HG-76: Taking the Fight to Hitler's U-boats
The Convoy represents a fresh approach to the story of the Battle of the Atlantic. It is also the first to deal with the more spectacular story of HG-76, a major turning point in the naval war.
HG-76 sailed from Gibraltar to Britain in December 1941 and was specially targeted by the Germans. A wolfpack of U-boats was sent against it, and the Luftwaffe was heavily committed too in a rare example of German inter-service cooperation. German intelligence agents in Gibraltar and Spain also knew every detail of HG-76 before it had even sailed, seemingly stacking the odds in favour of the Kriegsmarine.
Despite this the convoy fought its way through. Improved radar and sonar gave the convoy's escorts a slight edge over their opponents, while the escort group was led by Commander Walker, an anti-submarine expert who had developed new, aggressive U-boat hunting tactics. Previous Gibraltar convoys had been mauled by Luftwaffe bombers operating from French airfields. This time, though, HG-76 would be accompanied by HMS Audacity, the Royal Navy's first escort carrier – a new type of warship purpose-built to defend convoys from enemy aircraft and U-boats.
Following seven days and nights of relentless attack, the horrors of which are brought home through a series of first-hand accounts, the convoy finally reached the safety of a British port for the loss of only two merchant ships. Its arrival was seen as the first real convoy victory of the war. Brought to life by expert naval historian Angus Konstam, The Convoy combines the story of the technical and tactical developments that won the Battle of the Atlantic for the Allies along with a narrative that reveals both the terror and the stubborn determination that defined the experiences of those that served on convoy duties.