Review: U-552 – The Red Devil Boat


U-552 – The Red Devil Boat
Its Operational History in Words and Images

U-552 was one of the legendary U-boats of the Second World War. Under its commander Erich Topp, it carried out a total of ten operational patrols, sinking 30 ships and damaging three in a period of 20 months. In the days of the big convoy battles, when the Allies’ detection technology had not yet been perfected, before the German radio codes had been broken, and convoys were not or at best weakly escorted, Topp was among the U-boat arm’s most successful commanders. Within 16 months he was decorated with the Knight’s Cross, the Oak Leaves and the Swords. U-552, the boat with the Red Devil emblem, was probably photographed more by war reporters than any other U-boat. Despite its fame during the war, until now there has been no comprehensive history of U-552. Our book changes this. Photos from all of the boat’s patrols, a war cruise chronology including the period after Topp, and a detailed description of all patrols together form a special U-boat book. Color graphics and maps round out the book.

The book has the full story of U-552 from beginning to end. It starts with its commissioning and then onto the first 10 war cruises with Kaptlt. Topp. There is a lot of detail in these war cruises since Topp also wrote a book after the war and a lot of the details from that have been incorporated into this book. Then Kaptlt. Popp took over the boat for the final 3 war cruises although these were to less risky areas. Finally, the ship was sent to the Baltic for use as a training boat for a short while before the war ended and she was scuttled.

Next, we get into the content of the book itself:

  • Authors: Axel Urbanke and Michael Rey
  • ISBN: 978-3-941437-34-0
  • Pages: 352
  • Photos: 318
  • Illustrations: 18 color maps and about 6 color graphics
  • Format: 24 x 28,5 cm – Large format, Hard cover plus dust jacket

If you’re interested in the Kriegsmarine at all, and U-Boats specifically then this book is of special interest to you and highly recommended. It has a lot more all-around detail than you will find anywhere else.

The best way to get this book is direct from the publisher, that’s how I get my books from them. You can order this book here. The publisher now offers free shipping within Germany.

Paul Tosney – Editor
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