Fighting Temeraire

This is the story of WATU, the Western Approaches Tactical Unit. Led by a Captain RN who had been invalided out of the Navy with tuberculosis, and a group of intelligent young women, many just out of school and in the WRNS.

The book tells the story of how they set up a war gaming floor in Derby House and developed the tactics that won the Battle of the Atlantic.

The BFD. Members of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit prepare for a wargame in Derby House, Liverpool, UK, March 18, 1945 Photo by Parnall, C H (Lt)/Imperial War Museums © IWM (A 27823)

Western Approaches Command was led during the war by three men. The first and the last had been WW1 submariners and the book is about how they supported the WATU. The three commanders were Martin Dunbar Naismith VC, Percy Noble and Max Horton. Horton was war gamed 5 times while acting as a U Boat commander and was beaten each time. He was astounded to see that his opponent was a young WREN rating!

A0 Wren climbs a ladder to make an alteration to an indicator on one of the large, wall mounted maps

The book takes you from the Gaming Floor at Derby House to the U Boats and their commanders Raeder and Doenitz as well as the Destroyers and Corvettes fighting the Battle and how they used the tactics developed in WATU.  It also touches on the personal lives of the WRENS and the RN commanders.

If you enjoyed this BFD article please consider sharing it with your friends.