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Twenty-two U-boat veterans tell their chilling stories in this collection of their combat experiences in World War II, recorded by the author during several years of travel throughout Germany. It is one of very few books to examine the lives of the enlisted crew in the infamous submarines. Melanie Wiggins interviewed seventeen men and five of their commanders to take readers into the terrifying world of underwater warfare where every man helped determine the fate of his boat.
While tracking down the U-boat veterans, Wiggins came across photographs and secret diaries and gained access to personnel records. A reunion of the U-682 crew and interviews with Admiral Otto Kretschmer two months before his death and the ninety-four-year-old Commander Jürgen Wattenberg netted a wealth of information. Among the individual sagas included are Radioman Hans Bürck's description of his 1942 patrol to Aruba and Herman Wien's description of U-180 transporting an Indian anarchist to Madagascar.