Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

U-Boat Fact File

Detailed Service Histories of the Submarines Operated by the Kriegsmarine 1935-1945

Sharpe, Peter

1988, Midland Publishing Limited
ISBN 1857800729
217 pages

Type. Historical research
Pros. Very detailed and comprehensive
Cons. A number of successes bugs

This is a very ambitious work attempting to provide a complete profile for each U-boat before and during the war. Each U-boat is given a profile which is similar to the one we have here on (see U-99 for example) except in different layout and includes the ships sunk by each boat and some additional notes (damages etc.)

There are several appendixes; the first one is on U-boat types, the second is on the Knights Cross winners, the third is on the Milk Cow refueling patrols, one explains the Kriegsmarine map System and one deals with Operation Deadlight. Finally there is a list of all U-boats not completed.

The biggest potential problem with this book is that the main source for the U-boat successes is faulty, including many mistakes. (This same source was the basis for but we have fixed a number of things with more to come). We here have high hopes on the 3rd volume of the Der U-Boot Krieg that should be printed this fall to correct most of those mistakes. The problem here is that nowhere else in print at this time is a better source for successes.

Despite this potential problem (most of the info on successes is of course correct but not all of it) this is an excellent single-volume book for fast lookup into the U-boats by number. This is the sort of book I wished I had when I started my own research and even today this is useful to me.

The notes accompanying each boat are especially useful as they explain things such as why was this boat 6 months in port between patrols and such items. They show if the boat participated in a wolf pack and when the boat was fitted with a Schnorchel.

This book is highly recommended despite the success bugs.

You can order this book through Midland Counties Publications
via Fax (+44) 1455 233 737. phone (+44) 1455 233 747 or e-mail at

During the time since the review was written (30 August, 1998) we've uncovered many errors in this book. These errors and omissions are in the patrol data, commander names, successes and sometimes in the fates themselves. We'll contact the publisher with the stuff we've found should there be a second printing of this book. The book is nonetheless a good book for a quick look, you should double-check against other sources if possible should you be doing serious research.

Review written by GuĂ°mundur Helgason.

Published on 25 Dec 1998.

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