Cassell Military Classics: Underwater Warriors: The Fighting History of Midget Submarines

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9780304354542: Cassell Military Classics: Underwater Warriors: The Fighting History of Midget Submarines

Enter the fascinating and elite world of secret naval units--the frogmen and commandos who waged war with midget submarines and human torpedoes. These subs, which came to prominence during World War Two, were potent weapons, better able than any other craft to penetrate deep into enemy waters and close in on unsuspecting targets. Here is their history, including the derivatives (like small submersibles), operational details, brave underwater warriors who manned them, daring attacks, and future role.

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About the Author:

Paul Kemp is a noted naval historian with many books to his credit.

Review:

For many years I have been interested in the story of the Olterra and the Italian human torpedo attacks on British shipping in Gibraltar and I purchased more books on the overall subject prior to a recent visit. Whilst I have now discovered to my horror, Gibraltar has completely and utterly failed to look after her shipwrecks (and that, at a time when other countries are deliberately sinking ships in order to attract diving tourists!), and for divers is no longer worth visiting (sadly!), I remain hooked on the overall subject. In addition, one of the finest examples of a British submarine available to divers is found in Malta and that boat is none other than HMS Stubborn which played the most prominent part of all the submarines which were tasked with towing the six X-Craft over to Norway for that famous attack on the Tirpitz. In studying these stories, I have learned something about the personalities, the outrageous way in which Henty-Creer was treated when it came to honours and awards and how Able Seaman Magennis's name continually crops up - especially after he finally won a much deserved VC! Having said all that, my knowledge does not extend to the Far East and other theatres of war and this book goes a long way to filling those gaps. With chapters on every conceivable aspect of the subject, this is as complete a work as one might hope to find and I congratulate the author for a job well done. Interestingly, as much as I have studied parts of the overall subject in the past (at least as far as European operations are concerned), I only recognised a few of then 75 photographs contained in the work - all the remainder were new to me. Altogether, a most complete work and one to which I will return for further study - time and time again. --By Ned Middleton

The book was well put together. Chapters progressed as the war progressed. I personally knew some of the characters. An excellent read. --By Robjn Lees

Paul Kemp's "Underwater Warriors" is a unique book. It is the first book I've seen to cover this subject in the depth that it deserves. The midget sub, while perhaps not the most glamourous (or successful) of tools to be used in past wars, did make it's impact. It's story is filled with the stories of many heroic men, most of whom fought for the Axis in WWII. Underwater Warriors begins with the inception of the Submarine, (and incidentally, the first 'One man' sub) in David Bushnell's "Turtle," a wooden clumbsy thing, experimented with by the revolutionary United States in 1776. Kemp follows the history and evolution of the mini-sub through to the modern day, and makes some conclusions about the military applications and future use of midget subs. His final conclusion is that midget subs are a good idea, but not if only one man is operating them. The book itself is filled with many accounts of individuals, who worked with midget subs. It becomes clear that these pioneering men truly did exemplify what heroism really is. Since Midget subs have never been a major tool of war, I don't doubt that Kemp has included most of the accounts that were available to be written. What results is an entertaining read, filled with much human drama. The one downside, at least for me, is that the book lapses into large sections covering the technical aspects of the submarines themselves, including variations, dimentions and minor technical changes. I suppose it is to be expected given a subject that is not extremely broad. That said however, I found myself skipping over the more technical parts to get to the human interest sections. Overall, this book is well worth the read for millitary history enthusiasts, Naval history enthusiasts and folks who just like the idea of a "Midget-sub." --By S. Lawrenz -

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