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Atlantic Linchpin

...the Azores in Two World Wars

Title: Atlantic Linchpin
Author: Guy Warner
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-3990-1090-0

The Azores in Two World Wars, the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic which came to play a vital role in the battle against the U-Boats in WW2, a part of the story I have to say I hadn't really appreciated before. A 160-page hard-cover book, though it is also available in 2 e-book formats as well.
In the opening Introduction, the author explains how his own interest in the particular history of these islands came about, which I liked in terms of the scene setting. Some historical background about these Portuguese islands, around 1400Km west of Portugal includes the times of WW1, when in 1917 a large German submarine, the U-515, which mounted 2x 5.9in deck guns, not only sank a number of ships in close proximity to the islands, it even bombarded the town of Ponta Delgarda before making off after also exchanging fire with a US Collier, armed with 4x3in guns. No hits but enough to make the U-Boat make off. Then there are plenty of stories with the arrival of the first aircraft to fly in the Azores, military floatplanes along with US Marines. There is more on the events of WW1, then on to the Inter-War years, with visits of a wide variety of flying boats, stopping to refuel on flights between Europe and the USA. One of those captured in a picture is the huge 12 engined German Dornier Do X D-1929 and others. When it get to WW2 Portugal remained neutral, but allowed the allies to operate from the islands, building new airfields such as the one at Lagens. Patrol aircraft were based there, able to extend coverage of the Atlantic, helping recover survivors from torpedoed ships and searching for U-Boats as part of the Battle of the Atlantic. Add various surface vessels based there over time and I found there was just so much to learn. The basis for Britain being allowed to use these Portuguese islands was all based on a treaty dating as far back as 1373, and which is explained in the book.
As well as the really interesting history of what happened in the Azores during both world wars, the text is well illustrated throughout with maps and with a large number of archive images, many of which were new to me. I found this a really interesting addition to my own knowledge of the history of the Battle of the Atlantic while having so much more as well. I have no hesitation in recommending this one.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.


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