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Beware Raiders! (Hardback)

Maritime Naval

By Bernard Edwards, Captain Bernard Edwards
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780850528039
Published: 15th March 2001
Last Released: 1st August 2007



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This is the fascinating story of two German surface raiders and the havoc they caused amongst Allied shipping in World War II. One was the 8-inch gun cruiser Admiral Hipper, fast, powerful and Navy-manned: the other a converted merchantman, Hansa Line's Kandelfels armed with a few old 5.9s manned largely by reservists, and sailing under the nom de guerre of Pinguin. Contrary to all expectations, the amateur man-of-war reaped a rich harvest and went out in a blaze of glory. Her purpose-built sister, on the other hand, was hard-pressed even to make her mark on the war and ended her days in ignominy.

The author emphasises the striking contrast between the conduct of Ernst Kruder, captain of the Pinguin, whose concern it was to cause as little loss of life as possible, and the callous Captain Meisel of the Admiral Hipper, who has scant regard for the lives of the men whose ships he had sunk.

Captain Edwards describes in detail Kruder's most audacious coup, the capture, rather than the sinking, of the entire Norwegian Antarctic whaling fleet, which he calls '"a disaster of major proportions". Equally disastrous was the havoc wreaked upon convoys HG53 and SLS 64 by the Admiral Hipper in the North Atlantic in February 1941.

The story of two German surface raiders & the havoc they caused amongst Allied shipping in WWII. One was the 8″ gun cruiser Admiral Hipper & the other a converted merchantman Kandelfels armed with a few old 5.9 guns manned largely by reservists. The author emphasises the striking contrast between the conduct of the respective captains.

Ton Class Association

A commendable and valuable book


There’s a strong narrative throughout which guides you along – essential for any truly gripping historical book. There’s enough detail so that you feel involved, and yet not so much that you feel overwhelmed by the detail.

Suppressing Fire

I found Beware Raiders! to be a highly informative and captivating account of the very different careers of the two ships, HK 33 Pinguin and Admiral Hipper. Bernard Edwards does an excellent job of focusing in on the human side of the story, providing personal details and information about the captains, their crews, as well as the opposing crews they faced on their victims. Some of the accounts would strain credibility if they were to take place today in terms of the ‘chivalry of the sea’ that was practiced between the combatants and overall the story presented is a gripping one of how the war at sea was fought in the early stages. The pace of the writing and the organization of the different events moves things along easily and makes for a very entertaining read at the same time. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in WW II naval history or even just looking to learn a little bit more about this not often talked about but important component of the battle to control the sea lanes and keep the supply lines open.

My Hobby Info
 Bernard Edwards

About Bernard Edwards

Bernard Edwards pursued a sea-going career commanding ships trading worldwide. After nearly forty years afloat. Captain Edwards settled in a tiny village in rural South Wales, to pursue his second career as a writer. His extensive knowledge of the sea and ships has enabled him to produce many authentic and eminently readable books which have received international recognition. Beware Raiders!, Attack and Sink!, The Cruel Sea Retold, The Quiet Heroes, Twilight of the U-Boats, Death in the Doldrums, The Road to Russia, The Wolf Packs Gather, The Decoys and U-boats Beyond Biscay have been published by Pen and Sword Books.

About Captain Bernard Edwards

Captain Bernard Edwards spent 37 years at sea with the Merchant Navy commanding ships trading worldwide. On retirement he settled in South West Wales to pursue his second career as a Naval historian. His knowledge of the sea and ships has enabled him to write a series of internationally recognised works.

Perfect Partner

Running the Gauntlet Cargo Liners Under Fire 1939–1945 (Hardback)

The British Merchant Navy dominated the world trade routes in the years leading up to the Second World War. The star players of the fleet were the cargo liners, faster and larger than the tramps and offering limited passenger accommodation. On the outbreak of war these cargo liners became crucial to the nation’s survival using their speed and expertise to evade Nazi warships, raiders and U-boats. Initially operating alone, but increasingly relying on Royal Navy protected convoys, these key elements of the Merchant Navy plied the oceans and seas despite mounting losses, throughout the war years.…

By Bernard Edwards

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