Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

Hunt and Kill

U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic

Savas, Theodore

2004, Savas Beatie
ISBN 1932714014
Hardcover, 290 pages, 3 maps, 16 pages of plates

Type. Operative history
Pros. Highly detailed and extensive in scope. Well written
Cons. Nothing major

Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic is a well-woven collection of essays on the boat, its operations, crew and final fate as an attraction in Chicago. Ted Savas, the editor and the man responsible for putting this together, has done an exceptional work on this volume. You might remember his previous title Silent Hunters which is a similar book in design but this one is even better.

This book gives a very in-depth coverage of this famous boat, explaining among other things that she was by no means a failed U-boat and had a very interesting history and had many special events, such as being called “the most badly damaged U-boat ever to return to port” by many. She was thus by no means a boat with a poor history only famous for being captured at sea.

A short foreword is by none other than Erich Topp of U-552 fame.

Eric C. Rust writes both an introduction and the “No target too far” chapter explaining the operations and concepts of type IX boats in the war.

Mark E. Wise and Jak P. Mallmann Showell take us through the intelligence that played a vital role in defeating the U-boats and its part in capturing the U-505.

Timothy Mulligan does a great job on “A Community Bound by Fate” where he writes about the crew of U-505, the serious morale problems under Zschech and the high turnover of officers and crew composition. This kind of material is too rarely seen in naval books.

Lawrence Paterson has two chapters “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe” covering the combat patrols of the boat and “Collision Course” where he writes about the events that led the American task group and U-505 together in this seemingly remote place. Both chapters are well written and cover the subject very well, and are vital to the book.

Jordan Vause’s “Desperate Decisions: The German Loss of U-505” has already appeared on this site courtesy of the publisher.

Keith Gill, the curator of U-505 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is unequally qualified to cover the reasons and logistics of how the ended up in Chicago making the chapter a fascinating read to say the least. She is one of the most interesting (and large) museum “pieces” in the world I have to say.

The book also contains technical data and the boats combat chronology plus a statement by Harald Lange, the officer in charge when U-505 was captured.

All in all this is probably the best single-volume book on the U-505 (and then some). It should give a very thorough history of the boat, and U-boats operations as such to anyone reading it. This book is thus much more than simply a story about one U-boat as in turn it covers so much side material affecting all boats.

Highly recommended.

Review written by Gudmundur Helgason.

Published on 1 Mar 2005.

This title is highly recommended.

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