Wolf: U-Boat Commanders in World War II

by Jordan Vause

Book cover for Wolf: U-Boat Commanders in World War II

Cultivated by the Allied press during the war and fostered by films and novels ever since, the image of a U-boat skipper held by many people is the personification of evil: the wolf who stalks the innocents. Quite the opposite image is shared by U-boat veterans and others sympathetic to their work: the knight who endures unrivalled danger and fights nobly. Yet another popular image depicts the submarine operator as a beleaguered sailor swept along by events beyond his control. To see whether a pattern emerges, this book examines the lives of many U-Bootwaffe officers, including prominent commanders such as Karl Doenitz. Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, and also interviews and correspondence with some of the commanders themselves, the book follows individual officers from their youth and early naval training, through their wartime experiences and into the often bitter peace that followed. The close examination reveals that many were extremely different from the pictures typically drawn of them, and as varied in their thoughts and actions as other fighting men on both sides.

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