Hunters and Killers

Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943
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Binding:Hardback
Published:November 15, 2015
By Norman Polmar (Author), Edward Whitman (Author)

“…in 2016 the story of ASW is hardly over and the problem of ASW hardly solved. Its continuous significance and scientific challenge makes this book required reading for the historian, naval professional and intelligent beginner – a very impressive achievement.”—Naval History Book Reviews

Hunters and Killers is the first comprehensive history of all aspects of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) from its beginnings in the 18th century through the important role of present anti-submarine systems and operations. Published in two volumes, the work discusses anti-submarine warfare operations in World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and today. In addition to tactical and strategic narratives of major ASW campaigns, the work covers the evolution of ASW sensors, weapons, platforms, and tactics.

This first volume looks at the often ignored reaction to the earliest submersible attack on British warships in 1776 to the first, primitive ASW actions of World War I. World War I saw the Germans use U-boats to devastate British shipping, nearly driving the country out of the war. Here the authors look at the development of the innovative, but rudimentary sensors and weapons that the Allies used to counter the U-boat threats in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters.

Still, the U-boats were never completely defeated in the Great War, and the ensuing chapters about the two decades between the world wars narrate the development of sonar, radar, and ASW ships, as well as changing political attitudes toward undersea warfare.

The remainder of the first volume covers the first half of World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic, from September 1939 to the U-boat crisis in the spring of 1943. This section discusses the influence of intelligence, gained mainly through cryptography, on the Battle of the Atlantic.

Polmar and Whitman have created a thorough, well-researched reference for anyone interested in the development of ASW.

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List Price: $49.95
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Product Details
  • Subject: Submarines
  • Hardback : 224 pages
  • Illustrations: 31 b/w photos; 4 maps; 1 figure
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (November 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1591146895
  • ISBN-13: 9781591146896
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 X 10.875 in
  • Shipping Weight: 31.2 oz
Praise
  • “The authors present a comprehensive history of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) from its beginnings to spring 1943, the when the tide was turned against the German U-Boat fleet in World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The book covers the little-known British ASW measures following the attacks by Bushnell’s Turtle against British warships in New York. ASW matured greatly in World War I, when German U-boats nearly strangled Britain, and again in World War II, when the U-boats ravaged Allied shipping. The ASW efforts spurred innovation in technologies including aircraft, sonar, radar, barrage and homing weapons, as well as in tactics involving convoying, hunter-killer task forces, cryptology and direction finding. Volume 2 will cover the rest of World war II and the Cold War.”—Seapower
  • “…in 2016 the story of ASW is hardly over and the problem of ASW hardly solved. Its continuous significance and scientific challenge makes this book required reading for the historian, naval professional and intelligent beginner – a very impressive achievement.”—Naval History Book Reviews
  • “A critically important and informative contribution to the growing library of Naval warfare history. Highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library collections.”—Midwest Book Review
  • “The two volumes that make up Hunters and Killers represent an achievement in research and presentation worthy of the time to read them and the price to buy them. No one interested in naval history should be without these works.” — Sea History
  • "These books (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), offer a textbook history of ASW development for historians as well as present-day members of the military." — The Hook
  • “The reader is treated to succinct, well written historical assessment of the technical achievements in ASW. The post WWII period became the sinister Cold War that enveloped the world for 40 years with its emphasis on the concern of a possible global nuclear war. Aircraft with a specific designed for the purpose ASW mission became as important in a country’s order of battle as did the ‘boomer’ submarines. Volume 2 answers whether ASW in the 21st century is ‘in retreat,’ an interesting, thought provoking question. Current surface weapons and aircraft are included in a lengthy but erudite presentation that will be valuable to readers. These books offer a textbook history of ASW development for historians as well as present day members of the military.” — The Hook
  • “This in-depth history of the war against the submarine is chock full of detailed research and stories of individual submarines under attack by surface ships and antisubmarine aircraft. It is a highly technical work that offers extensive background on the various weapons developed to combat submarines. Although it deals with complex material, the text is logically written and easy to follow. The authors are acknowledged experts in the field, and their expertise is clearly evident as it was in the first volume.” — Military Heritage Magazine
  • “Norman Polmar and Edward Whitman have risen to the challenge in their second volume on ASW history, Hunters and Killers, Vol. 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943. Focusing on ASW warfare beginning with the turn of the tide in the Second World War and tracing key developments throughout the Cold War, they present an enjoyable study of technological innovation, personalities and events to capture the imagination.” — The Northern Mariner
  • “With two authors such as Polmar and Whitman, readers are treated to a succinct, well-written historical assessment of the technical achievements in ASW. Each volume includes a series of page-length sidebar biographies of important personalities—usually flag-rank officers—whose great contributions, either operational or technical, advanced the field of ASW. These two books offer a textbook history of ASW development for historians as well as present-day military members.” —Naval Aviation News
  • "Polmar and Whitman's two volumes are an amazingly comprehensive history of Anti-Submarine Warfare." - Center for International Maritime Security
  • Hunters and Killers, Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943, is a well written, informative and comprehensive work on ASW and submarines…. Hunters and Killers, Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943, provides a foundation for the modern study of ASW and is food for thought for the intelligent naval officer, specialist sailor and defence analyst…‘Hunters and Killers’ is a book for our times. It is highly recommended.” – Australian Naval Institute
  • “When these two volumes arrived, [I thought] a set of coffee-table books. Having now read them both, I can happily report that I was wrong and that these books are much more than they first appeared…. Both volumes are well illustrated with photos, maps, diagrams, charts and tables which depict how the hunters and killers fared in the conflicts chronicled…. Recommended.” —Canadian Naval Review

Norman Polmar is an analyst, author, and consultant, specializing in naval, aviation, and technology subjects.  He has directed studies related to the Soviet/Russian navies for various government organizations, and has been a consultant or advisor on related issues to three U.S. Senators,  the Speaker of the House, the Deputy Counselor to the President, and three Secretaries of the Navy. He has visited the Soviet Union/Russia several times as a guest of the  Navy commander-in-chief, the submarine design bureaus, and the Institute of U.S. Studies. 

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Edward Whitman studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later earned a PhD in that field from the University of Maryland. During his 40-year Navy civilian career, Dr. Whitman held senior management positions in various Navy and Department of Defense organizations, including the Sixth Fleet, Defense Advanced Projects Agency, and Office of the Secretary of the Navy. After retiring from the Department of the Navy in 1998, Dr. Whitman was the senior editor of the magazine Undersea Warfare for five years.

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