- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (March 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557508283
- ISBN-13: 978-1557508287
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.8 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,667,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Type VII U-Boats Hardcover – March, 1991
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"Thirteen" by Steve Cavanagh
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Dust jacket notes: "After the narrow defeat of their Uboat fleet in the First World War, the German Navy analyzed their experiences and devised new theories and plans for a future conflict. The principal result of this study was the development of the daring concept of Radeltaktik, which involved coordinated pack attacks on the Allied convoy systems that had proved so successful in defence. Donitz was one of the architects of this new scheme, and his favoured method was the surfaced night attack, the Uboats shadowing the convoys for some time, communicating the position of their quarry and then converging from the surrounding ocean areas for 'the kill'. The perfect boat to implement this doctrine had to have certain characteristics it required an effective operational range and the levels of speed and armament usually associated with large boats; and it had to be highly manoeuvrable with a fast dive - a factor normally exhibited by smaller boats. It needed excellent communications and, above all, it had to be easy to build because a great many were needed. Armed with such a weapon, Donitz was convinced that, given the will, Germany could win any tonnageschlact (tonnage battle) in the Atlantic. It was the Type VII Uboat that largely fulfilled this role. Over 700 examples of this superb submarine were built, making it by far the most numerous type of Uboat and fully deserving of this study. Robert C. Stern looks in detail at how the various technological elements of this advanced weapons system worked and how the crewmen operated to maximize its effectiveness in action. He traces the development and design of the class together with the crucial offensive and defensive components it took to sea: torpedo and gun types; radio, hydrophones, radar decoys and sonar countermeasures; mines; and a host of other innovative items...."
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close rains on the boats by radio, but never mention the type of equipment. This book does. I think it is the best of
all books for information about the boats….top shelf….
The illustrations consist of about 160 black and white photographs, many I’d never seen before, and a number of original plans that have been re-annotated into English. Robert Stern’s research for this work was quite extensive, and the BdU Kriegstagebuch and U-boat war diaries are quoted throughout. The first chapter provides a brief introduction to the WWI U-boats that were direct antecedents of the VII, and the secret outsourcing of submarine design to Turkey and Greece. The next section explains the major differences between the nine VII subtypes, including the unbuilt C/42 and C/43 models, and Donitz’s reasoning for producing so many VIIs.
The second chapter includes a description of the building process, and a guided tour through the pressure hull. This tour takes us to the boat’s exterior, followed by a general overview of the propulsion systems that includes an interesting treatise on the Schnorchel. The chapter also includes information on the crew and their positions onboard, provisioning at sea, and the limited sanitation facilities.
Chapter three, the book’s meatiest, covers the weapons and targeting systems. This chapter includes plain-language descriptions of the G7a steam and G7e electric torpedoes, and a detailed account of the torturous failures of the Pi 1 magnetic detonator. Advanced weapons like the FaT and LuT anti-convoy and T5 acoustic torpedoes, torpedo loading and storage, and the boat’s fire control systems are also discussed. The next section is on mines, including a look at the nearly forgotten MTA mobile mine. The next section covers the boat’s guns, including the large number of Wintergarten configurations. The last section describes a number of experimental weapons, such as anti-aircraft rockets and Biber submersibles.
Chapter four describes sensor systems, including radio equipment, radar detectors, and hydrophones. The final chapter looks at countermeasures, including anti-radar and anti-sonar coatings, the "Aphrodite" radar decoy, and the 'Bold' active sonar decoy. The first of three appendices is a photo-heavy examination of the boat’s general appearance, focusing on the subjects of camouflage and personal insignia. Appendix B provides a brief profile of Admiral Donitz, while Appendix C lists which shipyards produced which boats.
"Type VII U-boats" provides a fairly comprehensive, but not exhausting, look at a single submarine class and how it operated. Despite being a technical history, it doesn’t read like a technical memorandum, and "greener" naval enthusiasts shouldn’t have too hard a time with it. It also provides some tantalizing glances into experimental German devices, including a hand-held infrared detector, active sonars, and the U-Flak boats. My only real gripe is the large number of typos and editing errors, along with some jarring changes in typeset. Besides that, this is a fascinating look at what the author describes as an early example of an integrated weapons system.
The Type VII U Boat was probably the most successful submarine of all time. It was Gunther Prien in U47 which sank HMS Royal Oak right at the beginning of WW2 and Otto Kretschmer with his U99 who established the record for tonnage sunk during that same war - and the sinking of ships was the primary role of this type of craft). Today, some 65 years after the Type VII fired it's last torpedo in war, there are websites clubs in many different languages dedicated to the finest detail of this specific weapon of war and every aspect of the battles they fought. For all those ardent enthusiasts plus those with a more general interest in WW2, ships or shipwrecks, this is an excellent addition to the bookshelf.
Commencing with the boat's evolution and design (all submarines are `boats' and not ships!), the author then takes the reader through the vital characteristics which made this craft exactly what is was and why. This includes fascinating detail from history and the lessons learned from WW1. Part Two covers; The hull, propulsion, crew, provisions and even sanitation. The third part provides a complete explanation of the various weapons. Commencing with the obvious; Torpedoes, mines, deck and flak guns, we are then treated to an interesting insight into some experimental weapons. Often overlooked, Part Four includes the real cutting-edge technology of the day; Radio, radar, radar detectors, hydrophones and infra-red sensors. The final part of this complete assessment moves from the offensive to the defensive with; Anti-radar coatings, anti-radar decoys, anti-sonar coatings and anti-sonar decoys - something which reveals the exhaustive nature of the research undertaken by this author. The book concludes with equally informative appendices on; General appearance, Admiral Dönitz and a table of Hull numbers which shows when and where each boat was made and includes those projects which were never completed.
The work is well supported throughout with an excellent and plentiful selection of black and white photographs showing all aspects of boats, people, construction, war, weapons, life on board and so forth in addition to an equally outstanding compilation of plans and profiles.
If I may be permitted one very minor criticism; Most readers will know that the German word for submarine is Unterseeboot (undersea boat) or U Boat for short. In the German language, there never was a hyphen between the letter "U" and the word "Boat" and no hyphen appears in any of Germany's official records on the U Boat at any time. The hyphen was added by those who translated various German documents into English. Consequently (e.g.); U Boat and U68 are correct whereas U-Boat and U-68 are incorrect. As I say, a very small point and not one which will mar your enjoyment of a truly accomplished study.
1) Great disposition. Eases the reader into the subject. From basic to advanced stuff.
2) Thoroughly researched. Based on original sources.
3) Great pictures and u-boat layouts
4) Contains tons of facts, yet it is still extremely reader-friendly and har to put down.
This book has really helped me a lot when it comes to understanding every aspect of the uboat and the uboat war. A great aid when reading other uboat titles.