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The Last Year of the Kriegsmarine: May 1944 - May 1945 - V. E. Tarrant

Arms & Armour Press, 1996, Paperback.
Condition: Very Good. Light reading creases to the spine. Leans slightly.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Diagrams; Maps; Tables;

From the cover: “The Second World War began five years too early for the newly rebuilt German Navy, and by mid-1944 its deficiencies in equipment and crucially in strategic morale were painfully apparent. The Battle of the Atlantic, once the greatest real danger to Britain’s survival in the war, had effectively been lost after 1943, and, although U-boats still sortied against the ever increasing convoys, the augmented Allied air and sea defences meant fewer and fewer U-boats made it back to home ports.

For the larger heavy surface units, the war had been a series of disappointing frustrations: increasingly confined to remote Arctic ports but denied offensive opportunities by fuel shortages and High Command indecision, the ‘fleet in being’ tied down Royal Navy units and attracted regular air attacks, but achieved little else.

Like the Luftwaffe, however, the Kriegsmarine entered its last year of war with real hopes that new weapons would break the deadlock, regaining the initiative at sea and offering the chance to alter the course of the war.

This is the first time the story of those final 12 months has been attempted. V. E. Tarrant reveals the increasing desperation as Allied industrial bombing, superiority at sea and German technical delays ensured that the new ‘wonder’ weapons never delivered their potential. Unable to prevent the Allied invasion of Europe, the Kriegsmarine could only rely on small battle units — E-boats, the odd destroyer or U-boat, and bizarre semi-suicide weapons — to attack the vast amount of invasion shipping off Normandy.

The full range of human-torpedo, explosive motor boat and one-man V-boat operations — hitherto barely covered — are listed and discussed in this narrative. The decline and destruction of the few remaining capital ships, from the battleship Tirpritz in Norway through to the last surviving light cruiser Leipzig, is fully detailed, as is the remarkable history of the U-boat service, which continued to fight at sea right up to the cease-fire in May. The story of the race to get the new high-speed submarine designs into service, the failure of the Schnorkel and acoustic torpedoes to revolutionize U-boat tactics, the fledgling development of sea-launched missiles and the heavy losses in the final campaign around the British Isles — all are fully detailed as a part of this important new history.

With appendixes on operational losses, construction output and tonnage sunk, detailed insets throughout the text on the tactics and weapons used by the Kriegsmarine and illustrations of the declining fortunes of its war at sea, this is an informative history and valuable reference for all interested in the study of a seapower in decline.”

Size: Trade Paperback (9¼" x 6"). 256 pages.

This one has already found a new owner.