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Book Review
British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45
British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45
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by: Randy Harvey [ HARV ]


_ORGINPUB:
Model Shipwrights

HISTORY...


** The idea of a heavy cruiser emerged in the aftermath of World War I, as the Admiralty searched for a powerful, well-armed ship that could patrol the sea lanes of the British Empire and destroy enemy commerce raiders. Abandoning the pre-World War I concept of armoured cruisers, and forced to conform to the restrictions imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty, the resulting group of British warships were high-sided, spacious and stately – perfect peacetime ambassadors for British power. This book examines the development and operational history of the heavy cruisers, from their design under the limitations of the Washington Treaty, to their considerable impact in wartime – all thirteen cruisers seeing action during World War II from facing the Bismarck in the North Atlantic to enduring kamikaze attacks in the Pacific. **

** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.


THE BOOK...


Osprey Publications Ltd has released British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45 as Number 190 in their New Vanguard series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, information charts, an illustrated cut-away view and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-686-8. As the title states, the book covers British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45.


THE CONTENTS...


- Introduction
- Design and Development
o Hawkins Class
o The Washington Naval Treaty
o Kent Class
o London Class
o Norfolk Class
o Class B Cruisers
- Heavy Cruiser Specifications, September 1939
o Kent Class
o York Class
o London Class
o Norfolk Class
o Exeter Class
- Service History, 1939 - 45
o Kent Class
o London Class
o Norfolk Class
o York Class
o Exeter Class
- Armament and Operation
o Main Armament
o Anti-Aircraft Armament
o Other Weaponry
o Radar
o Effectiveness
- Further Reading
- Index



THE TEXT...


The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45. Konstam researched the heavy cruisers the British Navy used from 1939 through 1945 during World War II and provides a very well written and accurate history of them. He discusses very well the British heavy cruisers and their participation and involvement in the World War Two naval battles that shaped history. Anyone interested in the British heavy cruisers used during the naval battles of World War Two will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.






THE PHOTOGRAPHS...


There are a total of 35 black and white photographs. The majority of the photographs will be of interest to the navy and World War Two British Navy enthusiasts well. However the majority of the photographs are from a distance away from the ship showing their profiles and therefore lack details which would have helped the military naval modeler. However, as they do show the profile, they will be of use when it comes to painting as the modeler can the see whole camouflage paint scheme used on some of the heavy cruisers. Many of the photographs have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. Many military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are around 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not overused photographs that tend to turn up in numerous publications. Konstam has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are of British heavy cruisers and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself



THE ILLUSTRATIONS...


There are 7 color illustrations by illustrator Paul Wright that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:

- HMS Cumberland (1940) and HMS Suffolk (1941)
- HMS Norfolk (1941) and HMS York (1941)
- HMS London (1942) and HMS Sussex (1943)
- HMS Berwick at the Battle of Cape Spartivento, 1940
- HMS Exeter at the Battle of the River Plate, 1939
- HMS Cornwall (1942) – this is a cut-away view
- HMS Exeter (1942) and HMS Frobisher (1942)

There are also 2 black and white illustrations. They are of:

- An Italian propaganda poster showing the successful attack on the HMS York by a one-man Italian MTM explosive motor boat on 26 March 1941.
- A wartime drawing showing the HMS Dorsetshire firing the torpedo that sank the German battleship Bismarck on 27 May, 1941.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


THE MAPS:

There are no maps included in this volume.


THE INFORMATIONAL CHARTS...


There are 11 informational charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and provide information on:

- Kent Class
- London Class
- Norfolk Class
- Class B Cruisers
- Heavy Cruiser Specifications, September 1939
o Hawkins Class
o Kent Class
o York Class
o London Class
o Norfolk Class
o Exeter Class
- 8in. Breech Loader, Mk VIII
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the informational charts for yourself.


THE CAPTIONS...


The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown in the accompanying photograph. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through them. They detail things such as the specific heavy cruisers shown, paint schemes, the ships location, ship names, the date of the photograph, and what the ship is doing or involved in. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.



This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


CONCLUSION...


All in all I am pleased with the book. It examines the British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.

REFERENCES...


http://www.world-war.co.uk/

http://www.chuckhawks.com/heavy_cruisers.htm

http://www.chuckhawks.com/heavy_cruisers_part2.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_cruiser


Osprey web site with an inside search of this title:

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/British-Heavy-Cruisers-1939–45_9781849086868

Amazon web site with an inside search of this title:

http://www.amazon.com/British-Heavy-Cruisers-1939-45-Vanguard/dp/1849086869/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342277011&sr=1-1&keywords=British Heavy Cruisers
SUMMARY
Highs: Well researched, written, and detailed text and captionsNicely detailed illustrations and useful photographs
Lows: The quality of some of the photographs
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of British Heavy Cruisers 1939-45 that is well researched and written.
Percentage Rating
94%
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-686-8
  Suggested Retail: US $17.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 14, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.22%

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2018 text by Randy Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.



Comments

I found this to be a very well laid out and concise book. The organization of the information is very natural and flows well throughout the volume, and the information is easily absorbed. I learned more in one sitting with this book than I had spending hours on the internet or looking through other sources, and that's without even finishing it. To me the well organized and thorough collection of information is worth the cover price to anyone interested in British heavy cruisers regardless of your existing knowledge of them.
JUL 21, 2012 - 04:01 PM
Thank you for your thoughts on the book Jeremy. It is a very nice book. Randy
JUL 24, 2012 - 02:54 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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