Neither Sharks nor Wolves: The Men of Nazi Germany's U-boat Army 1939-1945

Overview


Although countless books have been written about the U-boat war in the Atlantic, precious few facts have come to light about the men who served in the submarines that wrought such havoc on Allied ships. Eager to get beyond the stereotypes perpetuated in movies and novels and find out who these elusive sailors really were, archivist Timothy Mulligan started searching official records. Eventually he went straight to the source, conducting a survey of more than a thousand U-boat officers and enlisted men and ...
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Neither Sharks Nor Wolves: The Men of Nazi Germany's U-boat Army, 1939-1945

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Overview


Although countless books have been written about the U-boat war in the Atlantic, precious few facts have come to light about the men who served in the submarines that wrought such havoc on Allied ships. Eager to get beyond the stereotypes perpetuated in movies and novels and find out who these elusive sailors really were, archivist Timothy Mulligan started searching official records. Eventually he went straight to the source, conducting a survey of more than a thousand U-boat officers and enlisted men and interviewing a number of them personally. The result is this character study of the German submarine force that challenges traditional and revisionist views of the service. Mulligan found striking similarities in the men's geographic and social origins, education, and previous occupations, particularly within the specialized engineering and radio branches of the submarine force. The information he gathered establishes quantifiable patterns in age, length of service, and experience, as well as the organization's overall recruitment policies and training standards. The numbers and losses of U-boat personnel are also fully examined. Beyond these objective characteristics, this study lists such subjective factors as morale, treatment of enemy ship survivors, and the relationship of the submariners to the Nazi regime, and it confirms a serious crisis in morale in late 1943. The roles played by the head of the U-boat arm, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, and its organizational chief, Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, are thoroughly addressed. Mulligan concludes that the U-boat arm quickly evolved from a handpicked elite to a more representative sample of the German navy at large but continued to be treated as an elite force. The only comprehensive investigation yet published, this book also draws on POW interrogations of U-boat survivors and documentation of Kriegsmarine personnel policy obtained from German archives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591145462
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,441,717
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Timothy P. Mulligan was an archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., specializing in captured German and World War II era U.S. military and naval records. He lives in Lanham, MD and is also the author of Lone Wolf: The Life and Death of U-Boat Ace Werner Henke.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables ix

Preface xi

Glossary xvii

Comparative Ranks of World War II Navies xxiii

1 A Community Bound by Fate 1

2 First Generation 24

3 The Framework of the U-boat War 43

4 Patterns of the U-boat War, 1939-1945 70

5 Spirit and Soul: U-boat Officers 89

6 The Right Man in the Right Place 110

7 Quality before Quantity: The Making of U-boat Men 131

8 A Children's Crusade? Age and Experience of U-boat Crews 153

9 More One Cannot Be: The Morale of an Involuntary Elite 172

10 Humanity vs. Necessity: U-boats and Unrestricted Submarine Warfare 195

11 Disinterested Service: The Navy and National Socialism 215

12 Endings 237

Appendix 1 Survey of U-boat Veterans 247

Appendix 2 Numbers and Losses of the U-boat Service 251

Appendix 3 Organization of the U-boat Arm, 1 July 1942 257

Notes 261

Selected Bibliography 311

Index 331

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