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German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser

German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2010 Title German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser
Author Robert Forczyk Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2010 ISBN 978-1-84603-918-8
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


Osprey has launched an interesting series of titles under the 'Duel' series - comparing adversaries under specific conditions and looking at the comparison from a variety of perspectives. We've looked at several out of this series and it is turning into a very worthwhile resource.

This title takes a look at some interesting history of the German Navy in its global operations durng 1941. While some combatants did deploy away from the European continent, there was another class of warship that did roam the oceans of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These were the Hilfskreuzers, the German freighters that were converted into cruisers. These ships retained the appearance of typical freighters, but when combat was required, panels opened on the sides of these ships to reveal heavy guns that gave these vessels the firepower of a typical cruiser. These were the German commerce raiders. This historical cross-section is broken down as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design and Development
  • The Strategic Situation
  • Technical Specifications
  • Combatants
  • Combat
  • Statistics and Analysis
  • Aftermath

These German commerce raiders would fly the flag of various allied and neutral nations until they closed on a potential target, then open their gun ports and sink the unsuspecting cargo ships. In many cases, the German captains would allow their prey to safely abandon their vessels before opening fire. In these days before the United States entered the war, it fell upon the Royal Navy to interdict these raiders and keep the supply lines open at sea. In a number of encounters, British cruisers did intercept these raiders, but much to their surprise and dismay, the British cruisers were also severely damaged or sunk in the gun battles against the proficient German gunners.

This title looks at the various German raiders and their significant actions against the Royal Navy, sometimes with some surprising outcomes. If you're looking for an interesting read about an overlooked part of World War II naval warfare, you'll want to grab a copy of this title!

This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishingfor this review sample!