjoying what is a highly readable technical narrative.

The strength of the analysis is its depth of research, including debunking many other authors' missing Ludovic Kennedy's point that many contemporary photographs in the public domain are reversed, leading to ludicrous explanations of Bismarck's movements, which Winklareth duly straightens out into a coherent track record.

The text is illustrated with a wide range of cleverly sourced photographs - and where these are not to be had, cunningly executed photo-like drawings by the author - and carefully drawn track charts, all of which make the story easier to follow.

Here is as detailed and exact an account of the career and destruction of the Bismarck as is ever likely to be printed and as such is a highly valuable addition to the corpus of WW2 naval history.
Author
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