Grey Wolves - The U-boat War 1939-1945, Philip Kaplan

Grey Wolves - The U-boat War 1939-1945, Philip Kaplan

This isn't really a history of the U-boat war or of the Battle of the Atlantic. Instead it is organised thematically, and is best seen as giving an impression of what it was like to fight in U-boats during the Second World War. The structure is mainly clear, although there is the odd small chunk that breaks the flow, especially towards the end of chapters where one gets the impression that some material that wouldn't fit elsewhere has been placed.

The chapters cover individual aspects of the U-boat war - the crew, the captain, the ships and their weapons, their land-based shelters and the attacks on them, as well as the anti U-boat campaign, both the naval and air campaigns.

The text is supported by plentiful eyewitness accounts, although inevitably these come from a small portion of the wartime U-boat crews - the U-boat force suffered some of the heaviest losses of any military branch on any side during the war, with only 109 of the 863 operational U-boats surviving, 27,491 out of 39,000 crews being lost at sea and another 5,000 becoming prisoners.

This is a nice addition to the U-boat literature with some variety from the normal, including accounts from the survivors of the failed U-boat attacks on the D-Day campaign. More familiar topics are also covered, such as the attack on the Lusitania, where the most recent evidence from dives on the wreck is discussed. 

Chapters
The Lion
The Crew
The Idea
Fish, Eels and Mixers
The Goods
The Boat
Lusitania
Athena
Shelters
The Captain
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
Russian Run
Routine
Death from Above
Sit There and Take It
The End

Author: Philip Kaplan
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime
Year: 2013


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