Knight of the North Atlantic

"Baron Siegfried von Forstner and the War Patrols of U-402, 1941-1943"

  • Subject: Spring 2022 Catalog | World War II
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    100 b/w illustrations and 5 charts
  • Published:
    May 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.75 × 6.75 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    25 oz
Hardcover $55.95
Member Price $44.76 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Born of an aristocratic military family, with a tradition of U-boat service, Baron Siegfried von Forstner, the U-boat's captain, served without the pretentiousness of title, even after winning the Ritterkreuz (Knight's Cross). He fought the war like a knight of old, with a defined code of chivalry, as he dueled with escorts, went to the aid of fellow U-boats, and rescued his enemy from the sea. As the North Atlantic battlefield grew deadlier with each successive patrol, von Forstner remained focused on his duty to sink Allied tonnage while keeping his crew alive. His daring and conduct at sea captured the respect of Captain, US Coast Guard (Ret) John M Waters, who was a Watch Officer onboard the escort USCGC Ingham that fought U-402 in several convoy battles. After the war, Waters became the unexpected chronicler of his former enemy, and established an enduring friendship with von Forstner's family.
The story of von Forstner and U-402 parallels the rise and fall of the Wolfpack, and reflects the ebb and flow of the Battle of the Atlantic from the early operations in European waters, to Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat) off the US East Coast, to the climatic convoy battles of the North Atlantic in 1943. This is a truly gripping account of the Atlantic conflict, and the large selection of photographs adds realism and authenticity found in very few accounts of the U-boat war.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Hamilton’s book is copiously illustrated with photographs which show life aboard U-402 and some of the vessels she sank or damaged: many of them were made by his grandfather’s shipmate, Walter Friebolin, and others are drawn from private and official collections. The accompanying sidebars clearly explain the photographs and, like the charts at the end of the book, elucidate the narrative. Hamilton succeeds in making von Forstner and the crew of U-402 real people with whom we can empathise, and the final section of the book – a dive onto the now peaceful and overgrown remains of one of U-402’s victims – is a fitting conclusion to the story and reminder, if one were needed, of the price of war.” —Australian Naval Institute