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Hitler's Battleships [Hardcover]

Edwyn Gray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Sep 1993
Churchill considered Hitler's battleships to be an even greater menace than the lurking U-boat packs. At times they assumed almost legendary reputations as they prowled the convoy routes and pushed beyond the Equator to threaten our trade routes. They humbled British naval pride by breaking through the Dover Straights in broad daylight.Their potency was vividly demonstrated by the sinking of capital ships. Enormous allied effort was expended on chasing and sinking these magnificent fighting machines.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (14 Sep 1993)
  • ISBN-10: 0850526973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850526974
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,176,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another well researched Edwyn Gray account of WW2 history, Easy to read in a compelling style which moved the reader through technical, tactical and historic information with an easy stride. A important book for any maritime historian.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice concise volume introducing the subject 22 Dec 2006
By Paul T Horgan VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
If you want a good-paced single volume history of the rise and fall of the Kriegsmarine in World War II, then this is for you.

This book documents the life and death of the 6 or so Battleships that made up the striking power of the Nazi surface fleet.

The book talks up their contribution to the German war effort, but in reality their only function was to tie down Alied naval resources that could have been deployed elsewhere. A kind of check existed on the forces facing each other across the North Sea, a smaller version of the situation that existed in WW1.

However there were fleet actions up until the middle of the war, but only because the Germans deployed the battleships in penny packets to strike at merchant shipping as opposed to sending them all out in a mini-Jutland. If they had then they would have been slaughtered.

Each one of the ships is covered in adequate detail, the most space being devoted to the Bismark, Graf Spee and Tirpitz.

We also read about the humiliating surrender and demise of the Imperial navy of WWI and the rise of its successor.

This is a good read that will encourage the reader to research the subject more, but also puts the Kriegsmarine in context. During the war Churchill thought them more dangerous than the U-boats.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of the seven battleships that were in the DKM of WWII 5 Aug 2006
By William A. Hensler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is just a shade short of 190 pages and gives a fair history of Hitler's seven post WWI Battleship; the Lutzow, Admiral Scheer, Graf Spee, Gneisenau, Scharhorst, Bismarch, and Tirpitz.

There are three surprising items in this book. The three pre-dreadnought battleships that Germany is allowed to keep in the post WWI have their fates and uses fully described in this book. Basically, the pre-dreadnoughts were used as training ships or fire support monitors. Second, the book does a great job talking about the debacle in Norway. Third, in nearly all of the losses of the battleships the root cause nearly all goes to the Luftwaffe.

Graf Spee was scuttled. However, because of the poor air observation techniques of the float plan assigned to her, it let British authorities either be warned of the Spee or to track the Spee using float planes launched from the British cruisers. The very good German float planes were more than a match for the RN Walrus reconnaissance aircraft. Why the AR 196 are never used an an anti-reconnasance aircraft role is a problem the German Luftwaffe never solves.

Hitler was warned by Admiral Raeder that the invasion of Norway was a bad idea. At the time of the Norway invasion the German surface fleet had only four battleships and two of those were of the slow "Panzershiffe", the pocket battleships. When the Norway invasion was done Hitler didn't have one battleship in service. All his battleships had either been shelled, bombed, mined, or torpedoed out of action.

Bismarck was indirectly lost through Luftwaffe inaction. A proper German reconnaissance of the by-the-Norway coast was not done. No German aircraft screened the passage of Bismarck and that action would have shot down the lone Spitfire which spotted the ship. Last, both Scharhorst and Gneisenau were damaged by RAF bombings at their port in Brest, France. If the Luftwaffe had screened the Bismarck and she had been met by a force of Gneisenau and Scharhorst then there is almost no chance that Britain would have been able to stop this most fast and powerful battleship squadron. The battle of the Atlantic was lost in early 1941 by the want of just 100 fighter aircraft to screen or protect the battleships.

When both Gneisenau and Scharhorst are used as fast raiders they cut lanes of destruction through the Atlantic ocean. With Bismarck as a heavy base ship then the surface ships of the Atlantic would have stood no chance against this powerful squadron. Yes, the war was that close. Three battleships would have caused the convoys to scatter and become easy prey for the German U-boat wolf packs.

Hitler would have done well to have Goering shot. Indirectly, Goering cost Hitler his whole surface Navy.

After the sinking of Bismarck the rest of the surface fleet were to be sunk in due time. Gneisenau was eventually turned useless by mines, air attacks, and torpedos. She was sunk as a block ship in 1945. Scharhorst was lost to the KGV in 1943. The main reason was the lack of any aircraft screening by the Luftwaffe. Her loss is told in great detail in the book.

Tirpitz, Lutzow, and Scheer are lost in air attacks. The former was given no air support. She was shuttled from Norway harbor to another Norway harbor as kind of a live target for RAF bomber crews. Scheer was crushed in a massive bombing raid. Because her crew was in an air raid bunker Scheer lost the fewest of her crew on any air raid and finished her days as sort of the most lucky ship in the German Navy. Lutzow was sunk by air attacks while in harbor. However, her above the water guns provided needed support to the dying German army in early May of 1945. She was destroyed by her own crew when over 100 rounds of 150mm ammo was exploded in the ship. The first of Hitler's battleships died as the last.

This book is most worthwhile and informative. However, it only has a mild amount of technical data on the German battleships. You will have to reference other books for the information on construction techniques. Also, this book often directly quotes from other books. So, some of the information is a little of a re-hash, this book borrows quite a bit from "The Elusive Sisters, the Gneisenau and Scharhorst" . The result is the retold stories and lack of technical data costs a star.

But, the information on the German high seas command is priceless. The intolerable way that Germany has no Maritime Naval aircraft indirectly costs it the war against Britain.

I highly recommend this most worthwhile book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done 5 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This books offers great information on the actions and events which all of Hitler's battleships were involved in. From the beggining to the end of Hitler's battleships, this book gives you detailed information on each of the battleships and all of their sorties carried out during world war II. My only complaint is the lack of pictures, illustrations, maps, and graphs. But besides that, the book is very good and contains great information.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Navy Book! 9 May 2000
By Dr. Rui Sergio Silva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book was a huge surprise for me. It covers the strenghts of the battleships, their most known operations and even their place in the structure of the Kriegsmarine.For the Navy Fans its a book that you cannot miss and for the others it's also a good and interesting book.Buy it!
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