- Gebundene Ausgabe
- Verlag: Naval Inst Pr (April 1994)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1557503079
- ISBN-13: 978-1557503077
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 2,5 x 15,2 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.761.636 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Shooting the War: The Memoir and Photographs of a U-Boat Officer in World War II (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – April 1994
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The war diary of Otto Giese, a German U-boat officer, recounts his seafaring career during and after WWII. Giese began the war as a junior officer on the ocean liner Columbus , and was later captured by the British in the Malayan jungle. Giese provides details of daily life at sea and offers anecdotes about blockade running, plotting escapes on Ang -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
The late Otto Giese served aboard square-riggers and numerous oceangoing freighters through World War II and started his own shipping line after the war.
James E. Wise Jr., a former naval aviator, intelligence officer, and Vietnam veteran, retired from the U.S. Navy as a captain. His books include Stars in Blue and U-505, among many others. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Once he was back in Germany, he sought out service in the Navy, in spite of opposition from his employer. He wound up serving as an enlisted man on U-405 through four patrols operating out of Norway against Murmansk convoys. Then he was transferred to officer training, and soon assigned to U-181, which travelled from France to the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope. Once there, they eventually landed at Penang in Malaysia, intending to restock with supplies needed in Germany and return there later. When they tried to sail back home, the sub's drive bearings failed and they had to return to Indonesia, where they waited out the end of the war. He then spent some time interned by the Japanese in Malaysia, more time as a POW both there and in Britain, before finally returning to Germany. He eventually settled in Florida and became a U.S. citizen.
This book comprises what is described as a "war diary" kept by Giese. This stretches credulity a bit, and I think it would be better to describe it as a memoir. The author recounts the events briefly, and some of the chapters are so short it only takes a few moments to read them. Sinking of Allied ships is handled in a sentence, perhaps two. There isn't that much information on life on a U-boat during WW2.
Why then the high rating? Turns out Giese was a shutterbug (camera enthusiast) and kept a Leica camera with him at all times. He managed to develop photos of his experiences and keep them safe all these years, and the book is sprinkled with more than a hundred of them. Frankly, the pictures are much better than the book is, and I enjoyed them a great deal. The book was still good, don't get me wrong, but without the photos would have drawn three stars, not four.
Geise was serving as a mate on the Columbus, a German luxury liner when war broke out and the the knew the British would attempt to take the ship to use as a troop carrier so she was repainted and they attempted to sneak back to Germany by staying in neutral water (U.S., mostly) up the coast and then tried to break across the Atlantic. It was not to be. Challenged by the HMS Hyperion they scuttled the Columbus and were taken to Ellis Island aboard the USS Tuscaloosa, a cruiser that had been shadowing both ships.
The Germans had worked out a deal with U.S. authorities to re-patriot the crew by way of Japan, so they were shipped to San Francisco by train, and interned in a former military base. Geise and a couple of other officers managed to smuggled themselves to Japan and there he volunteered for duty aboard the Anneliese Esseberger, a blockade runner that was bound for Germany via Cape Horn with stops along to way to bring supplies to German raiders. One rendezvous was with the U-106 which provided escort back to Bordeaux where Geise, perhaps envying those on the sub, volunteered for submarine duty. (I found some of the patriotic bunk somewhat jarring coming from a naturalized American citizen now living in Florida, e.g. "the exchange between comrades at sea filled our hearts with joy," but I suppose at the time both sides indulged in such jingoistic nonsense.)
At first, getting transferred was a difficulty process because the Merchant Marine was loath to lose officers to the Navy. Eventually, thanks to some pull from Navy brass who also needed officers, he was sent to submarine school, of which he says little interestingly, but emerged as a seaman. He is thus able to provide a view of life on a German sub from the vantage of the lower ranks, an unusual perspective. He accepted the privations with equanimity -- at least in hindsight, "like washing hands and face, taking a hot shower, brushing teeth, and shaving. During operations in the Atlantic or Arctic one simply could not escape becoming encrusted with dirt. At first, I thought a man could get scabies or some other skin disease if he didn't wash down at least once a day. To my surprise, I soon learned that we cold make do by just rinsing off our hands and faces a couple times a week with salt water. . .Our hair and bears soon got filthy and clotted from the salt water breaking over the ship, and even the best comb broke when we tried to disentangle the hairy mess."
Much of the patrol was spent on the surface and these subs were like thin cigars getting tossed about ferociously in heavy seas. "For days we wore heavy canvas belts lashed by strong steel straps to the boat. At first, we laughed at this precaution as unnecessary and inconvenient; it hampered our jumps through the hatches during alarms. But I soon recognized the necessity. More than once we had to pull lookouts from the top of bulkheads, where they lay, breathless and in pain. Comrades of other boats had not been so lucky; some whose straps broke were found missing after the water subsided." He describes his watch guarding the boat's stern during a storm. ". . , there was a thunderous crashing and bursting [of waves] that snatched our breath away. A tremendous weight forced us onto our knees and tore at our limbs. Above us a bright-green watery vault foamed and hummed before gradually subsiding. It became brighter and brighter while we fought against the draining water, spitting, choking, and cursing."
During one depth charge attack, the sub had to go very deep, causing a variety of leaks and noises. Psychologically, confined in such as small space (the subs were only 20 feet wide) could be devastating. "One man in the bow room lost control of himself and started to scream in a high-pitched voice." He had to be subdued and knocked unconscious least he cause a panic among the others. Their method of dealing with high-pressure leaks caused by popping rivets was effective, if bizarre: "one of our hams was placed with much ado against the hole [from which a finger-thick stream of water jetted into the boat] and bolstered with iron spokes and plates," stopping the leak.
After several patrols in the North Sea on the U-405 as a seaman, he was sent to officer school and then posted to the U-181 for patrols to the Indian Ocean under Captain Freiwald. Freiwald had a unique way of involving the crew in decision-making. He called it der Feigling vom Dienst. "Every day the officers took turns being the coward. The coward had "absolute freedom to criticize, correct, even grumble about matters such as the daily routine and orders from the commandant." On land, many of the comments might have been considered insubordination, "but here the coward could express those feelings, which fellow officers and crew members might agree with, without fear of retribution." Freiwald would listen thoughtfully and then comment on what he thought might be possible or not, the reasons why, with regard to changes for the benefit of the crew.
Eventually, Geise was interned in a Chinese prison and repatriated to Germany after the war. He insists several times during the book that he was apolitical, that his motives were defense of the Fatherland and Hitler the Supreme Commander and thus deserving of obeisance. One might wish he and his comrades had been more political.
Geise survived the war, moved to the United States, married an American, and now lives in Florida. Lots of rare pictures, hence shooting...