Germany's World War II U-boat fleet was a truly elite fighting force. The U-Boot Waffe represented the cream of Germany's naval personnel, and in terms of technology, training, tactics and combat successes, the German fleet was far superior to that of any other combatant nation. This book tells the complete story of the 'Grey Wolves' who harried the Allies' supply lines and came close to winning total victory for Hitler in Europe. The wartime development of the U-boat is traced from the Type I through to the Type XXI, and the experiences of typical U-boat crewmen, from recruitment to combat, are brought to life. Operational tactics are examined, and the massive bunkers that housed the U-boat fleet are described and illustrated.
Grossadmiral Karl Donitz, Commander-in-Chief, U-boats
'I was fascinated by the unique sense of comradeship, engenderd by sharing the same fate and hardship in the community of a U-boat crew in which everyone depended on everyone else and in which every man was an indispensable part of the whole. Surely every submariner has sensed in his heart the glow of the open sea, and the task entrusted to him, and felt as rich as a king, and would have traded places with no one.'
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Gordon Williamson was born in 1951 and currently works for the Scottish Land Register. He spent seven years with the Military Police TA and is the author of over 30 World War II titles focusing on German forces. The author lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.Review:
This book represents great value as it is a 270-page combination of no less than four other books in the Osprey series by the same author. Chapters cover the types of U-boat in service during WW2, their appearance, weapons and tactics, bunkers and bases, and crews. It is full of useful information and history, and would be an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to have a comprehensive knowledge of the German submarine arm during the war. The artwork in this volume is particularly good, and there are full colour diagrams, cutaways and profiles on practically every page, which complement the many original photographs of the subjects. The section on bunkers (from Williamson's book in the Osprey "Fortress" series) is probably the best section and comprehensively portrays their construction, function and inner workings. Williamson's clearly expressed fondness for the subject and heartfelt admiration for the engineering and crews of the U-boats may seem distasteful to some despite the intervening years; in my opinion he balances this by making pains to point out the cost in slave labour for the construction of the U-boat bunkers, and particularly the Bremen construction bunker for the Type XXI. Then again, he also makes a strong case for the privations of the German crewman and his relative lack of politicisation, contrary to Allied propaganda and postwar legacy. The vast majority of U-boat losses occurred in the last part of 1944-45 and took on the proportions of a turkey shoot - Williamson emphasises the 80% casualty rate among U-boat crews, to attempt to offset the extraordinary toll of Allied merchant shipping which their predecessors took earlier in the war. Overall I would recommend this book over any similar title due to the amazing amount of information and its excellent visuals for a relatively cheap price. --By joalem
This is my first book on u-boats and I'm absolutely hooked now! The contents is well laid out, packed with information, and includes lots of photographs as well as very helpful drawings. It's difficult to put the book down. Highly recommended. --By gros1440
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