“ONE AWAY!” “One away!” “One away…”
As these words rise, fall, and echo from captain to crew and back again through the damp metal confines of a German submarine patrolling beneath the choppy Celtic Sea, RMS Lusitania was steaming for England above. The U-20 attack sub had sunk three other ships in as many days prior to having the mammoth luxury passenger liner cross the lens of its periscope, but nothing of its size, with as many people aboard, and with such far ranging consequences.
Historians point to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania as the catalyst that propelled the Unites States into the First World War. The American press vilified Germany over the deaths of the Americans lost among the 1,200 killed. Winston Churchill called the attack murder as he goaded President Woodrow Wilson to join the war effort. In time, the United States sent its soldiers into harm’s way in Europe. When it was over, more than 115,000 Americans had been killed.
Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea eavesdrops on life in the cold wake of the U-boat as the 1915 attack off the coast of Ireland unfolds. The focus of the story is U-20’s captain, Walther Schwieger, and the torpedo man, young Guenther Stroehmann. Schwieger is compelled by his orders and his powerful sense of duty and allegiance to Germany. Guenther follows orders as well, but it is his hand that launches the deadly torpedo.
This piece is part of a collection of short stories and several longer novellas that comprise The Cats of Savone, the initial installment in The Completely Abridged Series.