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U-Boats at War in 100 Objects, 1939–1945 (ePub)

Colour eBooks Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: Naval Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: WWII Photographic eBooks WWII

By Gordon Williamson
Frontline Books
Series: In 100 Objects
File Size: 18.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 186 colour and b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781526759030
Published: 9th November 2020


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‘The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril,’ wrote Winston Churchill in his history of the Second World War. ‘I was even more anxious about this battle than I had been about the glorious air fight called the Battle of Britain.”

In reality, the Kriegsmarine had been woefully unprepared for the war into which it was thrown. The Command-in-Chief of submarines, Karl Dönitz, himself a verteran U-boat captain from the First World War, felt that he could bring Britain to its knees with a fleet of 300 U-Boats. But when war broke out, he had just twenty-four available for operational use.

Despite this, the U-Boat arm scored some incredible successes in the early part of the war, raising the status of the submarine commanders and crews to that of national heroes in the eyes of the German people. The ‘Grey Wolves’ had become super-stars.

Small wonder then that the U-Boat war has fascinated students of military history ever since. This book, using a carefully selected range of both wartime images and colour images of surviving U-boat memorabilia from private collections, describes 100 iconic elements of the U-Boat service and its campaigns. The array of objects include important individuals and the major U-Boat types, through to the uniforms and insignias the men wore. The weapons, equipment and technology used are explored, as are the conditions in which the U-boat crews served, from cooking facilities and general hygiene down to the crude toilet facilities.

Importantly, the enemy that they faced is also covered, examining the ship-borne and airborne anti-submarine weaponry utilised against the U-boats. The U-Boats began the war, though small in number, more than a match for the Allies and created carnage amongst merchant shipping as well as sinking several major warships. The pace of technological development, however, failed to match that of Allied anti-submarine warfare weaponry and the U-Bootwaffe was ultimately doomed to defeat but not before, at one point, coming close to bringing Britain to its knees.

Dealing with topics in a ‘100 objects’ has become a popular way of presenting a fresh perspective on a subject. When done well this approach can be illuminating, bringing together a diverse range of ‘objects’ from the familiar to the obscure. I previously covered the impressive The Third Reich in 100 Objects . Taking the idea into a more specific area is U-Boats at War in a 100 Objects 1939-1945 - another well designed collection. An excellent overview which both introduces the scope of U Boot warfare and delves into some unexpected aspects.

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WW2 Today

Overall I would recommend anyone with an interest in the U-boat campaign, and particularly with an interest in collecting militaria associated with U-boats, to consider purchasing this book.

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Recollections of WWII

This slim volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of the U-Boat campaign and how it was fought on each side. The breadth of topics, and the way in which the illustrations bring them to life, will offer much both to the general reader and to those with more knowledge of the history. In addition to the objects which explain the strategy, tactics and weapons, perhaps the most lasting impression is of those which relate the experience of the sailors and airmen, particularly the U-Boat crews. This book is highly recommended.

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The Naval Review

An interesting and well-documented book with a magnificent presentation.

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Miniaturas JM

An interesting book for those who are interested in WWII U-Boats, the crews and equipment.

The Ton Class Association

Williamson puts within reach of a broad spectrum of readers a fascinating, complex, and multilevel story of human and technological success and failure, where life hung in the balance.

Nautical Research Journal

Meticulously researched, professionally written. I have many books in my library on various subjects of war, aircraft, tanks, armoured vehicles, ships, armies, armament, submarines including U-boat titles. What makes this book different is the amount it covers from so many different aspects so good for quick reference. I would recommend this book to anyone with a passion for the Second World War, U-boots, especially a really fascinating read.

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This interesting and unusual book will appeal to U-boat fans everywhere.

World Ship Society - Marine News

Feature on

Bru Ships Youtube Channel, Episode 28.

Gordon Williamson and Frontline have given us another beautiful book.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

If there was thing that worried Sir Winston Churchill during World War II, it was the U-Boat threat from the German Kriegsmarine. Not only did it affect you military ships it would affect the ships bringing in food and supplies to the UK from abroad, this was one of Britain’s lifelines. Although it had been ill prepared before the war, before the end of the war the German U-Boats would greatly improve and develop in technology. The number of U-Boats went from 24 to a fleet of 300 under their Commander-in-Chief Karl Donitz. This book takes a look at the history, how it worked, U-Boat memorabilia, the individuals, the medals, the uniforms and many more items.

This book is a fascinating look at many different objects and items that help portray the life of a U-Boat and all that is involved inside. This is not the first I have read, as I have read 100 objects about the WW2 Home Front, Henry VIII, the First Blitz and the Third Reich. Each book in my opinion is fantastic and this book doesn’t fail that as it a fascinating read. Some of the items you can think of that represent U-Boats are easy to think of, but then the others if you read the book are excellent examples. You often forget little things that you don’t think are significant but when you read the book these items are just as important as the others. From Wolfpacks, to crewmen, to uniforms and medals, from posters to officers watches and battle plans of attack. The information and research in this book is top notch and the accompanying photos are fascinating. For a great read, this book would please everyone I’m sure, but especially those with an interest in U-Boats.

5 stars

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UK Historian

A simply stunning book with 100 short but still rich chapters.

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Lars Gyllenhaal

About Gordon Williamson

GORDON WILLIAMSON is a retired civil servant with a life-long passion for military history. His particular fields of interest include the Military Police, in which both he and his father served, and the German Navy, with special emphasis on the U-Boats. He has written over fifty books on military subjects, including numerous titles dealing with the U-Boats as well as other branches of the Kriegsmarine which have been translated into several languages.

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