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Phantom Raider: Nazi Germany's Most Successful Surface Raider (Fortunes of War) Paperback – June 25, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Fortunes of War
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cerberus Publishing Ltd.; 1st edition (June 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841450286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841450285
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,382,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on June 6, 2009
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The best kind of war memoirs are those that are written soon after the events and where the author sticks to subjects with which he had first-hand experience. It also helps if the author adds healthy quantities of the `three Hs': humour, humility and honesty. Phantom Raider, written by Ulrich Mohr about his service as a junior officer on the German disguised commerce raider Atlantis in 1940-41, is a superb example of `how-to-write-a-good memoir. Not only does the author a great many interesting details that are omitted in more operationally-driven histories of the Atlantis, but he reached out to some of his former adversaries after the war in order to gain greater understanding about the events he participated in. Mohr manages to bring the crew of Germany's most successful raider to life and depict them as individuals, ranging from a few trouble-makers to characters such as the explosives expert, the ship's pilot, the ship's surgeon and of course the well-known Captain Bernhard Rogge. Overall, this is a well-written and interesting memoir that adds a great deal to our understanding of Germany's anti-commerce operations in the Second World War.

Phantom Raider is divided into 26 short chapters and has 205 pages of narrative. The author provides 27 B/W photos but no maps or appendices - it's a rather no frills book. That aside, the narrative is coherent and flows at an almost movie-script pace. The author begins with the conversion of the Atlantis from a civilian freighter at Bremen in the winter of 1939/40 and discusses the initial training of the crew. Mohr is a bit self-effacing at times, in that he gives a few details that his background was far from the norm for a Kriegsmarine Leutnant - he had a PhD and spoke a number of languages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Crisp on December 30, 2007
I'm not normally a fan of sea faring books of any sort this book is one of three and it is good reading, easy to follow doesn't get bogged down in the politics of the era, just what happened from the start to the end and eventual sinking by the british.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Readers are Leaders on February 16, 2007
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Written by the Atlantis' Executive Officer. Excellent book. An essential WWII history. Nice binding. High seas exploits in wartime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Baraniecki Mark Stuart on May 11, 2015
Ulrich Mohr and A V Sellwood show that the German surface fleet mostly stayed in port during WW2 with the greater part of the action being "covert" through U Boats attacks and the not so well known Surface Raiders that are the subject of this book.

It was surely preferable for an Allied merchant ship to be engaged by a chameleon like Ship Sixteen captained by Bernard Rogge and his ADC Ulrich Mohr than a U Boat, since they were usually given a chance to surrender when the "German Raider" identity was revealed within firing range. There was a learning process here. Rogge originally tried a shot across the bows but found that they continued to send radio SOS messages. He then tried ordering them to halt and not broadcast but that usually didn't work either (they turned to escape and continued to send SOS messages) so eventually he showed a large illuminated message quickly followed by shellfire against the radio room if there was any evasive action or broadcasting.

In any event Rogge's ship kept changing its identity with flags, lettering, paint, wooden structural alterations etc. to look for the most realistic matches with ships registered around the world and eventually managed to sink more Allied shipping (21 ships over 661 days) than any other surface ship. An interesting feature was Rogge's "Admiral Colombo" wall map of the Indian Ocean, with the subtitle "Think like your opposite number". He spent a good deal of time making reasonable assumptions about the whereabouts of Ship Sixteen based on existing knowledge and making sure he was somewhere else.

The book almost reads like a novel (better really) especially the episode when they were almost shipwrecked on the remote Kerguelen Islands near the Antarctic circle.
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