U-Boots' Escape by M Borowiak and P Wytykowski

U-Boots' Escape by M Borowiak and P Wytykowski

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4
This is principally the sagas of U-530 and U-977, both of which perfidiously ignored the German surrender and escaped to Argentina in 1945 - no mean feat, particularly in the case of the cranky U-977 - and which and whose crews were nevertheless handed over to the US fairly soon after arrival. Included is the story of the minelayer and transport U-234 which was intended to take to Japan all manner of key raw material and personnel but which honoured the surrender. It is nice to think that its cargo of U235 may have been eventually delivered to Japan by air.

The key elements are topped and tailed in two ways, firstly with the war stories of these particular boats and also with various narratives of other boats which mostly came deservedly to grief. The whole bespeaks meticulous research in UK, the US, Germany and Argentina, where with the passage of time, or under contemporary expediency, or ordinary weeding, much direct evidence is no longer available, and an exhaustive trawl through dozens of published works and internet leads, many of the former of which are blatantly fictional. The task the authors set themselves was to clean up the rumours about senior Nazis, even including Hitler, escaping to Argentina and its established German community by submarine. There is a smidgin of circumstantial, but no definitive evidence for this and the water is muddied by the very large numbers who got there more conventionally, aided by various organisations in Europe, including the pro-Nazi Vatican who provided false id and passports etc. Nevertheless the authors have left us some tantalising 'ifs'.

The text is in sore need of better editing, to improve the logical flow within paragraphs and to eliminate repetitions. I am unsure whether this is an original English narrative by the Polish authors, in which case I should tread lightly as the reader should be grateful enough for their fluency in German when handling material in that language, or is a translation of poor quality. The use throughout of 'U-Boot' suggests the former. I found it depressing that the authors seem to have gone native and seem to have an indefensible sympathy for the Nazi U-boat crews.

The jury is still out, I think, on the whole subject and the authors seem to admit, very honestly, that this may be the case except for the absurd invented involvement of Adolf and his Eva. Nevertheless this is a fascinating omnium gatherum into the whole subject.

For U-977, see https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/reviews/u-boat-977.860/

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