Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea

Cover-Force Z Shipwrecks2Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea
By Rod McDonald
Whittles; softback, 156 pages

Reviewed by Jack Aubrey

THE SHIPWRECKS of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse lie in relatively shallow water compared with the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and its opponent Kormoran. For many in Britain in WWII, the loss of the two British ships resonated throughout the community much as the loss of our own 645 brave sailors did with Australia’s sinking in 1941. Continue reading

Models give better idea of ships

Layout 1British Destroyers – J-C and Battle Classes
By Les Brown
Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley
ISBN 978-1-84832-180-9

Reviewed by David Hobbs

NUNMBER 21 in Seaforth’s Ship Craft series, this book follows logically on from number 11 which described the ‘A’ to ‘I’ and ‘Tribal’ classes. Although aimed primarily at ship model-makers, the book is well illustrated with black and white photographs of the actual ships; colour photographs of models and accurate coloured profile drawings showing representative wartime camouflage schemes. Continue reading

The Battleship Builders – Constructing and Arming British Capital Ships

TheBattleshipBuildersThe Battleship Builders – Constructing and Arming British capital Ships
by Ian Johnston & Ian Buxton
Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley
ISBN 978-1-84832-093-2
£30.00 in the UK

Reviewed by David Hobbs

THE BRITISH built more battleships than any other nation and this fascinating book contains a wealth of detail about the shipyards, dockyards, ordnance works, steel works, foundries and other sites where the hulls and their systems were built as well as the design and functioning of the ships themselves. There are maps of the various yards with explanatory notes about the processes that went on in their buildings; descriptions of how gun barrels, working chambers, turrets, boilers and turbines were assembled ashore and then dismantled to be taken to the ships for installation and a wealth of other detail, including the manpower in the factories. Continue reading

A parting shot — 1942

Cover-A Parting Shot2A Parting Shot
By Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers
Cooper Publishing
319 pages; soft cover

Reviewed by Jack Aubrey

EVEN small actions of World War II history are now being covered by the efforts of researchers. This new book by Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers is only about a small part of Australia’s war, but it is a welcome addition to papering over the cracks. The shelling of parts of Sydney and Newcastle by Japanese submarines in 1942 has been known about for many years – the incidents were widely covered by the press at the time. But a forensic analysis of the events has not been attempted, as far as I know. Continue reading

The Great Edwardian Naval Feud

Cover-THE GREAT EDWARDIAN NAVAL FEUDThe Great Edwardian Naval Feud – Beresford’s vendetta against ‘Jackie’ Fisher

By Richard Freeman

Pen and Sword Maritime

Reviewed by Dr Tim Coyle

REGULAR readers of Headmark book reviews will recall the recent review of Historical Dreadnoughts, the ‘history wars’ between Professor Arthur Marder and Captain Stephen Roskill, the great historians of the Royal Navy in the 20th century. This book, The Great Edwardian Naval Feud, is the story of an earlier struggle, that between the titans of the Royal Navy, the volcanic genius Admiral John ‘Jackie’ Fisher and the patrician and folk hero Admiral Lord Charles Beresford (universally known as ‘”Charlie B”). Continue reading

The art of leadership – the USN and World War II

Admiral Nimitz cover
Brayton Harris, Admiral Nimitz, The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theatre.
Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2011, pp. 230, price not stated.

Walter Borneman, The Admirals: The Five-Star Admirals who won the war at sea.
Little Brown and Company, 2012, price not stated.

Reviewed by Mike Fogarty

THE UNITED States Navy promoted four of its admirals to five-star rank during WWII and after. Effectively, they were all styled and titled in the rank of Fleet Admiral. This was a subtle tilt at the Royal Navy, some of whose own top-ranking (and equivalent) naval officers were appointed as Admiral of the Fleet. Continue reading

Fine research in enjoyable page-turner

book 2013-12-06 first victoryFIRST VICTORY 1914
HMAS Sydney’s Hunt for German Raider Emden
William Heinemann: Australia 2013

Reviewer: Desmond Woods

THIS timely book is about much more than just the search for Emden, though her legendary cruise and the Battle of the Cocos Islands are very well covered from both the German and the Australian viewpoint.  But the book is also about the urgent transition that had to be made from peace to war in the last half of 1914, for Australia, the RAN and the RN. It also explains the fate of the ships and men of the German East Asia Squadron which was rightly perceived in 1913 as being a real threat to Australia’s maritime trade and potentially her cities. Continue reading