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4.6 out of 5 stars
German Capital Ships of the Second World War: The Ultimate Photograph Album
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£45.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 2 December 2012
I have to say I do not buy photo histories that often but this one worked for me.
Large format well illustrated, a good selection of photos of all the Capital ships (the light cruiser force is not covered in this book) , the physical production of the book is good, the photos clearly reproduced, captions are useful and appropriate. line drawings are good and text is well up to the job.

What I did find was that quite a few of the photos which appear were produced as postcards in wartime Germany but this does not in any way detract as they were very well composed.
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on 5 November 2014
Absolutely a masterpiece. Could not put it down when first delivered and had a complete browse of the whole book. There are so many images I have not seen before and as well as of use to students of the German Navy it is a must for model makers. Was able to obtain at well under the full retail price so well satisfied. Excellent companion to the authors vol on German Naval Guns.
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on 1 July 2012
The late Siegfried Beyer actually served in the Reichsmarine and was still writing about major warships- especially Russian and German ones- into his 80's. Frankly when I bought his 'Battleships and battlecruisers, 1905- 1970' nearly 40 years ago I was incensed by his blatent bias since it was implied that German designers could do no wrong. However, more than three decades later we find in this book by Breyer and his friend Miroslaw Skwoit a fascinating account covering both the virtues and deficiencies of the reichsmarine's ships. Their many virtues are well known, but the fact that they were largely designed upon dated WW1 principles is less so- in particular, both the Bismark and Scharnhorst designs featured multiple armoured decks set low in the hulls. During their last gunnery battles this deficiency doomed both of those ships to be rapidly turned into burning wrecks after all command and control had been lost. The text is intended to play only a 'supporting role' in this book, but it is well worth reading.

It is revealed how political interference- often directed by Hitler himself- spoiled designs and, more particularly, resulted in the disastrous deployment of the Reichsmarine's ships. For example, The famous 'Channel' dash was a brilliantly executed affair, but it consigned Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to strategic impotence for the rest of their war. One quibble- some of the plans presented have been reduced from a much larger size and a magnifying glass is required to study them closely. There are, however fine double page drawings of Gneisenau and Tirpitz and Breyers own drawings are, as always, admirable for their detail and accuracy.

All that and not a mention of the photo's! There really are hundreds of them, including many reproduced on a very large scale (sometimes a little too large for the quality of the originals). Overall, they are magnificent and show the ships from building to ultimate fate. One of the most poignant appears on pages 300- 301, showing Gneisenau in a sadly wrecked state: it's hard to believe how the fine and beautiful ship shown new on pages 252- 253 could have come to such an end just a few years later. In this collection apart from a lack of interior views (rarely photographed in those days) it is all here, including on- deck close ups, the crews at work and dramatic action shots. I did not realize that so many fine pictures existed.

Many of the photo's come from Seigfried Breyers own collection, put together over a lifetime of interest in this subject. £38 is quite a lot of money, but worth spending on this book, since it is actually rather more than what it says on the cover- 'The ultimare photograph album'.
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on 28 December 2012
For those who have memories of,or an interest in, the war at sea in World War 2 this book is a must. Churchill rightly defined the Battle of the Atlantic as the critical campaign of the war. While the greater part of the German effort in this extended conflict involved submarines - U-boats - Germany had also built a state of the art surface Navy in the years immediately before is and as it started, the elements of which were second to none, and much superior most of their British counterparts. The threat posed by the seven capital ships which are the subject of this book, particularly the BISMARCK and the TIRPITZ, was of the first order to vulnerable shipping in the Atlantic, Norwegian and White seas, whether in convoy or not. While they remained afloat, they had to be contained or destroyed, hence the focus on that task of very substantial forces of the Royal Navy until this had been accomplished.

This book, with its brief but clear descriptions of the ships involved and their origins, accompanied by a wealth of photographs shows, illustrates vividly the nature of the threat involved.
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on 17 June 2013
This book covers the main seven battleships / heavy cruisers and is without doubt the best book I have read that focuses on these most famous vessels. It is for the most part a picture album which covers each ship from laying down their hulls to their final moments of the war. The history of each ship is covered with each action covered in brief detail, but it is the magnificent collection of photos which make the book such a worth while purchase. It would be especially valuable to battleship model makers as there are good photos of each ships various camouflage markings as the war progressed as well as their structural updates. It you are in any way interested in these vessels then this book is a must purchase.
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on 8 March 2014
My review probably echoes several others , because of that I will keep it brief.
The book is exactly what it says on the cover, a "Photo Album" . Good illustrations, well reproduced . Some rare,. others well known .
Full marks for that side of the publication.
However, I would agree with several others opinions that the book is a little thin on the technical aspects of these vessels, the text only adequate in the general depth of information.
I would also question it as regards "value for money" at some of its higher listed prices.
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on 7 February 2014
i purchased this as an xmas gift for my son who not only has great interest in the battle ships of the second world war but also builds models of them he was so pleased with the detailed history plans and photos of each ship
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on 21 March 2014
An excellent collection of photographs that provides good reference for any world war two naval fan. The only disappointment is the omission of the Hipper Class of heavy cruisers.
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on 22 February 2015
Superb collection of photos - mostly of excellent quality - ideal for modellers and the best book of its type - by far
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on 4 August 2015
One of the best books on this subject I have come across.
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