Carrier Aviation in the 21st Century

Carrier Aviation in the 21st century – Aircraft Carriers and their Units in detail. Editor – Thomas Newdick. Paperback.  Harpia Publishing, Houston USA, 2017.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

This book was only recently brought to ANI’s attention and it is a pity it was not spotted when it was published in 2017.  It contains 9 chapters, each covering a different aircraft carrier operating nation and written by different, specialist authors.  

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Treaty Cruisers

Treaty Cruisers: the first International Warship Building Competition. By Leo Marriott. Pen and Sword Books Ltd. First Published 2005, Republished 2019

Reviewed by Greg Swinden

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1921 was meant to limit the size (both tonnage and warship numbers) of the navies operated by Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States.  It was envisaged the subsequent treaty would prevent a repeat of the accelerated warship construction that had helped push the European nations to war in 1914;  however the treaty was doomed to fail and in some respects created its own new naval arms race that partly led to another war in 1939.

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After the Lost Franklin Expedition

After the Lost Franklin Expedition; Lady Franklin and John Rae. By Peter Baxter. Pen and Sword History, Barnsley, 2019.

Reviewed by Tim Coyle

In 1845 Britain was at the pinnacle of empire. Britons had conquered and colonised vast tracts of territory across the world. The peerless Royal Navy ruled the seas, basking in the glory of Trafalgar 40 years previously. But that victory ironically denied many courageous and capable officers of career-enhancing employment and these languished on half pay for years as the drawdown of the RN order of battle beached many of them.  Consequently, competition for commissions was intense and no more so than in the prestigious and potentially enriching field of polar exploration; most particularly in discovering the mythical North West Passage.

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The U-Boat Commanders

The U-Boat Commanders: Knight’s Cross Holders 1934-1945. By Jeremy Dixon. Pen and Sword Books, Barnsley, 2019

Reviewed by Darren Puttock

Of all the aspects of the German war machine, in his WWII memoirs Winston Churchill admitted “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.” The Battle of the Atlantic was the only active theatre that lasted the entirety of the war, and the German Unterseebootwaffe scored incredible victories over Allied shipping.

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The Admiralty and the Helicopter

The Admiralty and the Helicopter: Royal Navy Helicopter Projects. By James Jackson. Blue Envoy Press, 2018, Paperback, ISBN 978-0-9561951-4-2

Reviewed by CDR Mark R Condeno, Philippines Coast Guard Auxiliary

This year marked the 75th anniversary of the introduction of the helicopter to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in 1944 when a select group of pilots went to the United States to train on one of Sikorsky’s earliest rotary winged craft. The use of helicopters at sea developed substantially during the Cold War for anti-submarine warfare.

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All the Factors of Victory

All the Factors of Victory. Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Airpower. By Thomas Wildenberg. Paperback. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2018.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

Thomas Wildenberg is an independent historian who has specialised in the development of naval aviation in the US Navy, especially in the period between 1924 and 1945.  He has written five books on the subject and this paperback is a reprint of a book first published in 2003.

Reeves is widely recognised as the man who, more than any other, made the operation of large numbers of aircraft from carrier decks a viable operational proposition in the 1920s.  

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Putting Cargoes Through

Putting Cargoes Through. The U.S. Navy at Gibraltar during the First World War 1917-19. By Vice Admiral Albert P. Niblack. Edited with an introduction by John B. Hattendorf. Calpe Press, Gibraltar 2018. 168 Pages, Illustrated. Available from Calpe Press. 7 Fountain Ramp, Gibraltar. www.calpepress.com.

Reviewed by Greg Swinden

In April 1917 the United States entered World War I and quickly committed her sea, land and air forces to the fight.   Amongst some of the first US forces to arrive in the European theatre were naval forces that commenced operations from Gibraltar in August 1917.  In late November of that year those forces came under the command of Rear Admiral Albert Niblack, USN.

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Operation STABILISE in Timor revisited

Strength Through Diversity: The Combined Naval Role in Operation STABILISE. By David Stevens. RAN Sea Power Centre, Working Paper No. 20, Canberra, 2007.

Reviewed by Dr Gregory P. Gilbert

‘The management of the Coalition is the biggest issue.’ – Commodore J.R. Stapleton, RAN, p. 3.

SOMETIMES our thoughts go back to what feels like simpler times. In fact, however, when we re-examine the past we discover that it was often just as much complex and challenging as events today. After twenty years it is worth looking at the events surrounding the International Force East Timor (INTERFET) deployment from September 1999 to February 2000 – known at the time as Operation STABILISE. I had hoped to be able to review the Official History of INTERFET by this time but as with most histories of recent Australian conflicts the facts and figures have been difficult to gather together let alone assess. That said I am assured that the INTERFET volumes of the Official History are well on their way.

In the meantime the Australian Naval Institute community should view the relatively short but highly readable work released by David Stevens in 2007. 

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Bismarck. A Design and Operational History

Battleship Bismarck. A Design and Operational History. By William H Garzke Jr, Robert O Dulin Jr and William Jurens (with James Cameron). Seaforth Publications, Barnsley, 2019.

Reviewed by Tim Coyle

Otto von Bismarck, the ‘Iron Chancellor’ who united Germany in the 19thcentury, gave his name to the mighty German battleship which galvanised the Royal Navy in 1941. Bismarck, and its twin, Tirpitz, headed the Kriegsmarine surface threat to allied convoys, together with the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the ‘pocket battleships’ and heavy cruisers. Although individually powerful, the German surface fleet was relatively small; however, its presence as a ‘fleet-in-being’ meant the RN and the Royal Air Force had to deploy disproportionate resources to counter the threat these ships represented.

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China’s Vision of Victory

China’s Vision of Victory. By Jonathan D. T. Ward. Atlas Publishing 2019.

Reviewer: Hunter Marston

The world nervously awaits a potential clampdown by Chinese security forces following weeks of clashes between police and demonstrators in Hong Kong. Global markets are reeling from the latest news of a Chinese currency devaluation in the trade war launched by US President Donald Trump. Some analysts warn of an impending cold war between Washington and Beijing.

Amid the confusing flurry of media headlines, Jonathan D. T. Ward’s China’s vision of victory presents a sobering, incisive and clearly argued distillation of Chinese grand strategy and its implications for the international order. Ward offers nothing short of a lightning bolt to the American (and by extension Western, allied) policy community with a wake-up call on Chinese intentions to redraw the map with Beijing at the centre of the global order.

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