login   |    register
Osprey Publishing [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

Book Review
Raiders vs Cruisers
German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser, The Atlantic & The Pacific 1941
  • move

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Model Shipwrights

German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser
The Atlantic & The Pacific 1941
Duel 27
ISBN: 9781846039188

During World War I, the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) conceived and executed a plan for arming fast passenger liners to interdict United Kingdom shipping. These Hilfskreuzeren (auxiliary cruisers), and their less conspicuous successors, had periods of success, and drove the Royal Navy to build larger, faster cruisers to protect overseas commerce. Kriegsmarine armed a number of merchant vessels with concealed guns and torpedo tubes for surprise attacks against Allied shipping. To counter this deadly threat, the Royal Navy employed cruisers and their intelligence-gathering apparatus to find and destroy the disguised German commerce raiders. A deadly high seas game of cat and mouse ensued between these antagonists during World War II.

One of four Osprey titles by author Robert Forczyk, PhD, this is a fascinating story of German innovation, panache, and guile challenging the steel and firepower of the mighty Royal Navy. The book is generously illustrated with period photographs in black and white, and modern color photos. Additionally, illustrator Ian Palmer enriches the work with digital artwork, cutaway illustrations, maps and diagrams.

Dr. Forczyk leads us through this intriguing naval contest in a book of 80 pages, the content organized into:
• Introduction
• Chronology
• Design and development
• Technical Specifications
• Strategic Situation
• Combatants
• Combat
• Statistics and Analysis
• Aftermath
• Further Reading
• Index

In these chapters Dr. Forczyk examines the differences in weapons, command and control, the crews, leadership, and personalities. Future Vizeadmiral (Vice Admiral) Bernhard Rogge commanded the raider Atlantis, eventually earning the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves). This in spite of almost being banished from the Kriegsmarine–he was one-quarter Jewish! Rogge was one of approximately 100,000 “Hitler Jews,” those issued a Deutschblütigkeitserklärung ( the German Blood Certificate, each personally reviewed and approved by Hitler). Rogge served until the end of the war, despite his wife committing suicide due to harassment by the Nazis.

Several battles are documented. Three chronicle Hilfskreuzer Thor, which returned in triumph to Germany. The lackluster battle between HMS Cornwall and Pinguin stands in stark contrast to the knife fight between HMAS Sydney and Kormoran, the raider blasting the cruiser to destruction, only to be eventually scuttled due to damage from a lucky hit by Sydney. Atlantis’ fight against HMS Devonshire ended with Atlantis on the bottom.

In the end, the Royal Navy came out the looser. Three of the seven Hilfskreuzeren were lost, but they sank a cruiser and 97 merchant ships. The Royal Navy diluted their cruiser force, flinging half of the ships to chase the handful of Hilfskreuzer.

Still, though the raiders made a great impact into 1941, the Kriegsmarine could not sustain the tempo and Hilfskreuzer operations did not change the outcome of the war.

Engaging, well written, and well illustrated by Dr. Forczyk and artist Palmer, you can immerse yourself into this fascinating story of modern buccaneers in solo high seas combat. I heartily recommend this book.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on ModelShipwrights!

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Engaging and well written. Generously illustrated with black and white photographs, modern color photos, digital artwork, cutaway illustrations, maps and diagrams.
Lows: The text lists two cruisers sunk, but I only found one loss in the Chronology and battle narratives.
Verdict: A fascinating account of an intriguing early-war naval conflict.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID:  ISBN: 9781846039188
  Suggested Retail: £12.99, $17.95 USD
  Related Link: Osprey Site
  PUBLISHED: Sep 29, 2010

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move