World War II was only a few hours old when the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest campaign of the Second World War and the most complex submarine war in history, began with the sinking of the unarmed passenger liner Athenia by the German submarine U30. Based on mastery of the latest research and written from a mid-Atlantic -- rather than the traditional Anglo-centric -- perspective, Marc Milner focuses on the confrontation between opposing forces and the attacks on Allied shipping that lay at the heart of the six-year struggle. Against the backdrop of the battle for the Atlantic lifeline he charts the fascinating development of U-boats and the techniques used by the Allies to suppress and destroy these 'stealth' weapons. Emphasising the initial threat from German surface raiders and the importance of sound pre-war staff work, he dismisses the notion that Britian was unprepared for the Atlantic war and argues that the much heralded 'Ultra Intelligence' was not decisive. Indeed, the Atlantic war was ultimately won by rader -- and hard fighting at sea. Cutting through the high drama of sea battles, the author concludes that victory was never within Germany's grasp. Book jacket.