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Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505 [Hardcover]

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Item description for Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505 by Hans Jacob Goebeler...

Hans Goebeler is known as the man who "pulled the plug" on U-505 in 1944 to keep his beloved U-boat out of Allied hands. Steel Boat, Iron Hearts is his no-holds-barred account of service aboard a combat U-boat. It is the only full-length memoir of its kind, and Goebeler was aboard for every one of U-505's war patrols.

Using his own experiences, log books, and correspondence with other U-boat crewmen, Goebeler offers rich and very personal details about what life was like in the German Navy under Hitler. Because his first and last posting was to U-505, Goebeler's perspective of the crew, commanders, and war patrols paints a vivid and complete portrait unlike any other to come out of the Kriegsmarine. He witnessed it all: from deadly sabotage efforts that almost sunk the boat to the tragic suicide of the only U-boat commander who took his life during WWII; from the terror and exhilaration of hunting the enemy, to the seedy brothels of France. The vivid, honest, and smooth-flowing prose calls it like it was and pulls no punches.

U-505 was captured by Captain Dan Gallery's Guadalcanal Task Group 22.3 on June 4, 1944. Trapped by this "Hunter-Killer" group, U-505 was depth-charged to the surface, strafed by machine gun fire, and boarded. It was the first ship captured at sea since the War of 1812! Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour U-505 each year at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Included a special Introduction by Keith Gill, Curator of U-505, Museum of Science and Industry.

About the Authors: Hans Jacob Goebeler served as control room mate aboard U-505. He died in 1999. John P. Vanzo is a former defense program analyst. He teaches political science and geography at Bainbridge College in Georgia.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 20, 2004
Publisher   Savas Beatie
ISBN  1932714073  
ISBN13  9781932714074  

Availability  0 units.

More About Hans Jacob Goebeler

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hans Jacob Goebeler was born in 1923 and died in 1999.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Germany > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > Naval
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > Personal Narratives

Reviews - What do customers think about Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505?

Steel Boat, Iron Hearts:  Jul 15, 2006
Wonderful book full of history that we should all know. Enjoyed reading this book.
Life on a Uboat  Mar 25, 2005
This is an excellent book written in great detail by a man who served as a enlisted sailor in WWII. Not only does he decribe the boat but also his life and thoughts about the war. He takes you from training to the boats capture to the release from the POW camp. Very easy to read, you will not want to put this one down.
Steel Boat, Iron Hearts  Feb 22, 2005
I have read many many submarine books. I rate this one as one of the best of the best.

Writen from a crew member's perspective who served under three different commanders about life as a U-boat crewmen.

The writer pulls no punches when talking about fighting for Nazi Germany. Why and how he felt about Hitler. Lots of in debth detail about life on shore leave including the details about the night life ... and all the details with whores, French countrymen, French resistence, Army Core and what it was like during the air raids of their sub pens. Not to mention the war patrols and being captured.

A real, no BS account from the sounds of it. Absolutely loved it.
An incredible personal journey.  Feb 18, 2005
During WW2, this author completed every single war patrol aboard the German submarine U-505. Towards the end of the war it was the author himself - as a very junior crewman, who had the final task of trying to sink his U-Boat after it had been forced to the surface by enemy fire. It was a gallant attempt that was thwarted only by an equally gallant American Navy which finally captured the submarine intact - complete with all it's operational codes.

In 1954, Han Goebeler read an article which informed him his beloved U-Boat was now part of an exhibition in Chicago and promptly moved with his wife to be near the machine that once meant so much to him. It wasn't long before he would be found giving personal talks to visitors. Over the years he also brought former adversaries together in reunions.

This book is his story. From those early beginnings in the Kriegsmarine until his death in 1999, he recalls just about everything that ever happened to him. He was not a Nazi, nor was he a demon or monster - just an ordinary man who was called upon to serve his country as did what any of us would do - he served. It is a moving story in which the reader will soon become gripped by the reality of life - and death!, on board a German U-Boat at time of war - although there is much to it than just that.

Rest in Peace Hans Goebeler - you earned it.


U-505 brought to life by a former crewmember  Feb 12, 2005
German vessels like the U-505 were not true submarines but were what the author calls, "submersibles" because they were designed more as surface ships capable of submerging for several hours when necessary. That fact figures prominently in Hans Goebeler's fascinating account of what life aboard a German U-Boat was like. Throughout the book you never forget that he was an enemy sailor doing his duty to try to sink Allied ships but he is a sympathetic character in that the reader will be able to readily identify with him and will consider what he would have done had he been born in Germany at that time.

U-505 experienced a lot prior to her capture by then-Captain Dan Gallery's task force of destroyer escorts and we learn of it all through the eyes of a nineteen-year old sailor whose affection for his boat nearly all of us can understand. He does not try to paint himself as a better man than he really was, and relates his life as he lived it, warts and all.

After he retired, Goebeler moved with his wife to Chicago to be near the U-505, now a museum ship at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He conducted many reunions, both of German submarine veterans and of the ships that participated in the capture and many where the former enemies attended together. Goebeler died in 1999 before his book was published but his collaborator, John Vanzo, a professor of political science and geography at Bainbridge College in Bainbridge, Georgia has done an excellent job of bringing it to life for the reader. This is a very good book and I recommend it highly.


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