The history of the German U-Boat War of 1939 through 1945 has never before been told in any great depth for various reasons. One reason of course, is that this data was not readily released to the general public during the war for reasons of security. After the war the U-Bootfahrer were held in great hatred due to the heavily slanted propaganda during the war years that claimed that German U-Bootfahrer were raving Nazis; that they machine gunned helpless men in the water – all absolutely false, but propaganda is a valuable weapon during time of war. After all, propaganda of World War One said that the evil “Hun” (there were no Nazis in that war) raped young women to death then fired their lifeless bodies out the torpedo tubes. It made great propaganda – everyone hated the Germans so much that nobody questioned where they found young women to rape out on the high seas.
Propaganda is a critical weapon during a war. If the commanding officer were to tell his men that the guys on the other side of the battlefield loved their country like his men; had a wife and children they wanted to come home to; he went to the same church his men did – now go kill those men in the other uniform; then nobody would kill anyone and who could fight a war where nobody killed anyone? Maybe that would be the best kind of war.
There is a certain mystique about submarines in general and the U-Boats of Germany in World War Two in particular. Never before in history has any nation built and fought such a massive numbers of submarines – Germany had many hundreds in their fleet and the men who rode these boats were a particularly unique kind of warrior. I have been blessed to have known hundreds of the surviving U-Bootfahrer and dozens of the Skippers. These were the most honorable of the combatants…..many of the photos you will see were given to Sharkhunters by these warriors.
We have well over a quarter-million photos in our library, actually closer to 300,000 and probably 75% are of the U-Boats, the crews and the Skippers. A great many have never been seen before this book and the volumes that will follow this Volume #1.
Now sit back and let your mind take you back to that time in history; let your imagination bring you onto the bridge of a U-Boat crashing through mountainous seas in pursuit of a convoy or looking through the periscope at smoke smudges just over the horizon that says a convoy is there. Perhaps your imagination takes you to a quiet shore in the dark of night as the crew puts the rubber rafts over the side and saboteurs begin their trek to a foreign shore. Sir back and enjoy – you are in command.