Books by WGKM-members

Als Zeitzeuge vom Kaiserzeit zur BundesrepublikPopken

Some years ago our member Maurice Laarman was asked to assist in writing down the memories of a Kriegsmarine veteran. The result is a unique personal account of the turbulent decades of the previous century.

Helmut Popken was born in 1917. He recounts his youth in the Weimar republic, the rise of the NSDAP, his engineering education, his work with the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven and his assignment in occupied France.

His job was to supervise the repair and maintenance activities in the Lorient Uboats base. When the port was cut off and besieged after D-day Popken commanded a Werftalarmkompanie. He managed to escape by aeroplane and had to defend the Reich against the advancing Allies. The story iends with a chapter on his postwar life as a teacher and publisher.


Author: Helmut Popken

With many photographs. 118 Pages, A5 size, German text. Available at or by sending us an e-mail.


Seefront IJmuidenSeefront

In this book author Ruud Pols describes in 160 pages the organization and operation of the German coastal defences around Ymuiden. These fortifications were part of the Atlantic Wall, constructed by the Germans in WW II and considered imprenetable. This notion turned out to be wrong, as we know nowadays.

In this book light is being shed on the bunkers with their coastal batteries, anti-aircraft guns emplacements, command centres and trenches in the coastal region between Heemskerk and Bloemendaal. Not only the past but also the present state of all fortifications is being discussed.

On the Bunkerarchief website an appendix has been made available for buyers of this book, containing references, tables and additional data, that could not be included.

Author: Ruud Pols

160 pages, size A4 (21 x 29.7 cm), hard cover. With 120 photos, 95 drawings/ill. and 50 maps, Dutch text. Price € 22.00 - Available via the Bunkerarchief website and the regional bookshops in Kennemerland.



Van Pantserboot tot Kanonneerboot Brinio

In 1911 the RNethN ordered three 'armoured boats', optimized for the inshore defence of the inroads of the North Sea along the coast: Brinio, Gruno and Friso. In 1935 the ships were reclassified as gunboats and all saw action during the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. Alleen de Gruno wist uit te wijken naar Engeland. Hardly displacing 500 tonnes the ships could wield a considerable firepower.

This book not only deals with technical aspects but also life on board and the operations against the German invaders.

Author: Huub Ummels

84 pages, size 22 x 22,5 cm, hard cover. With many photos and illustrations, Dutch text, ISBN 90-5994-091-1. Published by Aprilis at Zaltbommel in 2006. Maybe available at Lanasta publishers in Emmen.



Schnellboote Schnellboote

Despite their shortcomings they were a thorn in the side of British coastal traffic, from Ymuiden, Rotterdam and later in the war, from Den Helder, Belgian Ostende and from Cherbourg in France. Their main targets were the supply convoys to London and later on, Antwerp. Holland was always the pivoting point for those operations.

A Dutch textbook on a period of German naval history, dealing with tactics, strategy and technique, but also for the crews, that often had to use speed drugs when performing their tasks.

Eboat construction in Germany and Holland is also discussed, together with maintenance and repair. Collaboration and sabotage... espionnage on the battlefield and in the aether... analysis and conclusions.

Author: Jac. J. Baart

296 pages, size 21 x 26 cm, hard cover. With many photos and illustrations, Dutch text. ISBN 90-8616-005-0. Published in 2006 by Lanasta.



Rotterdam OorlogshavenRotterdam Oorlogshaven

When the Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam in 1940 many hundreds of businesses went up in flames. The unemployment rate in the area - already very high - rose significantly. Cargo vessels and passenger liners could no longer call on the port of Rotterdam, which caused further economical decay. Small wonder that, during the German occupation of Holland many thousands of Rotterdam people became more or less dependent on the largest employer in the region - the German Kriegsmarine.

In Holland more than 800 ships were built for the Germans, while around 2,000 vessels were converted into warships. The Rotterdam region made an important contribution to this effort, a fact that, for obvious reasons, was virtually ignored after the war. Very few publications paid attention to this black episode in the city's history. For the first time in many decades this inconvenient truth is unearthed in full detail.

Apart from the shipbuilding industry the port is be described as wartime trade and logistics centre. The book also focuses on the divided shipping companies, with their ships sailing for both the Germans and the Allies. More than 1,500 crew members would not return. On a limited scale, resistance was put up. Sometimes the building of ships was sabotaged or the handling of ships was delayed. By openly describing the controversial co-operation with the enemy this outstanding book represents a fundamental addition to the Rotterdam historiography.

Author: Jac. J. Baart

320 pages, size 22 x 28 cm, hard cover. With many photographs and illustrations. Dutch text. ISBN 90-5730-673-5. Published in 2009 by Walburg Pers.



Treasures en shipwrecksTermote

Subtitled Fascinating North Sea Underwater Archeology Dirk and Thomas Termote describe all 277 known and unknown wrecks at the bottom of the North Sea, off the Belgian coast. For each wreck the position is indicated, in combinetion with detailed technical data, the historical background and its actual status. This unkown undersea world is brought to life by using sketches, sea charts, spectacular underwater photography, historical ship pictures and depth scans.

For many years now maritime archeologist Thomas Termote has, like his father Dirk, been engaged in researching North Sea wrecks. Between them they discovered many new objects. This publication is the result of almost 5,000 descends by two generations over the last 30 years.

Authors: Dirk en Thomas Termote

With many photos and illustrations, Dutch text. ISBN 978-90-5826-609-5. Published in 2009 by the Davidsfonds, Leuven. Indicated price € 34.50



Klein VenijnHeijkoop

This book by maritime publicist Cor Heijkoop of Middelburg is concerned with the operations of the so called Kleinkampfmittel ('midget weapons') that the Germans staged to attack allied supply convoys to Antwerp during the last months of the war. Two-man midget submarines and fast one-man motorboats were employed in combat missions. The submarines were equipped with two torpedos or one torpedo and one mine. The motorboats carried explosive charges that detonated when colliding with an enemy vessel. According to the author the results were, in military terms, very limited. Many vessels got off course by shallows and tidal currents, and losses were high: about 450 Kriegsmarine men lost their lives. The results: about 60 vessels sunk, and limited confusion at the allied side.

Author: Cor Heijkoop

With many photos and illustrations, Dutch text. ISBN 978-90-72838-47-6. Published in 2009 by ADZ Publishers at Vlissingen. Indicated price € 19.95



Dutch Warships of WW IIDutch Warships

From a 21st century perspective the Second World War seems nothing more than a chapter in history, and that explains why facts and feats from this period of time are steadily diminishing or even completely forgotten. This is certainly true for the subject of this book, the Dutch warships from the years between 1940 and 1945, when the Royal Netherlands Navy got involved into the most dramatic series of events since its establishment in 1815. After the war, many authentic pictures were published to keep memories alive, although of varying quality. This can be easily understood since taking pictures was not a sailor’s first priority when warships went into action.

Therefore the author has attempted to publish a set of unique and consistent graphical profiles of Dutch naval units from this episode. Each vessel has been included with precisely drawn side and deck elevations, its livery and when known, one or more camouflage patterns. Apart from the warships designed for specific combat roles the book contains a representative selection from a large number of auxiliary vessels. Many Dutch ships were commissioned into the Royal Navy or were taken up from trade by the British but kept their Dutch crews, and those have been included as well. All units or classes are portrayed with extensive technical specifications and many so far unpublished photos.

Author: Henk van Willigenburg

English edition, 320 pages, size 28 x 20 cm, hard cover. With many photo's and illustrations, ISBN 978-90-8616-081-5. Published in 2010 by Lanasta. Indicated price € 32.95