Fips: Legendary U-Boat Commander Hardcover – 28 Feb 2000
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Until March 1915, Herr Furbringer served as the watch officer of the U-20, subsequently to achieve international notoriety for sinking the Lusitania (but after the author departed for his own command). His first boat was the UB-2, a 120 ton coastal U-boat that had a top speed ... surfaced or submerged ... of only 5 knots, rendering it incapable of keeping up with most powered steamers.
While reading the relatively short book (146 pages, counting the index), you can see how both the U-Boats and the Allied defenses improved as time went on.
The author, while in command of several U-Boats, sank just over 100 ships, most of which were sailing ships or trawlers. He initially sailed from bases near the Flanders area, which over the course of the war had an 83 percent U-Boat loss rate. (Overall, just under 50 percent of all German U-Boats were lost.) Herr Furbringer describes many close shaves and near-disasters, and was undoubtedly very lucky to survive the war. Although the book ends with the author's repatriation in November 1919, he also served as a submarine staff officer for Germany in World War II until retiring in 1943.
While there is no real attempt here to cover the bigger picture here, I found I learned a great deal about how the World War I submarine campaign was fought. I would have liked the book to have provided more specifications about the ships he commanded, more details of some of his cruises, and maps showing the areas he fought in. But Herr Furbringer's writing style is effective, and the book includes some pictures of a few of his victims.
Overall, I found the book to be well written and worth reading for a commander's eye view of fighting a U-Boat in World War I. I recommend this book.