Title: Torpedo Los! The Fascinating World Of U-Boat Collectibles

Author: Williamson, Gordon

Condition: Mint

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 2007

ISBN: 9789329700297

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 416 pages

Comments: Few forms of combat in modern history have grabbed the imagination of the public to the degree that has been the case with submarine warfare. There is, to many, something innately sinister about any weapon which can operate unseen and whose arrival is first heralded by a huge explosion and eruption of flame as the victim it has been stalking is sent plunging into the depths.

The German submariner has, in popular western culture, usually been portrayed as some sort of Nazi fanatic, revelling not only in the destruction of enemy ships, but also in the death of their crews. The reality of course was somewhat different. The German Navy was fiercely traditional, and made every effort to ensure that it remained as free as possible from political interference. For long, membership of any political party was frowned upon, even after the Nazis came to power. The Commander-in-Chief of U-Boats, Karl Dönitz, who of course ultimately became the commander-in-chief of the entire Navy, made strenuous efforts to ensure that so-called Political Leadership Officers, somewhat analogous to the Political Commissars employed by the Soviets, were kept well away from the U-Boats.

Hitler himself once complained, I have a reactionary Army, a National Socialist Airforce and a Christian Navy.

Many of the great U-Boat commanders were tremendous characters and true individualists, far removed from the Hollywood image of the Nazi martinet. One well reported example of the contempt which many U-Boat captains held for the regime relates that on returning from a war cruise, and as his boat, U-564, approached the quayside where the usual array of dignitaries waiting to greet him, Ace commander Reinhard Teddi Suhren shouted out Are the Nazis still in charge? When the answer Yes! came back, Suhren ordered his engines put into reverse and backed his boat away from the quay, much to the hilarity of his crew. Making such jokes at the expense of the regime was a dangerous business during the Third Reich!

This of course is not to say there were no Nazi sympathisers in the U-Boat service. Like any other branch it would have contained men with a wide range of political beliefs, including fervent supporters of the regime. What is important, however, is that whatever their beliefs, the vast majority of members of the U-Boot Waffe carried out their war in as civilized and chivalrous a manner as was possible, and their record in this is in fact better than some of the allies.

The release of the movie Das Boot played a major part in altering the perceived image of the U-Boat crewmen. For the first time they were shown as being human, with the same hopes, the same fears as their counterparts in any other navy…living in cramped, uncomfortable conditions with the prospect of an extremely horrifying death their constant companion.

The U-Boat men were a very special breed. Of the 80,000 or so who went to sea, only around 20,000 survived, a death rate of 75-80%. Submarine related memorabilia has always been popular with collectors and none more so than that relating to the U-Boats. It is hoped that this, the first book to be published dealing with U-Boat memorabilia in such depth, will encourage collectors and increase appreciation of surviving momentos of one of the greatest battles in history, the U-Boat War.

This colour-filled book covers everything worn and used by U-Boat crews. Detailed chapters included are uniforms, headgear, cap ribbons, rank insignia, trade insignia, the U-Boat badge, gallantry and other awards, personal documentation, equipment, weapons, flags, the Kaiserliche Marine and the Bundesmarine.

Over 1150 photos (most in colour)