Book Review – ‘Total Germany: The Royal Navy’s war against the Axis powers 1939–1945’ by Derek Law

By Derek Law, published November 2020


David Wragg is a hugely prolific author, having produced some 150 monographs in the last 40 years on everything from railways to the RAF. This 250-page volume is aimed at the general reader and gives a brief history of the Royal Navy at war. Inevitably it focuses on major events which are in general described succinctly and well. There are good explanations and definitions for those unfamiliar with the topic.

The first four chapters on the naval background to the war and the strengths and weaknesses of the combatants are notably well written, being both concise and informative. The next third of the book covers well-trodden ground from Norway to the Mediterranean, describing the major actions and campaigns but inevitably the brevity of the book leads to little originality, albeit everything of importance is mentioned. Then follows much the most substantial chapter covering the fall of the Far East, although it is mainly concerned with the US Navy experience in 1941–2, but again with an excellent account of the background and preparation for war. The final half of the book again gives good coverage of predictable ground from Arctic and Malta convoys to D-Day and then briefly looking at the British Pacific fleet. A final chapter looks at the state of the Royal Navy in 1945 and its development over the war as a whole …

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Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Pacific | Arctic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

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