Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

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Kaper
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Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Kaper » 27 Dec 2021 18:25

I'm looking to find "on deck" perspectives of the naval war in the Med region (Mediterranean, Aegean, Adriatic, etc.) from Axis or Allied enlisted sailors, not officers. I can only read accounts that are written or translated into English. I'm only interested in surface vessels, not subs. Anybody got any recommendations?

For instance, I've got a book called The War of the Motor Gun Boats: One Man's Personal War at Sea with the Coastal Forces, 1943-1945 which recounts the service of a rating on British MGBs.

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Dec 2021 22:48

Try the Imperial War Museum. This search is for Royal Navy Mediterranean https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/sear ... with-media

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by OpanaPointer » 28 Dec 2021 23:16

C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Frollo » 29 Dec 2021 00:34

OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.

Regarding accounts from the Italian side, there are quite a few, mostly written by officers, but I am fairly sure none has been translated into other languages. Since you restricted your search to enlisted men and surface warships, one would be Quelli di sottocastello by Alessandro Caldara, who spent most of the war on the destroyers Dardo and Freccia, escorting convoys between Italy and North Africa, plus a shorter period on the battleship Vittorio Veneto and training with the X MAS until the Armistice.

Another one is L'ultima torpediniera per Tunisi by Alberto Arcene (pen name of Alberto Ferrari), covering the entire life of the escort torpedo boat Tifone, on the "route of death" between Italy and Tunisia.

A third one is Un marinaio, una storia by Michele T. Mazzucato, who spent most of the war on the torpedo boat Calliope (again, mostly escorting convoys to North Africa).

And Diario di un marinaio by Guido Bellocci, who was on the destroyer Euro in the early months of the war, then on the battleship Cavour until her sinking in the Taranto raid, then briefly on the submarine Jalea and finally on the battleship Roma until her sinking, which he survived.

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Kaper » 29 Dec 2021 11:55

Sheldrake wrote:
28 Dec 2021 22:48
Hadn't thought of that, thanks.
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
Hm, I'll look into it.
Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
Italian accounts would be fascinating to read, but sadly I haven't found many in English. The only one so-far that I know is J.V. Borghese's memoir Sea Devils, but it's an officer's account and seems to focus a lot on underwater ops like frogmen and subs. I'll see if maybe any English translations exist of the sources you mentioned...

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by OpanaPointer » 29 Dec 2021 12:18

Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.
Based on your experience as an enlisted man?
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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Urmel » 29 Dec 2021 14:06

OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 12:18
Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.
Based on your experience as an enlisted man?
"The Ship" is clearly a well-done wartime propaganda effort with little relation to the operational reality of the engagement. That doesn't mean that the way the behaviour and actions of the men on board are described are without value, I would expect them to be quite correct, actually. So it depends on what the reader is after.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by OpanaPointer » 29 Dec 2021 23:32

Urmel wrote:
29 Dec 2021 14:06
OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 12:18
Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.
Based on your experience as an enlisted man?
"The Ship" is clearly a well-done wartime propaganda effort with little relation to the operational reality of the engagement. That doesn't mean that the way the behaviour and actions of the men on board are described are without value, I would expect them to be quite correct, actually. So it depends on what the reader is after.
Again, the OP asked for enlisted men's stories about the war. The "the behaviour and actions of the men on board" is what this thread is about. You're the one off the rails here.
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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Kaper » 30 Dec 2021 00:01

I am looking for the perspectives of enlisted men on the real events of the Mediterranean naval war. The book I linked in my opening post is an example of the kind of thing I'm looking for: an account of real wartime events from an enlisted sailor who experienced them firsthand.

I'm not going to comment on The Ship because I haven't read it yet.

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Urmel » 30 Dec 2021 09:49

OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 23:32
Urmel wrote:
29 Dec 2021 14:06
OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 12:18
Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.
Based on your experience as an enlisted man?
"The Ship" is clearly a well-done wartime propaganda effort with little relation to the operational reality of the engagement. That doesn't mean that the way the behaviour and actions of the men on board are described are without value, I would expect them to be quite correct, actually. So it depends on what the reader is after.
Again, the OP asked for enlisted men's stories about the war. The "the behaviour and actions of the men on board" is what this thread is about. You're the one off the rails here.
I suggest there is no point to be so angry. I am agreeing with you.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by OpanaPointer » 30 Dec 2021 13:57

I'm not angry, I'm trying to keep the thread on task.
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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Urmel » 30 Dec 2021 14:52

My post was on point. Raise it with the moderators if you disagree.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Kaper » 30 Dec 2021 15:00

Easy lads. You've both made contributions to the thread and I appreciate your inputs on that book. I'll judge for myself whether it has value toward what I'm looking for. Let's move on.

Any other suggestions?

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by Frollo » 30 Dec 2021 16:13

OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 23:32
Urmel wrote:
29 Dec 2021 14:06
OpanaPointer wrote:
29 Dec 2021 12:18
Frollo wrote:
29 Dec 2021 00:34
OpanaPointer wrote:
28 Dec 2021 23:16
C.S. Forester's The Ship rings true to this old sailor. (No, my warfare was elsewhere, but the mundane things vary little.)
It's not, not in the least. It's a work of wartime propaganda made by a professional novelist.
Based on your experience as an enlisted man?
"The Ship" is clearly a well-done wartime propaganda effort with little relation to the operational reality of the engagement. That doesn't mean that the way the behaviour and actions of the men on board are described are without value, I would expect them to be quite correct, actually. So it depends on what the reader is after.
Again, the OP asked for enlisted men's stories about the war. The "the behaviour and actions of the men on board" is what this thread is about. You're the one off the rails here.
Yeah. And The Ship is not a memoir of an enlisted man. It's a novel written by a novelist.

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Re: Accounts of the naval war from enlisted sailors (Axis or Allied)

Post by G, Y? » 30 Dec 2021 16:22

There's a book in my library about a sailor who served aboard the HMS Hawkins. He was an AA gunner and remarked that the 7.5" guns of the Hawkins deafened him.

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