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The Last Raider by Douglas Reeman

The Last Raider (1963)

by Douglas Reeman

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In December 1917 the German ship Vulcan leaves Kiel harbour. By all appearances she is a harmless merchant vessel but she is armed with hidden guns and torpedoes which are intended to attack allied merchant shipping thus causing chaos to their supply lines in the hope that it will release the grip of the ring of ships that keeps the German Navy in port.

In many ways this is a typical Reeman book, we have a courageous Captain who is damaged by both personal events outside the War and battles with authority who is given a hopeless task in an inadequate ship who meets a woman, falls in love and succeeds against all the odds. However, given the fact that the book is written about a German ship gives it a little more oomph IMHO.

Firstly most people believe that there were only two Naval battles during WWI,Falklands and Jutland, and that submarine warfare was a WWII phenomenon when in fact they were first used in this conflict. Also people do not realize that there were many other instances of both sides trying to cut the others supply lines. Also the fact that this book is based so late within the conflict we get an idea of how the German armed forces, Navy in particular, and its people were still struggling on despite knowing that defeat was almost inevitable,even whilst those in authority continued to delude themselves despite the fact the country had lost virtually all its allies .

As usual Reeman paints a vivid picture of life at sea on a warship and the hardships and privations ships' crews faced and the action is largely unrelenting. I felt that the ending was inevitable but good all the same which all in all raises this book above many of Reeman's other books. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jan 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0515057304, Mass Market Paperback)

A historical novel first published in 1976, opening in December 1917, when Germany opens the final, bitter round of war with a new and deadly weapon in the struggle for the seas. The Vulcan is a commerce raider, and under crack commander Felix von Steiger her mission is to bring chaos to the seaways.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:46 -0400)

The last German commerce raider Vulkan, under the command of Felix von Steiger, sailed from Kiel in December, 1917 to destroy every ship and cargo going to Germany's enemies.

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