07 June 2018
Patrol Summaries and Merchant Ship Survivors landed in Bermuda 1940-1944
Author: Eric Wiberg
Reviewed by: Duncan Evans
While the US mainland was never under threat in WWII the same can’t be said of the shipping lanes across the Atlantic. Bermuda, at just over 20 square miles, is a tiny set of islands, but one which sits east of Washington and Jacksonville on the American coast, north-east of the Bahamas and north of the rest of the Caribbean. In other words, it’s right in the middle of the approaches to all of them, making it the centre of U-boat action, and hence this book. After a particularly turgid foreword, Eric Wiberg gets straight into why the place was so important – Bermuda not only sent out convoys and escorts to evade or counter U-boats, it was the rescue centre for all those ships that were sunk in the surrounding waters. Some 1,200 personnel made it ashore after their vessels were sunk.
The book then follows a chronological path through the various sinkings of both ships and U-boats with the occasional personal account thrown in.
The tone is quite dry and the author is prone to clunky exposition at times, while some of the brief stories leave you wanting to know more about them. For militaria collectors there is an interesting Appendix on the details of the Axis submarine commanders, including the medals and awards they received.
• Fonthill Media
• 292 pages • Hardback • £25
As reviewed in The Armourer November 2017