U-Boat Assault on America

U-Boat Assault on America: Why the US was unprepared for war in the Atlantic. By Ken Brown. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2017.
Reviewed by Mike Fogarty

THIS is a review article which also locates some other key books on the threat from German U-Boats to America during WWII. The pre-war US did not fully appreciate the danger they posed to continental America and their maritime assets, merchant shipping as much as the USN itself. Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the US was comforted that they were not at war which to them was a European construct. For two years, from its outbreak in September, 1939 Washington would increasingly become disabused. Continue reading

Battleship Warspite: Detailed in the Original Builders’ Plans

Battleship Warspite: Detailed in the Original Builders’ Plans. By Robert Brown. Seaforth Publications, Barnsley, 2017.
Reviewed by Gregory P. Gilbert

HMS ‘WARSPITE’ was one of the most famous ships of the first half of the 20th century. The battleship served throughout much of World War I. She was commissioned in 1915, fought with the 5th Battle Squadron at Jutland, was hit several times, was damaged in several accidents including two collisions, and was present at the surrender of the German High Sea Fleet on 21 November 1918. The ship was extensively modified several times during the 1920s and the 1930s until by 1939 HMS WARSPITE was almost unrecognisable compared with the WWI battleship. Continue reading

An A-4 Skyhawk Pilot in Vietnam

Rampant Raider: An A-4 Skyhawk Pilot in Vietnam. By Stephen R Gray. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2017.
Reviewed by David Hobbs

AFTER serving for a short while as a junior sailor in the USN, during which he maintained and flew in anti-submarine helicopters, Stephen Gray entered the US Navy’s Aviation Cadet Programme in 1964 to train as a pilot, qualifying in 1966 with the rank of Ensign USNR. He was subsequently appointed in January 1967 to VA-212 Squadron, the Rampant Raiders, which flew A-4E Skyhawks from the USS BON HOMME RICHARD, CVA-31, for a combat tour on ‘Yankee’ Station off North Vietnam. His experiences in action with this squadron gave him both the subject matter and the title of this very readable book. Continue reading

Beyond the Beach: The Allied War against France

Beyond the Beach: The Allied War against France. By Stephen A. Bourque. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018.
Reviewed by Gregory P. Gilbert

EFFECTS-BASED OPERATIONS remain a cornerstone of the modern Australian Defence Force approach to warfighting. For the mathematically inclined it has all the advantages of a binary (go/no-go) decision making process that leads to statistically guaranteed outcomes and concrete effects. Rote learning effects-based methodologies have tended to swamp operational planning and targeting processes to produce what appear to be achievable effects, however life is just not like that. Continue reading

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll. By David M. Hird, Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath, second edition 2018.

Reviewed by John Johnston

ONE impressive image from the Second World War is of Admiral Sir Max Horton, commander in chief, Western Approaches taking the surrender of the German U-boat flotilla at Lisahally on Lough Foyle, near Londonderry in Northern Ireland on 14 May 1945. The pictures and accompanying press and newsreel reports of the event might nowadays be described as ‘fake news’ because the boats had already surrendered at Loch Eriboll, near Cape Wrath on the north coast of Scotland. Continue reading

Bayly’s war. WWI anti-sub history

Bayly’s War: The Battle for the Western Approaches in the First World War. By Steve R. Dunn. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2018.
Reviewed by John Johnston

THIS book addresses one of the less explored aspects of the First World War, the British response to the U-boat offensives around the coasts of Ireland and in the waters off the southwest of Great Britain. Drawing on printed and documentary sources from Britain, Ireland, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand, Steve Dunn describes how the Royal Navy used aggressive patrolling by sloops and auxiliaries, armed merchantmen and fishing vessels, to deter attacks on shipping and developed decoys, known as Q-ships, to lure U-boats to their destruction. Continue reading

An Illustrated History of the US Navy in Vietnam

Combat at Close Quarters: An Illustrated History of the US Navy in the Vietnam War. Edited by Edward J. Marolda. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018.
Reviewed by David Hobbs

IT is now more than half a century since President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the commencement of Operation ROLLING THUNDER, the US bombing campaign that was intended to discourage the Hanoi regime’s direction and support for the insurgency by the Viet Cong against the Republic of Vietnam. Continue reading

The Other Norfolk Admirals

The Other Norfolk Admirals: Myngs, Narborough and Shovell. By Dr Simon Harris. Helion and Company, Warwick, 2017. Hardback illustrated with 14 maps and 32 black and white photographs.
Reviewed by David Hobbs

THE author is a retired consultant anaesthetist who lives in the UK and has a long-standing enthusiasm for naval history. He has written books on a variety of topics, including an earlier biography of Sir Cloudesley Shovell after his interest was stimulated by the sale of pewter chamber pot from the admiral’s sunken flagship. Continue reading

The Decline of European Naval Forces

The Decline of European Naval Forces: Challenges to Sea power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty. By Jeremy Stohs. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018.
Reviewed by David Hobbs

JEREMY STOHS is an Austrian American defence analyst at Kiel University’s Institute for Security Policy and its associated Centre for Maritime Strategy and Security. He is also a non-resident fellow of the Austrian Centre for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies and this book is one of a series produced by Kiel University on sea power. The author is, therefore, well connected and his subject is a timely reminder of the importance of sea power that has the potential to stimulate thought and discussion. Continue reading

Know thy enemy: Naval intelligence in SE Asia

Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Asia by Richard A. Mobley and Edward J. Marolda
Reviewed by LCDR Mark Munson, USN

Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Asia by Richard A. Mobley and Edward J. Marolda is the seventh book in the Naval History and Heritage Command’s The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War series, and addresses the role of U.S. Navy intelligence in the Vietnam War. It serves as useful reference for both students of the Vietnam War and Navy intelligence, illuminating both the drastic technological changes that have taken place over the last 50 years, as well as the unchanging nature of core intelligence principles. Continue reading