Q-ships came in all shapes and sizes - coastal steamer, trawler, barque, yacht or schooner - but all had to look harmless in order to lure their opponents to the surface and encourage them to attack. Armaments differed according to ship size; steamers commonly had 4in guns mounted amidships and in the bow, trawlers 3-pdrs and sailing ships 12-pdrs. Those who served on Q-ships had to accept that their U-boat opponents would be able to strike first. Q-ship captains kept ready a 'panic crew', which was trained to act out an elaborate evacuation to convince the U-boat commander that the ship was being abandoned by its crew.
The Q-ship captain would remain behind with a handful of other crewmen manning the guns, which remained hidden until the most opportune time to unmask and engage the U-boat. The Q-ship concept had emerged early in the war when no other method seemed likely to counter the U-boat threat, and flourished until new technologies and tactics were developed, tested and implemented.
About the Author
David Greentree graduated in History at York before taking a MA in War Studies from King's College London and qualifying as a lecturer in Further Education. In 1995 he accepted a commission in the Royal Air Force and has served in a variety of locations, including Afghanistan and Oman.
About the Illustrator
Ian Palmer is a highly experienced digital artist. A graduate in 3D Design, he currently works as Art Director for a leading UK games developer. Besides his artistic interests he is also a keen musician and motorcyclist.
Number Of Pages: 80
Published: 1st February 2014
Dimensions (cm): 24.8 x 18.4 x 0.8
Weight (kg): 0.31