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S.S WILHELM GUSTOFF - RUSSIAN WWII SUB S-13

Place for general submarine conversation

Postby Ron » Thu Apr 24, 2003 4:19 pm

Hello all,

While surfing the web for submarine information I ran into information on the sinking of the ship SS Wilhelm Gustoff. I was a bit surprised that this was the largest loss of life in a maritime disaster and has had very little press related to it.
The submarine responsible for the sinking was the Russian S-13, which I believe was a type XXI. Has anyone researched this incident? Also is anyone aware of english books on the topic. There appears to be agreat deal of mystery related to the sub and ship.

Ron
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Postby Jim Kerswell » Fri Apr 25, 2003 3:03 pm

Ron,

The first book, in English, to come out about this tragedy was printed about 20 years ago. It has the appropriate title Cruelest Night, and was written by Christopher Dobson. If you are interested in pursuing this subject you will probably have to get this book from your library or a used book dealer.

Another couple of books are currently available: The Damned Don't Drown, written by Arthur Sellwood, and printed by the U.S. Naval Institute Press, and Crabwalk. The latter has recently been in the literary news as it was written by the well-known German author, Gunter Grass.
It is actually a novel in which the protagonist is a survivor of the event.

By the way, I am surprised that no one else has responded to your comment regarding the type of submarine the S-13 was. While the Soviets operated some Type XXI's that they received as war prizes, either in complete or component form, this was after WWII. The Type XXI was a late-war German development, so the Soviet S-13 was no relation to it.

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