The Grey Wolves of Eriboll

By David M. Hird

Format: Multiple Formats

The first detailed investigation which reveals Loch Eriboll's pivotal role in the surrender of German U-boats to northern Scotland in May, 1945. Enriched with personal recollections of combatants and also by defeated crew members.

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Whittles Publishing

Whittles Publishing has been established for some years but recently has expanded significantly, becoming a well-known technical publisher on a global stage. They publish quality, well-produced and attractive books and specialise in the following subjects: geomatics, civil and structural engineering and applied science. They are also developing new lists in specific disciplines including architecture and landscape, manufacturing and materials technology, fuel and energy science and geotechnics. They also publish non-technical books within the following areas: maritime, pharology, military history, nature and exploration.

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The surrender of the German U-boat fleet at the end of World War II was perhaps the principal event in the war's endgame which signified to the British people that peace really had arrived. It is little known that the majority of the surrenders of U-boats on active west-European sea patrols in May 1945 were supervised in Loch Eriboll, an isolated sea loch on Scotland's far north-westernmost coast. The U-boats were part of Hitler's plan to starve the British Isles of food, raw materials and equipment vital for the prosecution of the war - a plan that failed. With an estimated 160 U-boats on active patrol at the end of the war, it was imperative that these boats were made aware of the capitulation of German armed forces, that they accepted the surrender arrangements and then proceeded, surfaced, to designated British ports. Loch Eriboll's attraction as the reception port was its isolation and its safe, deep-water anchorage - ideal for the arrival of armed U-boats that might still be intent on one last show of defiance. News of the momentous event was heavily censored - nothing appeared in the local press.


Thirty-three U-boats, their officers and men surrendered between 10th and 22nd May 1945. The boats were arrested, boarded and disarmed; in some cases this vital exercise was completed by the simple expedient of lobbing ammunition, explosives and torpedo pistols overboard! Each U-boat has been positively identified and detailed information provided including contemporary photographs, boat or flotilla emblem, together with the coordinates of where each boat was eventually destroyed in the north Atlantic. However, not all were destroyed by the Allies, some were retained by the British, American, Russian or French navies as spoils of war but the vast majority were lost accidentally or scrapped with the passage of time. The Grey Wolves of Eriboll includes a wealth of historical insights including the German Surrender Document; detailed descriptions of the construction, service careers and circumstances of each surrendered U-boat; details of the frigates that supervised the surrenders; Operation Deadlight (a hasty plan to ensure the U-boats could not again be used aggressively) and contemporary newspaper reports.


The pivotal role played by Loch Eriboll in ending the U-boat menace is little-known and lesser celebrated - this book rights that wrong.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Whittles Publishing
Publication Date 30 Nov 2016
SKU 9781849951654-grouped

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Press Reviews

'The author has assembled a fascinating amount of 'personal recollections' from bith German and Allied people, he looks at the naval escorts involved - 21st Escort Group and the 9th Canadian Escort Group and details every U-boat that visited Loch Eriboll. Most fascinating is the author's selection of 'contemporary information' in the form of extracts from how 'The Scotsman' newspaper saw it. An excellent book covering a significant naval event in the immediate days following the ending of combat against Nazi Germany.' Warships '...well researched book... ...this fascinating book describes how the surrender of the U boat fleet was put in place...' Ships Monthly '...well researched, fact filled and eminently readable account of this mass surrender... David Hird's excellent book highlights a little known period at the end of the war when the "Grey Wolves" were temporary visitors. It comes highly recommended.' The Northern Times '...a highly readable narrative. ... Hird is proving to be an excellent chronicler of modern history of Sutherland and this book is a welcome addition to the literature of the area.' Am Bratach 'This is a book for the U-boat war aficionado. There are inclusions throughout of unusual detail, such as the actual messages exchanged between Donitz and his vanquished boats - - The Grey Wolves of Eriboll offers an interesting view of a brief moment at the end of a long struggle - ' The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord ' - a specialist book for enthusiasts who wish to follow the story of the German submarine fleet to its end in May 1945. In particular, it gives the details of the 33 U-boats that surrendered at Loch Eriboll - ' The Nautical Magazine ' - Containing a wealth of information, the author has clearly meticulously researched hiw work. Historical insights are littered throughout and include the German Surrender Document; detailed descriptions of the construction, service careers and circumstances of each surrendered U-boat - A fascinating read.' Sea Breezes ' - covers the surrender of some 160 German U-boats on active patrol in the North Atlantic in May 1945. - lists and details of each U-boat there are however, diary extracts which underline the extreme bravery and privation endured by the U-boat crews.' The Little Ship

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