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Reading Book Guide

Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War in the Atlantic, edited by Theodore P. Savas.

Hunt and Kill offers the first definitive study of U-505. Chapters include her construction, crew and commanders, combat history, an assessment of Type IX operations, naval intelligence, the eight fatal German mistakes that doomed the ill-fated boat, her capture, and final transportation and restoration for posterity. We hope these thought-provoking questions lead to some lively book discussions.

  1. How important to winning World War II was the capture of U-505?
  2. Have you ever visited U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago? Have you seen the boat recently inside its special exhibit display hall? If so, what improvements in interpreting the boat's history affected you the most?
  3. How important is it to history and future generations to preserve important artifacts like U-505? Why?
  4. Is the renovation and presentation of U-505 a tribute to Nazis (as many thought it was/might become) in the 1950s, or an artifact that transcends its former owners to include something more meaningful and profound? Why?
  5. What mistakes did Harald Lange, the last commander of U-505, make that made escaping from Daniel Gallery's Hunter-Killer Group impossible?
  6. Some people refer to U-505 as an "unlucky" boat. However, except for one sailor, every man who served aboard U-505 in 1944 survived the war, and it is today the only Type IXC in existence in the world. Given the exceedingly heavy casualty rate in the U-boat service, is the tag "unlucky" undeserved? Was she not one of the exceedingly "lucky" boats?
  7. The Allies developed the ability to read German codes by breaking Enigma. Did this contribute significantly to winning the war? Could we have won the war without breaking Enigma?
  8. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest and one of the bloodiest campaigns in all of World War II. Can a case be made that the fighting at sea was the war's decisive campaign?
  9. What made Type IX U-boats unsuited for convoy actions? Why were Type VII boats considered more effective for pack actions?