False Flags tells the epic untold story of German raider voyages to the South Seas during the early years of World War II. In 1940 the raiders Orion, Komet, Pinguin, and Kormoran left Germany and waged a "pirate war" in the South Seas as part of Germany's strategy to attack the British Empire's maritime trade on a global scale. Their extraordinary voyages spanned the globe and are maritime sagas in the finest tradition of seafaring.
The four raiders voyaged across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans as well as the Arctic and Antarctic. They sank or captured 62 ships in a forgotten naval war that is now being told in its entirety for the first time. The Orion and Komet terrorised the South Pacific and New Zealand waters before Pearl Harbor when the war was supposed to be far away. The Pinguin sank numerous Allied merchant ships in the Indian Ocean before mining the approaches to Australian ports and capturing the Norwegian whaling fleet in Antarctica. The Kormoran raided the Atlantic but will always be remembered for sinking the Australian cruiser Sydney off Western Australia, killing all 645 sailors on board in tragic circumstances.
False Flags is also the story of the Allied sailors who encountered these raiders and fought suicidal battles against a superior foe as well as the men, women and children who endured captivity on board the raiders as prisoners of the Third Reich. False Flags is an engrossing tale that will appeal to not only military experts, but also to anyone interested in Maritime History.
"Stephen Robinson brings alive the stories of the ships, the men and their victims. Drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources, Robinson engagingly tells the most complete story of these ships. False Flags sings with stories of the last age of independent action at sea, and in many cases of chivalry - Gavin McLean, Senior Historian, NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage
"This is a book that works superbly on all levels - giving both the admiralties' ocean-wide perspectives, as well as insight into the minds of the captains of the ships involved - Prof. Peter Stanley, award-winning historian, UNSW Canberra
"Deception, violence and waste are the ingredients of war...Stephen Robinson’s handsome, well documented book is full of events that illustrate this... Raiders were fighting ships disguised as merchantmen, crewed by trained naval seaman deeply committed to serving the German war effort. Like Caribbean pirates from the days of sail in some Boy’s Own world, they masked their evil intent by sailing under assumed flags... before hoisting aloft the German Navy flag, like a modern day Skull and Cross Bones, and savaging an unwary prey.” - The White Ensign - The Journal of the Naval Association of Australia
"Anyone with an interest in naval history will find this book well worth a read." - Navy News