Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
This is far from any comprehensive list, and does not strictly come within the criteria of 'classic dive books' - but I am interested in the subject
and many ships were lost due to the action of the Kormoran, Wolf, Moewe, and Seeadler amongst others. The page was inspired by the recently released book 'The Wolf' by Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen. There is no doubt that this book will become a classic military and naval history as it is superbly researched and written. It encouraged me to find other books on the 'Wolf' and other raiders.
I have a tenuous connection the famous German raider captain Count Felix Von Lucker, who befriended my grandfather when he came to Australia in 1938. The flambuoyant count was well respected for his compassion toward his 'victims' and it is said that he never took a life when he roamed the Pacific in his motorised heavily-armed yacht the Seeadler. Likewise, Kapitan Karl Nerger of the Wolf expressed a level of compassion to the crew and passengers of the vessels he took, and sunk, but lives were lost. Nerger was lauded for his achievements on his return to Germany, but only for a short time, and he soon left the German Navy and joined the merchant service, fading somewhat into obscurity. But then, he was of peasant stock, whereas Von Luckner was of the German nobility, and he became exceptionally well known throughout the world. There have been several books written on both of these captains, and their exploits, but none better than the recent book by Guilliatt and Hohnen, although Lowell Thomas' book The Sea Devil, on (or rather, by) Von Luckner, was a world best seller in its time.
My grandafther was a rather famous chef, Swiss by birth and nature, and came to Australia in 1926, settling in Melbourne. He had previosuly worked as chef at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, his own hotel in Interlarken in Switzerland, headed up the catering for one of the British railways, and was actually signed up to be chef in one of the restaurants on the Titanic. Two days before the Titanic sailed, 'Pop' transfered to the Baltic. He was nearing retirement as chef at the Hotel Alexander in Melbourne in 1938 when he was called on to prepare a magificent banquet for Von Luckner, hosted by the Victorian government. I have a signed and annotated photograph of Von Luckner dedicated to my grandfather.
|FIVE MONTHS ON A GERMAN RAIDER
Being the Adventures of an Englishman Captured by the "Wolf".
F.G.Trayes, formerly Principal of the Royal Normal College, Bangkok, Siam.
Headley Bros. Publishers, Ltd. 72 Oxford Street, (London). March 1919. Hardcover, cloth-covered boards probably no dustjackeet, 187 pages, two photographs.
Also have listed Robert M. McBride and Co., 152pp, 1918. Hardcover.
Also print-on-demand book produced in the US, Dodo Press.
The author, Dr Frederick Trayes, was returning to London from Siam on board the 6557-ton Japanese Mail ship Hitachi Maru, when he was captured by the Wolf on 26 September 1917. He was imprisoned on the Wolf and later on the captured Spanish ship Igotz Mendi, which was not sunk, and made it to Denmark where he was liberated with several other imprisoned passengers. It is well that he wrote this book soon after the end of the war as he died in 1932. He is mentioned many times in the Guilliatt and Hohnen book (above); I get the impression (from Wolf by Guilliatt and Hohnen) that Trayes may have been rather 'picturesque' in his descriptions of the action and life on board - I have not read the book as yet so reserve judgement. But it is one of the first 'memoir' to be written by anyone on the Wolf, and is thus a very important historical record. [ps]
available - do
you have one?.
|GERMAN RAIDERS: A HISTORY OF AUXILIARY
CRUISERS OF THE GERMAN NAVY 1895-1945.
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA. 1979.
|GERMAN RAIDERS OF THE SOUTH SEAS
German Raiders of the South Seas
The Naval Threat to Australia/New Zealand1914-17.
Doubleday Australia, Sydney, 1985. Hardcover. First Edition. 208pp. Numerous b/w photographs, maps.
[Looks like Karl Nerger on the cover]
|OUT OF AN OLD SEA CHEST
Felix Count Von Luckner.
English edition: Methuen & Co., London. 1958.
First published with the title Aus Siebzig Lebensjahren, by Koehlers Verlagsgesellshaft, In Germany, in 1955. English edition translater by Edward Fitzgerald.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 222 pages, nine mono photographs, no index.
Von Luckner was, of course, the master of the German raider Seeadler during World War 1. His biography of that time is documented for posterity in the famous book ‘The Sea Devil' by Lowell Thomas. ‘The Count' was a remarkable compassionate man, and we get this impression from the Lowell Thomas book. This autobiography will continue that impression, although I have little respect for anyone who like to kill game under the guise of being a ‘sportsman'. From the fly: "The author is an excellent raconteur and this book is full of amusing annecdotes. After the First World War he travelled all over the world with his wife (Ingeborg) in his own sailing ship, giving lectures and winning understanding for his country from its erstwhile enemies, particularly in America where he has many friends. Through good times and bad, Count Luckner has always got the best out of life, so that now he remembers even his difficulties with humour and gratitude." It was on a world trip in 1938 that my grandfather met von Luckner and played a significant role in his government reception in Melbourne. This autobiography commences with the young Count running away from home to go to sea, through his early training before the mast, the war years, and subsequent life. What a remarkable life he led. [ps]
did it have one?
|PRISONER OF THE 'KORMORAN'
W.A. Jones' Amazing Experiences on the German Riader Kormoran and as a Prisoner of War in Germany.
(Written by) James Taylor (who also wrote the acclaimed Gold from the Sea, and Spoils From the Sea).
Australasian Publishing Co, Sydney, 1944. Hardcover, no dustjacket my copy Probably did not have a dust jacket. 318 pages, no idex, a few mono photos but surprisingly, none of the Kormoran. Writtem in the first person of W.A.Jones.
This is the well known raider which sank HMAS Sydney in November 1941 off the WA coast. The Kormoran was also lost. Both ships were located in 1958.
I have not read this book, but I gather Jones was on board the SS Mareeba when captured.
available - do
|RAIDER WOLF - THE VOYAGE OF CAPTAIN NERGER,
Edwin P. Hoyt.
US Edition: Pinnacle Books, New York 1974.
US Edition: Paul S. Erikson Inc., New York. 1974. Hardcover, dustjacket. Claimed as the first US edition.
British edition: Arthur Barker. London. 1974. 1st Ed. 150 pp. Hard cover, dustjacket.
The Voyage of Captain Nerger, 1916-1918, fifteen month cruise of the Wolf during which she sank 135,000 tons of Allied shipping. Mine laying off Cape Howe, Cape Maria Van Diemen & Cape Farewell. Hoyt is a well-known and respected military writer.
See paperback 'Sea Eagle' below.
Tandem, London, 1976. ISBN Number: 0426170210 / 9780426170211
Mass Market Paperback
"The Armed German Windjammer which Created a World War 2 Legend."
The story of the sail-rigged raider of WWI commanded by Count Von Luckner, in WWI, named the Seeadler - menaing Sea Eagle.
This could be the identical book to Hoyt's 'Raider Wolf' - see above.
available - do
you have one?.
Karl Nerger. August Scherl, Berlin, 1918. Translated from the manuscript from the British Admiralty archives, GTO Publisher, Auckland, 2000.
The author was the captain of the German raider Wolf during World War 1. Nerger is the 'star feature' in the Guilliatt and Hohnen book of similar name.
available - do
you have one?.
|TEN MONTHS IN A GERMAN RAIDER
John Stanley Cameron.
George H. Doran & Co, New York. 1918.
The author was skipper of the three-masted barque Beluga, sailing from the USA to Australiaa with his family, when the vessel was captured and sunk in the Pacific. Cameron and his family spent ten months on the raider 'Wolf', before being imprisoned in an internment camp in Germany. He is quoted extensively in the Guilliatt and Hohnen book.
available - do
you have one?.
|THE AMAZING CRUISE OF THE GERMAN RAIDER 'WOLF'
From the Log of Captain Donaldson s.s. "Matunga"
Sydney. New Century Press. 1941. 156pp. 8vo
Also have listed: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall.
"Follows the daring and aggressive mine-laying by theGerman auxiliary cruiser-raider 'Wolf' in WW1 which lead to a number of Australian cargo ships being destroyed and people killed. "
available - do
you have one?.
|THE BLACK SHIP: WAR AND COMMERCE-RAIDING
ON THE AUXILIARY CRUISER 'WOLF'.
Union Deutsche Berlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart, Germany, 1921.
The author was gunnery lieutenant on board the German raider 'Wolf'.
|THE CRUISE OF THE RAIDER 'WOLF'
First edition: Angus & Robertson Limited, Sydney and London, 1939. Hardcover, dust jacket, 334 pages, no index, no photographs.
Later edition: Angus & Robertson Limited, Sydney and London, 1941. Hardcover, pictorial boards, 283 pages, no index, no photographs.
Both editions provide list of vessels captured with brief details of each, and fold-out chart of the cruise of the Wolf. Includes a chapter on Felix Von Luckner and the Seeadler.
Also: Yale University Press, New Haven, (USA), 1939.
Also: Published by CAPE in 1939, 316 pages, hardback (no D/J),
Also: Noontide Press, 1991. Hardcover, dust jacket
This is a very personal account from one of the imprisoned merchant crew.
"Roy Alexander, wireless operator in a New Zealand-San Francisco ship which the Wolf sank, was imprisoned in her and was able to observe her extraordinary feats from close quarters. The capturing and sinking of ship-after ship; the nerve-racking suspense of mine-laying; the daring of the Wolf's seaplane officer; the courage and skill of Captain Nerger, who took his ship out and back through the Allied blockade, and evaded all the warships that were chasing him; the horrors of the hold, in which several hundred scurvy-ridden prisoners lived, and the final triumph of the return to Kiel are features of a remarkable story of adventure."
Alexander is quoted many times throughout the book Wolf by Guilliatt and Hohnen (see above).
Furrher comment from the blurb: Of all the German raiders that preyed on Allied and neutral shipping in the Great War, the Wolf had one of the most spectacular careers, though she has not received the notoriety of ships like the Emden and the Seeadler. She left Germany in November 1916, returning in February 1918. She cruised 64,000 miles and sank, by gunfire, mine, and bomb, 135,000 tons of shipping. The raider's course took her all over the Eastern seas. [ps]
|THE KAISER'S COOLIES
German edition: 'Des Kaisers Kulis'.
US Edition: Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1931. Hardcover, cloth-covered boards, presume no dust-jacket, 308 pages, no index, no photographs. (Cover, left, red)[ps]
British edition: Faber & Faber, London, 1932. Hardcover, 1st Eng. Ed., 332pp
Recent edition: Howard Fertig, 1988. Hardcover, ISBN 0865273782
Translated from Des Kaisers Kulis., by Margaret Green.
"Graphic account of service in the ranks of the German navy." The author was an outspoken merchant seaman on the German raider Wolf; in his later career he became one of Germany's most outspoken communist writer-agitators. I havn't read ther book as yet but it does appear fascinating, with much more content than just the Wolf cruise. Guilliatt anmd Hohnen write: "His scalding memor, Des Kaisers Kulis, portrayewd the officers' mess of a German warship as a grotesque circusa wher3e 'ssuper-abundance and ostentation prevailed, whilst predujice and class arrogance paraded themselves... Every gathering and every banquet was unutterably stupid' ". Indeed, he wrote of Fritz Witchetzky (see below, The Black Ship), as one who perfectly epitomised the 'smooth-faced' asses who rose through the ranks of the Kaiserliche Marine. Plivier described his captain on the Wolf, Karl Nergeer, as 'the lonliest man on board', which indeed he was. Theodire Plivier is extensively quoted, from The Kaiser's Coolies, by Guilliatt aand Hohnen in 'Wolf'.
available - do
you have one?.
|THE KAISERS PIRATES
Arms and Armour Press, London, 1994.
Weidenfeld Military, 1994.
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA, 1994. Hardcover, 4to-over 9¾"-12" tall, black cloth boards, 192 pgs. b&w photo illus.
An illustrated history of one of the most dramatic periods of naval warfare, this text tells the story of the warships and armed merchant cruisers of the German Fleet, whose operations during World War I involved sea chases and battles in every ocean of the world.
|THE LAST GENTLEMAN OF WAR.
The Raider Exploits of the Cruiser Emden.
R.K.Lochner, Thea Lindauer (Translator), Harry Lindauer (Translator).
Naval Institute Press - hardcover 1988; softcover 2002.
|THE SEA DEVIL.
The Story of Count Felix von Luckner, the German War Raider.
William Heinemann Ltd., First published March 1928. Many editions and reprints until at least May 1940, perhaps beyond. 'Cheap edition', January 1930.
Hardcover, 308 pages, 22 interesting photographs, although of rather small size. I have never seen a dust jacket for this book - was there one?
This really is a classic, a delight to read, although some may find the prose annoying at times. However, it certainly gives you a great impression of 'the Sea Devil', who, it is claimed, never took a life during his raiding voyages on the Atlantic and the Pacific in the sailing ship Seeadler in 1917 and 1918. The first chapter is written in forst person by the author, sort of an introduction to von Luckner. From then, it is von Luckner in first person telling his tale. And what an interesting tale it is, by jove!! His title was genuine, coming ftom a high-ranking aristocratic family. He did not exactly run away from home, but he followed his passion on the sea, and like the dreams of so many boys of becoming a pirate, actually did realise this childish dream by becoming a 'pirate' raider for Imperial German Navy, using a three-master sailing ship as his weapon of force - an auxiliarry sailing ship with an oil driven motor and armed to the teeth. Von LUckner used cunning to capture his prizes, and although he did fire upon and strike several ships, there is no record of his killing anyone - so the record goes. I find the man fascinating moreso because I have a signed and photo of the man in my office, dedicated to my grandfather whom he knew when he visited Melbourne in 1938 (see photo above). It is necessary to accept the circumstances of events that The Count describes in the book, otherwise you would need to doubt every word, which would significantly detract from the enjoyment of reading it. But it would be interesting for someone to write an independant biography of the man. Interestingly, there are near a dozen books published on the exploits of the raider 'Wolf', but a dearth on that of the Seeadler. Whereas Nerger of theWolf was a short-lived hero when he returned to German, von Luckner, being of the aristocracy, received world-wide aclaim for his compassion at war. Yet Nerger appears to have achieved more for his country than did von Luckner. One thing I do not appreciate is von Luckner's passion for killing wild animals. How on earth can anyone get pleasure out of killing an elephant for sport - a 'brute' of an animal as he calls him. Come to think of it, I think I'll take down his photo off the office wall.
Dustjackets: No idea on origin of top image. Lower image from my copy, reprint May 1940.
|THE SEA DEVIL'S FO'C'SLE
William Heinemann Ltd, , London, 1930.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 300 pages,
The 'Sea Devil' is of course Count Felix Von Luckner - and this is an extention of his raconteur of days under sail, and later, not covered in Lowell Thomas' excellent 'The Sea Devil' above. Its interesting, easy reading. Some say the Count was full of it, or of himself, but Thomas does not give that impression. I get the impression the Count loved life, but did noit take himeslef too seriously. He did his bit for his homeland during the forst world war, and continued as an ambassador for German after the end of hostilities. He was a Nazis in the early days of the political party that now bears the responsibility of the attrocities of the second world war, but he would have renopunced them well before then. Actually, how did he meet his Maker? I must find out. [ps]
How One German Raider Terrorised Australia and trhe Southern Seas in the First World War.
Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen.
A William Heinemann book published by Random House Australia, Sydney, Australia. 2009. (The image shown is that of the paperback).
Published simultaenously in the United Kingdom by Transworld. (Presume hardcover editions were released).
My softcover edition: 365 pages, drawings, many mono photographs, index, comprehensive bibliography, detailed notes, list of crew of the Wolf and of the vessels she captured.
This is a remarkable book, exceptionally well researched and written, and despite its unfortunate theme, a delight to read. It provides not only a detailed account of the actions of the wartime raider actions of the heavily armed, merchant-disguided German ship, but also of the background to the war and the German attitude toward the use of raiders, its crew and officers not initially regarded that highly. What makes the book such an exceptional read is that it centres on the people involved - the troubled Kapitan Karl Nerger and his even more troubled first officer, significent members of the officers and crew, and, perhaps more significantly, the daily lives and thoughts of the many crew and passengers imprisoned when their ships were ovwerhauled by the inoffensive-looking Wolf. This book is very much about people, rather than the brutality of naval action, although those seeking a greater knowledge of the first world war will not be disappointed.
From the blurb: "Sent by Germany on a suicide mission to the far side of the world; the Wolf was a formidable and ingenious commerce-raider. Her task was to inflict maximum destruction on Allied shipping using all the latest technology of warfare -:torpedoes, mines, cannons, smokescreens, wireless receivers, even a seaplane. It was an assignment so secret that she could never pull in to port or transmit any radio signal. In one continual 64,000- mile voyage lasting fifteen months, the ship caused havoc across three oceans, launched Germany's only direct attacks on Australia and New Zealand in the Great War and captured over 400 men, women and children. Surviving on fuel and food plundered from other ships, the Wolf became a world in miniature as her 350-strong crew
and their prisoners crowded together in an improbable survival story. Drawn from eyewitness accounts, declassified government files and unpublished diaries
and correspondence discovered during five years of research, this is the story of the Wolf's voyage, one of the most remarkable but least-known episodes of the First World War". [ps]
Publishers and Distributors
303 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971, Australia
Phone (03) 5182 5108 International 61 3 5182 5108
Fax (03) 5182 5823 Internationl 61 3 5182 5823
homepage, link on graphic.