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Crush Depth
Crush Depth
Crush Depth
Ebook586 pages9 hours

Crush Depth

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



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In 2012, the world is a far different place. The Axis and Allied powers are recovering from a violent encounter between a German nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine and the USS Challenger, commanded by Captain Jeffrey Fuller. But the war has only begun . . .

Reactionary enemy regimes have brutally taken command in South Africa and Germany. U.S. and European shipping lanes are suddenly under attack. World War is at hand -- and for the ruthless Berlin–Boer Axis, the devastating weapons of choice will be tactical nukes used at sea.

The Voortrekker, a deep-diving state-of-the-art German submarine, is on the prowl, carrying more onboard firepower than many of the world's nations possess -- and the crippled sub USS Challenger is the only weapon in America's arsenal that can match up with the silent killer. But the nation's last hope is in dry dock -- and Captain Jeffrey Fuller, Challenger's brilliant, driven skipper, must get his damaged boat back in action weeks before it is battle-ready. Fuller has faced Voortrekker in the past and, unlike so many others, he survived. This time, however, the fight will take place in waters far too deep for a normal sub to withstand. And this time the prize will be America.

Release dateOct 13, 2009
Crush Depth
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Joe Buff

Joe Buff is a Life Member of the U.S. Naval Institute, the Navy League of the United States, the CEC/Seabees Historical Foundation, and the Fellows of the Naval War College. Respected for his technical knowledge, he is considered an expert on submarines and national defense. Two of his nonfiction articles about future submarine technology have won the Annual Literary Award from the Naval Submarine League. He is the author of five previous highly regarded novels of submarine warfare—Straits of Power, Tidal Rip, Crush Depth, Thunder in the Deep, and Deep Sound Channel. He lives with his wife in Dutchess County, New York.

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    A well written adventure which takes place in the future where the adversarys are not who you would expect.

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Crush Depth - Joe Buff


In mid-2011, Boer-led reactionaries seized control in South Africa in the midst of social chaos and restored apartheid. In response to a U.N. trade embargo, the Boer regime began sinking U.S. and British merchant ships. Coalition forces mobilized, with only Germany holding back. Troops and tanks drained from the rest of Western Europe and North America, and a joint task force set sail for Africa—into a giant, coordinated trap.

There was another coup, in Berlin, and Kaiser Wilhelm’s great-grandson was crowned, the Hohenzollern throne restored after almost a century. Ultranationalists, exploiting American unpreparedness for all-out war, would give Germany her place in the sun at last. A secret military-industrial conspiracy had planned it all for years, brutal opportunists who hated the mediocre silliness of the European Union as much as they resented America’s smug self-infatuation. The kaiser was their figurehead, to legitimize the New Order. Coercion by the noose won over citizens not swayed by patriotism or the sheer onrush of events.

This Berlin-Boer Axis had covertly built small tactical atomic weapons, the great equalizers in what would otherwise have been a most uneven fight—and once again America’s CIA was clueless. The Axis used these low-yield A-bombs to ambush the Allied naval task force under way, then destroyed Warsaw and Tripoli. France surrendered at once, and Continental Europe was overrun. Germany won a strong beachhead in North Africa, while the South African army drove hard toward them to link up.

Germany grabbed nuclear subs from the French, and advanced diesel submarines from other countries. Some were shared with the Boers. A financially supine Russia, supposedly neutral yet long a believer in the practicality of limited tactical nuclear war, sold weapons to the Axis for hard cash. Most of the rest of the world stayed on the sidelines, biding their time out of fear or greed or both.

American supply convoys to starving Great Britain are being decimated by the modern U-boat threat, in another bloody Battle of the Atlantic. Tens of thousands of merchant seamen died in the Second World War, and the casualty lists grow very long this time too.

America herself depends both militarily and economically on vulnerable shipping lanes across the vast Pacific Ocean, to neutral Asia and the Persian Gulf. If these shipping lanes are cut, the U.S. will have no choice but to recognize Axis gains and sue for an armistice: an Axis victory. America and Great Britain each own one state-of-the-art ceramic-hulled fast-attack sub—such as USS Challenger, capable of tremendous depths—but Germany and South Africa own such vessels too.

Now, in February 2012, high summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the U.S. is on the defensive everywhere, and democracy has never been more threatened. In this terrible new war, with the midocean’s surface a killing zone, America’s last, best hope for enduring freedom rests with a special breed of fearless undersea warriors….

Ten years in the future

In the Indian Ocean, east of South Africa, aboard the Boer ceramic-hulled nuclear submarine Voortrekker

In the cramped and crowded control room, everyone was quiet. It was dark, to stay in sync with nighttime high above the ship, up on the monsoon-tossed surface. First Officer Gunther Van Gelder breathed. The air was stale—the fans were stopped for greater stealth. Jan ter Horst sat just to his left, in the center of the compartment. Van Gelder could see well enough by the glow of instruments and console screens, but he did not have the nerve to look directly at his captain now. Ter Horst’s physical presence overwhelmed him. Van Gelder knew ter Horst too well. He knew ter Horst would be gloating.

Dead men afloat, ter Horst said. With a finger he delicately traced the data windowed on his command workstation display, the noise signature of the enemy submarine. The line on the sonar waterfall grew gradually brighter. Coming right at us, Gunther. They don’t even realize we’re here.

Yes, Captain, Van Gelder said. At times like this it was best to just agree with the man. Range now twenty thousand meters. Just over ten nautical miles. Voortrekker was aimed directly at their victim, moving very slowly, to hide. Seehecht unit in tube one is ready to fire, sir. Tube one prepared in all respects.

The Seehecht torpedoes used conventional high-explosive warheads, nothing fancy. They were made by South Africa’s Axis partner in war, resurgent Imperial Germany. Ter Horst’s target, a Collins-class diesel sub, hardly rated one of Voortrekker’s homegrown nuclear weapons, tipped with trusty Boer uranium-235