Cultivated by the Allied press during the war and fostered by movies and novels ever since, the image of a U-boat skipper held by most Americans is the personification of evil: the wolf who stalks innocents. Quite the opposite image is shared by U-boat veterans and others sympathetic to their work: the knight who endures unrivaled danger and fights nobly. Yet another popular image depicts the submarine operator as a beleaguered sailor swept along by events beyond his control. This book examines the lives of many U-Bootwaffe officers, including the famous and the not-so-well known, to see if a pattern emerges. Drawing on a wealth of primary documents and, when possible, interviews or correspondence with the U-boat commanders themselves, Jordan Vause follows individual officers from their youths and early naval training through their wartime experiences and into the often bitter peace that followed. His close examination of their lives reveals that many were extremely different from the pictures typically drawn of them and as varied in their thoughts and actions as other fighting men on both sides of the war. Particularly valuable is the author's use of new information in his portrayal of Karl Doenitz and other prominent commanders to correct and enhance pictures presented in earlier books. His use of personal correspondence and unpublished manuscripts loaned to him in Germany adds special significance to this study and its appeal to all those interested in World War II, submarines, and the U-Bootwaffe.
The Knight’s Cross (Ritterkreuz) was one of the highest decorations given for extreme acts of valor to all ranks of the German armed forces during the Second World War. Few awards captured the respect and admiration of the German public as the Knight’s Cross – it was the greatest honor one could achieve. In the perilous and close-knit world of the U-boat crews the award of the decoration to their captain was an event of particular pride and sometimes it was even added to the boat’s insignia. In all, there were 123 recipients, including their commander-in-chief Karl Dönitz, and Jeremy Dixon’s highly illustrated book is the ideal guide to all these men and their wartime service. A graphic text accompanied by almost 200 archive photographs describes the exploits of each of them, including those who received the higher grades of the award. Full details are given of their tours of duty, the operations they took part in, how they won their award, how many ships they sank and their subsequent careers.
This is the complete wartime translation by the U.S. Navy of the 1943 edition of the official handbook given to all U-boat commanders. The original handbook was compiled from combat reports and was regularly updated throughout the war. The handbook was an invaluable reference for every operational U-boat commander. Simply written and highly accessible for a wider audience, the U-boat handbook attempted to anticipate every possible situation and to advise on suitable tactics. This superb war-time primary source is enhanced by a rare series of photographs taken on an actual combat patrol and published during the time of the Third Reich in the book U-Boot Auf Feindfahrt.Together the handbook and these rare photographs provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of the U-boats from a first hand perspective, and is essential reading for anyone interested in World War II from primary sources.
Details the service records of some 1,400 officers of the German Kriegsmarine known to have commanded a U-boat between the commissioning of U-1 in June 1935, and the final surrender of U-977 to Argentina in August 1945.
DigiCat Publishing presents to you this special edition of "The Diary of a U-boat Commander" (With an Introduction and Explanatory Notes by Etienne) by Stephen Sir King-Hall. DigiCat Publishing considers every written word to be a legacy of humankind. Every DigiCat book has been carefully reproduced for republishing in a new modern format. The books are available in print, as well as ebooks. DigiCat hopes you will treat this work with the acknowledgment and passion it deserves as a classic of world literature.
To his enlisted men on U-154, Lieutenant Oskar Kusch was the ideal skipper—bright, experienced, successful, caring, tolerably eccentric—and a popular captain who always brought his boat home safely when so many others vanished without a trace. To most of his officers Kusch came across as someone very different—a Nazi-hating intellectual with an artistic bent given to lengthy criticisms of the regime, its leaders and its propaganda, a suspected coward and potential traitor unfit for command. Early in 1944, after his second patrol under Kusch, his executive officer, a reservist with a doctorate in law and member of the Nazi party, denounced him on charges of sedition and cowardice. A hastily arranged court-martial cleared Kusch of the cowardice accusation but sentenced him to death on purely ideological grounds for "undermining the fighting spirit" of his boat, even though the prosecutor had only recommended a ten-year jail sentence. Abandoned by all but his closest friends and relatives, coldly sacrificed by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, unwilling to plead for mercy, and to the end tormented by a naval legal bureaucracy acting in collusion with the brown regime, Oskar Kusch was executed in May 1944. This study, the first scholarly work on Kusch in English, traces his career and ordeal from his upbringing in Berlin to his tragic death and beyond, including the fifty-year struggle to rehabilitate his name and restore his honor in a postwar Germany long loath to confront the darker dimensions of its past. The passing of the wartime generation and the emergence of a new school of historians dedicated to critical research and inspired historiography have finally combined to rectify our picture of the Kriegsmarine and to appreciate the sacrifice of men like Oskar Kusch.
Captain Karl von Schenk of the Kaiser's Navy is a stereotypical German nobleman - supremely self-confident, touchy about the divisions of class and any infringement on his place. He thinks he is handsome, has a suitably manly physique, an excellent singing voice, and a facility with writing. His wartime service related in his diary is a series of triumphs over harrowing circumstances, bringing his boat back in spite of the best efforts of the Royal Navy to stop him. His one vulnerability is a young lady he meets on leave in Bruges, Belgium. Although she is the trophy girlfriend of a German colonel who could cause him much harm if he were to find out, von Schenk pursues his Zoe with Teutonic straightforwardness. And both he and the reader are entirely blind-sided by the unexpected thunderclap that puts an end to the sweet affair. Stephen King-Hall, a Royal Navy officer during the war and writing as "Etienne", penned this book as if he had simply discovered it on a surrendered submarine. In fact, some editions of the book list the author as "anonymous." King-Hall's knowlege of naval affairs lend authority to this yarn of men that go to the sea in ships that sink... on purpose.
An exceptional figure in the history of the German Navy, Wolfgang Luth was one of only seven men in the Wehrmacht to win Germany's highest combat decoration, the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. At one time or another he operated in almost every theater of the undersea war, from Norway to the Indian Ocean, and became the second most successful German U-boat ace in World War II, sinking more than 220,000 tons of merchant shipping. A master in the art of military leadership, Luth was the youngest man to be appointed to the rank of captain and the youngest to become commandant of the German Naval Academy. Nevertheless, his accomplishments were overshadowed by those of other great aces, such as Prien, Kretschmer, and Topp. The publication of this book in hardcover in 1990 marked the first comprehensive study of Luth's life. Jordan Vause corrects the long neglect by providing an entertaining and authoritative biography that places the ace in the context of the war at sea. This new paperback edition includes corrections and additional information collected by the author over the past decade.
When World War II erupted across Europe in 1939, Germany knew it could not hope to compete with the Royal Navy in a head-to-head naval war. Left with no viable alternatives, the U-Bootwaffe wagered everything on the submarine in a desperate attempt to sink more tonnage than the Allies could construct. Some of these “silent hunters” who slipped out of their shelters along Europe's shores to stalk their prey have enjoyed considerable recognition in the years since. While most aspects of the bitter struggle have been told and retold from both the Axis and Allied points of view, the careers of some highly effective U-boat commanders have languished in undeserved obscurity. The profiles of six such commanders are presented in this collection of essays. They include Englebert Endrass, whose spectacular career before being lost off the coast of Gibraltar is described here by his best friend and fellow ace Enrich Topp, who wrote this while on his 15th War Patrol; Karl-Friedrich Merten, who was ranked among the war's top tonnage aces; Ralph Kapitsky, whose U-615 suicidal surface-to-air battle in the Caribbean allowed many of his fellow submariners to escape into the Atlantic; Fritz Guggenberger, who sank an aircraft carrier and organized the biggest POW escape attempt in American history; Victor Oehrn, a former staff officer of Karl Dönitz's; and Heinz Eck, who was executed by the British.
2.20PM Directly in front of us I sighted four funnels and the masts of a passenger steamer at right angles to our course coming from the SW and going towards Galley Head. 3:10 PM Torpedo shot at a distance of 700 meters below the surface - from the log of the German submarine U-20. The explosion that followed changed history as the date of the ship's log was may 7, 1915, the steamer was the Lusitania, and the torpedo sent 1195 innocent men, women, and children to a watery grave. In 1914, U-Boats were a new and untried weapon, and when such a weapon can bring a mighty empire to the briink of defeat there is a story worth telling. Edwyn Gray's The U-Boat War is the history of the Kaiser's attempt to destroy the British Empire by a ruthless campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare. It opens with Germany's first tentative experiments with the submarines and climaxes with the naval mutiny that helped bring down the Kaiser. In between is is a detailed account of a campaign of terror which, by April 1917,had the British Empire on the verge of surrender. The cost in lives and equipment was staggering. On the German side, 4894 sailors and 515 officers lost their lives in action; 178 German Submarines were destroyed by the allies; 14 were scuttled and 122 surrendered. According to the most reliable sources, 5,708 ships were destroyed by the U-Boats and 13,333 non-combatants perished in British Ships. World figures for civilian casualties were never released The U-Boat War is a savage but thrilling account of men fighting for their lives beneath the sea, and of the boats that changed the face of naval warfare.