Sunday, 10 March 2019

BOOK REVIEW #5: In Deepest Secrecy - Dutch submarine espionage operations from 1968 to 1991

Welcome to my fifth book review, In Deepest Secrecy, Dutch submarine espionage operations from 1968 to 1991, by Jaime Karremann.

In Deepest Secrecy
HNLMS Tonijn (1966-1991), a Potvis-class
submarine and today a museum boat.
This is a truly fascinating book about the Royal Netherlands Navy secret submarine intelligence operations during the Cold War, from the freezing Arctic Ocean to shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Only a handful of people outside the Royal Netherlands Navy were aware of these operations, as they were not NATO operations. For the first time, In Deepest Secrecy describes these top-secret deployments in detail. Based on interviews and extensive archival research, Jaime Karremann reveals how the Dutch submarines followed, photographed and listened to Soviet ships unnoticed.

Jaime Karrema

Jaime Karremann, born in 1978, is a naval journalist and the creator of the Dutch leading naval website In the 1990s, he briefly joined the Royal Netherlands Navy and sailed on a frigate. After completing his studies in communication in Groningen, he then held a civilian position in the Royal Netherlands Navy for ten years. This is his first book, a book that received great acclaim in The Netherlands. 

The battle beneath the sea surface during the Cold War was not only a battle between US-British and Soviet submarines as the general public believes. There was also a small elite force, the Dutch submariners, who helped the allies to win the most significant battle of all: the battle for intelligence, the primary variable in achieving victory. Young men who under difficult conditions, remained undetected no matter what, by either friend or foe, and obtained vital information for the Dutch Intelligence Service. Under the nose fo the Red Bear, six Royal Netherlands Navy diesel-electric submarines, executed dozens of patrols which for decades were among the best kept Dutch secrets of the Cold War. These missions were so secret that even the most of the crew members were not allowed to know where they were heading to or which was the purpose of their mission. Men who never received the recognition for their actions neither shared their stories with families and friends. This book reveals their story, the story of Dutch submariners who executed covert operations away from home for many months on end, sharing only a small space with seventy calleaques, and risked their lives for their country and allies. These men approached their potential enemy within a few meters or even lurked beneath them, to collect ships' acoustics, radar transmissions, communication and visuals. It is worth mentioning that Soviet ships of that era, the era of the famous Admiral Sergey Gorshkov, includes some the most fearsome Soviet naval designs. Submarines from the diesel-electric boats Foxtrots and Tangos to the cruise carrying Julietts and nuclear-powered Echos, and heavily-armed warships from Krivaks and Kashins to Kresta ASW cruisers as well as the massive 273-meter Kievs. And the Dutch sailors, for once again in their long and highly respected naval history and tradition, accomplished the missions given remarkably. 

For the first time, information is presented within this book about successes and failures, the living conditions in the submarines of that era, the technological advances, the submarine tactics and training, the accidents as well as the decision making under extreme and emergency situationsThe author studied extensively more than a hundred logs for the six submarines involved in those missions and nearly 30 former submariners were interviewed about their patrols during the Cold War. Furthermore, considerable use has been made of public source material available in the National Archives of the Netherlands (Nationaal Archief) in The Hague. This exceptional 254-page book, the Deepest Secrecy, is available as a paperback ($21.99) here and here. You will certainly enjoy it!

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