I have just finished reading A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Secret Game that Won the War by Simon Parkin. As it says on the dustcover: “1941. The battle of the Atlantic is a disaster. Thousands of supply ships ferrying vital food and fuel from North America to britain are being torpedoed by German U-Boats. Prime Minister Winston Churchill is concealing from the country the number of British ships sunk. He is concealing the number of British men killed. And worst of all, unless something changes, he knows that Britain is weeks away from being starved into surrender to the Nazis.”
I really enjoyed this book. Initially Parkin introduces enough of the key players (and victims) of the battle for the Atlantic during the Second World War to help us see the perspective of those aboard merchant ships in the convoys, and Royal Navy ships in the convoys – and of those in the U-boats attacking the convoys. He also talks about the societal changes during WW2 such as the new opportunities open to women as a result of the war, and the role of women in the Royal Navy as Wrens. Finally he as explains the role of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit (WATU), and its leader Captain Gilbert Roberts – as a result of this the tide was turned in 1943 and the convoy losses subsided.