Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

Torpedo Junction

U-Boat War on America's East Coast

Hickam, Homer


1996, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557503621
Paperback, 367 pages, 4 maps, listing of all ships sunk off this coast

Type. General History book
Pros. Farily detailed and decent research
Cons. Attitude and clear distaste for Germans
Rating.

This book is well researched and covers the U-boat attacks of the US East Coast in 1942, Operation Drumbeat and the following waves of U-boats. It's written as a chronology and covers each month at a time in a detailed manner.

It contains 4 charts illustrating the battle areas, an appendix that has names, dates and cause of all merchants lost to the U-boats in the period. It also lists the 7 U-boats lost in American waters during January-August 1942.

It's an interesting read although its attitude towards the Germans is more like it was written in 1943 rather than in the 80's.

Hickam seems especially interested in painting U-507's commander Krvkpt. Harro Schacht as bleak as possible; "vicious attack", "killing spree" and "destructive plunge" all in the space of some 3 pages can hardly be called good journalism.

This is not the case just for Schacht, U-124's commander Krvkpt. Jochen Mohr is also portraited as a vicious killer only interested in interrogating the survivors for accurate tonnage of their sunken ship. And very often you see you see something like " ... the ship engulfed in terrible flames killing 16 of its crew". I more than once got the feeling that I was reading a spreadsheet of kills, almost like a football score.

It's not a bad book as such and an interesting read, although it pales in comparison to Michael Gannon's Operation Drumbeat.

Review written by Guðmundur Helgason.

Published on 18 Jan 1998.

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