Kriegsmarine Merchant Ships Identification Book - U-680

Kriegsmarine Merchant Ships Identification Book - U-680

Code: 56354


An impressive and perhaps unique survivor of Operation Deadlight and U-680, this British 1940 copy of The Merchant Navy companion volume to "Janes Fighting Ships," was once in the Kriegsmarinewerft – Kiel Schiffbucherlager  (Kriegsmarine shipyard - Kiel ship book storage) with inventory number 612 and was later transferred to U-680 for use at sea.

One of the scarcer wartime issue copies in its own right, in fact, the first issued during the war, how it fell into the hands of the Kriegsmarine is unknown, perhaps an early war prize from some unfortunate victim or simply collected from one of the overrun ports. It contains 874 pages and covers Merchant ships of each nation, with data and a black and white silhouette drawing in many cases, flags of the nations, funnel recognition, list of companies and a mass of further information. The hard covers are removable for amendments.

Weighing nearly 3kgs and measuring 300mm x 215mm the book is in very good condition generally but with some water damage and loss to the paper of the first few pages in the bottom right hand corner.

The most important aspect of the book is of course the official stamp on page two where it is signed off as appropriated to  Kommando U-680

U-680 was a Type VIIC U-boat and was laid down on 12 October 1942 at the Howaldtswerke yard at Hamburg, launched on 20 November 1943, and commissioned on 23 December 1943 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Max Ulber.

Attached to 31st U-boat Flotilla  at Kiel, U-680 completed her training period on 31 July 1944 and was assigned to front-line service. She surrendered in Denmark on 5 May 1945 and was sunk on 28 December 1945 as part of Operation Deadlight in position 55°24′N 6°29′W (West of Scotland) by artillery fire from HMS Onslaught.

One of many U- Boats sunk in Operation Deadlight, the boats were a goldmine for souvenir hunters while docked in Scotland and Northern Ireland and this is no doubt where the book was liberated.