A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2015 May 2, 13:16 -0700
After earlier recommendations, and partly to compare with the TV adaptations, I’ve almost finished reading ‘Das Boot’, and I’m intrigued at what seem to be the similarities between Kriechbaum the Navigator and the ‘Master’ in the 18th century Royal Navy. Kriechbaum, a warrant officer, holds one of the most important posts in the U-Boat and also has the Third Watch. In many ways he appears to maintain more of the Commander’s confidence than either the First or Second commissioned Watch Officers who presumably have also been taught to navigate. Is this situation unique to the book or was it standard? Is it because Kriechbaum’s a thoroughly reliable chap as well as being a very good navigator? Is it because Kriechbaum and the Commander are possibly both professional seamen, whereas the First and Second Watch Officers are probably wartime volunteers? Kriechbasum’s position in the vessel’s hierarchy is in many ways the same as Cook’s and Bligh’s in their early years except of course U boats don’t have sails. Perhaps our naval or historian contributors might like to comment.