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Nations at war
Wynn, Kenneth. U-Boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 2: Career Histories, U511-UIT25. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.
Introduction; List of Abbreviations; maps; tables.
Appendices: U-Boat commanders, U511 - UIT25; U-Boat groups, 1940-1945; Deutsches feldpost numbers, U511 - UIT25; Allied warships sunk, damaged, or attacked by U511 - UIT25, 1939-1945; Merchant ships sunk, damaged, or attacked by U511 - UIT25, 1939-1945; Other merchant ships mentioned in the text; Allied air force units mentioned in the text; Sources and selected bibliography.
When we reviewed volume one of Kenneth Wynn's two-volume set back in April, we touted it as a sure candidate for one of the top new WWII-related books of the year. The last few months have only reinforced that likelihood as Wynn's book has become the first-line reference of choice for just about every aspect of U-boat operations. With publication of the second volume of the set, Wynn's coverage of U-boat histories extends to boats numbered above 510 and this excellent resource is now complete.
Volume two follows exactly the format of volume one. Along with full textual detail, the presentation also provides tabular data in a consistent, easy-to-find, and easy-to-read fashion: U-boat number; type; builder and yard; dates for keel laid, launched, and commissioned; fate (mostly sunk, with date and location); number, location, and dates for flotilla service; commanders (with dates); number of patrols; number of ships sunk (with tonnage) and damaged; and even Feldpost number. The additional narrative describes the events of each sailing in considerable detail with anywhere from a paragraph to a full column of text.
Here's an example of an entry for one of the boats from the new volume.
U 644 Type VII C
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Keel laid 1.12.41 Launched 20.8.42
Commissioned 15.10.41 Feldpost Nr. M 49 683
Sunk 7.4.43 SSE of Jan Mayen (69°38'N 05°40'W)
5 U-Flotille, Kiel October 1942 - March 1943 (ab)
11 U-Flotille, Bergen March 1943 - 7.4.43 (fb)
OL Kurt Jensen October 1942 - 7.4.43
Patrols: 1 Ships sunk: None
1. 13.3.43 Left Kiel and arrived Bergen 16.3.43
2. 18.3.43 Left for operations in Northern Waters
U 644 was sighted on the surface SSE of Jan Mayen by HMS Tuna (Lt D S R Martin) on 7.4.43. She was sunk by a torpedo from the British submarine.
There were no survivors, 45 dead.
In addition to U-boats 511 through 4712, Wynn covers ships in Kriegsmarine service but formerly of other navies, such as UA (ex-Turkish Batiray), UB (ex-British HMS Seal), and thirteen other Norwegian, Dutch, French, and Italian submarines.
A fine reference work and an important addition to any World War II library.
Available from online booksellers, local bookshops, or directly from Naval Institute Press.
Thanks to NIP for providing this review copy.
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Reviewed 11 September 1998
Copyright © 1998 by Bill Stone
May not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Stone & Stone