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Hitler's Attack U-Boats (Paperback)

The Kriegsmarine's Submarine Strike Force

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Submarines Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Naval Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII WWII > German Forces & Weaponry WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Jak P. Mallmann Showell
Frontline Books
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781526797667
Published: 9th February 2022



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The success of German submarines during the First World War in almost cutting off Britain’s vital imports had not been forgotten by Adolf Hitler and when, in March 1935, he repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, Britain, magnanimously, signed up to an Anglo-German Naval Agreement. This allowed the Germans to build their submarine strength up to one third of the British Royal Navy’s tonnage.

When war broke out in 1939, German U-boats went quickly into action, but with only four years of production and development, the main armament of these submarines was considerably weaker than equivalent boats in other navies and many of the other main features, such as living and the fighting conditions, were also significantly inferior. Nevertheless, the German U-boat onslaught against British merchant ships during the autumn of 1940 was highly successful because the attacks were made on the surface at night and from such close range that a single torpedo would sink a ship.

Soon, though, Allied technology was able to detect U-boats at night, and new convoy techniques, combined with powerfully-armed, fast modern aircraft searching the seas, meant that by 1941 it was clear that Germany was losing the war at sea. Something had to be done. The new generation of attack U-boats that had been introduced since Hitler came to power needed urgent improvement. This is the story of the Types II, VII and IX that had already become the ‘workhorse’ of the Kriegsmarine’s submarine fleet and continued to put out to sea to attack Allied shipping right up to the end of the war. The Type II was a small coastal boat that struggled to reach the Atlantic; the Type VII was perfectly at home there, but lacked the technology to tackle well protected convoys; whilst the Type IX was a long-range variety that was modified so that it could operate in the Indian Ocean.

In this latest book by the renowned Kriegsmarine historian Jak Mallmann Showell, these attack U-boats are explored at length. This includes details of their armament, capabilities, crew facilities, and just what is was like to operate such a vessel, and of course the story of their development and operational history.

"For, with ample detail on the evolution of a reborn German submarine industry in the 1930s and a scattering of new insights in niche areas, it is a worthy purchase at the retail price of £25."

Duncan Connors, University of Winchester - The Mariner's Mirror, February 2022

A tremendously useful book that helps us understand the decline of Hitler's submarine fleet and provides us with extra documentation of great interest.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Featured on The Naval Review

The Naval Review

A book of great value and revealing the life of the crews of German U-Boats in the Second World War.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

In his latest book, renowned Kriegsmarine historian Jak Mallmann Showell, provides an in-depth exploration of these attack U-boats. This includes details of their armament, capabilities, crew facilities, and just what it was like to operate such a vessel, and of course the story of their development and operational history. The book is made up of 50% text and 50% photographs so that the reader can gain a good understanding of how a U-boat was operated. One can almost smell the mixture of sweat and diesel in the confined interior of
a U-boat! Well worth its place on the bookshelf.

World Ship Society - Marine News, March 2021

The main strength of this book is the three chapters on the external features, internal features and crew positions of these U-boats. These all contain an impressive range of details I hadn’t encountered elsewhere, which help give a more realistic picture of life in these cramped boats.

Read the full review here

History of War

Referenced in article, Sent to the bottom as featured by

The Armourer, April 2021

This informative volume provides readers who wish to know more about the subject with a definitive introduction by a highly-recognized authority who writes beautifully and clearly, providing enough for the reader to think about reading more about U-boats and, perhaps, other nations' submarines as well.

Click here for the full review

Naval Historical Foundation

In Jak Mallmann Showell's 'Hitler's Attack U-boats, The Kriegsmarine WW ll Submarine Strike Force' describes in a well-illustrated book the U-Boats capabilities, armament's, and crew facilities. In some detail he also describes the smaller Type II, which operated in coastal waters, and Typ1X which prowled the Atlantic looking for victims.

Richard Gough, Military author and historian

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

I have to admit that I found this book fascinating, the role of the U-Boats in the Second World War are often ignored. This book like it says goes into great detail about about how it’s constructed, how it works, how it’s manned and the book contains lots of references/statistics. The book actually contains a lot of photographs but the amount doesn’t make it useless these are excellent ‘working’ photos that will appeal to the learners and the experts of the subject. The operational roles are gone into detail so we learn about their workplace and their role. Would I recommend this to others? Yes, I certainly would, I knew little about the operational U-Boat before, but now I have thoroughly enjoyed this well written book which is both clear and exacting. There isn’t a load of waffle or hyper luting detail the author Mallmann Showell has done an excellent job.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Another superb account of the adventures and use of German U-boats.

Books Monthly

The author has conducted some wonderful research and has uncovered lots of information that is likely to be new to the reader. One example is that rockets were fired from submerged submarines and that this may have happened near the Atlantic East of America. There is much to learn from this book, and I have to say that it is highly commended. Any
World War 2 submarine buff would love to get their hands on a copy, and it is well worth the
cover price.

Dr Stuart C Blank

For anybody who has seen ‘Das Boot’ (the original German TV series) this book is compelling and required reading. It starts by providing an insight into U Boat design after WW1 and that is a well delivered explanation and narrative history. However, the real gem in this book is the detailed description of the key roles of command and operation in a U Boat. This really brings alive the story of the men and how they worked in a U Boat. A very good read that provokes further research into the subject.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Jak P. Mallmann Showell

About Jak P. Mallmann Showell

Jak P. Mallmann Showell has produced more than forty books about naval operations during the Second World War, including Hitlers U-Boat Bases, Enigma U-Boats: Breaking the Code and U-Boat Command and the Battle of the Atlantic.

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