The Kaiser’s Lost Kreuzer

A History of U-156 and Germany’s Long-Range Submarine Campaign Against North America, 1918


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About the Book

In the final year of World War I, Germany made its first attempt to wage submarine warfare off faraway shores. Large, long-range U-boats (short for unterseeboot or “undersea boat”) attacked Allied shipping off the coasts of the U.S., Canada and West Africa in a desperate campaign to sidestep and scatter the lethal U-boat defenses in European waters.
Commissioned in 1917, U-156 raided commerce, transported captured cargo and terrorized coastal populations from Madeira to Cape Cod. In July 1918, the USS San Diego was sunk as it headed into New York Harbor—the opening salvo in a month-long series of audacious attacks by U-156 along the North American coast. The author chronicles the campaign from the perspective of Imperial Germany for the first time in English.

About the Author(s)

Intelligence analyst Paul N. Hodos lives in Kensington, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Paul N. Hodos
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7162-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3040-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Prologue: The British Are Coming 3
1. The Blockade 9
2. The American Problem 14
3. The ­Counter-Blockade and the ­U-Kreuzers 18
4. Room 40 35
5. From Carrying Cargo to Sinking It 38
6. The Great Mirage 47
7. The ­U-boat Ace 51
8. The Trade War and the Secret War 58
9. U-Kreuzerkrieg 70
10. The Naval Officer 84
11. Targeting North America 89
12. The ­U-Kreuzer and the Armored Cruiser 105
13. The Battle Off Nauset Beach 113
14. Low Hanging Fruit 120
15. Halifax, Gateway to the East 127
16. Seiner Majestät Schiff Triumph 136
17. U-Kreuzerkrieg Amerika 147
18. Indecision, Loss and a Mystery Solved 162
Epilogue: Deadly Dreams Become Reality 174
Dramatis Personæ 181
Sites of Interest 187
Tables 189
Ships Sunk or Damaged by U-156 189  •  Specifications of
U-156 191  •  The Lost Officers of U-156’s Second Cruise 191  •  U-Kreuzer Tonnage Scores Worldwide 192  •  U-Kreuzer Tonnage Scores for the North American Raids/Campaign 192
Chapter Notes 193
Bibliography 209
Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“By choosing to build his narrative around the exploits of a single U-Kreuzer, [Hodos] caught my attention and broke through the clutter that makes choice difficult. I found his book just the right length for one long evening of careful reading”—The Lost Valley Blog