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The Grey Wolves of Eriboll [Paperback]

David M. Hird
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 May 2010
The surrender of the German U-boat fleet at the end of World War II was perhaps the principal event in the war's endgame which signified to the British people that peace really had arrived. It is little known that the majority of the surrenders of U-boats on active west-European sea patrols in May 1945 were supervised in Loch Eriboll, an isolated sea loch on Scotland's far north-westernmost coast. The U-boats were part of Hitler's plan to starve the British Isles of food, raw materials and equipment vital for the prosecution of the war - a plan that failed. With an estimated 160 U-boats on active patrol at the end of the war, it was imperative that these boats were made aware of the capitulation of German armed forces, that they accepted the surrender arrangements and then proceeded, surfaced, to designated British ports. Loch Eriboll's attraction as the reception port was its isolation and its safe, deep-water anchorage - ideal for the arrival of armed U-boats that might still be intent on one last show of defiance. News of the momentous event was heavily censored - nothing appeared in the local press. Thirty-three U-boats, their officers and men surrendered between 10th and 22nd May 1945. The boats were arrested, boarded and disarmed; in some cases this vital exercise was completed by the simple expedient of lobbing ammunition, explosives and torpedo pistols overboard! Each U-boat has been positively identified and detailed information provided including contemporary photographs, boat or flotilla emblem, together with the coordinates of where each boat was eventually destroyed in the north Atlantic. However, not all were destroyed by the Allies, some were retained by the British, American, Russian or French navies as spoils of war but the vast majority were lost accidentally or scrapped with the passage of time. The Grey Wolves of Eriboll includes a wealth of historical insights including the German Surrender Document; detailed descriptions of the construction, service careers and circumstances of each surrendered U-boat; details of the frigates that supervised the surrenders; Operation Deadlight (a hasty plan to ensure the U-boats could not again be used aggressively) and contemporary newspaper reports. The pivotal role played by Loch Eriboll in ending the U-boat menace is little-known and lesser celebrated - this book rights that wrong.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Whittles Publishing (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904445322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904445326
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.8 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 509,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'The author has assembled a fascinating amount of 'personal recollections' from bith German and Allied people, he looks at the naval escorts involved - 21st Escort Group and the 9th Canadian Escort Group and details every U-boat that visited Loch Eriboll. Most fascinating is the author's selection of 'contemporary information' in the form of extracts from how 'The Scotsman' newspaper saw it. An excellent book covering a significant naval event in the immediate days following the ending of combat against Nazi Germany.' Warships '...well researched book... ...this fascinating book describes how the surrender of the U boat fleet was put in place...' Ships Monthly '...well researched, fact filled and eminently readable account of this mass surrender... David Hird's excellent book highlights a little known period at the end of the war when the "Grey Wolves" were temporary visitors. It comes highly recommended.' The Northern Times '...a highly readable narrative. ... Hird is proving to be an excellent chronicler of modern history of Sutherland and this book is a welcome addition to the literature of the area.' Am Bratach 'This is a book for the U-boat war aficionado. There are inclusions throughout of unusual detail, such as the actual messages exchanged between Donitz and his vanquished boats - - The Grey Wolves of Eriboll offers an interesting view of a brief moment at the end of a long struggle - ' The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord ' - a specialist book for enthusiasts who wish to follow the story of the German submarine fleet to its end in May 1945. In particular, it gives the details of the 33 U-boats that surrendered at Loch Eriboll - ' The Nautical Magazine ' - Containing a wealth of information, the author has clearly meticulously researched hiw work. Historical insights are littered throughout and include the German Surrender Document; detailed descriptions of the construction, service careers and circumstances of each surrendered U-boat - A fascinating read.' Sea Breezes ' - covers the surrender of some 160 German U-boats on active patrol in the North Atlantic in May 1945. - lists and details of each U-boat there are however, diary extracts which underline the extreme bravery and privation endured by the U-boat crews.' The Little Ship

About the Author

David is also the author of A Light in the Wilderness and Cape Wrath - the Penetrable Wilderness.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well put otgether, 23 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author has produced a useful account of the surrender of the U Boats which found their way to Eriboll and subsequently to Loch Ryan and to Lisahally on Lough Foyle which is only a few miles up the road from me.

The book is well constructed and is very much a factual read illustrated with the recollections of both Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine sailors.

The book is very well illustrated and although the photos are reproduced on paper they are clear and are of good quality , the photos are a mixture of privately sourced photos and those obtained from the IWM coverage of the surrendered boats.

The narrative takes you from the point of surrender to the movement of the boats from their surrender positions both at sea and in base to Scotland and on to Northern Ireland including their destruction in "Operation Deadlight".

The book is soft back , quality of production is good , font size is clear and easy on the eye.

A book which is worth reading , well worth the cover price.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing detail! 1 Aug 2010
By Simon
I bought this book after reading a review in the paper because my late father had been OIC of a trot of surrendered U boats in Stranraer at the end of the war. Meticulously researched and with some wonderful photographs this book is essential reading for serious students of the subject
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5.0 out of 5 stars U boats 23 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This excellent book deals with the final disposal of 33 of the many U boats that sorrendered between 10-21 May 1945 and were impounded at Loch Eriboll on the northwest coast of Scotland.
For each of the U boats the following is given a)details of the boat eg. history b)distinguishing logos c)circumstances of capture d)history after capture and fate.
Details of the German surrender order for the U boat fleet of 7 May 1945 are given.
There are a number of pictures of fair quality.
A very good account of a little known incident of WW two.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 30 Nov 2013
Good book which is very relevant to our family and which has helped us learn more about the history.and which was delivered as expected
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing! 18 Mar 2011
Having read a feature length review of the book in a national newspaper I was absolutely fascinated and thought I must buy this book to learn more about this period of history. I recently bought the book and was really looking forward to it, but now I'm really disappointed. Its obvious the author carried out a huge amount of research but I think he could have been more selective in which details to include rather than include EVERYTHING he found out. Personally I think a fair portion of it was irrelevant, just filling material. One chapter which was especially disappointing was the historic details of every U boat which was processed at Eriboll. Page after page had almost identical information about its surrender, which is hardly surprising since all the commanders had to follow the same orders, and most vessels suffered the same fate. Even the link to Loch Eriboll itself seems a bit tenuous, as when compared to the overall amount of U boats stored at Loch Ryan and Lisahally, and the time spent there, Loch Eriboll was but a busy couple of days. I appreciate the author is trying to make the most of his local area, but the book would have been better off being called "The Grey Wolves of Loch Ryan" and been more encompassing of the surrender in general.
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