Last weekend I received another familiar brown envelope from Poland containing the very latest addition to Kagero’s “Super drawings in 3D” books. This edition, number 20 in the series, is aimed at the submarine enthusiasts, containing a wealth of information on the type II U-boat. The book consists of a remarkably concise summary of the 4 subtypes of this submarine, leaving a lot of research still to be done by the modeller intent on building an accurate type II. The drawings document all subtypes of the type II class of U-boat and span 75 pages. The ubiquitous black and white line drawings are also included showing the rigging in detail. 3D illustrations and text are by Waldemar Góralski, translation is by Kazimierz Zygadlo, 3D visualizations are by Piotr Forkasiewicz. The ISBN number is 978-83-62878-64-2.
My stepfather was an officer in the Dutch Royal Navy who started his career on submarines. He always considered the 3 years he spent as the CO of the Dutch submarine “Tonijn”, (Tuna, now de-commissioned and berthed at the Dutch Royal Navy museum in Den Helder), the best time at sea he ever experienced. I sailed on Dutch salvage tugs and supply vessels working for Wijsmuller and Smit-Lloyd. We used to have long discussions over a glass of Jenever on the construction and virtues of the ships we sailed on. “One of the strong points of a submarine in adverse weather is that there is not much on deck to get damaged” he used to say, “and if things get really bad you can always dive”, (he died about 6 years ago of cancer. I still miss him).
Inspecting the drawings in Kagero’s latest book illustrates my stepfather’s remark about there not being much on deck to get damaged by heavy seas. A submarine looks very simple and uncluttered compared to the surface ships that Kagero have documented up to now. I was rather curious how Kagero would be able to fill nearly 80 pages with the type II submarine. They have however chosen to chronicle all the subtypes of the II series so from that point of view the book makes sense.
The type II is a very small ship and it must have been a very uncomfortable and unpleasant vessel to sail on. It is interesting to see the way the II developed with lots of details being incorporated and tested that later made the VII class such a deadly weapon: the first “winter gartens”, (not always located where we are accustomed to seeing them), several types of jumping wires and even Kort-nozzles.
The drawings show interesting details, including the “trash-can” stowage for the 20mm on the type IIc, the Kort-nozzles on the type IId, but also some details that I have not been able to verify, (the very colourful but very Soviet-looking emergency buoys in bright red and white).
I have very mixed feelings on this latest addition to Kagero’s 3D series. The drawings are magnificent and the black and white line drawing gives just that little bit more mileage for the serious model builder. Having said that I must state that the technical summary and description of the type II class is very meagre compared to other books in this series. The fact that 4 subtypes are described in the book does not really validate the necessity to have published it. It is in my opinion an excellent book that provides a mine of information for the serious submarine enthusiast. It is most definitely a niche market item though.
Highs: Magnificent drawings, very informative for the model submarine builder, accompanied by a beautiful black and white line drawing as usual.Lows: Minimal technical detail. 77 pages of type II is a lot of type II. Verdict: This was a very tough book to review. As usual Kagero have produced a gorgeous total package documenting the type II. The technical and historical section does not do justice to the rest of the book though and could have used more research to fill it out.
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