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U-Boats in the Mediterranean: 1941-1944 Hardcover – April 20, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Though much larger than, say, the Red Sea, in many ways the Mediterranean was, from a U Boat perspective, like operating within a restricted body of water. Whilst getting supplies to the all-important strategic island of Malta was always a problem, it remained a case of the Royal Navy ruling the seas and Axis Air Forces ruling most of the air-space throughout the larger part of WW2. It was against this back-drop that U Boats operated under some pretty daunting circumstances.
Whilst it may be universally recognised that the German Luftwaffe became well trained in the art of aerial combat during the Spanish Civil War, the fact that German U Boats were also seconded to the Franco cause is less well known and, it is here, that the author begins his appraisal of the subject. As with each element of Germany's forces throughout WW2, there are times of success before times of retreat and, of course eventual defeat altogether. This book follows the fortunes of those U Boats serving throughout the Mediterranean during those same times - right up to the retreat from France and finally the retreat from Greece.
Written in an "as it happened" style - and very well written at that, I was surprised to find an author who had studied the U Boat (and previously written other books on the subject) and who had not discovered the hyphen to be an invention of the English speaking world and does not appear in German accounts. Thus U-81 should be written as either U 81 or U81. Small point perhaps but, as I discovered in Düsseldorf quite recently, one that really irks German historians.Read more ›
The thing I felt was missing was a more thorough analysis, some more elaborate conclusions to put the uboats in a more strategic context. Mr. Paterson no doubt has the knowledge and literary framwork upon which to base such an analysis, but alas he chose(?) not to include it.
Still, I warmly recommend this book to anyone interested in uboats and/or WW2 in the Mediterranean.
German U-boats first appeared and saw action in the Spanish Civil war. Once war broke out in 1939, the grey wolves were committed to action in the Med despite Doenitz's wishes to the contrary. Operating from various bases, they scored a number of successes including aircraft carriers such as HMS Ark Royal, battleships like HMS Barham and countless merchantmen. Losses were partially replaced, again Hitler's doing but the Straits of Gibraltar passage often proved a death-trap for incoming reinforcements. March 1943 was probably the pinnacle of success for Med U-boats. Though sinkings continued till war's end, the U-boats were clearly fighting a losing battle.
Paterson does a marvelous job of bringing the Med U-boat war to life. The book benefits from in-depth research and all the battles are thoroughly described, often-times using actual combat reports. The politics and personalities of the conflict are also well-covered. I would have liked more photographs and more analysis of the strategical impact of the U-boats in the Med but that's just me.
Paterson's book should appeal to U-boat enthusiasts. It sheds a wonderfully-detailed and exciting light on a little-known segment of the World War II U-boat story. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has to be the driest book on the U-boat war ever published! Snore SNORE. There are no personal accounts, nothing to hold your interest, just one sinking after another,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bev Thompson
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Friday, November 1, 2013
So I can not yet rate this book because I have not... Read more