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The History of the British U Class Submarine Hardcover – 30 Nov 2004
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one by Alistair Mars, I look forward to reading this very one which arrived in form of a fine copy recently
It is quite something for those of us who have never been in a submarine, never mind during a war, to find out as to the dangers that the crews faced, and those that were sunk usually taking their crews down inside them, with it not known as to if they died a sudden death or one entombed in a metal tube that was to become their coffin.
Whilst I served in the RAF Marine Branch, and on one never forgotten task out in the North Atlantic our ocean going vessel was caught in a storm force 11 battle with the elements,, and at one point it was estimated that we were completely under water, reading this book made me realise as to how it must have felt to the submariners who spent hours submerged without any guarantee that they would later see the sky or get back to their loved ones.
When reading these books try to imagine yourself being involved in the underwater warfare that cost so many lives of both the crews in the submarines, as well as those in the vessels they might have sunk.
By the end of WW2 seventy two 'U' Class submarines had been commissioned of which 17 were lost to enemy action and three to accidents. The officers and men serving in those vessels received no fewer than 375 gallantry medals including those of Lt. Commander M. D. Wanklyn VC, DSO (and 2 Bars) DSC, RN. (NB: for those who are not aware, when a British medal is earned for the second time, a bar is issued to the original award - thus Wanklyn had three DSO's).
In a well written and highly informative text supported by 35 b&w photos and a number of line drawings, this is just about as complete a work on any particular class of naval vessel I have come across. The author has even managed to bring the book right up to date by including details of the discovery of the remains of HMS Umpire in 1989 (including an artist's impression of the wreck) and HMS Vandal in 2003 by scuba divers. In so doing we also have the benefit of knowing the most probably cause of their accidental losses in 1941 and 1943 respectively.