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Hirschfeld: The Story of a U-Boat NCO, 1940-1946
Hirschfeld: The Story of a U-Boat NCO, 1940-1946
by Geoffrey Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, 13 May 2013
I purchased an earlier version of this book primarily because of my interest in U-234 and her cargo. These matters are covered in some detail in the final two chapters of this book which has been put together by Geoffrey Brooks, allegedly from conversations and correspondence with Hirschfeld, plus his 'secret diary', of which more later.

U-234 sailed from Japan in mid-April 1945 carrying a number of important passengers, some of whom were to help the Japanese produce the Me 262 jet aircraft. The boat also carried some 240 tons of cargo that mainly consisted of spares and general supplies for U-boats, U-boat bases and other German naval stations in East Asia, but also included 93 tons of various items for the Japanese armed forces. For many years, stories about the latter have centred primarily on 560 kgs of uranium oxide and claims that at least one complete example of an Me 262 jet aircraft was aboard. While it is true that U-234 was indeed carrying uranium oxide for the Japanese Army, prompting lurid speculation about its purpose, exactly why it was being sent to Japan is still not known.

The Hirschfeld/Brooks account of the loading of the uranium oxide is fanciful and absurd, to say the least. According to the book, Hirschfeld apparently stood on the bridge watching two Japanese senior officers on their hands and knees on the foredeck yet was able to see them writing "U-235" on ten 9-inch square containers that were then put into one of the vertical mine shaft containers. That Hirschfeld's eyesight was so good is beyond belief, but the episode is complete invention. Ten 9-inch containers would obviously not have accommodated 560 kgs of uranium oxide, nor was it ever in any of the vertical bow containers; it was in fact stored in containers located in horizontal compartments on either side of the U-boat.

As for the claim that an Me 262 was aboard, this is also completely false. I have obtained a number of authentic documents relating to U-234, and where aircraft types are mentioned at all, the documents are perfectly clear in stating that only aircraft drawings - I repeat, drawings - were being carried to Japan, plus tooling for a few components known to be difficult to manufacture. Nowhere in the archives of the UK, US or Germany is there a shred of evidence to support the authors' claims that 'an Me 262 jet fighter in its component parts [was] stowed in the hold amidships'.

Finally, what of that 'secret diary' that Hirschfeld is supposed to have maintained? In his introduction, Brooks writes, 'I have based this book on Hirschfeld's private war diaries...' However, in Chapters 9 and 10, we find that when Hirschfeld was taken prisoner by the Americans in May 1945, most of his personal possessions, including the diaries, were stolen! 'My diaries, U-Boat leathers and fur outfit were gone,' we are told.

It is clear, therefore, that contrary to Brooks' and Hirschfeld's claims, such diaries - if they ever existed at all - could not have formed the basis of this book. Thus, in view of the misinformation and false allegations presented with regard to the uranium oxide and the Me 262, doubt is naturally cast over the accuracy of the rest of the work considering that it is largely based on this non-existent diary. Anyone buying this book is therefore warned to treat what they read with extreme caution and should disregard entirely anything about the Me 262. This is just a myth initiated and repeated by sensational publications such as this so often that it is erroneously accepted as fact. For the reasons given, readers of this book, and any researcher tempted to quote from it, would indeed be naive if, like the other reviewers, they regard it as a reliable source of information.

You any have to look at the ridiculous cover to see the book is flawed. It shows a Type XXI boat marked 235 whereas Hirschfeld served aboard U 234, a Type X, and in any case, wartime U-boats never displayed their number. Like much of the book, one suspects, that's pure Hollywood.


Hirschfeld:The Secret Diary Of A U-Boat (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
Hirschfeld:The Secret Diary Of A U-Boat (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Wolfgang Hirschfeld
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spurious claims, 29 Aug. 2012
I purchased an earlier version of this book primarily because of my interest in U-234 and her cargo. These matters are covered in some detail in the final two chapters of this book which has been put together by Geoffrey Brooks, allegedly from conversations and correspondence with Hirschfeld, plus his 'secret diary', of which more later.

U-234 sailed from Japan in mid-April 1945 carrying a number of important passengers, some of whom were to help the Japanese produce the Me 262 jet aircraft. The boat also carried some 240 tons of cargo that mainly consisted of spares and general supplies for U-boats, U-boat bases and other German naval stations in East Asia, but also included 93 tons of various items for the Japanese armed forces. For many years, stories about the latter have centred primarily on 560 kgs of uranium oxide and claims that at least one complete example of an Me 262 jet aircraft was aboard. While it is true that U-234 was indeed carrying uranium oxide for the Japanese Army, prompting lurid speculation about its purpose, exactly why it was being sent to Japan is still not known.

The Hirschfeld/Brooks account of the loading of the uranium oxide is fanciful and absurd, to say the least. According to the book, Hirschfeld apparently stood on the bridge watching two Japanese senior officers on their hands and knees on the foredeck yet was able to see them writing "U-235" on ten 9-inch square containers that were then put into one of the vertical mine shaft containers. That Hirschfeld's eyesight was so good is beyond belief, but the episode is complete invention. Ten 9-inch containers would obviously not have accommodated 560 kgs of uranium oxide, nor was it ever in any of the vertical bow containers; it was in fact stored in containers located in horizontal compartments on either side of the U-boat.

As for the claim that an Me 262 was aboard, this is also completely false. I have obtained a number of authentic documents relating to U-234, and where aircraft types are mentioned at all, the documents are perfectly clear in stating that only aircraft drawings - I repeat, drawings - were being carried to Japan, plus tooling for a few components known to be difficult to manufacture. Nowhere in the archives of the UK, US or Germany is there a shred of evidence to support the authors' claims that 'an Me 262 jet fighter in its component parts [was] stowed in the hold amidships'.

Finally, what of that 'secret diary' that Hirschfeld is supposed to have maintained? In his introduction, Brooks writes, 'I have based this book on Hirschfeld's private war diaries...' However, in Chapters 9 and 10, we find that when Hirschfeld was taken prisoner by the Americans in May 1945, most of his personal possessions, including the diaries, were stolen! 'My diaries, U-Boat leathers and fur outfit were gone,' we are told.

It is clear, therefore, that contrary to Brooks' and Hirschfeld's claims, such diaries - if they ever existed at all - could not have formed the basis of this book. Thus, in view of the misinformation and false allegations presented with regard to the uranium oxide and the Me 262, doubt is naturally cast over the accuracy of the rest of the work considering that it is largely based on this non-existent diary. Anyone buying this book is therefore warned to treat what they read with extreme caution and should disregard entirely anything about the Me 262. This is just a myth initiated and repeated by sensational publications such as this so often that it is erroneously accepted as fact. For the reasons given, readers of this book, and any researcher tempted to quote from it, would indeed be naive if, like the other reviewers, they regard it as a reliable source of information.


Hitler's Terror Weapons: From Doodlebug to Nuclear Warheads
Hitler's Terror Weapons: From Doodlebug to Nuclear Warheads
by Geoffrey Brooks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.03

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Discredited author, 19 Aug. 2012
I entirely agree with the earlier review. The comments about using extremely dubious and implausible evidence is a characteristic of Brooks' earlier work, notably 'Hirschfeld'. He lives in a world of fantasy, his references are largely a figment of his own imagination and few of his claims stand up to close scrutiny. A serious historian he is not. Do not waste your money.


Bermuda Silt Remover
Bermuda Silt Remover
Offered by Aquatix-2u Ltd
Price: £23.30

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this!, 30 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Bermuda Silt Remover
An expensive and absolutely useless item! It couldn't even suck up surface debris, let alone the silt at the bottom of the pond. What little does enter the cylinder soon clogs because debris gets stuck in the 90 degree bend to the waste bag. I was therefore having to dismantle the pump after every three or four strokes to clear it out. However, the plastic threads keep binding, so dismantling is not a quick job and although I'd only tried the pump for some ten minutes, that was sufficient to convince me that the thing would never work properly. Thereafter, I reverted to my nets which did a far better job.
Purchasing this pump was an expensive mistake. It didn't even come with any instructions and is best avoided.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2012 3:47 PM BST


No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Very Poor Encyclopedia, 1 Jan. 2011
To call this book an encyclopedia is a bit of a joke. While it certainly lists all U-boats built, it provides practically no useful details of them and no details whatsoever of their operational use. Most disappointing of all are the tables listing each U-boat, since these give no details of commanders, operational patrols or successes. Instead, there is merely a brief, single-line entry which, rather pointlessly, claims only to give each U-boat's fate, yet these are at best incomplete. The entry for U-516, for example, says only 'In Loch Eriboll 14 May 1945 following the German surrender', and while this U-boat did enter Loch Eriboll on that date, it had in fact surfaced and surrendered at sea on 10 May 1945 when west south west of Ushant. The U-boat was loaded with 13 tons of flour, 6 tons of cooking oil and 5 tons of butter which had been intended for the base at St. Nazaire. After being boarded by a party from HMS LOCH KATRINE and inspected at Loch Eriboll, the U-boat was escorted to Lisahally, and finally foundered during Operation Deadlight on 3 January 1946. Compare this information with the one-line entry given in the 'encyclopedia', and it will immediately be obvious that that the book is nothing of the sort.
Another entry says that U-249 was 'At Portland 8 May 1945 at the time of the German surrender.' This is incorrect, as this U-boat was still at sea on that date and did not surface to surrender until the 9th, arriving at Weymouth on 10th. Again, there is no mention of this U-boat's true fate, i.e. that it was sunk by a torpedo fired by the British submarine TANTIVY in December 1945. A random check showed other errors or omissions; U-901 for instance, was not at Stavanger on 27 May 1945, but surrendered at sea on 13 May.
In another section, only a few commanders are noted, but of those selected, the achievements of Doenitz, Prien and Kretchmer are already so well known, and have been far better covered elsewhere, that the information given is superfluous.
In short, then, far from meeting the publisher's claim that this is a 'comprehensive reference book', I found it practically useless, as I feel sure will anyone else with even the most basic knowledge of U-boats.
As a Christmas present, I found it so disappointing that one star is being generous, and I will soon be donating my copy to a local charity shop.


The Encyclopedia of U-boats: From 1904 to the Present
The Encyclopedia of U-boats: From 1904 to the Present
by Eberhard Moller
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Feeble Encyclopedia, 29 Dec. 2010
From the previous 5-star review, I can only presume that reviewer Ned Middleton knows practically nothing about U-boats, for to call this book an encyclopedia is a bit of a joke.
While it certainly lists all U-boats built, it provides practically no useful details of them or their operational use whatsoever. Most disappointing of all are the tables listing each U-boat, since these give no details of commanders, operational patrols or successes. Instead, there is merely a brief, single-line entry which, rather pointlessly, claims only to give each U-boat's fate, yet these are at best incomplete. The entry for U-516, for example, says only 'In Loch Eriboll 14 May 1945 following the German surrender', and while this U-boat did enter Loch Eriboll on that date, it had in fact surfaced and surrendered at sea on 10 May 1945 when west south west of Ushant. The U-boat was loaded with 13 tons of flour, 6 tons of cooking oil and 5 tons of butter which had been intended for for St. Nazaire. After being boarded by a party from HMS LOCH KATRINE, and after being inspected at Loch Eriboll, the U-boat was escorted to Lisahally, and finally foundered during Operation Deadlight on 3 January 1946. Compare this information with the one-line entry given in the 'encyclopedia', and it will immediately be obvious that that the book is nothing of the sort.
Another entry says that U-249 was 'At Portland 8 May 1945 at the time of the German surrender.' This is incorrect, as this U-boat was still at sea on that date and did not surface to surrender until the 9th, arriving at Weymouth on 10th. Again, there is no mention of this U-boat's true fate, i.e. that it was sunk by a torpedo fired by the British submarine TANTIVY in December 1945. A random check showed other errors or omissions; U-901 for instance, was not at Stavanger on 27 May 1945, but surrendered at sea on 13 May.
In another section, only a few commanders are noted, but of those selected, the achievements of Doenitz, Prien and Kretchmer are already so well known, and have been far better covered elsewhere, that the information given is superfluous.
In short, then, far from meeting the publisher's claim that this is a 'comprehensive reference book', I found it practically useless, as I feel sure will anyone else with even the most basic knowledge of U-boats.
As a Christmas present, I found it so disappointing that one star is being generous, and I will soon be donating my copy to a local charity shop.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2011 9:51 PM GMT


60cm Double Oven Gas Cooker White (DVG695W_WH)
60cm Double Oven Gas Cooker White (DVG695W_WH)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Design and performance problems, 18 Oct. 2010
There are several issues with this cooker. Starting at the top, I found that if the glass cover over the hobs is left in the down position when using the oven, then a vent at the top rear is covered and a huge amount of condensation forms under the cover. This can be solved by lifting the cover, but why did the designers choose to cover the vent when it could easily have been avoided? I have not ever had this problem with any other cooker I have used.

The grill is poor, has only one setting, and like other reviewers, I noted that it does not heat up properly. This is compounded by the fact that the grill pan will not fit under the top rung position with anything thicker than a slice of bread on it, so grilling chops etc is a pain as they dry out before they are done.

I also found that the main oven does not seem very efficient. I am used to cooking, but discovered that cakes and roast joints take too long to cook, with the result that, again, the outsides dry out before the centre is done. Also, the top oven shelf seems useless; pizzas and baguettes etc cook better on the second shelf position. However,when using this second shelf for, say, roast potatoes, there is then insufficient room in the centre of the oven for your joint if, like me, you use a roasting pan with lid. Cooking on a higher number helps, but only worsens the drying out problem.

On the plus side, the appliance looks good, but it's let down by the annoying design faults mentioned and it definitely lacks performance. I have only had mine for a few months but am already considering replacing it.

In my opinion, this cooker is best avoided!


Black Flag: The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces
Black Flag: The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces
by Lawrence Paterson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Effort, 24 Oct. 2009
The surrender of the U-boats at the end of the Second World War was an involved and very interesting episode, but contrary the publisher's claim that 'This book uncovers much new material about the process...' it completely fails to cover any of the most important aspects of how it was planned and carried out. And despite the claim of 'unparalleled glimpses' obtained from RN veterans, I found it odd that none are named, although numerous members of Paterson's family are - but just why is not made clear. And did the author really spend time with Jurgen Oesten of U-861, only to come away with an anecdote that has already appeared in Matthew Sullivan's excellent 'Thresholds of Peace?
Had the author carried out some proper research and consulted prime documents and witnesses, he could have told a fascinating story, but he has instead relied largely on articles in the Navy News newspaper, other previously published works, and dubious stories from the internet.Consequently, much of what he has written has appeared previously, while some of the internet material is inaccurate. As an example, I would refer to the surrender of U-1009, which was escorted into Loch Eriboll by HMS Harlech Castle, not into Loch Ewe by HMS Beaumaris Castle.
Nor does the book adhere strictly to what should have been its main theme, i.e., the surrender of the U-boats. Instead, large parts deal with German Naval ground forces and the surrender of the beleaguered French ports. Interesting, to be sure, but nothing to do with U-boat surrenders.
The illustrations, too, are disappointing, some being badly reproduced - a failing also observed in other recent Pen & Sword publications - and many do not show U-boats at all. Incidentally, if you click on this option, you will not get the cover shown here, but one with a far from authentic painting. By the end of the war, most if not all U-boats had abandoned the large-calibre deck gun and had been fitted with an enlarged bandstand equipped with anti-aircraft weapons, yet the cover painting depicts a U-boat as it would have appeared in 1940, not 1945. It would have been far better if the publishers had retained the photo-cover shown here. Inside the book, the photograph of Günther Prien is inappropriate as he lost his life early in 1941, and many other photos also show events or personalities from much earlier in the war than 1945. Nor are the photographs particularly well captioned, omitting important information or repeating old myths, such as that U-532 surrendered in Liverpool on 10 May. In fact, it arrived at Liverpool on 17 May and had already surrendered at sea on the 10th.
I found this book very disappointing as there is little that is new, or reliable.


Black Flag: The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces on Land and at Sea
Black Flag: The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces on Land and at Sea
by Lawrence Paterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Attempt, 24 Oct. 2009
The surrender of the U-boats at the end of the Second World War was an involved and very interesting episode, but contrary the publisher's claim that 'This book uncovers much new material about the process...' it completely fails to cover any of the most important aspects of how it was organised and carried out. And despite the claim of 'unparalleled glimpses' obtained from RN veterans, I found it odd that none are named in the Acknowledgements, and did the author really spend time with Jurgen Oesten of U-861, only to come away with an anecdote that has already appeared in Matthew Sullivan's excellent 'Thresholds of Peace?
Had the author carried out some proper research and consulted prime documents and witnesses, he could have told a fascinating story, but he has instead relied largely on articles in the Navy News newspaper, other previously published works, and dubious stories from websites. Consequently, much of what he has written has appeared previously, while some of the website material is inaccurate. As an example, I would refer to the surrender of U-1009, which was escorted into Loch Eriboll by HMS Harlech Castle, not into Loch Ewe by HMS Beaumaris Castle.
Nor does the book adhere strictly to what should have been its main theme, i.e., the surrender of the U-boats. Instead, large parts deal with German Naval ground forces and the surrender of the beleaguered French ports.
The illustrations, too, are very poor, some being badly reproduced - a failing also observed in other recent Pen & Sword publications - and many do not show U-boats at all. The problems with illustrations begin on the cover. By the time of the surrender, the large-calibre deck gun had been abandoned and most if not all U-boats had been fitted with an enlarged bandstand equipped with anti-aircraft weapons, yet the cover painting shows a U-boat in 1940 configuration. Similarly, the photograph of Günter Prien of U-47, who lost his life in early 1941, is also inappropriate, as are many others, which show events or personalities from much earlier in the war than 1945. Nor are the photographs particularly well captioned, omitting important information or repeating old myths, such as that U-532 surrendered in Liverpool on 10 May. In fact, it arrived at Liverpool on 17 May and had already surrendered at sea on the 10th.
Readers will find little in the book that is new, or reliable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2009 5:16 PM GMT


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