enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Otto Giese, Shooting the War

I read this book about 30-May-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1994. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-Jun-2017 10:05:25 PDT.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


Memoirs of a World War II U-boat officer. Co-written with James E. Wise, Jr. (Captain USN retired). Interesting that the German officer's rank isn't used.

He went to sea in square-rigged sailing ships, and worked up to being a U-boat officer. Nearly all his service was in the far east, where we don't think of the German navy operating.

The book contains a lot of his photos, and a number by other people that show him. They're reproduced adequately on the ordinary printing paper (not coated).

Moving from cargo ships to the navy for him involved serving as a seaman for a while, before being sent to the various officer training courses. But it took months, not years, to get there. They seem not to have told him in advance what the path was going to be, and he was a bit shocked sometimes but sucked it up.

Submarines tend more than surface ships to being completely destroyed when they lose a fight (often collapsed by depth-charges while submerged). He mentions the losses of a lot of subs with people he knew on them; often he has managed to find out what ship sank them, even, but still it's largely "lost with all hands".

He seems to have been the sort of officer that higher-ups noticed and remembered.

It's quite focused on his sea-faring and naval careers, but that does lead to one shock at the end. He has retired to Florida with his second wife—and a first wife never appeared in the book. There was mention of his nearly getting engaged on leave once, and mention of an American girlfriend before the war (and, later, of her writing that she was engaged to someone else).

Rather more than I can for some groups, I kind of believe him when he says that the navy people operating in the far east didn't know about the death camps during the war (and were shocked when they found out). He did get home more than once during the war, and visited his family and hometown, though, so he wasn't that thorougly isolated (committing things against the regime to paper does seem like a poor risk). He sounds like a German patriot caught up in things, and less and less enamored of Hitler's regime, but of course this was written long after the fact.


[dd-b] [dd-b's books] [book log] [RSS] [sf] [mystery] [childhood] [nonfiction]
[dd-b] [site status] [pit]

David Dyer-Bennet