Richard Guilliatt: The Wolf How One German Raider Terrorized The Southern Seas During The First World War

Excellent book about a German WW1 commercial raider heavily armed merchant ship aiming for oppositions cargo and transportation convoys SMS Wolf whose role was downplayed by Allies although ship accomplished something that no ship ever did stay afloat and execute raids for than 400 days on the open sea without any base of operationsShip roamed every world ocean during 400 days executed harbor mining of key Allied ports and attacked commercial freighters and caused loss of over 110000 tons of shipping to the Allies Besides the action of the ship itself which are uite amazing main topic of the book are the stories of the crew captured prisoners of war and relations between themIt is interesting how some things never change Censorship on Allied side that wanted to shut down any story about the German auxiliary cruiser operating in the Far East and around Australia and New Zealand by pushing stories about German spies and saboteurs planting bombs on merchant ships caused terrible issues on multiple fronts First it caused ship losses because standard precautions like encrypting messages and like weren t used thus enabling Wolf to easily attack its prey Second it caused hate against Australians and New Zealanders of German origin that had to migrate back to Germany at the end of the war Unlike Japanese immigrant internship in America during the WW2 I never heard about the internship of citizens of German origin in Australia New Zealand South Africa this one got me truly going what and any other British colonyprotectorate in the betweenThe way Germans were portrayed in Allied media was also a surprise to me Germans did start the war but level of demonization and representation of Germans as Huns as in Atilla the Hun s Huns is truly terrible and awful Considering this and the way Nazi Germany used the media during WW2 makes me shudder when I think what can demagogues do with modern media in hands and again it is not like we do not witness the abuse todayAs Wolf captured ship after ship it slowly accumulated large number of prisoners sailors from almost every part of the world but also passengers men women and children As time passed by this caused issues with food shortages outbreaks of thousand and one sea faring disease and general depressing atmosphere on an overcrowded ship in tropical seas with less and less food as time passed byIt is interesting to see how prisoners made the internal divisions by race very unflattering view of the Asians that during this pandemic starts to pop up again and even within the same race general view that all Scandinavians are German sympathizers Constant bickering problems caused by the presence of women among the men living among men for months captured officers seeking elite prisoner status and better conditions entire ship was snapsh. In the years 1916 1918 the Wolf an ordinary freighter fitted out with a hidden arsenal of weapons was sent by Germany on one of the most daring clandestine naval missions of modern times Under the command of Kapitan Karl Nerger the ship undertook a continuous fifteen month cruise in which she traversed three of the world's major oceans destroyed than thirty Allied vessels and captured over 400 men women and children During this time the Wolf maintained radio silence and.

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Ot of the world at the time with all issues that come with itBook goes into detail about those prisoners like Cameron family and German officers and crewmen captain Nerger among them that wrote about their experiences after the war We follow prisoners as they try to survive on overcrowded ship in degrading conditions marvel at the Germans because they behave differently than media represents them and experience constant emotional ups and downs as hopes for being released on any of the many islands get crushed by reality Germans simply cannot allow their prisoners to inform the Allies of the raider s presence in the area On the other hand we follow German officers as they try to control the crew during the highly demanding voyage crew living in conditions that are little better than the way prisoners live constantly loading coal from captured ships on a calm and stormy seas utter despair after year of travel because they do not know if and when will their travel finally end will they ever see their families and after hearing rumors about situation in Germany uestion arises what will they find when they come back homeAuthors write in uite a capturing way There is not a single surplus page in this book Story flows very naturally and keeps the reader s attention to the very endFinal chapters are bitter sweet because at that point reader will be emotionally linked not only to the prisoners but also to the German crew These chapters describe the fates of all personas in the book from German crew to the prisoners and most importantly fate of the SMS Wolf itself Raider that caused havoc behind enemy lines was downplayed by the Allies because it had to fit the narrative How can one admit that single ship slipped through so many blockades of Allied forces and made an round the globe trip starting from and ending in Kiel Germany Raider finally ended its life after a decade of post war service as a merchant vesselExceptional book for anyone interested in naval history This book was a little dull It tries to compete in the genre of Unbroken or Flyboys story driven books about a specific part of war but it comes up short The story itself doesn t seem interesting enough for an entire book There are interesting books about WWI and interesting books about long sea voyages In 1916 at the height of World War I a seemingly mundane freighter left port in Germany It was no ordinary ship however and the voyage on which it was embarking would become one of the most audacious and successful of its kind for the Wolf was in fact a German commerce raider and one that would not only sink 37 trading vessels and enemy warships but stay at sea continuously for than 450 days while serving as home to than 400 prisoners including women and children from 25 nations This is both a well researched wo. Never pulled into port surviving on fuel and food plundered from captured ships Euipped with the era's newest technological marvels the Wolf was an instrument of terror in a new age of mechanised warfareIn The Wolf Richard Guilliatt Peter Hohnen bring this little known story to life by drawing on dozens of eyewitness accounts unpublished memoirs declassified government files newspaper reports and family archives unearthed during three years of intensive research in sev.

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Rk of history and an entertaining and gripping seafaring tale giving as it does a vivid view into the lives of not only the German crew but the Americans Britons Australians Kiwis Japanese Spaniards and others who came to be imprisoned on Captain Karl Nerger s raider The Wolf reads like a novel and the authors expertly weave together the stories of several of the captives while putting the entire tale in the context of a world in transition from the days of Victorian chivalry to the beginnings of modern industrial societyHighly recommended A fascinating book providing an in depth history of one of the successful of World War One German Commerce Raiders as well as an explanation of the mechanisms of commerce warfare SMS WOLF was a converted merchant ship outfitted with guns torpedoes mines and an aircraft and loaded with enough coal and supplies to make an extended voyage Her mission was to proceed to Britain s faraway trade routes and cause disruption through mining of ports and destruction of ships She returned to Germany after 444 days at sea having sunk over 110000 tons of shipping mostly through mines laid at unsuspecting ports Her success and longevity stemmed from a strict policy of taking prisoners vice releasing captured crews and a high level game of information warfare The first full picture the British authorities had of her presence in the Western Pacific was through a message in a bottle dropped by one of the merchant seaman imprisoned onboard but only given to the government officials months after she had started her return transit The story itself rivals any fictional tale containing military action social drama and plenty of intrigue The author includes deep analysis of commerce warfare explaining that the WOLF s secrecy of operations actually limited her success even though it assured her survival Commerce warfare which isn t publicized doesn t prevent sailings or increase insurance rates negating the secondary effects which are crucial to its success My one complaint the long background stories on individual Prisoner s personal dramas though entertaining did distract from the focus on the overall story Highly recommended for those wanting to better understand WWI s merchant raider methodology and read about a great and true nautical tale I love finding books about events I have never heard of before and this book covers one of them The Wolf made a 444 day voyage from Germany to South Africa India Australia New Zealand the South Seas Singapore and back to Germany with stopping in any ports She refueled and reprovisioned herself by capturing other ships on the high seas Often she was laying mines and in the process of capturing ships she managed to to take on board than 400 of their crew and passengers captives A fascinating and well written book. Eral countries What emerges from these accounts is a richly detailed picture of the world through which the Wolf moved with all its social divisions and naked xenophobia its spirit of bravery and stoicism its paradoxical combination of old world social s and rapid technological changeThis extraordinary adventure story exhibits the tremendous impact that one lone audacious German warship made on the people of many nations during the final two years of the First World War.