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False Flags

False Flags
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Stephen Robinson

False Flags

Disguised German raiders of World War II

Stephen Robinson

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 — 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.

"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

"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

Stephen Robinson studied Asian history and politics at the University of Western Sydney, graduating with First Class Honours. He has worked at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs researching British atomic weapons tests and as a policy officer in the Department of Defence. Stephen Robinson is also an officer in the Australian Army Reserve and has served as an instructor at the Royal Military College. He also graduated from Australian Command and Staff College.

SPECIFICATIONS: Hardcover | 234 x 151 mm | 368 pages | Approx. 50 B/W photos and maps


Stephen will be appearing at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney on 

Thursday the 17th of November 2016 from 2pm - 4pm
Afternoon tea will be provided!
Further enquiries can be made at +61 2 9298 3646 or emailed to members@anmm.gov.au

Further information can be found by clicking the image below or by clicking here.

Author Talk with Stephen Robinson and False Flags at Maritime Museum


Best Reviews:

The White Ensign - The Journal of the Naval Association of Australia. 

"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." - Outstanding 2 page review, Click here to read the review.

Australian Defence Magazine

"Stephen Robinson undertook extensive research for this book in the German, British, Australian and NZ naval records. He uncovered never-before-accessed eyewitness accounts and declassified intelligence reports. Many of the crews and passengers of the ships targeted by the raiders ended up as prisoners of war, while others were set adrift in life rafts."

Australian National Maritime Association Newsletter

"A meticulously researched and fascinating history of a now largely forgotten aspect of World War II." - Read the review here.

Australian Warship

"False Flags is the epic story of German commerce raiders that sailed into the South Seas during the early years of the Second World War ... an excellent addition for all book collectors."

Royal United Services Institution Victoria 

"Few writers have attempted to present a balanced, strategic overview of (the German raider) operations, but in False Flags, Stephen Robinson has written a thoroughly researched account of the auxiliary cruisers’ war" - Read the review here.

Navy News, February 2017

"anyone with an interest in naval history will find this book well worth a read." - Click here to read in full.

Australia New Zealand Defender Magazine, December 2016

"an excellent history."

Have A Go News, October 2016

"extensive archival research of German, British, Australian and New Zealand naval records uncovering never before accessed eyewitness accounts and declassified intelligence reports. Beautifully written"

The Weekly Times 

"False Flags does one important thing — it demonstrates just how omnipresent German vessels were in Australian waters" - Click here to read the review.

Military Books Australia, July 2016

"This is a fascinating book. The story is well supported by historic photographs, maps and the use of eyewitness reports.”

Read the full review here

False Flags reviewed by Military Books Australia


Latest Media

Military History Now, February 2017

Stephen Robinson's second article for Military History Now has just been published, this time focusing on Nazi Forces striking fear in the east. Read the article here.

Military History Now, December 2016

False Flags author Stephen Robinson has written a great article for Military History Now covering how the Nazi Forces brought war to the South Pacific. Read the article here. 

The Daily Telegraph, November 2016

"military historian, Stephen Robinson, tells the story of the Kormoran and three other raiders which menaced Australian shipping during WWII."

Brisbane Courier Mail

BCM ran a great feature on False Flags, highlighting the often overlooked story of the German raider ships attacking Australian shores during WWII.  

False Flags featured in Brisbane Courier Mail

Good Reading Magazine

Teaser for the cover feature for Good Reading Magazine, False Flags!

Teaser for next months cover feature for Good Reading Magazine, False Flags!



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