I was happy to see the latest edition, number 11, turn up in the mail earlier this week. As usual the book is full of all manner of interesting articles. The magazine follows the usual format with with many photographs, mostly not published before, with detailed captions in both German and English.
The layout of the magazine will be familiar to those who have read earlier issues, although there are a couple of longer articles in this issue.
The cover photograph is a striking image of a vierlingsflak on U-363, probably taken in the latter half of 1943. Then moving inside we go through various articles, starting as usual with the editorial. In this issue’s editorial Axel relates how the two larger articles in this issue were based upon information and photographs supplied by readers. He also mentions that edition 12 is already well underway and hopefully will follow shortly on the heels of this issue.
Next we have the readers forum, which is where where readers have submitted more information to the publisher about particles in previous issues. The next session section covers type VIIC boats, where the laughing cow on the conning tower of U-69 is both displayed in a photograph and also its history and how it came to be painted on U-69 explained. Then we move on to some photographs and information about U-415.
The next section covers unknown emblems and gives recently discovered details about a couple of emblems that were painted on U-boat conning towers.
The following four pages cover the anti-aircraft defences on several U-boats and have some very good photographs giving a lot of detail of the weapons in question.
Next we move on to a section about the conning tower of U-24. Before the war U-2424 was one of several U-boats that had camouflage applied. When war broke out all these boats had their camouflage painted over. There are four pages showing U-24’s camouflage and emblem that were displayed pre-war. The next two pages display an unusual feature in that the foul weather gear used by U-boat crews had inscriptions on the back as to who the wearer was, presumably to aid identification in bad weather.
Now we move on to the first of the larger articles in this issue. In a recent decal release by the publisher they had decals for an unknown U-boat with a sharks mouth emblem at the bow of the boat. In this issue you’ll find out that it was actually U-438. The whole story of how the publisher managed to identify it as this specific boat from one photograph is laid out in quite a lot of detail. Apparently there are people who can recognise a U-boat and where it was produced just by the layout of the flooding holds. However it wasn’t just this piece of information that was used in identifying U-438, other corroborating evidence was also discovered. What then follows is a short, 18 page, service history of U-438 along with full three-page spread of the boat and several good quality photographs.
The next article is the other longer article in this issue and it covers the fate of U-64 and its raising in 1957. Over 13 pages the short service history of U-64 is explained in detail right up to its sinking in a fjord near Narvik, on 13 April 1940. Then we jump forward to 1957 where a couple of German students see the wreck has been raised and is being dismantled. Then, doing what students do, they tempt fate and go out to the boat and take some photographs of the raised U-boat before it was lost to history forever.
As always this book is a fascinating and interesting read and is of immense interest to anyone interested in U-boats or the Kriegsmarine.
Don’t forget that, like me, you can save a bit of money by subscribing to this magazine and get your quarterly issue delivered by mail to your door. To find out more details of subscriptions go to the publishers website.
Paul Tosney – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com