Book Review
The Arctic Convoys
Forgotten Sacrifice: The Arctic Convoys Of World War II
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


**At the start of the Arctic Convoys, Allied planners designated Eastbound convoys with the codename PQ and Westward convoys with the codename QP. The most ill-fated of all the convoys, PQ-17, departed from Iceland on June 27, 1942.

“As they prepared to assault PQ-17, the Luftwaffe applied lessons learned from PQ-16 a month earlier. The Luftwaffe had overestimated the effects of their attacks on PQ-16 and claimed to have destroyed the whole convoy. They were convinced that the convoy had dispersed as a result of the first attack in the evening of May 25. The lesson they drew from this attack was that the anti-aircraft defense could be dissipated and confuse by high-level dive bombing coordinated with the launching of torpedoes from a height of about 300 feet. The method adopted for the torpedo attack, which was known as the ‘Golden Comb,’ was for the aircraft to approach in a wide line abreast and to drop their torpedoes simultaneously. It also was decided to attack at twilight with the ships silhouetted against the sky.

“The British Admiralty was aware of the risks involved in sailing convoys in the face of growing German opposition. ULTRAA intercepts in June indicated that the Germans intended at last to bring out their main units to attack the next eastbound convoy to the east of Bear Island, and this threat formed the main preoccupation of the Admiralty. However, political considerations compelled them to continue with the sailings.”**

** Quoted from the book’s dust jacket.


Osprey Publications Ltd has released Forgotten Sacrifice: The Arctic Convoys Of World War II as a hardback book with 284 pages and comes with a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white photographs, detailed captions, and a map of operations. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-718-6. As the title states, the book examines and discusses the arctic convoys during World War II.


Chapter 1 - Briefing
Chapter 2 – Skirmishing, August 1941-March 1942
Chapter 3 – Arctic Shooting Gallery, March 1942
Chapter 4 – Fateful Voyages, April-June 1942
Chapter 5 – White Nights, May 1942
Chapter 6 – Apocalypse, June-July 1942
Chapter 7 – Task Forces, July-September 1942
Chapter 8 – An Autumn in Hell, September-December 1942
Chapter 9 – German Götterdämmerung, December 1942-May 1945
Chapter 10 – A Few Final Words
About the Author


Michael G. Walling covers the Arctic convoys of World War II and the actions taken during those convoys very well and goes into great detail about the events and the actions taken during them. It is very obvious that Michael G. Walling has taken the task of researching and detailing the Arctic convoys of World War II very seriously. Writing from information meticulously gathered from records and personal accounts and also including personal quotes from individuals that took part in the Arctic convoys Walling has prepared a well written history that will be of great use and interest to those interested in the Arctic convoys of World War II. The military historian and enthusiast or the individual that is new to the study and details of the Arctic convoys of World War II and wants to learn about them will appreciate this well written history. The text is well written and extremely detailed and I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book to their military library will be pleased with this book. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


There are a total of 22 black and white photographs and 1 color photograph featured in this volume. The pictures are of ships, aircraft, weaponry, submarines, men, locations and other such subjects that are specific to the Arctic convoys of World War II. The photographs are what I refer to as event specific. I like that as opposed to random photographs from World War II that may or may not have been taken during the time frame or event discussed. As with most photographs from the World War II time frame the majority of them are nice clear, centered and focused images, however, as I usually point out in other reviews, there are a few that appear to be too dark. Most of the featured photographs are the lesser known from them event and not the same overused and well known photographs that tend to be the basic staple for some volumes on the subject. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs. The photographs range from posed scenes to action scenes. As with many photographs, they tell the untold story that each individual can see for themselves upon viewing them. The photographs contained in this book will prove to be a valuable asset to the military historian and enthusiast as well as the ship, aircraft, submarine and figure modeler. Several of the photographs may also be used as the basis for various scale modeling projects from the small vignette to the larger diorama. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself


The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs well. They go into detail discussing things such as specific ships, specific locations and dates, German and allied aircraft, dates of ship sinking’s, etc. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. The captions can be brief in some instances but still provide information as to what is shown in the photograph. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.


There is 1 black and white map provided on Page 15. It shows the summer and winter convoy routes taken as well as showing the locations of the:

- Scattering of PQ17, 4 July 1942
- Battle of the Barents Sea, 30 Dec 1942
- Battle of the North Cape, 26 Dec 1943.


All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains nice relevant photographs and well detailed captions. It details the arctic convoys during World War II very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


World War II Day by Day
An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945
Donald Sommerville
Dorset press

WWII Time-Life Books History of the Second World War
By the Editors of Time-Life Books
Foreword by Eric Sevareid
Prentice Hall Press

The Second World War
Martin Gilbert
Owl Books

Great Campaigns of World War II
Co-ordinating editor: J B Davies
Exeter Books

You can take a look at the inside of this book at the Osprey Publishing web site.

Forgotten Sacrifice, The Arctic Convoys of World War II

You can take a look at the inside of this book at the Amazon website.

Forgotten Sacrific: The Arctic Convoys of World War II

You can take a look at the Kindle Edition at the Amazon website.

Forgotten Sacrifice: The Arctic Convoys of World War II
Highs: Well written text and captions Nice event specific photographs
Lows: None to note
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book that is well researched and written and details the Arctic Convoys during World War II well.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-718-6
  Suggested Retail: US $26.95
  PUBLISHED: Dec 25, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


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