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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in the book. On 11 november 1940, approximately one year before the outbreak of the Pacific War, in the Indian Ocean to the west of Sumatra, a British merchant ship heading for Penang, the SS Automedon, was captured and sunk by a German commerce raider, the Atlantis, commanded by Captain Bernhard Rogge. With the first salvo fired, the captain of the Automedon and five of his officers were killed, while the First Officer sustained severe injuries and lost consciousness. An important mailbag was not disposed of and was instead discovered by the German boarding party buried in the debris of the Automedon's bridge. When this was found to contain top-secret British Cabinet papers, even Captain Rogge, who was used to seizing quantities of confidential material from the British ships he attacked, could not hide his astonishment at their significance.

Keywords: British merchant ship; Captain Bernhard Rogge; German commerce raider; Pacific War; SS Automedon; top-secret British Cabinet papers



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