Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

Silent Hunters

German U-Boat Commanders of WWII

Savas, Theodore P. (editor)

1997, Savas Publishing Company
ISBN 1882810171

Type. General History book
Pros. Detailed and accurate narratives
Cons. Nothing major

This book is a collection of 6 stories written by as many authors. Its editor, Theodore P. Savas, writes a perface and Eric C. Rust writes an introduction as well. Roughly 20 pages of notes supporting the stories bring the book to an end.

Such books have both their strong and weak points; one can learn about several unrelated events in many sessions and yet each one of them leaves one with a desire to learn more.

This book however does very well in fulfilling the reader on the topics at hand and is a pleasure to read. One often wants to learn more and each story has enough information and narrative to give the reader a good understanding and background to do just that.

The stories are as follows:
Im Memoriam Engelbert Endrass: Castor Mourns Pollox
by Erich Topp

Karl-Friedrich Merten and the Prussian tradition
by Timothy P. Mulligan

Ralph Kapistky: Battle in the Caribbean and the Death of U-615
by Gaylord T.M. Kelshall

Fritz Guggenberger: Bavarian U-boat Ace
by Eric C. Rust

Victor Oehrn: The Ace with no name
by Jordan Vause

Heinz-Wilhelm Eck: Siegerjustiz and the Paleus Affair
by Dwight R. Messimer

All the stories are well written and the book an excellent one when one wished to read up on his U-boat commanders. What gripped by attention more than anything were 3 of the stories; Kptlt. Kapitsky's desperate fight in the Caribbean that attracted so much attention from the US forces that all of the other U-boats trapped there managed to escape.

The second story is one that most U-boat men shy away from speaking of and for a reason; the only convicted (and accused) German U-boat Commander of WWII of war crimes, Heinz-Wilhelm Eck and the story of the Paleus affair. This story is excellent and brings the whole story for the first time (to my knowledge) to the publis as a whole. This story is now published in full length here on

The most surprising story for me (and probably most people) was Erich Topp's amazing story written about his clearly very close friend Engelbert Endrass. This was written at sea when Topp finally knew there could be no hope of Endelbert returning from patrol [he had been lost with his entire crew on U-567]. It's very emotional and warm and not quite the image one tends to have of the hardened German U-boat Commander, esp. one as successful as Topp.

This book was submitted to for review purposes

Review written by GuĂ°mundur Helgason.

Published on 22 Mar 1998.

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This title is highly recommended.

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