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View Full Version : Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters & the Hunted by Clay Blair



Iphicles2005
03-25-2005, 09:33 AM
I wonder if any of you have read these books already. I just started reading The Hunters, 1939-1942 and I must say, the book, while very detailed and quite well statistically charted, has a certain "revisionist" history aspect to it.

I'm not an expert on any particular aspect of WWII (although the political and generalship of the war are parts that I do tend to read more about), the author seems intent on disproving that the U-Boat threat wasn't what "historically" we deemed it to be.

I will continue to read both books for thier insight, but I wanted to know if those of you who have studied U-Boat campaigns share the same opinions.

Hans_Koenig
03-25-2005, 01:12 PM
I think Blair's books are very detailed and well researched.
However the author is clearly engaged in an anti-british crusade and he generally downplays German successes (and American failures).
The word revisionism is not out of place as Blair is in open polemic with several established historians.
I can only praise Hitler's U-boat War for the amount of 'factual' data; I hope most readers of the subject are critical enough to formulate their own indipendent judgements.
I agree with Blair on a capital thing: the German never, ever came close to winning the U-boat war, even if this is much easier to say now with hindsight, tons of stats and declassified documents.

Best Regards

Koenig

DegreeAbsolute
03-25-2005, 01:27 PM
Read through both very recently, and I agree with much of what Koenig has to say. Actually, a lot of recent American historical work has groused about perceived inequities in Anglo-American codebreaking cooperation during WWII (Budiansky's "Battle of Wits" is another prominent example, although it does make an attempt to downplay any suggestions of "bad faith" on the part of Bletchley Park). But Blair has been particularly singled out for this position, probably because in so many other respects, this series is the definitive work on the anti-submarine campaign.

You'd find it difficult to locate another work so detailed in its treatment of the subject. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the writing suffers from a narrative standpoint, just because every patrol is covered to some extent. Still, I found it pretty rewarding.

I guess my next stop is "20,000 Tons Under the Sea," an exhaustive account of the capture of the chronically-unlucky U-505 off the coast of Africa. I think they're moving it into a special indoor area soon at the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago, and I recommend a trip to see it, if you haven't already.

Capt._Tenneal
03-25-2005, 01:59 PM
I have both volumes and read part I before but not part II. I'm thinking of reading both as companion to the game. I also saw that there is a new Osprey book called Wolfpack that looks interesting.

How about the other books I find in my local libraries, the Michael Gannon books and also Homer Hickam's "Torpedo Junction" are those any good ?

WFLZ
03-25-2005, 02:11 PM
You can read part of torpedo junction on amazon, just click on the book cover where it says "search inside", from the reviews and the short section I read it seems quite good, I just need to finish some books in my que before I buy more.

DRB_Hookech0
03-25-2005, 03:20 PM
Convoy by Martian Middlebrooke is also very good. It's based on one of the largest Uboat battles in the north atlantic of the war. Convoys SC122 and HX229 in March of '43. They sailed into 42 u-boats and lost 21 merchants. This guy is very good at these in-depth snap-shots of history. His works on the Schwinefurt/Regansburg mission (8th AAF) and the Battle of Hamburg (RAF) I consider THE must reads on the subject.

I also picked up "Iron Coffins" by Commander Werner a U-boat commander, I have not got to it yet but it is next.

subnuts
03-25-2005, 03:28 PM
I was always surprised at how anti-British and anti-German Blair's Hitler's U-boat War was. Apparently, the US won the Battle of the Atlantic single-handedly.
Compare that to the same author's Silent Victory. He makes pointed criticisms of US navy policy at several points, calls the Mk 14 torpedo failures "one of the worst scandals of the 20th century". I understand that Blair got in some trouble for writing about a number of accidents that could have tarnished the reputation of the US submarine fleet, had they been released in the 40s. Silent Victory is far different from the navy's official history, which in comparison is downright "ma's apple pie, good old boys, slap the japs!"

horrido1962_
03-25-2005, 11:17 PM
>>I guess my next stop is "20,000 Tons Under the Sea," an exhaustive account of the capture of the chronically-unlucky U-505 off the coast of Africa. I think they're moving it into a special indoor area soon at the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago, and I recommend a trip to see it, if you haven't already.

Yes - they appear to be opening the new display in June. I've been on the boat twice in the past, and am planning to go again this summer. There is a diagram on the museams web site if you are interested.

Iphicles2005
03-25-2005, 11:58 PM
Thank you all so much for sharing your insights. I have not read enough to determine his anti-British stance in the North Atlantic.

Also thank you for for sharing some other titles that I wasn't aware of.

As far as Torpedo Junction by Homer Hickham jr., I've read that book, and while it's a good read, I found it a little over the top. It could be that this was one of his first (if not his first) writing venture. This comment is in regard to his stylized writing. Just a personal criticism towards writing style.