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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China’s rise and the challenge to the US

Interview by Dmitry Filipoff, of the Center for International Maritime Security, with James Holmes who has just published the second edition of Red Star Over the Pacific. Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College. Holmes lays out how the theories of Alfred Thayer Mahan helped inform China’s maritime rise, how China built a formidable naval warfighting capability, and how the U.S. and its allies can more effectively deter China militarily. 

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Health and Morale in the RN, 1939-1945

Fittest of the Fit; Health and Morale in the Royal Navy, 1939-1945. By Kevin Brown. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley 2019

Reviewed by Tim Coyle

The cover of Fittest of the Fit depicts a bronzed, smiling ‘matlo’, his cap tally showing he is member of the pre-war aircraft carrier HMS Eagle ship’s company, standing on the upper deck. His blue jean collar is ruffled by the sea breeze which billows the huge white ensign behind him. Over his left shoulder can be seen a battleship, possibly the mighty ‘Hood’, then the world’s biggest warship.

This 1930s recruiting poster attracted young men to sign on for at least 12 years to ‘see the world’ through visiting the many ports in the British Empire. There was no shortage of recruits. However, adventure turned to a life and death struggle at sea in September 1939 with the outbreak of war.

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The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet

The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet. From Mutiny to Scapa Flow. By Nicholas Jellicoe. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2019.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

On 21 June 1919 the interned warships of the German High Seas Fleet were scuttled by their crews in Scapa Flow and the centenary of this dramatic event has been marked in 2019 by a number of books and events.  Of these, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to review Nicholas Jellicoe’s book The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet.  The author is the grandson of Admiral Jellicoe and he has followed a career in communications, notably with Rolex.  He therefore speaks fluent German and this undoubtedly helped his research and understanding of the High Seas Fleet mutinies of 1918 and the scuttle in 1919. 

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A Carrier at Risk

Argentine Aircraft Carrier and Anti-Submarine Operations against the Royal Navy’s Attack Submarines during the Falklands/Malvinas War, 1982.  By Mariano Sciaroni. Helion and Company, 2019.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

The author is a lawyer who specialises in insurance and commercial matters but his qualifications also include a Masters Degree in Strategy and Geopolitics and a post-graduate course in Contemporary Military History at the Argentine Army’s Military Academy.  He is a Lieutenant in the Army Reserve whose interest in the South Atlantic War was first stimulated when he attended a lecture given by Almirante Enrique Pico who had commanded an Argentine Navy destroyer in 1982.  He had previously thought, like many others, that after the sinking of the cruiser GeneralBelgranothe remaining Argentine ships had rapidly sought sanctuary in port and the Admiral’s story came as a surprise to him. 

Some years later his interest was further stimulated when he met Capitan de Fragata Enrique Fortini who had flown S-2E Trackers from the aircraft carrier 25 de Mayoand his subsequent research led to the publication of this short but informative book.  Its 72 pages include an interesting bibliography and source notes but no index; a number of colour and black and white photographs complement the text and there are colour maps and scale drawings of ships and aircraft.  Both British and Argentine names are used to describe places.  

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ANI seeks book reviewers

 Book reviews are a popular feature of the ANI website. We are seeking  a few more people to help us to provide a varied and qualitative range of reviews.

Reviewers may nominate a title of interest, normally from our two main suppliers, and I will arrange a copy to be sent. Reviewers may retain  the book.

 The range of books reviewed are mainly maritime-related; however other military/history/national security topics are also of interest.

 Interested persons may contact the ANI Book Review Co-ordinator, Dr Tim Coyle at m.coyle@iinet.net.au.

Take These Men: Tank Warfare with the Desert Rats

Take These Men: Tank Warfare with the Desert Rats. By Cyril Joly. Pen and Sword, Barnsley, 2019 reprint of 1955 classic

Reviewed by Gregory P. Gilbert

‘Take these men for your example. Like them remember that prosperity can only be for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.’ Pericles

THERE are many memoirs written by those who served in World War II and while many of these are still of interest after seventy-five years or so, very few are as relevant to modern soldiers, sailors and airmen as Cyril Joly’s classic memoir of tank warfare with the Desert Rats – ‘Take These Men’. It is a vivid description of combat between men and their machines written with exceptional skill. It provides clear observations of courage, teamwork, conflict and death which should resonate amongst young officers across the years. Joly’s work is an inspirational first-hand narrative of command, leadership, learning, morale and downright grim determination.

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