An Illustrated Design History
By Norman Friedman
As a great fan of the Norman Friedman/AD Baker III tandem of the US Naval Institute Illustrated Design History series, this latest work does not disappoint.
In this latest addition to his acclaimed U.S. warship design history series, Norman Friedman describes the ships and the craft of the U.S. amphibious force, from its inception in the 1920s through World War II to the present. He explains how and why the United States successfully created an entirely new kind of fleet to fight and win such World War II battles as D-Day and the island landings in the Pacific. To an extent not previously documented, his book lays out the differing views and contributions of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines as well as the British, and how they affected the development of prewar and wartime amphibious forces. Current and future amphibious forces and tactics are explained, together with their implications for ships and craft, from 40,000-ton amphibious carriers down to tracked amphibious vehicles.
One of the best features of this series is the sketches of the designs that never came about. Of great interest were two proposals during the Second World War for steam destroyer escort conversions. One armed with three 5in/38 mounts in shields for AA defense of the invasion force and another armed with five 5in/25 open mounts for additional shore bombardment.
About the only fault I could find with this book was an incorrect photo caption on page 480 showing the Tongue Point, Oregon mothball fleet. This photo is not of Tongue Point, which was originally a naval seaplane base with piers perpendicular to the shoreline.
This book is highly recommended. It contains the text of Friedman with the drawings of Baker and as such should prove indispensable to future researchers. I can hardly wait for the next volume in this series. (DS)