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By Jurgen Becker on 05-17-18
A great start but ran out of momentum
I really enjoy Robert Conroy's alternate history novels. I read Himmler's War and was really looking forward to reading this novel. It started out great and for the first half of the book I could hardly put it down. I really enjoyed the characters and their development. However, the story then ran out of gas after the halfway point and you could pretty much predict the rest of the story. It was inevitable that the Japanese fleet would get wiped out off the Baja coast. Even knowing from the midpoint on how it was going to end the ending was a real let down.
The monumental scale of Japanese ineptitude required to make such an ending possible is hardly plausible. The battle of the Baja Coast was not battle and but a heavily lopsided massacre like we saw in Gulf War I and II, not interesting at all! Had Conroy made the battle been a near run thing complete with the inevitable mistakes and missed opportunities on both sides it would have a lot more believable and exciting.
By Archer on 06-24-14
Interesting What-If story with some factual errors
Any additional comments?
In general I really liked this what-if scenario of a lost Battle of Midway and its potential consequences and find the story and development believable in the confines of what I know about WW2. But being a uboat and submarine buff I was a little disappointed in how little the author knew about tactics and technology in that respect. I admit he knew a lot about the torpedo crisis and the living condisitions, but in other respects the knowledge was less well-researched.
For example an American submarine would not have had the option to run submerged during the whole daytime because submarines at that time simply didn't have the underwater range for that.
Japanese ASW tactics in general were far inferior to British ones at the time, so a U.S. Sub commander had a very good chance to slip away after a submerged attack without having been spotted.
Especially with an enemy with no radar capability, fog is the ideal weather for a sub to attack enemy warships on the surface and get away with it. You home in by submerging and listening, and attack when the enemy is in sight and disappear at flank speed into the fog on a different course. German uboats did that on a regular basis until radar came along.
Hitting a fleeing battleship, that just ran over your position, from behind with torpedoes when it is running flank speed is close to impossible. The torpedoes are not that much faster than the ship itself, you need time to get the sub to periscope depth and calculate an accurate solution and then have a target that's only 15 meters wide and at best already more than a mile away. Even if the battleship didn't zigzag a few degrees it would not have worked.
Passive radar detectors were widely used especially by U.S., British and German forces to detect enemey units without using the active radar units. For a sneak attack like the one in this book, this would be a good "weapon" of choice.
Just a few things.
Don't get me wrong: the story is cool and entertaining, the narrator is good too and makes the people come to life nicely so there are no major complaints. And I guess my fixation with technical details like those, is a bit more that the average reader may care about :-)
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