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Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two

German, Italian and Japanese Submarine Successes, 1939-1945

Rohwer, Jürgen

1998, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557500290
Hardcover, 384 pages, 10 charts

Type. Historical reference
Pros. Very detailed and comprehensive
Cons. Nothing major found so far

Back in 1968 a book was published in Germany called Die U-Booterfolge der Achsenmächte 1939-1945 that was then translated into English in 1983 as Axis Submarine Successes, 1939-1945. Almost immediately this became the standard reference on the German U-boat victories.

At the time this was the best reference book of its kind, loaded with extensive amount of never-before-seen information. However, it also has a number of serious mistakes (caused by various reasons) and that's when troubles started as researcher after researcher used the book as the basis for their own work and thus spread the mistakes even further. Today it seems that most U-boat research at least partly relies on this book.

This new edition is reported to be much revised and expanded and is without little doubt the best source on Axis submarine success in the period. It is affected by the change in European political landscape during the last 10 years and newly found access to Soviet records that have filled many gaps in previous research. Many of the best naval researchers have contributed to this release further improving its accuracy.

The book is in a landscape format and is very well organized and easy to read with lots and lots of footnotes to all attacks. The book is broken up into the following sections: n

Atlantic Ocean / North Sea
Northern Theatre (the Arctic Ocean)
Baltic Sea
Black Sea
Indian Ocean/South African Theatre
Pacific Ocean.

Finally the book contains 4 major indexes. Index of submarines, commanding officers, convoys and last but certainly not least ships attacked. The book also contains a section showing maps utilizing the German naval grid system

This book will have a fierce "competitor" in the upcoming volume 3 of Der U-Boot Krieg by Busch and Röll which should be out the in the spring. (That book is an attempt to do a total re-write on previous researches and its authors have done an incredible amount of rechecking which has delayed that book by more than 6 months).

This is a highly recommended book for any researcher and enthusiast.

About the author
Jürgen Rohwer is one of the most respected naval historians in the world. He served in the German Navy (not U-boats) from 1942 - 1945. Other books from him include Allied Submarine Attacks and (with Gerhard Hümmelchen) and the excellent Chronology of the war at Sea.

This book was submitted to for review purposes.

Review written by Guðmundur Helgason.

Published on 5 Dec 1998.

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This title is highly recommended.

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