EXERCISE TIGER: The Dramatic True Story of a Hidden Tragedy of World War II by Nigel Lewis

EXERCISE TIGER: The Dramatic True Story of a Hidden Tragedy of World War II

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On April 28, 1944, while on a D-day rehearsal in the English Channel, Convoy T-4 was attacked by German E-boats, losing hundreds of lives. In this laborious work, Lewis (Paperchase, 1982) argues that the Allied Command tried to cover up the deadly series of mistakes and lack of cooperation between military forces that led to the disaster. The details of the tragedy--some of which were still coming to light in the late 1980's--were so confused and obscured that for five years they were unknown even to Gen. Omar Bradley, Commander of the U.S. Army in Northwestern Europe. Earlier exercises in the Channel had been less than successful, but Gen. Eisenhower and the Allied Command were determined to ensure victory on D-day. Of major concern were the conflicting style and ordinances, the lack of efficient communications, and the animosity between American and British forces, from the common foot-soldier to the brass. According to Lewis, these concerns were borne out when communications became so botched that the operational orders--nearly 1,000 pages--did not get to command until just prior to launch. When the E-boats attacked the 220-ship convoy without warning, some thought it was part of the dress rehearsal. As Lewis notes, to some of the soldiers aboard the ill-fated ships ""it was like being on a cruise."" Manifests were incomplete; numerous breaches of security went unreported. Some of the ships failed even to hold battle or abandon-ship drills. Confusion, mistakes, pride, and the perceived need to maintain D. day security even under such circumstances, says Lewis, contributed to the tragedy--and the ensuing cover-up. A naturally dramatic scenario, but rendered dull through dry writing.

Pub Date: July 27th, 1990
Publisher: Prentice Hall Press