Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review of The Kaiser's Pirates by Nick Hewitt

Author:  Nick Hewitt.
Title:  The Kaiser's Pirates:  Hunting Germany's Raiding Cruisers in World War I.
Publisher:  Skyhorse Publishing.
Copyright:  2014.
Pages:  238.
Price:  $25.95 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
This book is about 201 pages.  The rest is indexes.  Nick Hewitt talks about the cruiser war between Imperial Germany and Great Britain during WWI.  The German's lost most of their overseas colonies in early in the conflict.  The German cruiser raiders were in 1914 and 1915.

The Kaiser thought a strong Imperial Navy would be able to challenged the military might of Great Britain.  So the theory of 20th century naval power went.  Germany was a victim of geography.  It's ports were on the North Sea.  That meant all the British had to do was blockage the country and starve the people into submission.  That's what happened later on in the war.

However, the Germans sent out a group of aggressive sea captains to wage war on British commerce in the heady days of 1914.  The commerce raiders preyed in the South Atlantic and South Pacific.  There was also a German light cruiser causing trouble in the Bay of Bengal and Emden stuck in an  African mangrove estuary.  The book also covers the highlights of the cruiser actions at Coronel and the Falklands.

There's also some attention paid to the armed merchantmen the Germans equipped with weapons, too.  After reading A Naval History of World War I, I found this book more enjoyable and easier to peruse than the encyclopedic campaign histories on different oceans.  Recommended.

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