Tracking the Axis Enemy
The Triumph of Anglo-American Naval Intelligence
Modern War Studies
Sales Date: November 2, 1998
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: November 1998
The 1942-43 naval campaign against German U-boats known as the Battle of the Atlantic was a major victory not only for Allied warships but also for naval intelligence. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of submarine tracking rooms in London, Washington, and Ottawa, the antisubmarine forces’ search-and-destroy missions helped preserve the safety of the seaways.
Naval intelligence has been an aspect of World War II that has received scant attention. Now former naval intelligence officer Alan Harris Bath traces the coordination of Anglo-American efforts before and during the war, identifying the political, military, technological, and human factors that aided and sometimes hindered cooperation. He compares the two nations’ different and often conflicting styles of intelligence gathering and reveals ways in which interagency and interservice rivalries complicated an already complex process.
Drawing on archives in the U.S., U.K., and British Commonwealth, Bath describes how cooperation took place at all levels of decision-making, in all theaters of war, and at all points in the intelligence cycle, from gathering through analysis to dissemination. He tells how the U.S. learned from Britain’s longer experience in the war and how intelligence cooperation was always subordinated to Anglo-American political relations—and how in the final months of fighting intelligence cooperation was impeded by the governments’ post-war agendas.
Although victory in the Atlantic was the capstone of this cooperative endeavor, Bath also describes how intelligence relationships fared in the South Pacific, not only between the forces of Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur but also with those of Australia and New Zealand. Throughout the book, he emphasizes the contributions of Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian naval intelligence to this cooperative effort.
As the first in-depth study of the nature, evolution, and impact of information sharing by Allied navies, Tracking the Axis Enemy is essential reading for historians and buffs alike. By showing how the Anglo-American political and cultural bonds shaped intelligence operations and how those operations shaped campaigns, it contributes a new perspective on the Allied victory.
"Bath has written an essential guide to the Anglo-American intelligence labyrinth in WWII and the role of code breaking. The book is especially interesting because of his insights to the people, personalities and motivations in both the United States and Britain."—Cryptologia
"This is a well-researched and well-written investigation of a fascinating but neglected topic in the intelligence history of the war. It is a book that will reward both the specialist and the general reader."—Journal of Military History
"Clearly argued, well written, and extensively researched not only in American and British archives, but also in those of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is a ‘must’ for all students of Anglo-American relations as well as for historians of intelligence in World War II."—Northern Mariner
"An unsurpassed view of an extraordinary effort to cooperation in intelligence sharing among a number of Allied powers locked in a bitter war against dangerous enemies."—American Neptune
"Bath offers intelligence historians a guided tour through the structure of Anglo-American naval intelligence co-operation."—Intelligence and National Security
"Bath’s account is a rich and detailed analysis replete with both the personal and technical dimensions of this vital subject."—Canadian Military History
"A fine work that demonstrates how the combined talents of the alliance produced a vastly superior intelligence product and shortened a fearsome war."—John Prados, author of Combined Fleet Decoded
"A cogent and valuable guide through the intelligence maze of the Second World War."—Bradley F. Smith, author of Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941–1945
"Demands the attention of everyone interested in the strategic, operational, and technological history of World War II."—Kenneth J. Hagan, author of This People’s Navy: The Making of American Sea Power
"Essential reading for anyone interested in intelligence during the Second World War."—John Ferris, author of Intelligence and Strategy
"Filled with strikingly original insights."—Edward J. Drea, author of MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking in the War against Japan, 1942–1945
Part I. The Road to Cooperation
1. Uneasy Beginnings
2. Changing Attitudes
3. Forging Ahead
4. Growth of Wartime Cooperation
Part II. Culmination and Turning Point
5. The Culmination
6. Cracks in the Structure
Part III. The Pacific
7. Interwar Faltering Steps
8. Too Little, Too Late
9. Organizing for Cooperation
10. “Support” Vice “Cooperation”
Part IV. Denouement of Wartime Alliances
11. Twilight of Cooperation
12. In Retrospect