In the years 1916-1918, the Wolf, an ordinary freighter fitted-out with a hidden arsenal of weapons, was sent by Germany on one of the most daring clandestine naval missions of modern times. Under the command of Kapitan Karl Nerger, the ship undertook a continuous fifteen-month cruise in which she traversed three of the world's major oceans, destroyed more than thirty Allied vessels and captured over 400 men, women and children. During this time the Wolf maintained radio silence and never pulled into port, surviving on fuel and food plundered from captured ships. Equipped with the era's newest technological marvels the Wolf was an instrument of terror in a new age of mechanised warfare. In "The Wolf", Richard Guilliatt & Peter Hohnen bring this little-known story to life by drawing on dozens of eyewitness accounts, unpublished memoirs, declassified government files, newspaper reports and family archives unearthed during three years of intensive research in several countries.
What emerges from these accounts is a richly-detailed picture of the world through which the Wolf moved, with all its social divisions and naked xenophobia, its spirit of bravery and stoicism, its paradoxical combination of old-world social mores and rapid technological change. This extraordinary adventure story exhibits the tremendous impact that one lone, audacious German warship made on the people of many nations during the final two years of the First World War.
Richard Guilliatt is a journalist and author. Born in the UK, he was a feature writer at The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, before moving to New York in 1986 to work as a freelance writer. His work has appeared in many leading newspapers and magazines. In 2000, he won Australia's highest award for magazine feature writing, the Walkley Award. Peter Hohnen was a partner in a prominent Canberra law firm for 20 years. A commander in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve for two decades, he was posted to Cambridge University in 1999 to study the law of the sea and the laws of armed conflict as a visiting fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. His great-uncle, Alexander Ross Ainsworth, was chief engineer aboard the steamship Matunga when it was captured by SMS Wolf in August 1917.