Guy Liddell: Cold War spymaster

Cold War Spymaster: A Legacy of Guy Liddell, Deputy Director of MI5. By Nigel West. Pen and Sword, Barnsley, 2018.
Reviewed by Tim Coyle

‘Cold War Spymaster’ is part of the declassified diaries of Guy Liddell who was MI5 director of counter-espionage in World War II the service’s deputy director until 1953 when he resigned after being passed over for director. Continue reading

British Battleships of the Victorian Era

British Battleships of the Victorian Era. By Norman Friedman. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2018.
Reviewed by Tim Coyle

THIS latest book by renowned naval analyst and author Norman Friedman completes his encyclopediac coverage of the British battleship. His previous treatise on the type extended from 1906 – the inception of the Dreadnought generation – to 1946 with the last of the leviathans, HMS VANGARD. In this volume Friedman covers the zenith of the Victorian age and Empire. Continue reading

Australia’s policy towards Britain’s end of Empire in SE Asia

Cold War and Decolonisation: Australia’s policy towards Britain’s end of Empire in Southeast Asia. By Andrea Benvenuti. National University of Singapore Press, Singapore, 2017.
Reviewed by Michael Fogarty

ANDREA BENVENUTI is a lecturer in international relations at the School of Social Sciences and International Studies with the University of New South Wales. The book is earmarked for an academic niche but it services a higher realm. Many Australians, Malaysians and Singaporeans will be the beneficiaries of his research and analysis. It is relevant for a generation of RAN personnel who spent much of their seagoing careers in the region (up top) from 1955-1971, and for later service with ANZUK. Continue reading

Norman Friedman’s British Destroyers

British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. By Norman Friedman. Seaforth Publications, Barnsley, 2009, reprint 2017.
Reviewed by Gregory P. Gilbert

NORMAN FRIEDMAN’S ‘British Destroyers’ was first published in 2009. At the time it was a nice to have technical history but in recent years it has perhaps grown in importance and now this 2017 reprint clearly deserves to be read, or re-read, by all modern naval thinkers. In our present climate of increasing peer power competition, the importance of naval warship survivability is once again at the forefront of our minds. If it is not, then it should be! Continue reading

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