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The Golden Horseshoe: The Wartime Career of Otto Kretschmer, U-boat Ace Hardcover – 15 Sep 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; New edition edition (15 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185367558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853675584
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 823,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

THE STORY OF OTTO KRETSCHMER GERMANY'S TOP U-BOAT ACE.

'The Wolf of the Atlantic' was the name given to Otto Kretschmer, Germany's most brilliant U-boat commander. It was a title Kretschmer fully earned by almost legendary exploits during the early days of the war, when he accounted for a high tonnage of Allied shipping.

When it was discovered that some of the Allied ships had undoubtedly been torpedoed from within the convoy, on the surface, it was thought that the U-boat responsible must have become accidentally trapped among the vessels. In actual fact, night surface raiding along the lanes of the convoys was a daring technique, cold-bloodedly evolved and perfected by Otto Kretschmer. But while men spoke with awe of the destructive ability of the U-boat which bore a golden horseshoe on her conning tower, they spoke with respect of her commander who waged war with honour and humanity. Kretschmer would bring his boat alongside life-boats from stricken ships, toss cigarettes, brandy and medical supplies to the occupants and set them on the right course for home.

The first part of this book tells in full the amazing U-boat career of Kretschmer, from his early training days until his capture, by Captain McIntyre of the destroyer Walker. Then, sent to prison, Kretschmer set about organizing an espionage group under the very noses of his guards. The second half of the book deals with these activities as a PoW and makes fascinating, if somewhat disturbing reading. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book many years ago, long before I developed my abiding interest in ships and the sea and was enthralled by the history of the central character who was Germany's most successful U Boat commander of all time. Even as a Prisoner of War, Otto Kretschmer continued to serve his country from behind enemy lines with such effectiveness that he also became, perhaps the only!, POW ever to have been promoted during his incarceration for such service. How odd that his captors failed to smell a rat and wonder why he should have received such advancement...

In keeping with the U Boat tradition of adopting a motif for his submarine, Kretschmer chose the golden horseshoe for his beloved U 99. His exploits then became so legendary within the U Boat arm that he was personally known as `The Wolf of the Atlantic.' So much so that the tonnage of ships this single U Boat commander sent to the bottom of the seas is far greater than any other commander of any other vessel, in any navy, in the history of the world.

Such was his conduct during the war that Kretschmer's held the respect of those on both sides of the conflict and later joined the new post-war German Navy where he was eventually promoted to Captain. Ordinarily, such a person would have been revered as a national hero but little or not such adulation was afforded to those in a defeated country.

Author Terence Robertson provides an excellent account of the man which - I am pleased to say, I found as captivating as I did first time around. As an aside, I also regard the work as being on a par with his equally enthralling `Walker RN' whilst I also thoroughly recommend.

For all the right reasons, therefore, this work remains one of my favourite books.

NM
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Argyris Periferakis on 24 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the most complete biography of the most famous WW2 U-Boat ace, that i could find. Incredible details and a fast paced narrative with ''compels'' the reader to go on. The writer has created a historically accurate and unbiased masterpiece, which must not be missed by WW2 history buffs and naval enthusiasts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bubba on 1 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT BOOK...kept me busy for a week and loved every minuite of it...

if your either a ww2 fan or a u boat nut ! BUY THIS BOOK ....

like i said, should be made into a film...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. E. Dagless on 11 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book that goes behind the men in charge of those terrifying machines. The highs and lows and the moral dilemmas they faced. A surprisingly quick read and not just for the overly technical or Atlantic War enthusiast.
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By Margaret on 10 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant
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By PhippsAW on 1 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First class. I really enjoyed this book giving a balanced view of the U Boat arm. I have always smiled at history telling us that the Germans had U Boats, dirty nasty people, but we had gallant submarines that were nothing like them!. History is written by the victors and this volume sets it straight. A cracking in formative read telling the exploits of a committed submarine commander, not a Nazi, but a sailor.
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A most interesting and factual account - endorsed by many high profile personalities of all sides...A certain respect for this captain was given by all, his crew, his country and not excluding his enemy...

An admirable officer and a gentleman who showed honour, valour and chivalry.

Kreschmer was an intrepid pioneer in U Boat tactics who virtually took the "sniper" approach in his methodology at maximizing results. A somewhat humble and "no nonsense" quiet achiever. It is little wonder this Commander was well liked and achieved the highest tonnage despite being captured early on during the war. I found this book very hard to put down.
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