Jak P Mallmann Showell
HITLER’S ATTACK U-BOATS
The Kriegsmarine’s WWII Submarine Strike Force
by Jak P Mallmann Showell
The success of German submarines during the First World War in almost cutting off Britain’s vital imports had not been forgotten by Adolf Hitler and when, in March 1935, he repudiated the Treaty of Versailles, Britain, magnanimously, signed up to an Anglo-German Naval Agreement. This allowed the Germans to build their submarine strength up to one third of the British Royal Navy’s tonnage. When war broke out in 1939, German U-boats went quickly into action, but with only four years of production and development, the main armament of these submarines was considerably weaker than equivalent boats in other navies and many of the other main features, such as living and the fighting conditions, were also significantly inferior. Nevertheless, the German U-boat onslaught against British merchant ships during the autumn of 1940 was highly successful because the attacks were made on the surface at night and from such close range that a single torpedo would sink a ship. Soon, though, Allied technology was able to detect U-boats at night, and new convoy techniques, combined with powerfully armed, fast modern aircraft searching the seas, meant that by 1941 it was clear that Germany was losing the war at sea. Something had to be done. The new generation of attack U-boats that had been introduced since Hitler came to power needed urgent improvement. In this latest book by the renowned Kriegsmarine historian Jak Mallmann Showell, these attack U-boats are explored at length. This includes details of their armament, capabilities, crew facilities, and just what it was like to operate such a vessel, and of course the story of their development and operational history.
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