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US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45: Pre-war Classes (New Vanguard)

US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45: Pre-war Classes (New Vanguard) [Kindle Edition]

Mark E. Stille , Paul Wright
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Designed and produced under the regulations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the heavy cruisers of the Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita classes were exercises in compromise. While they possessed very heavy armament - the Pensacolas, for example, carrying a main battery of ten 8' guns - this came at the cost of protection - armor was the same thickness as a gun cruiser, and incapable of protecting the vessels from enemy 8' fire. As the classes evolved, these flaws began to be corrected, with the main battery being reduced, and increased protection being added to the vital areas of the ship. Despite these drawbacks, the pre-war heavy cruiser classes served with distinction throughout World War II.

About the Author

Mark E. Stille (Commander, United States Navy, retired) received his BA in History from the University of Maryland and also holds an MA from the Naval War College. He has worked in the intelligence community for 30 years including tours on the faculty of the Naval War College, on the Joint Staff and on US Navy ships. He is currently a senior analyst working in the Washington DC area. He is the author of numerous Osprey titles, focusing on naval history in the Pacific. He is also the author of several wargames.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7364 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J4ICTQ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #186,744 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 22 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another excellent book from this wonderful author. It covers all pre-war classes of US heavy cruisers and the author imparts his usual knowledgeable stamp on the subject. Another winner in this series dealing with Wartime ships.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 4 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perfect thanks
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To inherit The World. 25 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Before the time of the modern aeroplane the heavy cruiser was always a ship of Empire it was designed to police the World. This book is of some interest to a minority but it does succeed in illuminating the problems faced by a fast developing Country of World dominating aspirations which was patiently waiting in the wings to take over the reins from a dying British Empire set drifting with a deliberate and accumulating inevitabiiity towards it's final fatal countdown.

The background of this book hints to us that the rest of the world had finally caught up with the British Empire ...and now the game was up its selfish geofascist London based establishment was openly squeezing and stripping any easily removeable assets from it's colonies post haste and thereby accelerating the end of it's Worldwide domination. As an integral part of this explosive decline the London establishment was deliberately neglecting it's global responsibilities and inherent obligations to all of it's increasingly victimised peoples and callously ... knowingly precipitating a massive Worldwide feeding frenzy amonst those who wished to inherit The World.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 10 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some misprint in text
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid summary on under-appreciated vessels that bore a heavy burden in the Pacific War 29 April 2014
By Jonathan Lupton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This title covers five classes of U.S. heavy cruisers, the so-called "Treaty Cruisers" of the interwar era. Limited to a maximum of 10,000 tons, U.S. heavy cruiser designs progressed steadily from the thinly-armored, top-heavy Pensacola class to the better-balanced New Orleans and Wichita classes. Within the title's 48 pages, the author does a respectable job of covering design qualities and history of these ships.

The illustrations were carefully chosen. For example, the author conveys well the elegant yet top-heavy look of the Pensacola and Northampton types during the 1930s, with their tall tripod foremasts. He also gives many images from later in the war, when most of the surviving ships had their superstructures trimmed substantially in a way that resembles changes that happened the larger but less active WWI-era U.S. battleships. The only illustration flaw I could see was that the top images were in many cases shaded a bit too darkly in gray, making it hard to make out details of the secondary armament.

Of eighteen prewar U.S. heavy cruisers covered in this title, seven were lost in action. One of the class, USS San Francisco, took at least 45 hits in action off Guadalcanal, yet survived to become the second most-decorated US Navy vessel after the carrier Enterprise. USS Houston's last stand in Sunda Strait has become a legend in its own right. Almost all of these vessels had dangerous, interesting careers.

There are plenty of interesting tables covering armor, armament, radars, and other characteristics of these ships. The author is as thorough as space can permit, but there's a lot of ground to cover and I think the title would be more successful if broken into two volumes, the first covering the earlier Pensacola and Northampton classes, with a separate volume for the Portland and New Orleans classes, as well as the one-ship Wichita class. Yet the mark of a good book is to stimulate an appetite for more information, and this title does just that.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best possible place to start your studies. 2 May 2014
By Ned Middleton - Published on
This particular publisher has tackled the subject of US Heavy Cruisers from WW2 by producing two books which compliment each other perfectly. The first of these is the subject of this review and covers the pre-war classes which were still in service when hostilities commenced. The second (a subject for another day) covers wartime and post-war classes from 1943 to 1975.

It is another work from a series of books which have become very popular as far as those covering ship types are concerned. Altogether, the product is best described as an excellent overview of the subject which provides the perfect introduction for those who may be new to the topic. Before getting down to specifics, the book commences with; Introduction, Naval Strategy and the Role of the Heavy Cruiser, USN Heavy Cruiser Design and Naval Treaties, USN Heavy Cruiser Weapons, USN Heavy Cruiser Radar. There then follows five chapters covering the pertinent detail for the following classes of ship; Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita. Within each of these are the four headings; Design & Construction, Armament, Service Modifications and Wartime Service. The book then concludes with; Analysis & Conclusion, Bibliography and Index.

In short, established author Mark Stille begins by expertly setting the scene in terms of US naval strategy and the design of the most important aspects of this type of ship in the form of hull, weapons and radar and includes whatever generalities were relevant. Following this most instructional narrative, we then find the particular details of each of the five classes mentioned.

The work is fully supported by images of the highest possible quality with either an historic photograph or artistic impression on almost every page. Though mostly ship portraits, some photographs also cover other aspects - such as four vessels streaming in line ahead and executing a 90 degree turn to starboard in unison, ships at anchor and alongside, gun crews, vessels fully camouflaged and some instances of damage. That well-known photograph of the USS Minneapolis minus her entire bow section forward of her guns is included.

The artistic illustrations fall into three broad categories; Across pages 34-35 is a port-side profile of the USS San Francisco with two cutaway sections showing; (A) her engine room and (B) the aft triple 8 in gun turret - all the way down to the magazine revealing the ammunition and the mechanisms for loading shells. There are two excellent images of ships at work; (A) the USS Houston under fire during the Battle of Sunda Strait and (B) the USS Tuscaloosa firing her guns in support of US Forces on D-Day. Perhaps of more importance, however, the third group comprises three images for each class with two very different starboard profiles and one deck detail. Each of these is accompanied by lengthy captions in which items of particular interest (modifications, position of radar etc) are pointed out.

I doubt there is any “new” or revolutionary information which was hitherto unknown by today’s experts. For those with lesser knowledge, however, I really cannot think of a better way of learning about the ships covered by this book and, for that reason alone, the work must be considered as very useful and fully recommended!

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Military Cruisers 25 Jun 2014
By Ed Morgan - Published on
"US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45" is a good book to have on your shelf if you happen to be interested in military ships (suppose you may be, if you're reading this review!). Mark E. Stille provides readers with a brief introduction to heavy cruisers, including those of the Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans, and Wichita classes by utilizing photographs, descriptions, and tables that go into the different characteristics of each.

These cruisers did have an interesting existence during this period of history and participated in both surface actions and carrier battles. As the various classes evolved they earned greater status among similar vessels and played important roles in the Pacific War.

"US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45" comes in a mere 48 pages. In these 48 pages, Stille relays a lot of details and facts about naval strategy, cruiser design, weaponry, etc. This isn't a lot of space to elaborate, so if you are looking for something with more detail, you may want to find additional books on the subject. However, if an overview is what you are after, Stille also has a whole host of other similar books that would make a nice collection.

Not the most exciting read, "US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45" may have benefited from an interesting anecdote or two, but it's a good, well-researched summary written by a Naval War expert if that's what you're after.
4.0 out of 5 stars USN Heavy Cruisers 17 Aug 2014
By JAG 2.0 - Published on
Osprey's New Vanguard #210 - US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45 - is a pretty good introduction to the 8-inch gunned cruisers the US Navy went to war with in WWII. Having to cover a lot of ground, author Mark Stille gives the reader the low-down on these ships and their characteristics.

The book has all the excellent color plates and period photos (including some of battle damage) readers of these books are used to seeing. The author firstly gives the reader an idea of the naval treaties in the interwar period and how they affected naval design. While the treaties limited heavy cruisers to 10,000 tons of displacement, the USN designers designed ships that were significantly under that (a little over 9,000 tons). Why naval designers would willingly forego 1,000 additional tons of armor is anyone's guess and the author is not able to shed light on the decisions. What we do know is that these ships, although improved as time went along, were significantly lighter and less armored than their Japanese counterparts when war came.

The author does a decent job of giving the reader the specifications and the changes in cruisers as the interwar years passed before the opening of hostilities in 1941. You get the weapons, radar, armor (or lack thereof), speed, placement of spotter aircraft and (briefly) wartime service of each class of these heavy cruisers. My only criticism is that the author doesn't (in my opinion) give a frank and honest comparison of USN vs IJN cruisers. I think, looking at the examples of cruiser vs cruiser actions, it's pretty clear the Japanese ships were better and their torpedoes were absolutely deadly. After all, seven of fifteen of these interwar US cruisers were sunk during WWII.

None the less, this a good treatment of these ships given the space limitations of the Osprey series. I recommend it with four stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid addition to the series 10 Aug 2014
By PD - Published on
A solid recap of the pre-war classes of U.S. heavy cruisers, as developed and constructed in accordance with the post-WWI series of naval treaties, primarily the Washington Treaty of 1922. The book commences with an overview of the USN's pre-war conceptual thought regarding the role and employment of the heavy cruiser, and continues with the design/armament/wartime service description for each of the five classes of heavy cruiser constructed prior to the start of WWII. There is good discussion of the evolution and progression of design with each succeeding class. To a great extent these ships proved to be the surface-warfare workhorses of the USN throughout the early years of the war, eventually displaying the strengths and flaws of their architecture as they battled their way through long and /or relatively brief careers. The book concludes with a brief analysis of the success and failures of these ships as they were designed, built and modified during the course of the war. This, like the other books in the series, is a fine addition to the library for those looking for a concise, adequately detailed introduction to the ships of the USN in WWII.
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