Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Excellent work on Anti-Aircraft weaponry.
on 13 March 2014
In my work, I study shipwrecks. It's what I do. When it comes to warships, however, my research often gets bogged down with the abbreviations for different types of anti-aircraft weapon - especially when I continually find the calibres for such equipment being variously described (in the same books!) in metric, imperial and what I personally call (though incorrectly!) `ancient.' Examples of these are; 50 mm, 4.7 inch and 3 pounder respectively (often all on the same ship!). Add to this the additional abbreviations of QF (Quick-firing), HA (High Angle) and so forth and those with an equal lack of expert knowledge to my own will begin to understand my frustration - especially when it leads to an inordinate amount of extra time given to the subject.
Norman Friedman, however, has finally come to my rescue by providing the most excellent work on Anti-Aircraft weaponry as used on various warships. This is a detailed study which deserves very little criticism and great credit for both author and publisher.
At first glance, this is what is commonly called a coffee table book (whatever image that conjures up?) measuring 29.2 x 24.6 x 3.2 cm with every one of its 398 pages packed tight with information, a plentiful supply of excellent historic photographs - showing every aspect of these weapons and more, in addition to the most detailed technical drawings and line drawings of the weapons themselves.
The work commences with: Abbreviations, Acknowledgements and a seven-page Introduction which really sets the scene for what is found inside. Chapters are mostly self-explanatory as follows: (1) An evolving threat, (2) Making anti-aircraft more effective, (3) Beginnings, (4) The inter-war Royal Navy, (5) The inter-war US Navy, (6) The inter-war Imperial Japanese Navy, (7) Other European Navies between the wars, (8) The Royal Navy at war, (9) The US Navy at war, (10) Axis navies at war and (11) Post war developments. The work then concludes with: Notes, Bibliography, an Appendix on Gun Data and an Index.
The main emphasis, therefore, is the defensive weapons used by the RN, USN and IJN between the two world wars and during WW2 itself. Other European navies are covered to a lesser extent with post-war developments being equally as brief. Russia is not included. My first criticism, therefore, is that the title of this book might have contained some form of sub-title which qualified the content.
Whilst this is a lengthy tome to assimilate, I earnestly believe it serves a number of purposes. For those with neither a naval nor gunnery background, this work explains the subject in a manner which allows the layman to understand the technical points without becoming either confused or bored. In addition, I would also think those who are more expert will learn much from the detailed coverage given.
My only other criticism concerns the Index. In the past I have occasionally complained about books without an Index (how else does anyone find a particular point they are seeking without having to read the entire book!) and, in this instance, I did find the Index inadequate. Whereas I am quite certain this work will remain my bible as far as Anti-Aircraft weapons of the period are concerned, I suspect I will be searching, searching and searching again for some relevant information which I know to be here (somewhere!) but which is insufficiently cross-referenced!
Having said all that, my criticisms are minor when compared to the product as a whole so do not be put off. This is a remarkable work and, without repeating any of the foregoing, gets top marks and is fully recommended.