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As the Third Reich headed for its inevitable destruction, German ingenuity in the naval field turned to unconventional weapons - midget submarines, radio-controlled explosive boats, and various forms of underwater sabotage. Inspired by Italian, and later British successes with human torpedoes and X-Craft, the Germans had set up an organization called Kleinkampfverbande (Small Battle Units) which drew its personnel from the Navy, regular Army and Waffen SS. Originally envisaged as an all-volunteer elite unit of special forces, it was increasingly diluted by draftees and even military defaulters posted to the K-verbande as punishment, and in the last years many of the unusual devices that they deployed were barely beyond the experimental stage. Despite the acute dangers, there was no collapse of morale, even as conditions in both the Mediterranean and northern European waters became increasingly adverse. By the end, facing overwhelming odds, even their senior commanders regarded some of the attacks as little better than suicide missions. Judged by their effect on the Allied advance, their successes were slight, but the indomitable bravery of those involved makes riveting reading. Pieced together from fragmentary sources, it is a largely untold story, chronicling some of the most desperate operations of the Second World War.