LONE WOLF by Timothy P. Mulligan


The Life and Death of U-Boat Ace Werner Henke
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 The riveting, resonant tale of an outsider who achieved success as a U-boat skipper in WW II Germany's Kriegsmarine--and met a unique fate on dry land far from home. Drawing on contemporary documents and interviews with his subject's surviving shipmates, naval archivist Mulligan offers a vividly detailed account of a renegade whose career belied the stereotypically barbaric image of unterseeboote commanders. Born in 1909, Werner Henke moved west in 1920 to a suburb of Hamburg when the Versailles Treaty ceded Poland a corridor to the Baltic, expropriating his family's property. Having joined the merchant marine in 1925, he switched to the regular navy ten years later in the wake of Hitler's decision to rearm the Third Reich. Though frequently at loggerheads with superiors and Gestapo officials, Henke was named master of U-515 early in 1942--and proved a happy choice for the Nazi war machine. On six patrols, his sub sank two dozen Allied vessels, ranking Henke 14th on the list of U-boat aces and top among those who operated after Allied hunter-killer teams began to turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic. With an assist from Ultra intelligence intercepts, a US task force sent U- 515 to the bottom offshore Spain on Easter Sunday 1944, taking its captain and most of the crew prisoner. Under interrogation, Henke was led to believe that he would be returned to England for trial on trumped-up atrocity charges. Apparently determined to stay out of British hands, he made a suicidal escape attempt and was gunned down on the wire at Fort Hunt, a secret POW center near Washington, D.C. In recounting the twisty path taken by one casualty of a global conflict, Mulligan sheds considerable light on the tactics and technology employed by a loathsome regime's silent service. Military history, then, of a high--if circumscribed--order. (Photos and schematics)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-275-93677-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Praeger
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993


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