This magazine follows a similar format. The U-Boot im Focus magazines contain many previously unpublished photographs. On the front cover it says “Submarine history from enthusiasts for enthusiasts” and that is exactly what it is, albeit purely on the Kriegsmarine.
The magazine contains captions for the 62 photographs, 2 in colour, with captions describing the photographs. There is also text describing events around some of the photographs. All text and captions are in both German and English, with the English written to a very high standard – you would not know this magazine comes from Germany. This edition also contains 3 colour pictures, a three page profile of a U-boat and two conning tower colour images..
The review edition, number 4, consists of 50 pages, although the front and back covers also contain information so one could really say it contains 54 pages. The latest edition is number 8 and I’m hoping to post reviews of issues 5 onwards over the coming months.
The magazine is broken down into sections that previous readers will be familiar with. We start with the editorial, an update of news from the publisher/editor, Axel Urbanke. Next we go to the readers forum. In this area you find many previously unknown facts come to light. Readers write in to answer questions and unknown facts from previous editions, many sending in previously unseen photographs from their private collections. In this edition 2 unidentified ships from edition 2 are named. The use of tarpaulins to camouflage U-boats in port, previously thought to be a late war procedure, is shown to have been happening as early as 1940.
Type II Boats
The first section proper of the magazine shows a series of images of a Type II boat submerging. The interesting thing is a close up of the emblem on the conning tower which has never been seen before on a Type II boat. There then follows an impressive photo of a Type II boat floating amongst broken ice of the Baltic in the winter of 1942/43. This boat wears an interesting white camouflage. FInally there’s a photo of 5 Type II’s in Gotenhafen harbour in February 1941.
Type VIIB Boats
There’s a poignant photo of a Type VIIB, U-30, on it’s way into Lorient shortly after the fall of France in 1940. U-30 was the first german submarine to sail into Lorient and that is when this photo was taken.
Type VIIC Boats
Since the Type VIIc was the most numerous U-Boat it is no suprise that there are 10 pages of text and photos on this type. The section starts with photos of U-71 sailing into St Nazaire, followed by a couple of photos of U-201, one at sea and one close up of the conning tower coming into port. Then we have 2 pages of text and photos about U-333 and the bad luck she had on one patrol with one of the photos of her showing her arrival back at La Pallice with serious damage to the conning tower. There then follows 3 pages describing U-628’s battle with convoy HX-217 including photos of her return and a sinking merchantman.
This section contains 4 pages discussing U-214, a Type VIID minelayer with an unusual ‘wave’ camouflage in its conning tower. There are also 2 colour drawings of the conning tower and 3 photos of the conning tower. There are not many photos of minelayers, so this section is a bonus.
Boat in Focus
This section focuses on U-307, a Type VIIC Boat, and has at its centre a colour profile of the boat spread across a 3 page pull out section. This boat has an interesting ‘ice’ camouflage scheme which would be easy to copy to make a model of a VIIC which is different from the rest There is also a short history of the boat from her first sortie in July 1943 to her sinking on April 29, 1945..
This next section contains 2 extremely rare colour photos, showing U-595 on her acceptance trials in the Baltic in either late 1940 or early 1942.
A short section showing the previously unknown emblem on U-595 of the coat of arms of its sponsor city.
Another short section about U-592’s North Polar Certificat. Basically a counterpart for the ‘crossing the equator’ certificate.
This 4 page section is not for the feint of heart as it shows a U-Boat in the Kara Sea bringing a shot polar bear onboard to supplement their rations. There is also a photo of one U-boat taken from another in the Kara sea, an unusual event in itself.
Photos with a Story
This 5 page section shows U-34 rescuing shipwreck victims and towing them in their lifeboats in October 1939. There is also a couple of photos taken in November 1939 of U-34 capturing a Norwegian freighter.
This 3 page section contains the story of Fregattenkapitan Fritz Frauenheim. He was a career navy man and was the captain of U-21 and U-101 before rising to become Chief of Staff to the Admiral in charge of special attack units. He was a passionate smoker and even in the studio portrait photo you can see a cigarette in his hands.
Over 2 pages are 3 photos showing the cramped working conditions inside a U-boat. There’s one photo taken inside U-108, a Type IXB and 2 taken inside U-552, a Type VIIV.
When U-Boats returned to harbour they would display pennants, each pennant representing s ship sunk. Occasionally they would also display souvenirs. In this section there are 2 photos of U-107 taken at the end of different patrols. One displays the usual pennants while the other shows the souvenirs, in this case 4 life rings and 2 ships name plates. This would make an interesting addition to a diorama.
This 2 page section has a large photo of a Type VIIC, U443, and a Type XB minelayer, U-119, laying alongside each other clearly showing the difference in the size of the 2 vessels. The photo is all the more poignant as you wonder what happened the the crement visible in the photo since both ships were lost with all hands.
The final 2 page section covers the fate of a bridge watch of U-46. The boat unexpectedly went under and caused a flurry of activity as vents and hatches were closed in order to save the ship. The ship went down 12 metres, and when they surfaced only 2 of the 4 man bridge watch were still aboard, and one of those was seriously injured.
Overall this magazine is highly recommended to all submarine enthusiasts, both historians and modellers. This magazine gives many ideas on how to make your U-boat models and dioramas different from the crowd.
Review sample courtesy of my wallet.