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4.4 out of 5 stars55
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 November 2013
Accounts of the naval war of world war 2 are to me very interesting and this one was well written, the sort of book you find easy and enjoyable to read. I particularly like single ship accounts or books or articles about single events such as reading about the battle of the north cape, which i read immediately after this book about one Germany' s merchant ship raiders. The Penguin was the most successful of the German Navies raiders. She intercepted and captured two entire whaling fleets plus many others. In the end she was caught out by one of the Royal Navy's 8 inch cruisers and nearly pulled a stunning victory. This book has inspired me to look for other books about Germany's other merchant raiders. The rest of the book tells something of the career of the Admiral Hipper, which had a somewhat mixed career. This book is well worth the price and is a good read, enjoy.
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on 1 October 2013
There are not too many books around that are factual stories of about a little known part of WWII. This goes into great detail, without being boring. It doesn't take sides and all the horrors of war at sea are laid bare in this book.

For what little I paid for it, this is a book you have to have in your collection.
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on 29 November 2013
Great read . The historical facts put you right there on board, Did not realise that raiders were used as far south as the antartic
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on 6 October 2013
this type of warfare was to some degree carried out by the allies against u-boats in the form of q ships but the Kriegsmarine seem to have got it down to a fine art.The ability to meet up with supply vessels in the middle of the ocean and to travel vast distances shows superior navigational skills and a willingness to fight for your country for very long periods of time.Very interesting subject but I never forget that they were dealing out death and misery on a large scale with absolutely no compunction about sinking unarmed merchant ships crewed by non-combatants. Very interesting to note that the Norwegians at that stage in the war were more than happy to co-operate with the raiders.Recommend this to people with an interest in the actual global scale of ww2
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on 21 November 2013
I was really enjoying this book, then halfway through sentences went missing at the end of the page, I reduced the font to smallest and realised that up to three sentences were missing, tends to spoil the flow of the story, anyone else noticed this or is it my Kindle.
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on 19 February 2014
I bought the Kindle edition of this book which is ridiculously cheap for such a fine book. The book tells a truly fascinating story and is very well written in a very engaging style. The writer clearly has an affinity with those of the sea and writes sympathetically about both the Allied and German seamen and in particular there is a real sense of respect and even admiration for Captain Kruder of the Pinguin. A respect and admiration which I feel is fully deserved. The book is not really a story of the surface raiders in general but is rather a detailed account of the cruise of the Pinguin with episodes of the much less successful heavy cruiser Hipper woven into the story. The great skill and daring of Kruder and the successes of the Pinguin contrast with the rather lacklustre and disappointing career of the ostensibly much more powerful and impressive Hipper. The story makes good use of eye witness testimonies which add a human dimension to the story and which draw the reader into the human drama of the events. I can't help but feel that if the Pinguin was a British or American and not a German ship the audacity of her cruise into the Arctic and Kruder's humane behaviour as an honorable officer despite the ruthless nature of his mission would be much more widely recognised.
The book has no maps and I feel it would really benefit from some good maps, especially when most of the remote Indian Ocean and Antarctic territories will not be familiar to most readers. Some photographs would also enhance the book. The Kindle edition is very good and mercifully free of the sort of transfer errors that can ruin some books in this format. If this was a full price printed edition I'd rate it as four stars on account of the lack of maps but at this price it seems churlish not to give 5*.
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on 14 April 2015
This is an interesting book; a simple comparison between the story of a powerful ship of the German Navy and that of a converted merchant ship fulfilling a similar role.
The Admiral Hipper was a powerful cruiser, yet, like much of the German navy, achieved little of consequence throughout the entire war.
The Pinguin was a converted merchantman which wreaked havoc in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans whilst operating, including the capture of the entire Norwegian whaling fleet.
The book goes into considerable detail about the life of the Pinguin. The details about the Admiral Hipper are fewer, but I suppose she did achieve less. What the book doesn't do - although, to be fair, it does not claim to - is put the differences between the two ships into the greater picture. The Admiral Hipper was indicative of the whole German surface fleet, spending the majority of her life hiding in port. I think it would have added to the narrative to use the differences between these ships to look a bit wider.
Nevertheless, if you are interested in naval warfare, this book will interest you. We tend to think only of submarines when we talk about German naval campaigns in WW2; this book shows that there were other things going on.
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on 13 April 2016
I found this book to be very well written giving a vivid account of German surface raiders in WW2 and their effect on allied merchant shipping.
I was particularly interested in the accounts of SLS64 and the Admiral Hipper as my father was Chief Engineer Officer on the Blairatholl which was mentioned. I have gleaned quite a lot of information about the events of 12 February 1941 and this book helped to fill in further details for me.
My mother quoted my father as saying the was more gold braid on the Blairatholl than there was on the Hood after they had rescued 89 sailors from ships that had foundered. The account given of the hospitality of the people of Madeira was in accordance with my understanding. In 2011 I placed a memorial seat in the grounds of the English Church in Funchal in recognition of the refuge given to the ship in 1941 and as a memorial to my father lost with the ship in November 1942 on convoy from Halifax. Having been on board the ship at the age of four in 1942 it is still a vivid memory to me. This story helped to fill the gaps.
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on 5 February 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this very readable account of two German commerce-raiders in the early years of WW2. The successful cruise of converted merchant ship "Pinguin"is described in parallel with the much less successful raiding activities of the heavy cruiser "Hipper". The Pinguin's captain, Ernst-Felix Kruder, emerges as a forgotten hero of the war, and as a humane man as well as a superb seaman he contrasted markedly with his Nazi masters. Equally impressive was the heroism of so many of the merchant-ship crews who behaved so admirably when faced with the Pinguin's overwhelming firepower. The Pinguin's long raiding voyage, which carried her to the Northern Indian Oceas, the coasts of Australia and even the Antarctic (where she captured the entire Norwegian whaling fleet) was of epic proportions. The Pinguin's final bettle is reminiscent of those of the British Jervis Bay and Rawalpindi. Mr.Edwards has a wonderful story to tell and he does so magnificently. Highly recommended.
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on 24 January 2014
The book high-lights German efforts against Allied merchant shipping in WWII, largely focussing on the voyages of the commerce-raiding, converted merchantman Kandelfels / Pinguin. It doesn't minimise the calamities wrought by their endeavours but does offer interesting information about the men involved and the operations they prosecuted with such regrettable efficiency and dedication.
Parts of the book cover portions of actions by the cruiser Admiral Hipper, U-boats, tankers, store ships and the Pinguin's sister-ship, Goldenfels / Atlantis, while survivor accounts from crews of the merchantmen targets offer an insight into the terrible price paid by the victims of the depredations.
I enjoyed the book and found it useful and well worth the price. I considered it a little disjointed and suspect I may have thought it better had it either concentrated more on the single ship or given a fuller account of surface raiders as a whole.
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