Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces by Gordon Williamson is a book from Osprey’s New Vanguard series, which explores the design, development, operation, and history of the machinery of warfare through the ages. This book looks at an area of the German war machine that has not been studied very much – the role of the various small vessels that comprised the backbone of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy).
Although most of the attention and glory goes to the U-boats and the larger vessels of the Kriegsmarine, the smaller vessels of the Kriegsmarine deserve their fair share of attention. These smaller vessels included minesweepers, sub-chasers, and torpedo boats. These vessels performed crucial services in the defense of Germany and its conquered territories.
Williamson provides an excellent description of the small vessels. He generally organizes the book by type of vessel. In each category, he writes a brief description of the different classes of vessels within that category, a brief history of the vessels during World War II (and beyond for many of the vessels), and a highlight of any particular vessel in that class that deserve special attention.
Finally, I cannot write about the book without mentioning the excellent illustrations done by Ian Palmer. Palmer includes profile drawings of many of the vessels and other supporting drawings (such as armaments and equipment). The drawings are a good complement to the text descriptions of the small vessels.