While the role of Germany's U-boats and High Seas Fleet during World War I is well known, the exploits of the German surface raiders - auxiliary cruisers disguised as harmless merchantmen to prey on Allied shipping - are largely forgotten today. The memory of Count Felix von Luckner, the legendary "Sea Devil", still evokes faint recollection thanks to his fantastic exploits as commander of the raider Seeadler, but how many will recall that his vessel was primarily a sailing ship, fitted with auxiliary engines, and that its chief prey was other sailing ships?
No German surface raider was more successful than the storied auxiliary cruiser Wolf. Formerly the Wachtfels (5,809 tons gross, speed 11 knots), the unimposing steamer was armed with seven 5.9 guns and four torpedo tubes - and commissioned the Wolf in 1916. In November of the following year, under the command of Fregattenkapitän Karl August Nerger, the Wolf sailed from Kiel. Its destination: the South Seas; its mission: to attack Entente shipping linking England and France to their colonial empires in waters far beyond the range of German submarines, diverting enemy cruisers from the Atlantic and the North Sea, and impressing the native races with Germany's might and their colonial rulers' weakness.
For fifteen months the Wolf fought a brilliant campaign, capturing over two dozen enemy steamers, taking prisoner their experienced crews, then sending their ships to the bottom to cover its tracks, destroying 135,000 tons of enemy shipping all told. During that time the raider shunned all ports, seizing fuel and food from the ships it took on the high seas, slipping through heavily patrolled waters again and again to score victories and spread panic from New Zealand to Brazil.
Roy Alexander, author of this classic narrative of modern-day pirate warfare on the high seas, was one such prisoner. Captured aboard the British steamer Wairuna off New Zealand on June 17, 1917, Alexander, his ship's wireless operator, spent an adventurous nine months on the Wolf, as the raider sought new victims, dodged enemy cruisers, and sowed minefields in hostile waters. He chronicles, objectively and faithfully, the epic of the Wolf - its triumphs, its hairbreadth escapes, the ordeal of its scurvy-ridden prisoners and crew - in an unsurpassed, true-life tale of combat and escape across the oceans.
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Customers please note: Like all our books, these are new, never-before-read copies. However, we (Scriptorium) got these books from a supplier who had them in storage for quite some time, as a result of which they acquired a kind of "library smell" - not musty but not roses either. This has been taken into account in the price, but readers who are bothered by this kind of thing should take note!
(270 pages, 16.5 x 24 cm, hardcover with dust jacket.)