U-47 In Scapa Flow View larger

U-47 In Scapa Flow


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The Sinking of HMS Royal Oak 1939.

Part of the RAID series - Detailed, authoritative analysis of the greatest raids in military history.

By Angus Konstam.


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At the outbreak of World War II, Scapa Flow was the Royal Navy's sanctuary, a huge harbour defended by minefields, anti-submarine nets and blockships. But for the Kriegsmarine it was an infamous place - the base where the High Seas Fleet had been humiliated 20 years earlier, and one which U-boat chief Karl Donitz yearned to attack.

On the night of 13 October 1939, in an extraordinary feat of seamanship, Gunther Prien coaxed U-47  through a narrow, treacherous gap in the base's defences. Once inside Scapa Flow he torpedoed the British battleship Royal Oak - which sank in minutes, killing 833 of her crew - before taking his U-boat safely back out to sea. In this painstaking new analysis of the greatest submarine raid in history, Angus Konstam reveals the state of Orkney's defences in 1939, exactly how Prien managed to thread his way into Scapa Flow and out again - and the human tragedy that unfolded as Royal Oak sank.

- Artwork

- Maps

- Bird's Eye Views

- First-hand Accounts

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