GERMAN WARSHIP SERIES BACK IN PRINT – Review by Mark Barnes

GERMAN WARSHIP

If we think about the Kreigsmarine during World War II the pictures coming immediately into our heads will be of U-Boats or the famous capital ships – Bismarck, Tirpitz etc. But, as significant or iconic as they are, there was so much more to the story than that.  The Germans had destroyers and cruisers at sea performing with varying results against the Allies – the Royal Navy in particular.

From Narvik onwards the German destroyer force got a fair kicking off the British while the two cruiser classes had mixed fortunes. The battleships made up for some of this with headline grabbing moments; but they, too, were defeated ultimately by a very determined enemy. The truth is the German surface fleet never entirely lived up to it’s potential and a lack of support from the Fuhrer did not help.

GERMAN WARSHIP

 

But it does help to have something to show us just what the German ships were doing and we are fortunate that an essential set of histories of the subject are now back in print.

 

These superb books have been repackaged by Seaforth Publishing from the German language originals produced in the 1990s. Billed as concise, they offer an immensely interesting look at different types of vessels in Nazi service and cover the full aspect of these ships from drawing board to destiny. The individual ship histories are fascinating and there is a wealth of detail that should satisfy any bathtub admiral playing battleships with the soap and sponge.

GERMAN WARSHIP

 

I do like a warship book and these titles tick all the right boxes with fascinating histories of each vessel in a particular class accompanied by superb archive photography and technical drawings.  While plaudits go quite rightly to the authors it is important to stress the importance of the translations by Geoffrey Brooks. His efforts have helped produce a thoroughly accessible set of classics.

GERMAN WARSHIP

The full set builds into a perfect encyclopaedia but a single volume on the whole fleet wouldn’t do the authors’ hard work and accrued knowledge any justice.

 

I was sent four to look at covering heavy and light cruisers, destroyers and the Scharnhorst class battleships. I would love to see the others covering the Bismarck and Deutschland class battleships. Each volume is similar in style but have enough differences to keep anyone collecting them all fully engaged. Seaforth naval books have always been a welcome sight on my doormat and these titles entirely live up to the standard aficionados will recognise. I cannot fault them.

 

Reviewed by Mark Barnes for War History Online

 

GERMAN DESTROYERS OF WORLD WAR II
BATTLESHIPS OF THE SCHARNHORST CLASS
HEAVY CRUISERS OF THE ADMIRAL HIPPER CLASS
GERMAN LIGHT CRUISERS OF WORLD WAR II
By Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke
Seaforth Publishing

For details visit www.pen-and-sword.co.uk and search by the authors.