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U-Boat 977 : The True Story of The U-boat that Escaped to Argentina Hardcover – December 1, 2017
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About the Author
- Publisher : Naval Institute Press (December 1, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1784382493
- ISBN-13 : 978-1784382490
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book contains a gripping account of the author's time in the German navy, including his training for submarine duty at the beginning of World War II, his service in a subordinate role on two submarines and his command of # 977 at the end of the war. He describes early missions during the period when the U-boats were successful.
The author then explains the turning point in the war when the allies began using improved radar to find the German subs. He dispels myths about submarine warfare, including the myth that the subs spent most of their time below the surface of the water. Understanding how the subs operated allows one to understand why radar was so deadly to those subs. This chapter is essential to an understanding of the battle for the Atlantic during the War.
The author describes incidents where his sub had to spend hours below the surface while allied destroyers launched wave after wave of depth charges. This helps the reader understand one reason why the war was hopeless for Germany by the end. The author describes new technology that helped the U-boats conceal themselves, but these improvements were too late to change the outcome of the war.
The author concludes with several chapters describing his command of 977 (he was appointed as the Russians were closing in on Berlin). After receiving orders to surrender, he took 977 to Argentina. The trip took months and the sailors endured many hardships along the way. Most of the trip was spent under water using the new technology. The ship's entry into southern waters and its ability to surface after 66 days made for an entertaining story.
Most intriguing was the idea that 977 might have helped Hitler escape to Argentina or Antarctica at the end of the War. The author denied it and presented a very detailed story that excluded any such possibility. But the allied authorities questioned him repeatedly about this possibility in Washington and in Europe. Newspapers contained stories with various scenarios. I am sure that this story was a major factor in starting the jokes, stories and fictional accounts of Nazis going to South America that most of us have heard since the end of the War. There have been actual discoveries (Eichman, Mengele, etc.), but this story (and that of U-530) became popular long before those events happened.
A minor part of the book describes a ritual related to King Neptune that sailors perform when they cross the equator. This happened twice in this book. The ritual is apparently common to many countries, as I have read of a similar ritual taking place on American ships during WWII.
The Bantam edition has a drawback. The introduction tries to place the book into context, but ends up making mistakes. The author of the introduction seems to think that Japan and Germany were allied in both world wars and that those countries sought world domination in World War I also. The introduction author also denied that any other power sought world domination in World War II, thus papering over the role and danger from the Soviet Union. I will not hold the book, with its various editions, responsible for this later introduction.
Top reviews from other countries
This is one of the best!
It describes life on board u-boats and describes the changes of technology on both sides as the war progresses.
I thoroughly recommend it!