Black May: The Epic Story Of The Allies' Defeat Of The German U-Boats In May 1943

Black May: The Epic Story Of The Allies' Defeat Of The German U-Boats In May 1943

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For three years German U-boats turned the Atlantic Ocean into a killing field, but in May 1943, the Allies struck back successfully and reversed the tide of war. In just one month, using new tactics, new technology, and the coordinated forces of a new generation of submarine hunters, the Allies destroyed 41 U-boats and damaged 37 others. With this book, the noted naval historian Michael Gannon illuminates the epic battle and those who shaped it, from the men who made key command decisions to the sailors trapped inside the steel-hulled U-boats as they were pounded by Allied depth charges.

Drawing on never-before-released transcripts of secretly recorded conversations of U-boat POWs, Gannon tells the story of two powerful enemies going head-to-head in a desperate naval battle and explains why one side emerged the victor. After a year of terrorizing ships off the coast of the United States, the tide turned against the U-boats in May 1943 when Allied forces sank 41 vessels and damaged 37 others. This frenzy of activity essentially reopened the North Atlantic to merchant shipping and helped clear a path for the Allies' final assault on Europe the following year. Michael Gannon tells his story with wonderful anecdotes from all perspectives--in one scene, he describes a surfaced U-boat crew standing on deck and watching automobile headlights shine through the blackness of night from the New Jersey shore. Few people realize that German naval vessels actually came so close to the United States, but they did--until, as Gannon tells the story, they were finally pushed away, once and for all, in a single hectic month of combat. Although Black May is something of a sequel to Gannon's extraordinary Operation Drumbeat, which described the German's initial successes, it stands on its own as a brilliant work of naval history. --John J. Miller

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