Disguised German Raiders of World War II
By Stephen Robinson
Published by Exisle Publishing
RRP $39.99 on hardback
PRE-ORDER: This book is due for release in early August 2016 – you can pre-order your copy from this link: http://www.exislepublishing.com.au/False-Flags.html
In 1940 the raiders Orion, Komet, Pinguin and Kormoran left Germany on a mission to attack the British Empire’s maritime trade on a global scale. The four raiders voyaged across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans as well as the Arctic and Antarctic, with clandestine support from the Soviet and Japanese navies. They sank or captured 62 ships in what is now an often forgotten naval war.
The Orion and Komet terrorised the South Pacific and New Zealand waters before Pearl Harbour at a time when the war was supposed to be far away.
The Pinguin sank numerous Allied merchant ships in the Indian Ocean before mining the approaches to Australian ports and capturing the Norwegian whaling fleet in Antarctica.
The Kormoran, perhaps the best known of the raiders to contemporary readers, raided the Atlantic but will always be remembered for sinking the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney off Western Australia, killing all 645 sailors on board in tragic circumstances.
The author Stephen Robinson, who studied Asian history and politics at university, undertook extensive research for this book in the German, British, Australian and New Zealand naval records. He uncovered never-before-accessed eyewitness accounts and declassified intelligence reports, which have helped him piece together this epic story.
This short YouTube video gives some insight into how the ships disguised their armaments and how they repeatedly changed their appearances to fool Allied ship captains.
This is a fascinating book. The story is well supported by historic photographs, maps and the use of eyewitness reports. Many of the crews and passengers of the ships targeted by the raiders ended up as prisoners of war, while others were set adrift in life rafts.
This book is fascinating too for the insight it gives us into the efforts by the RNZN and the RAN to protect home waters. It wasn’t just the threat of the raiders, of course, but the problem of the minefields they laid that posed an additional hazard to shipping.
The last word on this book should go to the highly-respected historian Professor Peter Stanley who believes this book ‘works superbly on all levels – giving both the admiralties’ ocean-wide perspectives, as well as insight into the minds of the captains of the ships involved.’