British Cruisers - Two World Wars and After - PRE ORDER

British Cruisers - Two World Wars and After - PRE ORDER

British Warship Losses in the Modern Era - 1920 1982 - PRE ORDER

British Warship Losses in the Modern Era - 1920 1982 - PRE ORDER

Hitler's Navy - The Kriegsmarine in World War II

Gordon Williamson

A complete illustrated study of the German Kriegsmarine throughout World War II. This highly illustrated volume is a comprehensive study of the German Navy throughout the war, from pocket battleships to torpedo boats.
£30.00
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A complete illustrated study of the German Kriegsmarine throughout World War II. Hamstrung at first by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, during the 1930s, the German Navy underwent a programme of rearmament in defiance of the restrictions, building modern warships under limitations which forced technological innovation. Submarines were strictly prohibited by the treaty, and yet, following years of covert development, they became one of the Kriegsmarine's most deadly weapons. Blooded in the Spanish Civil War, the surface ships of the Kriegsmarine went on to play a crucial role in the opening salvoes of World War II during the invasions of Poland and Norway, although serious losses here set back plans for the invasion of Britain, and by the end of the war, only a handful of surface vessels remained to be divided up among the Allies. From the beginning of the war, but especially after the fall of France, the dreaded and extraordinarily successful U-boats stalked the Atlantic, threatening vital British shipping convoys and choking off the lifeline of munitions and supply from the US. Once Italy and Japan entered the war, German naval operations expanded to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. This highly illustrated volume is a comprehensive study of the German Navy throughout the war, from pocket battleships to torpedo boats.

ISBN: 9781472847928
Format: Hardback
Author(s): Gordon Williamson
First Publishment Date: 03 February 2022
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Author(s) Gordon Williamson
Customer Reviews
  1. Lavishly illustrated, well-crafted and an enjoyable read.
    The German Imperial Navy of the early 20th century expanded from a coastal defence force to a major maritime power whose High Seas Fleet was able to challenge the Royal Navy, as its U-boats demonstrated the power of the submarine to wreak havoc with merchant shipping. The Treaty of Versailles and the scuttling of the High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow, meant Germany reverted to a coastal navy with no effective major warships or submarines. Germany circumvented the inter-war treaties on warship construction and by the outbreak of WWII they had built a small, powerful, modern surface fleet backed by submarines and E-boats. The main role of the Kriegsmarine was commerce disruption and avoiding surface action with the Royal Navy. Whilst major units had limited success attacking shipping, they did tie up British naval forces, but it was left to the U-boats and auxiliary cruisers to meet the war role. The author opens with an operational overview of Kriegsmarine operations. This emphasises the successes of the auxiliary cruisers – commerce raiders. Seven of them in 1940 sank over 100 ships and diverted significant Allied forces to track them down. Also covered is Hitler’s anger at the inability of his large surface ships to play an effective role. The sections on the ship types give detailed specifications, accompanied by photos, colour drawings and details of commanding officers. The U-boat section looks at the different types of U-boats, interior layouts, key deployments of the various types and includes pen pictures of their commanders. The section on minor war vessels covers many types that have received little or no acknowledgement, including the barrier-breaker used to clear minefields – perhaps one of the least attractive drafts for the ship’s company! The final section covers life in Hitler’s navy and states that the Kriegsmarine was “by far the least politically motivated” of all the Nazi forces, and quotes that many Kriegsmarine sailors had to give up Nazi party membership before being commissioned. Doenitz would not allow Nazi Leadership Officers to serve on U-boats, but the Kriegsmarine remained loyal to the Nazi cause. The book concludes that the Kriegsmarine was at a significant disadvantage in fighting the war at sea without the benefit of allies. Furthermore, the most effective arm, the U-boats, were dogged by technical problems with torpedoes until 1942. The author reflects on whether things would have been different if the Kriegsmarine had devoted resources to building aircraft carriers, and had not had to deal with the impact of the Allies’ capture of Enigma machines and codes – reportedly Doenitz never accepted that the Enigma codes had been deciphered. At the end of the war, many Kriegsmarine sailors, their ships laid up, were “squandered” as ground forces – an ignominious end to a naval force. A high quality publication, this is a comprehensive study of the wartime Kriegsmarine, lavishly illustrated, well-crafted and an enjoyable read.

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