The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17
Thirty-eight British and American cargo ships sailed in June 1942 for North Russia. On July 4, the British Admiralty ordered the escorts to turn back and escape, leaving each ship to fend for itself. Most were sunk. (David Irving’s harrowing 1967 account of the drama resulted in a major libel action in 1970.).
This book tells the Real History of a naval disaster of World War II. In June 1942, the great Anglo-American convoy PQ-17, laden with cargoes for the Soviet Union, headed for North Russia, escorted by a mighty array of British and American warships.
On July 4 the British Admiralty ordered the convoy to scatter and the escorts to escape. Codebreakers had wrongly put the mighty battleship Tirpitz at sea. The Germans hunted down and sank almost every ship.
David Irving chronicled their fate, and spoke with the bomber and submarine crews. He gained access to US and British naval records, and to the admirals and politicians too. The book was a best seller – with consequences.
A defamation action brought by a British Royal Navy officer led to one of the biggest libel awards ever made. The battle that began in the Barents Sea in the summer of 1942 lingered on through two more closely fought actions in the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords thirty years later: but that’s another story.