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Weapons of Desperation (ePub)

German Frogmen and Midget Submarines of World War II

Maritime > Naval Military > Frontline eBooks WWII

By Lawrence Paterson
Frontline Books
File Size: 13.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526713490
Published: 16th April 2018


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As the Third Reich headed for destruction, German ingenuity in the naval field turned to unconventional weapons – midget submarines, radio-controlled explosive boats, and various forms of underwater sabotage.

This is one of the last un-chronicled areas of World War II naval history and this well-known author describes how, facing overwhelming odds, German sailors – most of them volunteers – mounted attacks that were little better than suicide missions.

Judged by their effect on the Allied advance, their successes were slight, but there seems to have been no collapse of morale and the indomitable bravery of those involved makes riveting reading. Pieced together from fragmentary sources, this largely untold story uncovers some of the most desperate operations of the War.

So popular was Lawrence Paterson’s first edition of Weapons of Desperation, released in hard cover in 2006, that it was published again in paperback in 2018. The author went to considerable effort to locate and interview ex-sailors of the German Kreigsmarine and various Allied navies to collect a wealth of material on the effectiveness – or more realistically the ineffectiveness – of these “weapons of desperation.” The rare photographs themselves are well worth the purchase price.

Maritime Engineering Journal, Spring 2019 - reviewed by Tom Douglas

Lawrence Paterson has amassed an amazing amount of detailed information about the numbers of these craft built, the different types, the men who drove them, and how they were used. He has presented the facts in a very readable way telling the story of brave and maybe foolhardy men engaged in an ultimately unsuccessful fight.

Submariners Association

There is little that wargamers can find here for games but the tales of heroism and small battle unit actions may create some inspiration and are interesting in their own right. The book is a detailed account which, to my mind, shows the futility of trying to counter conventional forces with small asymmetric Special Forces with high morale but questionable training and equiptment: hence the title! The book is recommended to those with an interest in Special Forces, their creation, planning, equiptment and operations but the reader will need to make up his own mind as to whether they are useful or repaid the resources expended on them. It is recommended to the expert and the general reader alike.

Miniature Wargames, October 2018 – reviewed by Martin Pike
 Lawrence Paterson

About Lawrence Paterson

Lawrence Paterson has written several books on various aspects of the U-boat war, including U-Boat War PatrolWeapons of DesperationHitler's Grey WolvesHitler's Brandenburgers and a biography of Otto Kretschmer. He lives in Taranto, Italy and is drummer in a heavy metal band.

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