Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

The Golden Horseshoe

Robertson, Terence

2000, Tempus Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 0752420194
Paperback, 192 pages, 23 b&w photographs


This book tells the story of Otto Kretschmer, Commander of U-23 and U-99, and his career in the U-boat arm and his life as a POW in prison camps in England and Canada.

Although the book is written in good narrative form and thus can be considered as an easy read, there are several serious historical mistakes in the report, which reduces the joy of reading for the more experienced U-boat fan. Spelling mistakes, errors in historical dates, portrayals of other U-boat commanders according to allied war time propaganda are some of the minor mistakes to mention. A further disadvantage is the use of the German war time claims for sunk tonnage, because this book was written and published shortly after the war, but according to modern historical research can by no means be considered as correct. Kretschmer's war patrols are all well told, but his truly outstanding achievements in convoy battles early in the war are further exaggerated by the author, which leaves the reader with a bit of bad aftertaste.

The quite interesting involvement of Kretschmer in the story of what happened to the captured officers (especially the First Watch Officer and the Commanding Officer) of the surrendered U-570 in the prison camps lead by him is only slightly touched, and so this curious part of U-boat history is still left needing investigation.

To the critical reader it appears that the author (a British Naval Officer himself) fell in the easy trap of 'hero worshipping' where a greater amount of critical distance would have been more appropriate.

[Editor's note: This title was written very soon after the war when information was very limited compared to what we enjoy now. This is a reprint of that title and it has kept its original story as such. This book should really be read by anyone interested in the U-boat war for its personal story of one of its more famous personalities.]

Review written by Clemens Brechtelsbauer.

Published on 24 Dec 1997.

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