Inscribed first edition of Auf Gefechtstationen by Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen, commander of U-Boat “U174” and “U123,” who famously brought his U-Boat within sight of New York Harbor in 1942.
Octavo, 227pp, [76pp appendix]. Illustrated boards, text in blue and yellow. Light wear to boards. Complete with 119 monochrome photographs from World War II.
This copy is inscribed by Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen in German: “Lernen wir aus der Geschichte und entscheiden dann selber. Tradition muß nicht nur bewahrt, die muß elebt werden. Reinhard Hardegen / Korv. Kapt. a.D. / Kd 147 und U123 / 10-4-84.”
Translation: “Let’s learn from history and then decide for ourselves. Tradition must not only be preserved, it must be lived. Reinhard Hardegen / Corvette Captain (ret.) / Commander “U147” and “U123″ / 10-4-84.”
Additional inscription on the dedication page from a sailor who served with Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen: “Dieses Boot U123, dessen erfolgreichster Kommandant Kptltnt Hardegen war, war 4 Jahre langmeine Heimat. W.” Translation: “This submarine U123, whose most successful commander was Captain Lieutenant Hardegen, was my home for 4 years.”
A handful of wartime publications from U-Boat commanders appeared between 1940-1943, all authorized propaganda by Joseph Goebbels, and ghostwritten by two authors. This publication by Hardegen was the last book written on the Atlantic war by a U-Boat commander during the war. This work is considered an honest assessment of wartime service, with Hardegen recording his mixed emotions of the human toll of his actions.
Hardegen died at the age of 105 in 2018, the last surviving U-Boat commander of World War II.