Teddy Suhren, Ace of Aces: Memoirs of a U-Boat Rebel Hardcover – Import, January 1, 2006
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Life in U-boats during WWII must not have been easy. Narrow, damp, closed quarters, uncertain if you will be able to return to surface after a depth charge attack, and all inside a “tin can”.
Interesting of this book is his description of meeting some high command, not only Hitler. Particularly when he spent some time with Eva Brown. This is the first book I read someone addresses her. Teddy mentions also his suspicions on the allies having broken the Enigma Code, which in the end turned out to be correct.
I would highly recommend seeing the German movie Das Boot to enrich this book even further.
Now I have to read Iron Coffins, which some consider being the best book on U-boat WWII history.
Still, I wish that Suhren had remembered more of his war time service. The memoir is rather short, but I can definitely recommend it to those with an interest in the war. The prose is eminently readable, and the work offers a unique perspective on the German high command.
Top international reviews
This is such a book. It takes you right from the beginning of the war, through to the end with someone who was not only there but was able to meet many of the principal actors on the axis side of the war.
You see how U-boat tactics developed early in the war, go on patrol, attack convoys and withstand sustained depth-charge attacks. Later on you start to see the weariness coming on and the realisation that the war is lost.
This is not the account of an ardent Nazi but the tales of a naval officer, doing his duty in the best way he can. Not necessarily with the blessings of his superiors either! His style is relaxed, almost as if you're listening to him speaking. I like that, it's so hard to do.
I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the U-boat crews felt, bearing in mind the fantastic losses they suffered, yet their morale remained intact to the end.
His captaincy was during the earlier years of the war at sea, and he was quick to see that later Allied developments in convoy protection, especially radar, put the u-boat in an increasingly weak position. After 15 tours he was then put in charge of u-boat officer training where he saw that the time allowed for training u-boat captains was inadequate - very young men were ill-prepared and unfairly sent to their deaths, Suhren felt. He was unable to extend training, and this lack marked the increasingly weak position of u-boats, especially as the area in the centre of the Atlantic once free of air Allied air cover ceased to be a safe area for u-boats.
Suhren makes searching observations of senior staff - sometimes critically, but always fairly. He had no time for the kowtowing that Hitler encouraged, but interestingly when they met, Hitler seemed prepared to listen to Suhren, perhaps valuing Suhren's honest views. After the war, in an address to ex u-boat crews, Suhren - who was no Nazi - says he was 'doing his job' as a u-boat captain.
I recommend this interesting and very well-written account. It includes simple photographs placed appropriately within the text.
I was interested to notice that even at the beginning of hostilities, when merchant shipping went unescorted, he did not seem to equate his actions with loss of life, rather referring to his successes as 'thousands of tons of shipping.' The book follows his career to the end of the War and after. I noted that although enjoying a 'good time' when the occasion arose, his interpersonal skills could on occasion be less than successful. Although he did mention his wife, he had more to say about his mother-in-law.
This is a good account of the actions of formidable submariner, even if he served on the 'other side.'
and rubbed the powers that be up the wrong way. Thank God he went to training rather then carry on as Captain as am
sure he would have sunk more allied shipping. Well worth a read.
Suren seemed a little proud of himself but with reason .
Please read this as it sets out the path of a man clearly not very politically aware at times which also throws in doubt history's claim that U boat commanders were all fervent Nazis. A solid end to end history of the Atlantic war from the losers perspective so balance is what this gives. This left me hungry for more so moved onto to Doenitz's memoires now. Not as entertaining but a solid history again.
Read it and enjoy it!
I found Teddy Suhren to be just the same as our men: compassionate, thoughtful and in the end, just a man doing his duty for his country. He was a sailor not a Nazi.
My father was a submariner and I believe he thought the same about the enemy, being men doing what they had to do to the best of their ability for and on behalf of their country.
A great read: from a different perspective?
Good in other respects though
Worth reading if a little sombre.
man who was intelligent and respected his crew from the cleaner to top man under himself. This man went to the top of his profession
A good read I enjoyed it.
his story is compelling and carves his own niche in history.