Naval Warfare Movies

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Attack America

The U-boat War
Published: 1997
Country: USA
Length: 52 min.
Keywords: WWII, Documentary, Recommended

This is the VHS release (see more).


This documentary, Part II of The U-boat War series, focuses on U-boat actions off the U.S. east coast in 1942, and on other action in the North Atlantic in the winter of 1942-1943. Highly-credentialed authors, including Michael Gannon, Michael Hadley, Timothy Mulligan, and Melanie Wiggins, emphasize the American lack of preparation in the face of what was actually a known threat. German saboteur landings on the U.S. coast are described, as well as the sinking of the British Bedfordshire, and an account of the sinking of the tanker Gulf of America from the point of view of both Reinhard Hardegen, commander of U-123, and of American civilians who observed the sinking from shore. Among the many veterans of the conflict interviewed were Horst von Schroeter, watch officer on U-123; Peter Petersen of U-518; Siegfried Koitschka, commander of U-616; Erich Topp; and officers of the Royal Navy, including Alan Burn of HMS Starling. A British veteran of convoy SC107 tells of his voyage through the so-called Black Pit; Liberator pilot Terry "Hawkeyes" Bullock, describes how he sank U-597; and Herbert Werner, commander of U-953, confirms the dampening effect that aircraft coverage had on U-boat operations. Life on corvettes during the harsh North Atlantic winter is also described.

The other volumes in the series are Iron Coffins and Sea Wolves.


While still quite good, this volume is visually the weakest of the series, seeming to suffer from lack of footage. Some archival clips are repeated rather frequently, while some newly shot film seems to serve no other purpose other than to take up space while the narrative progresses. The content, however, is excellent and provides viewpoints from both Allied and German sides.

A German-language version of this series is available as Der U-Boot Krieg (Seewölfe, Angriff auf Amerika, Eiserne Särge).

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