German U-boats wrought havoc throughout the oceangoing world during the Second World War. They plundered supply routes, enforced blockades and were also very effective in combat against Allied warships.
That they did this against massive odds, under close scrutiny from the air forces and navies of the various Allied powers, is well known. The story that U-Boats of the Second World War: Their Longest Voyages tells is far more than that, however. It concentrates on how the U-boats existed, each no longer than four modern articulated lorries and carrying up to 60 crew, in cramped conditions.
Focusing on the specially built craft that undertook the longest voyages, it looks at how the crews survived, how they lived and died and how they were able to carry out their missions in such difficult circumstances. Using many previously unpublished documents from the German U-boat museum to lend first hand authenticity to the book’s narrative, it also draws on much previously unpublished information from the Government Code and Cypher School Naval Histories at Bletchley Park.
From initial success to eventual failure, this is a remarkable story of endurance, courage and comradeship in craft that terrified the world for the most critical period of the Second World War.
The author, Jak P. Mallmann Showell, is himself the son of a U-boat diesel mechanic who disappeared in hostile waters two months before the author was born