The fantastic story of the German battle fleet’s escape through the English Channel in broad daylight at the height of World War Two.
On the evening of 11 February 1942 the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau left their Atlantic port. Twenty-four hours later they had made their way through the supposedly impenetrable English Channel to their German ports.
The Times decried this action as a “mortifying blow to our pride in seapower”, and the British people echoed their Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, when he questioned why this had been allowed to happen.
Terence Robertson’s engrossing account of this remarkable naval operations explores why the Royal Navy, RAF, coastal guns, mine defences and military intelligence had been ineffectual in halting the audacious journey of the German Navy. He uncovers why Nazis were forced into taking this strategy and what the repercussions of it was for both the Allies and Axis.
Yet rather than simply focusing on the grand narrative of the operation Robertson also shines a light on some of the individuals who shaped this incredible story, from the German commander Otto Ciliax to Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde, who led his squadron of obsolete biplanes in a gallant but hopeless attempt to halt the Nazi ships.
Channel Dash should be essential reading for all interested in learning about how this bold manoeuvre by the Germans humiliated the Royal Navy in its own waters.