U-Boat 977 (Hardback)
The True Story of the U-Boat That Escaped to Argentina
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When it was first published in 1953, opinions were sharply divided between those who deplored the apparent extolling of a vicious form of warfare, and this who found in Heinz Schaeffer’s account a revealing picture of the German Navy’s training and methods.
U-Boat 977 was the German submarine that escaped to Argentina at the end of World War Two. This epic journey started from Bergen in Norway, where in April 1945 it was temporarily based, and took three and a half months to complete. Because of the continuing Allied naval activity the commander decided to make the first part of the journey underwater. Before surfacing near the west coast of Africa U-977 had spent a remarkable sixty-six days submerged.
Heinz Schaeffer, the commander of U-977 wrote a full account of his career that culminated in this last command. It depicts the gruelling aspects of a submariner’s life aboard a vessel that was subjected to harsh conditions of the sea and oceans. As an experienced commander Schaeffer took part in many of the decisive U-boat operations in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In the final months of the war, and in common with most surviving U-boat commanders, Schaeffer and his crew came under constant attacks from Allied aircraft and surface ships.
The final part of U-Boat 977 is Schaeffer’s account of the journey to Argentina and lays to rest some of the more fanciful sorties that followed its arrival.
Schäffer’s book is valuable. It was one of the first memoirs of U-boat service and contains first-hand accounts of his training and U-boat service. He writes clearly and the narrative is easy to follow. His accounts of combat put the reader IN the U-boat with its crew and at times, the reader feels that he is sharing the dangers of U-boat service.The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, XVIII, No. 2 (Spring 2018) – reviewed by Robert L. Shoop Colorado Springs, Colorado
A good selection of photographs is included and the endpapers contain a schematic of U-977 and a map of the submarine’s voyage from Norway to Argentina.
Excerpt from book as featured byThe Marine Quarterly, Summer 2018
A fascinating read from the perspective of the Kriegsmarine.The Armourer, May 2018
There have been many claims and conspiracy theories about U-Boats fleeing to South America and other destinations in the closing stages of WWII. This is a true account of one U-Boat that reached Argentina – whether it is the full story may be the subject of debate, but this is a very interesting account by the commander of U 977 – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
Read the complete review here.
As featured 'on the shelf' inWargames Illustrated, November 2017