This is the well-known Flower-class Corvette kit first released by Matchbox in 1979, and re-boxed here by Revell. This example was from the basic molds, not one of the enhanced or upgraded kits. The kit is very crude by today’s standards both in molding quality and accuracy of many of the details. This was built for a friend who wanted to use it for wargaming with the intention of an out of the box build, but I couldn’t resist improving several of the parts.
Of course, the Kaiju attack is inevitable when one has children!
Some ships are unlucky. U-505 was arguably the most unlucky submarine in the German Navy during the Second World War. Her career didn’t begin that way though – her first patrol was short and uneventful, and her second was a success with four Allied merchantmen to her credit. Her third patrol also appeared to be a success with three vessels sunk, but one of her victims was a Columbian sailing ship named Urious, the sinking of which resulted in Columbia declaring war on Germany. On her fourth patrol she claimed her eighth victim, but her luck changed when she was caught on the surface by an RAF Hudson with an Australian crew and hit by a 250 pound bomb aft of the conning tower. While she managed to return to Lorient, she was the most seriously damaged U-boat to survive and make port.
After repairs she was repeatedly deployed again, only to return in short order each time after being damaged, or as a result of sabotage by French workers. She gained the reputation as a “dock queen” which could not deploy effectively. On her tenth patrol she endured a severe depth charging from British destroyers. Her Captain, Kapitänleutnant Peter Zschech broke under the strain and committed suicide in the control room, the only submarine Captain to do so during the war.
Shadows on the Horizon: The Battle of Convoy HX-233
By W. A. Haskell
Hardcover in dustjacket, 192 pages, appendices, sources, photographs, and index
Published by Naval Institute Press, March 1999
Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
Shadows on the Horizon describes in great detail the sailing of Convoy HX-233 in April 1943, and its subsequent interception by eight German U-boats. By this time the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic was turning against the Germans. The Allied production effort was in full swing with new ships, both merchants and escorts, coming into service at a blistering pace. Added to the sheer numbers of vessels were several technological advances in weapons and sensors. Allied aircraft harassed the U-boats as they transited to and from operating areas, and groups of anti-submarine ships patrolled the Atlantic, acting independently to hunt U-boats or coming to the aid of convoys as needed. In addition, the Allies had broken the German codes, giving advanced warning of their intentions.
In many ways HX-233 was a typical formation for the spring of 1943. It consisted of fifty-eight merchant ships arranged in twelve columns, escorted by nine warships. In addition, a support group of four Royal Navy destroyers supplemented the dedicated escorts during a portion of the transit. Opposing them were a total of eight German U-boats which were vectored into position to intercept the convoy.
This book is a detailed technical assessment of the voyage of the convoy, and can be seen as a representative engagement of the Battle of the Atlantic during the spring of 1943. The author has drawn on the national archives of the many nations and logs of the ships involved along with a plethora of interviews and other sources. The appendices provide technical details and reports. For the wargamer, this book supplies enough information to construct a Battle of the Atlantic convoy scenario.
While in reality a technical history, the narrative is interesting enough that the presentation does not bog down and remains engaging throughout. The author’s inspiration is that he was serving aboard one of the merchant ships in the convoy, but this is not a personal narrative. Several details were new to me, such as the organization of the merchant ships in the convoy and their Armed Guard detachments, along with the experiences of the survivors of U-boat which had been sunk. Recommended.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson