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U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy Paperback – Mar 25 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (March 25 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841763624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841763620
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.4 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #646,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Gordon Williamson was born in 1951 and currently works for the Scottish Land Register. He spent seven years with the military Police TA and has published a number of books and articles on the decorations of the Third Reich and their winners. He is author of a number of World War II titles for Osprey.

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Overall administrative control of the Imperial Navy was the responsibility of the Reichs Marine Amt (Imperial Naval Department or RMA). Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
U-Boats of the Kaiser's Navy is a brief survey of the early development of the German submarine service in 1906-1914 and operations in the First World War. Much of this thin volume is focused on the technical characteristics of the early U-Boats, and it does succeed in detailing the main features of the various early German submarine classes. Various sections cover the early development years, the various U-Boat classes, power plants, weapons and optics. German U-Boat operations in the First World War are covered in the last 13 pages of this volume, with sections covering one year at a time. The illustrations in the center of the volume mostly depict the various U-Boat classes, as well as a 2-page interior cutaway diagram of a Type UBIII submarine. Overall, U-Boats of the Kaiser's Navy is an adequate survey of its subject, but the coverage of some areas is marginal to nil.
A major deficiency of this volume is the lack of much statistical compilation effort by the author. While the author does mention the total number of U-Boats built, he fails to mention that a total of 178 were lost in the First World or that 5,000 crewmen were lost with those boats. The cause of U-Boat losses in the First World should also have been included, but it is not. The author does not ever bother to tally up total U-Boat achievements in either terms of tonnage or vessels sunk, nor are several top U-Boat commanders even mentioned. None of these statistics would have taken much space, just effort. Finally, the author's narrative ends at the armistice in 1918, without even bothering to mention the ultimate fate of the Kaiser's U-boats. The fact that Germany lost its entire U-Boat arm as a result of the war is not even mentioned.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Notable by what is missing April 16 2002
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
U-Boats of the Kaiser's Navy is a brief survey of the early development of the German submarine service in 1906-1914 and operations in the First World War. Much of this thin volume is focused on the technical characteristics of the early U-Boats, and it does succeed in detailing the main features of the various early German submarine classes. Various sections cover the early development years, the various U-Boat classes, power plants, weapons and optics. German U-Boat operations in the First World War are covered in the last 13 pages of this volume, with sections covering one year at a time. The illustrations in the center of the volume mostly depict the various U-Boat classes, as well as a 2-page interior cutaway diagram of a Type UBIII submarine. Overall, U-Boats of the Kaiser's Navy is an adequate survey of its subject, but the coverage of some areas is marginal to nil.
A major deficiency of this volume is the lack of much statistical compilation effort by the author. While the author does mention the total number of U-Boats built, he fails to mention that a total of 178 were lost in the First World or that 5,000 crewmen were lost with those boats. The cause of U-Boat losses in the First World should also have been included, but it is not. The author does not ever bother to tally up total U-Boat achievements in either terms of tonnage or vessels sunk, nor are several top U-Boat commanders even mentioned. None of these statistics would have taken much space, just effort. Finally, the author's narrative ends at the armistice in 1918, without even bothering to mention the ultimate fate of the Kaiser's U-boats. The fact that Germany lost its entire U-Boat arm as a result of the war is not even mentioned.
The author provides very little assessment of the U-Boat campaign, but what he does provide is faulty; he notes, "the U-Bootwaffe [service] had represented Germany's only real chance to achieve a successful conclusion to the war." This assessment is ridiculous because it ignores the fact that Germany's idiotic decision to pursue unrestricted submarine warfare was the primary cause of American intervention in the war. Had the Kaiser forbidden unrestricted submarine warfare, the United States would have remained neutral and after 1917 Germany would have been fighting only a one-front war against the exhausted French and British armies. Without unrestricted U-boat warfare, Germany had a very real chance to achieve a military stalemate and a favorable negotiated peace in 1918. Furthermore, the great German U-boat campaign that the author promotes completely failed to stop the shipment of 2 million American doughboys to the Western Front; only 56 American servicemen were lost to U-Boat attacks. The author's final conclusion that the Kaiser's U-boats were not militarily defeated rings hollow; 50% of the boats commissioned were lost and while they inflicted serious damage, German U-boats failed to achieve their strategic objectives.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
OK Overview, But Needs More "Beef" Sept. 4 2010
By WryGuy2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy", by Gordon Williamson, and illustrated by Ian Palmer, is a short (48 pages) overview of the German submarines and their usage in World War I. The book describes the early development of the U-Boats, to include weapons and powerplants, briefly covers the different types of deployed by the Germans, and gives a short operational summary by year. Probably close to half of the book is taken up by excellent photographs and illustrations.

While providing some detail about the U-Boats, I found the volume too short to provide more than just fairly basic information about the submarines and a very few of their commanders. For example, while the book discusses the various types of U-Boats and the regions they were deployed in, the author never really discusses how they were employed, their strengths and weaknesses in their roles, difficulties they faced, nor provides more than incomplete summaries of their overall success and failures.

I additionally found some nits to pick about his writing and analysis. For example, when discussing the heavy armament carried on many of the U-Boats, he mentions that mounting the heavy armament may seem out of place but points out that the World War I U-Boats didn't have to face the anti-submarine measures of World War II submarines. All well and good up to that point. But in the discussion that follows, he talks about how the deck guns were dangerous to use and became considered superfluous weight and were removed, and how anti-aircraft armament was added in its place. But it's not clear until a bit later that he's actually talking about WW II deck guns, and that deck guns were a very valuable weapon for WW I U-Boats.

Additionally, as another reviewer has also noted, the author claims that the "Uboatwaffe" represented Germany's only real chance to achieve a successful conclusion to the war, when actually, America entered the war as a direct result of Germany initiating unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. This act alone probably doomed Germany. If the United States had not entered the war, Germany's 1918 offensives stood a much better chance of succeeding, perhaps allowing Germany to at least negotiate a favorable peace, if not win the war outright. So, due to the way they were employed, the U-Boats probably cost Germany the war.

This is not a bad book by any means, but it needs to be longer, and have more analysis and assessments.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
U Boats of the Kaiser's Navy Nov. 24 2009
By Michael Collins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good reference guide - very thorough for its size. The illustration/photos are good as is the breakdown of types of WWI U-Boats and their weapons. The author also manages to give a short sketch of the overall campaign as it moved through its different phases. If you are looking for a quick reference guide to WWI U-Boats, nothing fancy or too exhaustive, this book is well worth the money.
Good But Odd Layout Feb. 21 2014
By Dean Markley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well worth the money but laid out oddly. All info on color plates is in the back of the book. Annoying.
Five Stars Nov. 10 2014
By William Hazlett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
great book


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