An incisive account of the Arctic convoys, and the essential role Bletchley Park and Special Intelligence played in Allied success
Between 1941 and 1945, more than eight hundred shiploads of supplies were delivered to the Soviet Union protected by allied naval forces. Each journey was a battle against the elements, with turbulent seas, extreme cold, and the constant dread of torpedoes. These Arctic convoys have been mythologized as defenseless vessels at the mercy of deadly U-boats—but was this really the case?
David Kenyon explores the story of the war in the Arctic, revealing that the contest was more evenly balanced that previously thought. Battles included major ship engagements, aircraft carriers, and combat between surface ships. Amid this wide range of forces, Bletchley Park’s Naval Section played a decisive role in Arctic operations, with both sides relying heavily on Signals Intelligence to intercept and break each other’s codes. Kenyon presents a vivid picture of the Arctic theater of war, unearthing the full-scale campaign for naval supremacy in northern waters.
David Kenyon is research historian at Bletchley Park. He has worked on numerous historical television and film projects, including acting as historical advisor to Warhorse in 2010. His books include Bletchley Park and D-Day and Horsemen in No Man’s Land.
“Kenyon uses new findings from Bletchley to retell the story of the naval battles that took place in the Arctic Ocean between 1941 and 1945—a small but critical element of the larger Battle of the Atlantic.”—Daniel Brooks, The Telegraph
“This rewarding new account highlights the magnitude of the Royal Navy’s victory. Despite constant attacks, appalling weather and unhelpful allies, the Arctic Convoys sustained the Soviet Union, supplied the Red Army – and turned the tide of the entire war.”—Andrew Lambert, author of Seapower States
“This meticulously researched account makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the war in the Arctic. Yet another important puzzle piece in the ever-widening, myth-busting picture of Bletchley Park’s secret work in the Second World War.”—Sarah-Louise Miller, author of The Women Behind the Few
“We now have the definitive account. With rare skill and deep knowledge of both naval and intelligence sources, David Kenyon has woven a fascinating story of the Artic Convoys. The book is an essential addition to any Second World War library.”—Robin Prior, author of Conquer We Must
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