Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

U-Boat Commanders and Crews 1935-1945

Showell, Jak P. Mallmann

1998, Crowood Press Ltd.
ISBN 1861261926
Hardcover, 144 pages, numerous b&w photos

Type. Reference and introductionary book
Pros. Detailed and comprehensive
Cons. Might be more detailed in a few places.

Jak P. Mallmann Showell is one of the very best historians when it comes to the German Navy of WWII, the Kriegsmarine. He was born in 1944 and is a son of the Chief Diesel Machinist of U-377 that went down with his boat in January 1944 before Jak was born.

He has published several books on the subject, most notably U-boats under the Swastika (1973) and U-boat Command and the Battle of the Atlantic (1989). The latter, soon to be reviewed, is a revealing look into the operations of the BdU and its ups and downs during the war.

The author succeeds in making the complex easy-to-read for the entry-level student, something that is all too rarely seen. In fact, his U-boats under the Swastika, was the foundation on which all my future U-boat research work was based.

This book covers, as the name implies, the U-boat Commanders and their crews before and during the war. Dealing with training, duties at sea and battle conditions with the first chapter focusing on uniforms and the build-up of the crew.

The book contains 4 appendixes. One is a register of all U-boat Commanders and their fate and another is a listing of all U-boats and their commanders. The fourth one is very interesting as it attempts to graphically illustrate the service life of all U-boats.

Included are a few complete patrol histories for U-48 and U-377 which are of course very interesting read. Included are stories of U-377's secret weather patrols to Spitzbergen among other items.

The book is 142 pages long and contains some 120 photographs, most never seen before in print and is in large format.

This book is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to learn more about the men of the U-boat arm.

This book was submitted to for review purposes

Review written by GuĂ°mundur Helgason.

Published on 22 Mar 1999.

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This title is highly recommended.

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