Werner Hirschmann (Author), Donald E. Graves (Author), & Timothy P. Mulligan (Foreword)
Anyone with an interest in the U-boat service of WWII will want to read this book, the record of the last three years of active service in the war, as recollected by Werner Hirschmann, a former Kriegsmarine officer. It is, as the author makes plain, not a U-boat history but an inside look at the rigorous training that officer cadets underwent prior to commissioning into the elite U-boat arm. Training alone took some two years and as an engineering officer one was entrusted with the smooth running of all mechanical and electrical systems, everything from valves and pumps, batteries and engines, bilge to control room and bridge, and all intricate functions of maintaining a U-boat under water. As outlined in the book, to earn the Master Diving Diploma and rank of Leutnant Ing. (Lt., Engineer) meant that one had successfully mastered all tests required for the safe running and diving of an unterseeboot as determined by overseeing training officers. Serving under four commanders over three years, on U-190, U-331, U-375, U-612, Hirschmann describes his survival as stemming from the level of technical training obtained at the Marineschule, Mürwik, the German Annapolis, partly luck, and the result of camaraderie and skill amongst the officers and crew on each boat.