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Darkest Before Dawn : U-482 and the Sinking of the Empire Heritage 1944
In the autumn of 1944 the Second World War was coming to an end. In the Atlantic the U-boats had been beaten back through a massive programme of Allied shipbuildings combined with tactical, technological and intelligence improvements. The threat to Allied shipping had diminished. But it had not disappeared, and a lone U-boat on its first active patrol slipped into the North Channel; in just a few days five ships lay broken on the seabed including the Empire Heritage, one of the largest Allied ships lost in the entire war. Also lost was a rescue ship attacked while she was trying to rescue survivors from the Empire Heritage, the Jacksonville, an American tanker sailing out of New York, and a RN corvette sent to hunt the U-boat down. Many of those lost burned to death in the sea. In a little over a week U-482 sank five ships from three different convoys. In 'Darkest Before Dawn' John Peterson presents the story for the first time of how U-482 managed to slip undetected into the busy shipping lanes of the North Channel and carry out the last great U-boat patrol of the war. It is the story of the attack, the aftermath and the men involved, including the aristocratic U-boat commander von Matushka, who earlier witnessed the Bismarck sink HMS Hood.
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The History Press
October 20, 2011
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