Includes favorites like: Wir fahren gegen Engelland
Some of the finest music to come out of wartime Germany was written for its navy, and “Kriegsmarine Nazi Marches” features many outstanding examples. But its cover reproduction of a painting by Third Reich artist, Claus Bergen, of a Type VII u-boat patrolling some coastal waters is itself worth the album’s purchase price! “Wir fahren gegen Engelland” (“We sail against England”) was perhaps the best known of its kind, with its fatalistic lyrics telling of a seaman who tells his girl that if she should receive word that he sleeps at the bottom of the ocean, not to grieve for him, but only think he shed his blood for the Fatherland. The song, sung on board famous ships like the “Bismarck” and “Scharnhorst”, indeed paralleled the fate of these vessels and their crews.
Perhaps the single most popular tune to come out of the undersea service was “Warte, mein Maedel” (“Wait, my girl-friend”), likewise addressed to a sweetheart left behind, and a hit tune from 1941’s acclaimed motion picture, “U-Boot West”. Another nazi submarine song, “Torpedo, los!”, appropriately precedes actual radio coverage, recorded “live”, of the homecoming of one of the war’s outstanding captains, Guenter Prien, whose U-47 wracked revenge on Britain’s chief facility at Scapa Flow by sinking the battleship, “Royal Oak”, pride of the Royal Navy. It was there that German ships had scuttled themselves twenty one years before, rather than surrender. In this one minute, thirty nine-second slice of real WW2 history, the announcer describes Prien’s arrival to the playing of the national anthem, the shouted greetings of his crew, and congratulations from Admiral Erich Raeder. The report is followed, appropriately enough, by “U-47 Lied” (“The Song of the U-47”): “So klein ist das Boot und so gross ist das Meer” : “So little is the boat, and so great is the sea”, which swallowed U-47 with all hands during a subsequent operational cruise.
While German WW2 nazi submarine songs might be especially dramatic, other naval services are represented, including the relatively less glamorous mine-sweepers, without whom the u-boats would not have been able to leave port. A particularly brisk march is “Panzerschiffe Deutschland” (“Pocket Battleship Germany”). Renamed “Luetzow” after the outbreak of hostilities, she ended up fighting on land, when her11-inch guns were installed on the shores of the Baltic to blast Soviet hordes streaming into Eastern Europe in the closing days of the war. “Ritter der Nordsee” (“Knights of the North Sea”) describes the lethal “Schnellboote” (“e-boats” to the British; known as “PT-boats” to the Americans), which almost singlehandedly aborted the Normandy Invasion before it began, when a handful of these nimble craft killed more than three thousand soldiers and sailors during an Allied training exercise in the Battle of Slapton Sands.
Listeners to “Kriegsmarine Nazi Marches” might be surprised by some selections, such as “Windstaerke 12” (“Gale Force Winds”), a medley opening with a German language version of the Mexican folk melody, “Appalona”, a traditional favorite with German sailors going back to the mid-19th Century. The c.d. is not without humor, as demonstrated by “Das muss den ersten Seelord doch erschuettern”, a reference to Winston Churchill and his inability to keep his ships from sinking: “How glad Churchill must be to blockade us now! ‘You see, it looks now black.’ The German submarines are attacking with torpedoes. That’s gotta shake up the First Sealord! His imperial dream of ruling the world is finished.”
Certainly, the rarest selection here is the Admiral Stosch March, and, so far as this reviewer is aware, uanavailable in any other collection. The title refers to Alberecht von Stosch, founder of the modern German Navy, in 1872. Although virtually forgotten today, he was once von Bismarck’s most serious political rival. His name lives again, however, in this no less obscure, though very interesting rendition. In any case, listeners to “Kriegsmarine Nazi Marches” will find themselves sailing back through time with the authentic sounds of World War Two at sea.
TITLES ON KRIEGSMARING CD:
Wir fahren gegen Engelland (choral)
Flieg, deutsche Fahne, flieg
Heut geht es an Bord (choral)
Seemanns los (choral)
Warte mein Mädel (choral)
Windstärke 12 (choral)
Kameraden auf See (choral)
Mit vollem Segeln (choral)
Heut’ stechen wir ins blaue Meer (choral)
Wo Matrosen sind (choral)
Michel, horch der Seewind pfeit (choral)
Willst du Deutscher sein (choral)
Admiral Stosch-Marsch (choral)
Wir ziehen nach Engelland (choral)
U-Boot Lied (choral)
Torpedo Los! (choral)
Homecoming report Lt Günther Prien U-47 (choral)
U-47 Lied (choral)
Hüte dich, Engelland (choral)
Ritter der Nordsee – Schnellboot (choral)
Unsere Minensucher (choral)
Das muß den ersten Seelord doch erschüttern (choral)
Denn wir fahren gegen Engelland (choral)
TOTAL PLAYING TIME 66:00