US Submarines 1941-45 (New Vanguard) Paperback – Illustrated, 10 Jan 2006
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"This is one of the best books on the subject and while really a primer on the subject, provides enough information to be interesting and to whet one's appetite for more. It is a book that I found quite interesting and I know you will as well." -Scott Van Aken, "modelingmadness.com
""Overall, this new addition to the New Vanguard line of books from Osprey Publications delivers to the reader good, clear, information about the U.S. submarines in the time frame covered... Recommended from this modelers point of view." -Mark Smith, "AeroScale
""We have here a good subject and lots of information that Mr. Jim Christley was abble to condense well, showing the relevant points and even adds some curiosities without getting off course ." -Rui Matos, "Aeroscale""
We have here a good subject and lots of information that Mr. Jim Christley was abble to condense well, showing the relevant points and even adds some curiosities without getting 'off course.' "Rui Matos, Aeroscale"
This is one of the best books on the subject and while really a primer on the subject, provides enough information to be interesting and to whet one's appetite for more. It is a book that I found quite interesting and I know you will as well. "Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com"
Overall, this new addition to the New Vanguard line of books from Osprey Publications delivers to the reader good, clear, information about the U.S. submarines in the time frame covered... Recommended from this modelers point of view. "Mark Smith, AeroScale""
About the Author
Jim Christley retired from the US Navy in 1982 as a senior chief petty officer, having served on seven submarines ranging from diesel to nuclear fast attacks to ballistic missile boats. A student of US submarine technical history, he has written numerous articles and a book on the subject, in addition to providing technical illustrations to several notable books on submarine design and history. He is based in Connecticut, USA. Tony Bryan is a freelance illustrator of many years experience. He initially qualified in Engineering and worked for a number of years in Military Research and Development, and has a keen interest in military hardware - armour, small arms, aircraft and ships. Tony has produced many illustrations for partworks, magazines and books, including a number of titles in the New Vanguard series. He is based in Dorset, UK.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book has a right balance in explaining design developments, technical advances, operational history, etc. but the reading may be a bit dull if you are not fully into these technical osprey new vanguard. The book can be very detailed and technical in some places.
More positively, the author clearly knows his stuff and the plates are decent and very informative.
In general I would say these "books" are more like fancy pamphlets or posh magazines rather than books. But I buy them as they are a useful first primer on a class of boats. Also they usually contain interesting photographs and some nice illustrations. However the quality, the readability and the accuracy of the writing is highly variable and often leaves much to be desired. Some authors are downright awful. While not worth the published price of GBP9.99 or $17/95, at a discounted price they are worth purchasing.
However this book by Jim Christley is a significant cut above most of the New Vanguard ship series. I've read quite a lot of more specialist books on USS Harder, Wahoo, Darter, Tang and boats led by other renowned skippers, as well as books on the RN submarine fleets. The knowledge of the author (a senior petty officer from US subs) and his passion for the subject clearly come through. Don't expect a detailed review - the bibliography mentions a list of follow on reading. But as a primer, or as a brief reminder, this book is excellent. There are also good illustrations and some very interesting photos of submarines being constructed.
This book is highly recommended. I will watch out for other books written by Mr Christley.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is illustrated with both black & white photos and color plates. Christley spent time selecting the photos at the Submarine Force Museum & Library in Groton CT. The results are pictures that are largely unfamiliar and fresh, which complement the text. Christley wisely has included a photo of a key piece of submarine equipment-the coffee urn. The center section of the book has color plates by Tony Bryan. These include a nice scale comparison of an S-class boat, the large V-boat Argonaut, and a P class (Perch) boat. Another plate illustrates different paint measures, and a two-page plate that has a cut-through diagram of a Balao class boat. Other color plates cover examples of Gato & Balao conning tower fairwater modifications and variants. There are also beautiful color illustrations of Tang attacking on the surface and Sterlet at periscope depth. Overall, this slim volume packs an amazing amount of submarine information. Anyone contemplating building a fleet submarine model will not only learn more about the "hardware" from this book, but also will develop an appreciation of the fleet boat in naval history. This little book is a real gem, and you will want it in your collection, right alongside Alden's book on fleet submarines (The Fleet Submarine in the US Navy- John D. Alden).
The author begins with a brief discussion of the development of US submarines in the period from 1916 up to the 1930s. Given the format constraints, spending 5 of 37 pages on several classes that played little or no role in WW2 was a mistake. The section on weapons and equipment is decent, probably the best part of this volume. The "tour of the boat" was a bit tedious and descriptions of "the maneuvering room" provide too little detail to be useful to specialists but too much to interest general readers. The section on operations and tactics is rather uninformative and I wonder why the author chose to describe a `generic' attack instead of a real, historical attack with actual timelines. It seems like USS Archerfish's attack on the Shinano would have been a good one. Furthermore, there is little mention of surface vs. submerged attacks or the effectiveness of Japanese ASW against US subs.
The sections on operations consists primarily of two vignettes, one on the USS Harder's "destroyer-killing-spree" in June 1944 and the actions of the USS Darter and Dace in October 1944. The author also provide brief mention of Richard O'Kane and the USS Tang in one of the color plates, plus brief mention of the early efforts by the Asiatic Fleet boats and life-guard duties. While Sam Dealy's patrols on the USS Harder were impressive, the author presents some wartime claims as fact without mentioning that some were later disputed by the US Navy. Also, the actions depicted were primarily against Japanese warships, while the bulk of US submarine actions were against Japanese merchant shipping. As noted, three of the top five fleet boats are ignored and the only mention of the top-scoring USS Flasher is about its paint scheme. Nowhere in the volume does the author list the tonnages scored by individual boats or top skippers and his brief synopsis of total tonnage sunk does not breakdown Japanese warship losses to US subs (incl. 1 battleship, 8 carriers and 11 cruisers). Failing to mention early stars like "Mush" Morton and the USS Wahoo, as well as superb combat teams like Eugene Fluckey on the USS Barb - Fluckey's excellent book Thunder Below! Is not even mentioned in the bibliography - is devastating for the credibility of this author. On the other hand, the less well-known USS Sterlet, on which the author served in the 1960s, graces both the cover and one full color page. OK chief, you covered your old boat, but what about the rest of the sub force?
The author does provide a table listing the number of boats by class in service each year (good) and a list of subs lost, but there is no mention of what caused the loss of these boats or any real attempt at analysis. Nor is there any effort to discuss squadron organization nor any mention of the US submarine force that served in the Atlantic. One look at the bibliography - no Roscoe, no O'Kane, no Fluckey, etc - should warn the reader what kind of research effort went into this volume. Overall, this volume was a disappointment.
However, I don't feel like Jim Christley gave enough insight on the actual effect these submarines had during the war. These submarines entered a war of attrition that was arguably war winning, and although Christley briefly(and I mean SERIOUSLY brief) mentions their overall impact to the war, he doesn't seem to give it enough justice. He merely mentions the tonnage sunk during the war and mentions how it may have suffocated Japan in a paragraph or two. Perhaps it's just historiography in play, but I believe that these subs had a major impact on the PTO, and Christley only slightly agrees (what do I know?)
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