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CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge: Cherbourg 1864 [Digital]

3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Digital
  • ISBN-10: 1849088942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849088947
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account of Nineteenth Century Naval Combat December 26, 2011
Format:Paperback
Naval warfare during the American Civil War was in a period of great flux, with new technology forcing a re-think of tactics. In CSS Alabama vs. USS Kearsarge 1864, in Osprey's Duel-series, naval historian Mark Lardas brings some of these changes into sharp relief through the lens of Union attempts to bring elusive Confederate raiders to heel. The CSS Alabama is at the forefront of this account, but the CSS Sumter, Shenandoah and Florida are also featured. The author mounts his narrative atop two pillars - a discussion of evolving naval technology and a tactical dissection - although other aspects of this duel are covered, as well. Overall, this is an excellent, engaging narrative and should be in any Civil War library.

In the opening section on design and development - which is very well written and understandable - the author discusses how three revolutionary technologies (steam power, iron construction and percussion fuses) dramatically changed warships just prior to the Civil War. He notes that although many Civil War warships looked superficially similar to earlier warships, they were in fact quite different. He notes that changes in armament, such as rifled barrels and explosive shells, as well as the shift to fewer but larger guns had a big impact upon naval combat. Ships were also becoming double the size of previous warships, but with smaller crews. He then discuses the specific evolution of Union cruisers and Confederate raiders, and provides a side-view plate of both CSS Alabama and USS Kearsarge.

The author provides a 5-page section on the strategic situation, which includes a map of raider operations in 1863-65.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CSS ALABAMA vs USS KEARSARGE: CHERBOURG 1864 April 28, 2012
Format:Paperback
CSS ALABAMA vs USS KEARSARGE: CHERBOURG 1864
MARK LARDAS
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2011
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, 80 PAGES, $17.95, CHARTS, GRAPHS, TABLES, PHOTOGRAPHS, MAPS, DRAWINGS

During The War Between The States, the Confederacy's commerce raiders sought to weaken the United States by driving U.S. merchant shipping from the seas. Many Northern shipowners, fearing the loss of their vessels, quickly sold their ships to foreign neutrals. Rapidly rising maritime insurance rates put other shipowners out of business. Stephen R. Mallory, formerly chairman of the U.S. Senate's Naval Affairs Committee and now the new Secretary of the Navy for the Confederacy decided to commission a number of deep water cruisers to seek out and destroy the Northern merchant fleet.

The pinnacle of commerce raider design, the CSS Alabama, enjoyed considerable success in this endeavor, capturing 65 merchant vessels. One of the U.S. Navy's most advanced warships, the cruiser Kearsarge, spent most of the war hunting these Confederate raiders, culminating in an epic clash with the CSS Alabama off the coast of France in June, 1864.

This book, CSS ALABAMA vs USS KEARSARGE: CHERBOURG, 1864 is a well-written and nicely illustrated account on one of the South's most well-known ships-its voyages, its capture of Northern vessels, and its final defeat at the hands of the USS Kearsarge.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and informative account December 6, 2011
Format:Paperback
This is a well-written and informative account of the campaign and battle of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama. If you are interested in the subject of American Civil War naval actions, this would be a recommended read. I read a library copy.

The Contents are -
P04: Introduction
P08: Chronology
P10: Design and Development
P25: The Strategic Situation
P30: Technical Specifications
P40: The Combatants
P51: Combat
P69: Statistics and Analysis
P76: Aftermath
P78: Further Reading
P80: Index

The Colour Plates are -
P20: USS Kearsarge. This is a ½ page side view of the ship, with a ½ page of text giving technical specifications, etc
P24: CSS Alabama. This is a ½ page side view of the ship, with a ½ page of text giving technical specifications, etc
P28: A map of the world showing the routes of the Confederate cruisers and Union patrol areas.
P32: Weapons of Alabama and Kearsarge. These show side views of the guns and their mountings, with supporting text.
P34: Moving a pivot gun. Four illustrations depicting the operation of one of the Alabama's pivot guns, with supporting text.
P57: A map of the track of the two ships off Cherbourg on the day of battle.
P60: Commander's View - Alabama's quarterdeck. This plate shows a group of officers standing behind the wheel, while beyond it a gun is manned and prepared to fire; in the distance the Kearsarge can be seen in profile, moving on an opposite course, firing.
P61: Commander's View - Kearsarge's quarterdeck.
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