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Iron Coffins: A Personal Account Of The German U-boat Battles Of World War II
The former German U-boat commander Herbert Werner navigates readers through the waters of World War II, recounting four years of the most significant and savage battles. By war's end, 28,000 out of 39,000 German sailors had disappeared beneath the waves.
Superb first hand account of submarine service
- January 24, 2006
First off, it should be noted that Capt. Werner beat the odds. He survived to tell his tale. 80% of his fellow submariners would perish under the waves as in the later years of the war each mission was essentially a suicide mission. One of these "ramming" suicide missions was even ordered of his boat in the weeks after D-Day, and incredibly, some of his fellow sailors on other submarines would die following these orders.
Werner's odyssey began when, on his first mission, the U-230 got stuck on the ocean floor and the crew spent 16 hours jettisoning water and weight out the torpedo tubes, and then ran from one end to the other to rock the boat free. So started his career. The number of close calls he and his ship would encounter over the course of the war, and survive, is equivalent to winning a lottery. Werner and crew had lady luck on their side at times, but many other escapes were a direct result of his competence and the crews bravery. It is a fascinating tale. The new... read more
EXCELLENT 'INSIDE-THE-U-BOAT" WARTIME COVERAGE
By A Customer
- July 2, 1999
This is the very best book I have read actually describing the conditions inside a German u-boat during World War II Atlantic Ocean war patrols. It is well written with both action and information in mind. The action standpoint is superb and makes the reader wonder how Capt Werner and his crew ever survived the punishment they took in their little fragile "egg" as aircraft and ships constantly dropped bombs and depth charges on them. From the information standpoint, Werner gives us a very comprehensive and interesting description of what it is like inside the early u-boats. It is hard to imagine how the crew lived like they did in their constantly rocking boat: without bathing for months, eating moldy food, suffering from constant humidity, freezing or roasting as the season might be (no airconditioning or heaters), and not having proper sanitary conditions (using a bucket in rough seas, etc.) Very good detail on u-boat life both aboard ship and in port. From... read more
The Best WWII Book About the Other Side!
By AstroNerdBoy "AstroNerdBoy"
- March 22, 1999
The first time I read 'Iron Coffins', it was for a term paper in high school. At that point, all Germans in WWII were evil Nazi stooges with the mental capacity of a slug in salt. Once I started reading Mr. Werner's excellent book, I actually found myself sharing in the excitement as a U-Boat sank Allied ships. I also found myself feeling the dread as Allied escort ships dropped thier deadly depth charges. Iron Coffins is a fast paced book that is hard to put down. One is able to truely experience what the war was like through Mr. Werner's eyes. Once you've finished, your understand something...that just because you are at war with an evil nation doesn't make it's people all evil. Mr. Werner may not have been a celebrated U-Boat commander, but if it weren't for him, we would never truely understand the meaning of the term 'Iron Coffin.'
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