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The U-Boat War, 1914-1918 [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Edwyn A. Gray

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Severin Olson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Most books on U boat warfare cover the Second World War exclusively, so I was happy to read Gray's history of the action in the first one. The book is a thriller from start to finish and is never boring at any point. It begins with a brief description of the first submarines and then jumps to the action of 1914-18. We learn about the many sinkings of Allied merchant and naval craft and of the U boats themselves. Gray traces the evolution of the conflict well and gives the reader a feeling for what must have been in the minds of the combatants as events became increasingly desperate.
I would encourage anyone interested in naval issues to read this book. Only those wishing to know the details on every sinking of the war will be at all dissapointed.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von MONTGOMERY - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Many years ago, I bought this book both because of the subject matter and the fact that the bookstore was offering it for sale at a major discount. Plenty of books are to be found on the use of U-Boats in the Second World War. But, by way of contrast, there are few books on the market about the role U-Boats played on the high seas during the First World War.

The book begins by providing a short history of the submarine's development and the earliest U-boats used by the Germans upon the outbreak of war. The U-boat in 1914 was a flimsy vessel, more suited to operating in coastal areas than in deep water. But the sinking within the space of an hour of the British warships Hogue, Aboukir, and Cressy by U-9 (under the command of Otto Weddigen) on September 22, 1914 provided ample proof of the submarine's potential as a lethal weapon.

As the British tightened their naval blockade of Germany (which largely neutralized the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet), work proceeded apace on the development and deployment of more U-boats in the waters around Britain and in the Atlantic (later extended to the Mediterranean and the waters around Russia and Turkey).

The U-boats began their activities in earnest in October 1914.
U-boats were first used as commerce raiders, which took pains to avoid attacks on neutral shipping while engaging in attacks on Allied merchant shipping subject to the existing "prize rules", which were a set of rules observed by warring nations for the treatment at sea of enemy civilian crews and their passengers. However, it soon became clear to the Germans that strict adherence to these rules negated the effectiveness of the U-boat. (The British were also beginning to arm many of their merchant ships, so when an unsuspecting U-boat would surface to warn the enemy merchant ship it had stalked underwater that it would be subject to attack and to evacuate its crew within a proscribed time period, the U-boat, as the hunter, would suddenly find itself as the hunted when the merchant ship would unmask its guns and promptly open fire upon it.) Consequently, before the end of 1915, the Germans came to rely increasingly on stealth in its use of U-boats.

Unrestricted submarine warfare was adopted in 1916, then suspended for a short time after U.S. complaints to Germany about U-boat attacks on its shipping in Allied waters. But by February 1917, in light of the disclosure of the Zimmermann Telegram to the U.S. by British naval intelligence (the telegram detailed an offer by Germany to Mexico to enter the war against the U.S., in exchange for, with German help, regaining Arizona and New Mexico), Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare.

This book does a splendid job in detailing the first submarine war. What I found remarkable was the achievement of Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, the top U-boat ace of the war, who was credited with sinking 194 Allied ships. (Most of the sinkings were achieved with the 8.8cm deck gun that de la Perière used in surface actions.)
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great overview 5. August 2009
Von Douglas E. Libert - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
You can see from reading this book why the Germans placed so much faith in the Uboat. Their navy was so far behind the British and the submarine was a "catch up" weapon to be used until they could build up a navy to compete with Great Britain. Unfortunately,and it is well shown in the book,the submarine even before Sonar had alot of limitations.The Uboat was also seen as an "unfair" type weapon one that would be classified today as somewhat terrorist.The Germans initially hoped the sub could take out English Warships but very early on it was shown that British anti-submarine warfare made it very dangerous for a sub to take on a warship. Although there were a few instances of a British or American warship going down to a sub,there was not enough instances to make the sub a tactical weapon.
So, according to Grays' book, German Uboats evolve into being used as a strategic weapon by disrupting shipping commerce and sinking not warships but unarmed commerce ships.This German strategic use of Uboats(which the allies also use against Germany)! opens up a whole "can of worms" in regard to international business relations and "war crimes" violations.Germanys' use of Uboats is what eventually dragged the United States into WW1. Later how can the allies prosecute the Germans for war crimes when both sides are targeting civilian shipping?
Early on in WW1,the British developed the hydrophone and depth charges to locate and destroy Uboats. The development of convoys and escorts to protect merchant ships also made submarining a risky business. I was surprised throughout the book at how many submarines the Germans had on patrol and how many of them the British were able to destroy, despite the complete absence of electronic detection devices.
By the time WW2 comes on,the German Navy is completely unprepared once again,mainly due to the Versailles Treaty restrictions, and goes back to their old standard "catch up" weapon,the submarine.This time however the British have been investing in research on RADAR and SONAR,which up the risk factors for the Uboats.Also the use of carrier and shore based aircraft make the Uboat considerably more vulnerable.The Germans never had much of a carrier program or sea planes and this likewise would hurt them in WW2.The Versailles Traety once again the main cause for Hitlers' rise is also the main reason for the German defeat.The German navy is not prepared for the war,really not even close to competing with Britain.
If the Germans had been as capable of electronic developments as the British had been,who knows how the Battle of the Atlantic would have faired.Especially when"unrestricted submarine warfare" is released on the world by Germany a second time.The British however were always able to figure out a new way to defeat the Uboats despite a setback or two.But from a read of this book it was awfully tense and too close for comfort a number of times.There is little description of the types,classes,technological evolution of the numerous types of German Uboats in the book and not a whole lot of pictures or maps. But: this book is a great picture of what the Uboat war of WW1 was all about. The book was previously entitled the "Killing Time",I guess because Uboating although risky in WW1,was still whole worlds less risky than in WW2.
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