This book is based on a series of fourteen earlier volumes on the German Navy by the same author, brought together, rearranged and connected by new sections to produce a single volume study of the warships and man of the German Navy during the Second World War
To a certain extent the amount of detail in each section rather depends on the nature of that earlier book. In some cases the level of detail has been greatly reduced here – the 48 pages from the book on the three pocket battleships has been reduced to three here, but I doubt many areas have been expanded (although there is new material).
As a result the section on the U-Boats (which are covered in two of the original books) is rather more detailed than most of those on surface vessels. This also means that if you already have a good selection of Williamson’s earlier books, then this one won’t be as much value for you. On the other hand the Operational Overview chapter is largely new and contains the sort of material that wouldn’t really fit in the individual books.
One positive result of the origins of this book is that we get quite a lot of information on the smaller, but in many ways more important, ships within the German Navy – the S-Boats/ E-Boats get good coverage, and there are also sections on minesweepers, patrol boats, sub-chasers. These smaller boats were probably more effective than the more famous larger warships (which do of course get their sections as well). The book is also very well illustrated, with a full range of contemporary photographs and Osprey illustrations.
If you are looking for a good single volume examination of the full range of German warships of the Second World War then this book will suit you perfectly. If you want more detail then the same author’s original individual volumes might be a better (although more expensive) choice.
1 – Operational Overview
2 – Hitler’s Ships
3 – Coastal and Other Vessels
4 – Service in Hitler’s Navy
Author: Gordon Williamson