Just Finished Reading: H.M.S Ulysses by Alistair Maclean
The experienced officers and crew of the heavy cruiser HMS Ulysses are close to breaking point when they are ordered to escort their twentieth convoy on the murderous Murmansk run. After an abortive mutiny they sail from Scapa Flow into the teeth of the worst artic storm in living memory. But this is only the first stage in a nightmare journey where the weather is the least of their worries. As the U-boats of the Kriegsmarine and the bombers of the Luftwaffe take more and more ships the Admiral commanding the Ulysses is given a final order: to get through at all costs.
Written just 10 years after the end of the Second World War this must have touched some pretty raw nerves. Maclean describes in brutal uncompromising tones the almost unbelievable struggle to get ships and cargo to aid the Russians in their fight against German aggression. The Murmansk convoys where notorious for their high loss rates and the unrelenting danger to the crews of both merchantmen and escorts. If the reality was anything like Maclean's fictionalised account it must have been close to hell on earth to all those involved. Highly recommended to any fan of military fiction. Expect to be blown away.