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The Splinter Fleet of the Otranto Barrage

By Millholland, Ray
1936, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis
Hardcover, 307 pages, 18 photos, 3 maps, 1 diagram

Descripton: The Splinter Fleet was a small group of United States submarine chasers, so-named because the 110-foot vessels were constructed from wood and did not stand up well to collision. In this book, the Chief Engineer of one of these boats relates his adventures in 1918 in defending the Otranto Barrage (a line of ships meant to bottle up the enemy naval forces in the Adriatic); battling German and Austrian submarines (of which his boat was officially credited for sinking 13); undertaking a special mission to transport the Serbian crown jewels from Corfu to a safer location; and participating in what was to be a suicide mission against the Austrian forces as Durazzo, but from which all 11 splinter boats involved returned intact. This, the only general naval engagement in which the U.S. Navy participated in the course of World War I, was later the basis for a movie. The author's interviews with a number of German and Austrian submarine officers after the war additionally give the reader a glimpse of the proceedings from another point of view. A relatively objective, informative and entertaining book.