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Secret Operations

The Underwater Raid on the Tirpitz

by Peter Howard

Ian Allan Publishing


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Secret Operations
The Underwater Raid on the Tirpitz
by Peter Howard
Ian Allan Publishing.
ISBN: 0-7110-3093-6
Media and Contents: 96 pages plus card cover, 125 black and white photos, 11 diagrams.
Price: £16.99 available online from Ian Allen Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Interesting subject, informative and easy to read text, many unpublished B&W photos, diagrams and maps to illustrate subject.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Glen Porter

The Underwater Raid on the Tirpitz is available online from Squadron.com




I remember years ago seeing the British made movie of the attack on the Tirpitz by the X-Craft Submarines, “Above Us The Waves”.

This new book by Peter Howard from Ian Allan Publishing is the first contact I've had with that story since then. The only aspect of the movie I can remember was that one of the subs got caught under the hull of the Tirpitz by the outgoing tide. The crew only just got out before the massive weight of the battleship crushed the submarine against the bottom. So imagine my surprise to find this was a figment of someone movie maker’s imagination. I didn't realise the British film industry indulged in that kind of “Artistic License”… shades of “Pearl Harbour” no less!

With no Foreword or Introduction, the author leaps straight into Chapter 1 with the building of the Tirpitz and the problems it caused the British War Cabinet. There are many rare photos of the ship being built and up to the time of the attack but the text is quite short. Chapter 2 covers the design, building and testing of the X-craft midget subs, and the men involved with again many good photos and a schematic drawing of the production X-craft. Next comes the plan, Operation “Source”. Which submarines, crews and how will they get there?

Chapter 4 concerns itself with the attack. Of the six boats involved and 42 crewmen, all subs were lost but 33 of the 42 crew survived. The crews are the subject of chapter 5. They were so successful that the X-craft are considered the most cost effective sumarines ever built.

Chapter 6, the final chapter, covers the air attacks and final destruction of Tirpitz.

The book is presented in an easy to read style and there are many maps and diagrams to further illustrate the text. The loss of X9 enroute with its transit crew is discussed plus the search for the remains of X5, lost in the attack but never found.

This has got to be one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time and for an avid reader like me, that's saying something.


Thanks to Simon from DLS Publishing for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2006 by Glen Porter
This Page Created on 17 July, 2006
Last updated 16 July, 2006

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