Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Donitz's Last Gamble

Donitz's Last Gamble

Donitz's Last Gamble 
The Inshore U-Boat Campaign 1944-45
Seaforth Publishing logo
Lawrence Paterson
Found in: Naval: Iron & Steel
All Seaforth Books
Hardback 192 pages
ISBN: 9781844157143
Published: 20 March 2008

After the June 1944 D-Day landings D'nitz withdrew his U-boat wolf-packs from the Atlantic convoy war and sent them into coastal waters, where they could harass the massive shipping movements necessary to supply the Allied armies advancing across Europe. Caught unawares by this change of strategy, the Allied anti-submarine forces were ill-prepared for the novel challenges of inshore warfare. It proved surprisingly difficult to locate U-boats that could lie silently on the seabed, and the shallow waters meant less than ideal conditions for sonar propagation. Furthermore, because the battle was nearer home, the U-boats wasted less time on transit, so at any one time there were more of them in combat. In the final months of the war there was also the threat of far more advanced and potent submarine types entering German service, but thanks largely to overwhelming numbers of escorts this last gamble by D'nitz was defeated. In fact, the Allied navies had never really established superiority, and this was to have enormous significance later during the Cold War, when the same tactics were planned by the Soviets. Since it had such a major impact on post-war naval thinking, it is a story of the utmost importance told by an accomplished U-boat author.

Most histories of the Battle of the Atlantic pretty much end after Operation Overlord in June of 1944 when the U-Boats were assigned missions to UK and Canadian inshore waters.. Author Lawrence Paterson brings to life in this story of the campaign in UK waters.

This thoroughly researched book is largely written from the German perspective with tremendous insights on bases, personnel and equipment. The German hope was the UK campaign would buy them time until the revolutionary Type XXI and XXIII boats could come into service. Fortunately for the Allies, the RAF/USAAF bombing campaign interrupted the program sufficiently so that the new boats couldn't take part in the battle in a meaningful manner. Postwar trials on captured boats indicated just how advanced they were and the devastation they could have had on the war effort.

Two small quibbles about the book - the photo of page 42 is taken on a Canadian Tribal Class destroyer sometime after 1950 or so and the meager mention in the text about the rapid introduction of wreck charts for UK waters rapidly drafted as part of the UK inshore campaign.

The book is an excellent addition to the historical narrative of this often ignored period of history. We look forward to reviewing Mr Paterson's other book "Black Flag."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Broken Arrow: America's First Lost Nuclear Weapon

Broken Arrow: America's First Lost Nuclear Weapon
By Norman Leach

History / Military / Aviation History / Nuclear Warfare History / United States / 20th Century
224 pages, 9 x 6"
50+ b&w Photos
ISBN 0–88995–348–1 paper • 19.95

On the eve of Valentine's Day, 1950, an American Strategic Air Command B-36 bomber-loaded with an atomic bomb-flew into the frozen night on a simulated bombing run from Alaska to San Francisco. The engines suddenly failed on this notoriously unreliable aircraft and the crew, before parachuting into the rugged terrain of northern British Columbia, set the autopilot to take the aircraft far out to sea.
Years later the wreckage of the bomber was accidentally discovered on a remote northern British Columbia mountaintop hundreds of miles from its presumed location deep beneath the Pacific Ocean.
Before reading this book I was unfamiliar with author Norman Leach. From this first impression it seems Canada has a stellar addition to the historical community.
Broken Arrow examines the tragic loss of a US Air Force bomber in the early days of the Cold War over British Columbia, with most of the crew baling out over Princess Royal Island. This definitive historical record of the event effectively debunks urban legends and conspiracy theories, all done in a thorough and highly readable fashion, I look forward to reading the next work of Mr Leach.

Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars

Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars
Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars

By Brian Tennyson, Roger Sarty University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2002 World Rights 534 Pages Paper ISBN 9780802085450 Published May 2002 $36.95

This book covers the military history of Cape Breton from the 17th Century until today. Traditionally the island was home of two strategic assets: the Canso waterway and the coal mines of the northeast.
Through times of international tensions through the years, the island's military facilities varied from a personnel and defensive equipment perspective. Often both of these duties fell on the coal miners and later the adjancent steel millworkers.
From Conferation, Canada has been averse to spending on money on defense justifying it as the nation was either protected by the US Monroe Doctrine, Imperial allegiance to Britain or the 1990s "Peacekeeping Nation." These were all methods employed by national government to mask the distaste for military spending.
The growth of the RCN, RCAF and Coast Artillery on the island in the Second World War is documented to an extensive degree. Some excellent photos were used (but left me wanting more of them) with one of my favorites being the marine railway in Sydney, one of the outcomes from the disgraceful corvette refit crisis brought on by the ineptitude of the Chief of Naval Staff in Ottawa, Percy Nelles.
The authors have done a good job the most part; however my biggest disappointment was the scant amount of information of the Point Edward Naval Base, a facility which has been all but ignored by historians to date.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Bridge of Ships


A Bridge of Ships
Canadian Shipbuilding during the Second World War
James Pritchard
A ground-breaking work about the challenges and achievements of creating Canada's largest shipbuilding industry ever.
Cloth (0773538240) 9780773538245 Release date: 2011-05-20 CA $59.95  |  US $59.95 
8.5x10 464pp 45 tables

Before 1939, Canada's shipbuilding industry had been moribund for nearly two decades - no steel-hulled, ocean-going vessel had been built since 1921. During the Second World War, however, Canada's shipbuilding program became a major part of the nation's industrial effort. Shipyards were expanded and more than a thousand warships and cargo ships were constructed as well as many more thousands of auxiliary vessels, small boats, and other craft. A large ship-repair program also began.
In A Bridge of Ships James Pritchard tells the story of the rapidly changing circumstances and forceful personalities that shaped government shipbuilding policy. He examines the ownership and expansion of the shipyards and the role of ship repairing, as well as recruitment and training of the labour force. He also tells the story of the struggle for steel and the expansion of ancillary industries. Pritchard provides a definitive picture of Canada's wartime ship production, assesses the cost (more than $1.2 billion), and explains why such an enormous effort left such a short-lived legacy.
The story of Canada's shipbuilding industry is as astonishing as that of the nation's wartime navy. The personnel of both expanded more than fifty times, yet the history of wartime shipbuilding remains virtually unknown. With the disappearance of the Canadian shipbuilding industry from both the land and memory, it is time to recall and assess its contribution to Allied victory.
This book is a fairly exhaustive history and the author is commended for taking on this daunting task. Shipbuilding and repair is covered from a political, labor and economic perspective.

The only real complaint I have with the book is the author's unfamiliarity with naval weapons which are often confused in the text. Apart from that, the book is highly recommended.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Warships of the Bay of Quinte


April 2011
197pp, Paperback
$28.00 CAD

This is the story of six of Canada’s Warships HMCS Napanee, Belleville, Hallowell, Trentonian, Quinte (I), and Quinte (II). These histories give a unique account of the small ships that were the backbone of the Canadian Navy during the Second World War and the Cold War. The stories record the accomplishments of these hardworking ships as well as the mistakes. This rich and vivid account of an important part of Canada’s Naval Service draws from the records of the ships, interviews with their crews, letters, diaries, newspaper articles, community libraries and photographs. You will learn about HMCS Napanee as she fights a five day battle against twenty-four German submarines in on one of Canada’s most tragic convoy battles. Be with HMCS Belleville as she fights to rescue a torpedoed merchant ship and find out about how a German submarine sinks the HMCS Trentonian late in the war killing six of her crew.
This book is the first work of history by the author and unfortunately it shows.
A short list of errata is as follows:
·         Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty when term “corvette” coined; not Prime Minister
·         Incorrect usage of HMCS as “the HMCS” on numerous occasions
·         Rank of Captain (N) was not used in the Second World War
·         On page 66 a location “west” of Boston was used for an incident at sea
·         Bermuda is in the Atlantic Ocean NOT the Caribbean Sea
·         CANCOMINRONONE should have been capitalized
The most glaring error was the author missing the historical significance of the ground of HMS Indomitable in 1941. This event started a chain of events which had catastrophic consequences for the Royal Navy in that Indomitable was to be the air cover for HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse in the Far East.
There are a few good illustrations in the book however not enough to recommend it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Seabound Coast

Cover for The Seabound Coast

The Seabound Coast
The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939, Volume I
By Richard H. Gimblett, William Johnston and William G.P. Rawling
January 2011
1014pp, Hardback
From its creation in 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy was marked by political debate over the country’s need for a naval service. The Seabound Coast, Volume I of a three-volume official history of the RCN, traces the story of the navy’s first three decades, from its beginnings as Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s “tinpot” navy of two obsolescent British cruisers to the force of six modern destroyers and four minesweepers with which it began the Second World War. The previously published Volume II of this history, Part 1, No Higher Purpose, and Part 2, A Blue Water Navy, has already told the story of the RCN during the 1939–1945 conflict.
Based on extensive archival research, The Seabound Coast recounts the acrimonious debates that eventually led to the RCN’s establishment in 1910, its tenuous existence following the Laurier government’s sudden replacement by that of Robert Borden one year later, and the navy’s struggles during the First World War when it was forced to defend Canadian waters with only a handful of resources. From the effects of the devastating Halifax explosion in December 1917 to the U-boat campaign off Canada’s East Coast in 1918, the volume examines how the RCN’s task was made more difficult by the often inconsistent advice Ottawa received from the British Admiralty in London. In its final section, this important and well-illustrated history relates the RCN’s experience during the interwar years when anti-war sentiment and an economic depression threatened the service’s very survival.
The amount of information, graphics, photographs and maps in this book is indeed mind-boggling.
A couple of interesting things I learned from reading this book – Britain wanted to give Canada a coal-burning Bristol Class cruiser instead of HMS Aurora and the senior destroyer commanding officer of the RCN in the 1930s had a broad black funnel cap as per the Royal Navy leader tradition.
A very big well done to Dr Gimblett and his co-authors.

Whelks to Whales, Revised Second Edition

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-491-5 
ISBN 10: 1-55017-491-6
Price: $25.95 CAD; $25.95 USD
500+ color photographs
5.5 x 8.5 - 328 pp
March 2011

Whelks to Whales, Revised Second Edition
Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest
By Rick M. Harbo
One of the best-selling concise guidebooks to marine life of the Pacific Northwest now revised and updated.
Newly revised and updated in 2010 with additional photographs and up-to-date names, this full-color field guide to the marine life of coastal British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and northern California is perfect for divers, boaters and beachcombers. It is a ready reference to more than 400 of the most common species, the fascinating local sponges, jellyfish, crabs, shrimp, barnacles, clams, snails, seals, fish, whales, sea algae and hundreds of other living things that can be observed and identified without being disturbed. The book is arranged for quick identification with color-coded sections, full-color photographs and comprehensive but concise information on size, range, habitat and facts of interest about each species. A glossary, checklist, reading list and full index are included.
Yet another extraordinary work from Harbour Publishing, both well written and with an excellent look and feel. The size and weight make this book an excellent addition to a picnic basket, beach excursion or boat ride in the Pacific Northwest. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-513-4 
ISBN 10: 1-55017-513-0 Price: $7.95 CAD; $7.95 USD  Pamphlet color photographs 37 x 9  March 2011

A Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest
By Neil McDaniel

Sea stars are amongst the most common and conspicuous invertebrates that thrive in the rich waters of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to southeast Alaska. Worldwide there are more than 2,000 different species, but no other temperate region has a greater variety and abundance of these colorful and often very large echinoderms, which are closely related to sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars and feather stars. An underwater photographer, journalist and naturalist with over 40 years of diving experience, Neil McDaniel provides many original field observations to accompany his remarkable images of these fascinating animals.

This durable, water-resistant 8-fold field guide describes how to identify more than 30 species likely to be encountered by beach walkers and scuba enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. It also provides intriguing details about their behavior, including how they move about, hunt for prey, reproduce and avoid predators. It is an ideal companion for family explorations to the sea shore, an invaluable reference in any scuba diver's kit bag and a useful addition to the home library.

As a big fan of the layout and design work of Harbour Publishing, they never cease to amaze with their ever increasing abilities for putting out an outstanding production. This fold out guide to Sea Stars should be a must for every lover of boating and beachcombing in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


By Win Stites
ISBN 9781615846504 2008 
Published by PBY Museum www.pbyma.org

To meet the author Win Stites in person is to sense and adopt his enthusiasm for the PBY Catalina.
A veteran of World War II service including flight engineer and as a plane captain in 1945, Stites is now a director of the PBY Museum located in the former seaplane base at NAS Whidbey Island.
The book is a compilation of historical anecdotes which were frist published in the base newspaper “Crosswind.”
Illustrated with photos and artwork by the author, this book will be a welcome addition to the library of those interested in naval aviation.
For ordering information, pleasesee www.pbyma.org

British Cruisers By Norman Friedman

British Cruisers 
By Norman Friedman
Hardback 320 pages
ISBN: 9781848320789
Published: 24 January 2011
British Cruisers
For most of the twentieth century Britain possessed both the world’s largest merchant fleet and its most extensive overseas territories. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Royal Navy always showed a particular interest in the cruiser – a multi-purpose warship needed in large numbers to defend trade routes and police the empire. Above all other types, the cruiser’s competing demands of quality and quantity placed a heavy burden on designers, and for most of the inter-war years Britain sought to square this circle through international treaties restricting both size and numbers. In the process she virtually invented the heavy cruiser and inspired the large 6in-armed cruiser, neither of which, ironically, served her best interests. For the first time this book seeks to comprehend the full policy background, from which a different and entirely original picture emerges of British cruiser development.
After the war the cruiser’s role was reconsidered and the final chapters of the book cover modernisations, the plans for missile-armed ships and the convoluted process that turned the ‘through-deck cruiser’ into the Invincible class light carriers. With detailed appendices of ship data, and illustrated in depth with photos and A D Baker’s specially commissioned plans, British Cruisers truly matches the lofty standards set by Friedman’s previous books on British destroyers.
Another classic from Norman Friedman, the standard for excellence in the technical history of naval ships.
The book covers the First World War era cruisers through the Invincible Class of the 1970s, which the author argues were more cruiser than carrier stemming from an earlier design and the fact they were fitted with extensive C4I capabilities.
A nice addition was the inclusion the cruiser minelayers, one of which operated briefly in the APD role with the US Seventh Fleet in the Pacific.
As with his other books, extensive detail of radio, radar, directors and other fittings is included except for little mention of searchlights, which were an integral part of cruisers before the advent of radar in night actions.
Numerous drawings by AD Baker III always make Dr Friedman’s books second to none and worth the price in themselves.
Cover art is a copy of a painting by Norman Wilkinson from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich portraying HMS Ajax and Achilles during the 1939 Battle of the River Plate.
A few observations from the manuscript:
·         Date for demolition of HMS Raleigh is the same as the commissioning date on page 66
·         Searchlight platform on page 148 actually a 20-inch signal light.
·         In the credits US Naval Historical Center Photo Curator Robert Hanshew’s name is misspelled.
·         Royal Canadian Navy plans in 1944 were to take over Minotaur and Superb, both under construction in the UK at the time, to become HMCS Ontario and Quebec respectively. Delays in construction of Superb led to the takeover instead of Uganda which was under repair at Charleston Naval Shipyard with a nucleus crew provided by corvette HMCS Snowberry, also in the yard at the time
Congratulations to Dr Friedman on another excellent work – 432 pages of bliss for the serious student of naval technical history.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tales of the Galley

Tales of the Galley

By Doreen Armitage

Harbour Publishing P.O. Box 219, Madeira Park, BC, V0N 2H0

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-438-0
ISBN 10: 1-55017-438-X
Price: $39.95 CAD; $39.95 USD
8.5 x 11 - 198 pp
October 2007

Doreen Armitage, author of the bestselling From the Wheelhouse: Tugboaters Tell their own Stories is back with a fresh collection of salty tales from a varied collection of men who earn their living in, on or beside the sea. A former DFO skipper tells a heartrending story of trying to rescue the crew of a fish boat foundering off the west coast of Vancouver Island in wind so strong it cart wheeled their life raft "across the waves like a tumbleweed." A coastal pilot recounts the horrors of trying to scramble up the sides of towering ships in tossing seas, and a near-death experience after falling into the frigid ocean. A tugboat skipper tells of towing a mountainous bundle of logs—called a Davis raft—from the Queen Charlotte Islands only to have it hit rocks and break apart, scattering enough timber to build a small city. A commercial dive fisherman remembers the time his buddy befriended a big harmless-seeming octopus, who responded by trying to tear his helmet off.
The author of Tales from the Galley has compiled a group of entertaining stories from B.C.’s working waterfront.  She has the ability to transform these oral histories into a story where you feel that you are being told the tale personally.  She covers a wide range of waterfront activities from fishing to Coast Guard to deep sea oil drilling.  All stories are told with enthusiasm and a good understanding of the topic.  The great pictures throughout the book give the reader a good visual of the topics the author covers. 
This has been a delightful read and I would recommend that it would be a worthwhile addition to your bookshelf.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Squadron 13 and the Big Flying Boats

ISBN: 1555716458
Pages: 216

The PB2Y Coronados-massive, four-engine seaplanes known as the "Big Flying Boats"-were the ride of choice for dignitaries in the Pacific during WWII. A Coronado flew Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to view the damage suffered by the Pacific Fleet after Pearl Harbor. Admiral Chester Nimitz flew in one to Japan in August 1945 for the signing of the peace treaty.
But in the Pacific Theatre, where Naval aviation was the ultimate weapon, the Big Flying Boats were more than just cushy rides for VIPs. They flew and fought in the heart of the conflict, from Hawaii to the Philippines to Japan.
Here, the pilots of the U.S. Navy Squadron 13 Coronados relate their wartime exploits in their own words. From tales of dangerous Dumbo patrols and the evacuation of wounded at Tarawa, to dogfights with Japanese "Bettys" and bombing of enemy ships and installations, this is the story of those remarkable aircraft and the men who flew them.
An enjoyable collection of personal recollections of personnel who flew on these great planes for the US Navy. One of the aircraft was used as the personal aircraft of Admiral Chester W Nimitz during the Second World War.
Sadly only one example still exists today luckily at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Carrier War The Life and Times of a Naval Aviator in WWII

By Noman Berg
ISBN: 1555716199
Pages: 200
Hellgate Press

More than just another blood-'n-guts memoir, Norm Berg's MY CARRIER WAR is a detailed account of carrier pilots and their planes, an engaging love story and a courageous examination of a young man's battle with--and eventual victory over--fear and self-doubt.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Three days later, a young Navy pilot-in-training won his wings and soon found himself flying torpedo planes against enemy targets in the Pacific. From his days as a naval aviation cadet aboard the "Yellow Peril" biplane trainer, to his first bombing runs on Guadalcanal, to his life aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific, Norman Berg offers a fast-paced narrative filled with humor and meticulous attention to detail.
Much more than a simple WWII memoir, this story goes beyond the action of battle to explore the author's innermost conflicts and chronicles one young couple's wartime struggle to balance love, duty, and commitment.
The book contains a fairly readable narrative but suffers a few errors in dates and reporting the author's first carrier launch on two separate occasions. The tale ends in January 1945 so it leaves the reader wondering what happened to author in the rest of the war.
However, the book is worth reading and leaves you an excellent idea of what life was like in those momentous days. Kudos to Hellgate for bringing these stories to the historical record.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On and off the Flight Deck Reflections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War 2

Paperback 256 pages
ISBN: 9781848841956
Published: 15 October 2009
Pen and Sword Books

Hank Adlam began his naval flying career in 1941, his first operational posting was to the newly-formed No. 890 Squadron. The squadron’s first operational role was to protect a convoy sailing from New York and bound for Greenock. Their major task was to protect the ship’s squadron of Fairey Swordfish anti-submarine aircraft and to destroy any long-range Lufwaffe Fw Condor reconnaissance patrols that were transmitting convoy positions to the waiting U-boat wolf-packs. During this first operational voyage he lost his best friend who was shot down. Later, on this same initiation to front-line operational flying, Hank was forced to ditch into gale-torn Atlantic Ocean. In the autumn of 1942, 890 Squadron joined the fleet carrier HMS Illustrious, again involving convoy protection. During one patrol he helped destroy an enemy Blohm und Voss Bv 138 Seaplane. Illustrious sailed for the Mediterranean arriving in Malta, with the objective of providing air cover for the landings at Salerno. 1944 saw the Squadron pilots despatched aboard HMS London and then they briefly joined HMS Atheling, to provide air cover for a strong fleet attacking Japanese shipping around the Andaman Islands. When 890 was disbanded he joined 1839 Squadron flying the new Grumman Hellcat.
Many interesting facts about aviation in the Royal Navy in World War Two such as:

  • Philip Vian, the hero of Narvik, was disliked by aviators because of his ignorance of aviation. This lack of knowledge or even appearing to want to know, led to the needless sacrifice of numerous Seafires and their pilots at the invasion of Salerno. This lack of knowledge followed Vian to his later appointment with the British Pacific Fleet.
  • In the early years of the war, the Royal Navy insisted on having an observer in carrier aircraft who was also in command over the pilot.
  • The Grumman F4F was always referred to as Wildcat and not by the official RN name of Martlet.
  • The light fleet carriers which came into service near the end of hostilities, were cursed with the design flaw of them being built for conversion to mercantile ships after the war. This had the effect of making them too slow to get enough wind over the deck during aviation operations.
  • After VJ Day, under the terms of Lend-Lease US aircraft on RN carriers were to be either purchased or ditched. Many aircraft were unceremoniously dumped in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Aircraft carriers were considered the best at evacuating released prisoners of war with their spacious hangar decks.
The narrative flows quite well leaving the reader with a real feeling of what it must have been like living the life of a carrier pilot. Details about shore time in places such as USA, Scotland, Ceylon, Australia and South Africa are detailed.
However there is one criticism of the book which needs to be addressed by the publisher in future works - the lack of proof reading. The overuse of capitalization of unnecessary words becomes distracting and annoying.
Apart from this, it is still a good read for fans and students of naval aviation.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gentleman Captain

1662: Restoration England. Cromwell is dead, and King Charles II has reclaimed the throne after years of civil war. It is a time of divided allegiances, intrigue, and outright treachery. With rebellion stirring in the Scottish Isles, the hard-pressed sovereign needs men he can trust to sail north and defuse this new threat.
Matthew Quinton is such a man—the second son of a noble royalist family, he is loyal, if inexperienced. Having sunk the first man-of-war under his command within weeks, Matthew is determined to complete his second mission without loss of life or honor. Upon taking command of His Majesty's Ship the Jupiter, the young “gentleman captain” is faced with a resentful crew and has but few on whom he can rely: Kit Farrell, an illiterate commoner with vast seafaring experience, and Phineas Musk, a roguish but steadfast family retainer. As they approach the wild coast of Scotland, Matthew begins to learn the ropes and win the respect of his fellow officers and sailors.
But he has other difficulties on the voyage north: a suspicion that the previous captain of the Jupiter was murdered, a feeling that many among his crew have something to hide, and the growing conviction that betrayal lies closer to home than he had thought.
Mr Davies is the latest entrant to become the next CS Forrester of Hornblower fame. Although we don't normally review works of fiction, this book was submitted for consideration by the publisher. The author makes every attempt to illustrated what conditions onboard a British sailing ship in the 17th Century and makes for an enjoyable read for fans of the historical nautical fiction genre.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

US Navy Warships & Auxiliaries including US Coast Guard

By Steve Bush

216 pages Maritime Books; 2nd Revised Edition (December 2010)
English 1904459439 978-1904459439 8
£7.99 | $12.45
The 2nd Edition of this pocket sized guide to the ships, submarines and aircraft of the US Navy, Military Sealift Command and Ready Reserve Fleet has been expanded to include the ships & aircraft of the US Coast Guard. This reviewer looks forward receiving the next work from Steve Bush and this book does not disappoint. This work is profusely illustrated with color photographs of the ships and aircraft of the US Navy, Military Sealift Command and US Coast Guard covers all but the smallest craft. This book is truly a timely reference tool at an affordable price.

The Fourth Force The Untold Story of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1945

By Geoff Puddefoot
Hardback 256 pages
ISBN: 9781848320468
Seaforth Books October 2009

Set up in August 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was originally a logistic support organization, part of the Navy proper but run on civilian lines, comprising a miscellaneous and very unglamorous collection of colliers, store ships and harbour craft. Just over a century later it has evolved beyond recognition: its ships compare in size, cost and sophistication with all but the largest warships, and the RFA itself has developed into an essential arm of all three Services. It is truly the ‘Fourth Force’ – as it is known to its own personnel – and without it, the current worldwide deployment of British service men and women would be simply impossible.
 This book charts the veritable revolution that has overtaken the RFA since the end of the Second World War. New technology and techniques reflect the rapid growth in the importance of logistics in modern warfare, while the broadening role of the RFA is to be seen in the history of its operations, many of them little known to the public. Woven together from a combination of technical ship data, official correspondence and personal recollections, it is predominantly about the men and women of the RFA and their stories – an insight into the underreported history of a service whose initials unofficially translate as Ready For Anything.
With at least two more ships from the RFA fleet being withdrawn from service at the time of the writing of this review, this book should be required reading for all figures interested in both peacekeeping and power projection roles.
At various times in its history, the RFA was considered an integral part of British military operations and at other not so much.
Periodical looks at manning the ships with military crews were looked. Also fascinating was a study into a fast replenishment ship in the early 1950s, a concept only the US Navy ever adopted.
The problems with bringing into service with some of the more recent ship types as well as workings of the head office of both a positive and negative nature are examined in a frank and open manner. This frankness is what impressed me with this book, no candy coating.
This book contains an excellent set of lists and data tables ranging from ships to nuclear warheads at sea during the Falklands War.
Fourth Force by Geoff Puddefoot is truly a great book; we certainly hope to see more from him in future.

The Sunshine Coast From Gibsons to Powell River

By Howard White, photos by Keith Thirkell & Others

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-081-8
ISBN 10: 1-55017-081-3
 Price: $29.95 CAD; $29.95 USD
 8.5 X 11 - 128 pp - 1996
From deep rain forests to logging camps, Indian villages and bustling ports, The Sunshine Coast offers an insider's look at one of the most fascinating regions on the BC coast.
BC's Sunshine Coast is 100 miles of sublimely scenic shoreline just 40 minutes north of Vancouver. Award-winning humorist and Historian Howard White brings his ample experience as a lifelong coast denizen to bear in this fresh look at a unique place and its unique people.
The Sunshine Coast covers the waterfront in words and over 150 full-colour photographs from Gibsons, where the long-running TV series the Beachcombers was filmed, to Powell River, the largest community in the region and home to one of the world's largest pulp and paper mills. Visit Pender Harbour, where some local fishing folk still do their Saturday shopping in motorized "kicker" boats. Drop anchor in Princess Louisa Inlet, where the likes of John Barrymore and Andrew Carnegie once came to marvel at its canyon-like splendour. Stopover in Sechelt, whose name is a remnant of the shi'sha'lh or Sechelt Nation who once occupied the bulk of the Sunshine Coast territory. And sojourn in Roberts Creek, whose patron saint Harry Roberts put the Sunshine Coast on the map when he emblazoned the slogan "The Sunshine Belt" on a freight shed at the nearby steamer dock.
Join Howard White as he explores the rugged area with its reputation for being the maverick among BC's favoured south coast regions. The painters, writers, hermits, handloggers, stumpranchers, trappers, prospectors, fishers and draft dodgers met along the way will find a permanent haven in your heart.
Harbour Publishing wrote this timeless classic in 1996 and makes an enjoyable coffee table. This book has been given to clients by realtors in the region to their clients as it is an excellent compendium of local sights.
Profusely illustrated with photography by Keith Thirkell of West Vancouver BC, the book is more an examination of the modern day Sunshine Coast and not a work of history. The definitive history of the Sunshine Coast is yet to be written.
Illustrated and written about in an eye-pleasing layout, the unofficial trademark of Harbour Publishing, brings to life Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour.

A Field Guide to Seashells and Shellfish of the Pacific Northwest A user-friendly guide for all ages!

By Rick M. Harbo
ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-417-5
ISBN 10: 1-55017-417-7
 Price: $7.95 CAD; $7.95 USD
 37 x 9 - 2 pp - February 2009
There are few more enjoyable ways to spend a relaxing afternoon than at the seashore collecting ornate seashells. But there is no need to fly away to some exotic tropical locale to begin the fun. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, you will find local beaches as rich in fascinating treasures as any place on earth—or at least you will once you have this handy eight-fold guide to show you where to look and how to identify what you find. Those whose interest in shellfish is mainly gastronomic will also find this waterproof guide an essential tool.
This laminated pamphlet makes the perfect addition to your next trip to the beach.

American Flying Boats and Amphibious Aircraft An Illustrated History

By E.R. Johnson

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-3974-4
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-5708-3
391 photos & illustrations, appendices, glossaries, bibliography, index
384pp. Soft cover (7 x 10) 2010 $49.95

This work is a comprehensive, heavily illustrated history of the many flying boats and amphibious aircraft designed and built in the United States. It is divided into three chronological sections: the early era (1912-1928), the golden era (1928-1945), and the post-war era (1945-present), with historical overviews of each period. Within each section, individual aircraft types are listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer or builder, with historical background, technical specifications, drawings, and one or more photographs. Appendices cover lesser known flying boat and amphibian types as well as various design concepts that never achieved the flying stage.
As a child, this reviewer’s first memory of being in an aircraft was my brother and I getting to sit in the cockpit of a P-5 Marlin at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the Vietnam War. As a result, a lifelong fascination with flying boats ensued.
This book is a naval aviation fan's dream; listed are every conceivable craft, military and civil, that were the efforts of US designers and builders, large and small, over the years.
Profusely illustrated with everything from personal watercraft to the famed Pan Am Clippers and PBY Catalinas, the reader will be hard pressed to find more information than that contained in these pages.
Author Johnson has proven once again his excellence in compiling a handy reference tool. This book cannot come more highly recommended.