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German Battleships 1939-45

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ISBN-10: 1780966172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780966175
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on September 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
In Osprey's New Vanguard #71, Gordon Williamson outlines the career of the six German battleships in the Second World War, ranging from the two elderly pre-dreadnoughts, to the powerful "Scharnhorst" and "Bismarck" classes. Like the other volumes in Williamson's series on the German WW2 Kriegsmarine warships, the technical data and career summaries are rather brief, but probably useful for someone in need of an overview of the various warship classes.

As in the other volumes in this series, Williamson provides brief background on the construction of each member of these classes and a summary of its operational history. The coverage of the two pre-dreadnoughts is particularly brief, given their minimal role in the Second World War. The color plates include: the Schleswig-Holstein class; Scharnhorst in action; a plan view of the Scharnhorst; a cutaway of the Bismarck; Gneisenau post-refit; Bismarck in action; and Tirpitz. The photographs in the volume are decent but unlike his other volumes, the author has not provided a bibliography.

Williamson's coverage of the careers of the four main German battleships is conventional. The Germans probably got their best results from any warship class from the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which together sank one British aircraft carrier, two destroyers and 19 merchantmen of 115,000 tons; for an investment of over $115 million, Germany eliminated about $32 million worth of Allied shipping. The Bismarck, although she sank the British battlecruiser Hood, had an operational life of only nine exciting days.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Heather L. Parisi on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
IN A NUTSHELL:

'German Battleships 1939-45' by Gordon Williamson, has for discussion one of the most eternally fascinating topics in military history: THE GERMAN BATTLESHIPS OF WORLD WAR 2!!!! Somehow, this awesome topic is given a very generic and, in many ways, careless treatment throughout this text.

WANT MORE ---- [the double-sided cutaways are this book's best feature]

The stats within this text are so poorly edited -- I say edited because I don't believe any author could list the Bismarck's draught at 0.2 meters [top of page 29 under 'SPECIFICATIONS'] -- that I can't seriously believe anything I have read within this rather pricey, mini paperback.

DREADNOUGHTS ANYONE?

The chapter about the 'PRE-DREADNOUGHT' Battleships that the Versailles Treaty imposed on the Germans is incredibly titled; "THE DREADNOUGHTS"! The ships here include the Schleswig-Holstein and her sisters. All the German ships (which were DREADNOUGHTS) scuttled following the Armistice were much more capable and modern than these pre-DREADNOUGHTS which remained (and that the author is passing off as DREADNOUGHTS).

The effect of these types of errors that are simple and fundamental will have any serious student of military history questioning every statement within this book; thus, the value of this text is rather diminished. One reason for this is simple -- "Osprey Publishing" says the following on the top of their website's home page:

"Osprey Publishing is the world's leading publisher of illustrated military history and military aviation books."

They certainly churn out the material, but the level of research and editing is very lacking for a 48-page paperback that sells for $14.95!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Pernikoff on March 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the previous reviewers that this is not one of the better warship titles in the New Vanguard series. I also agree that the old battleships should have been called what they really were, "pre-dreadnoughts". Regarding those, it bugs me that the side views of the ships pre-refit and post-refit are drawn to different scales!

I also wish that the author had also given some description of the unbuilt H-class battleships; the parallel title on British battleships does describe an unbuilt class.

And a minor point about many of Osprey's titles: I wish that measurements, such as for gun size, were given in English as well as metric units. I know that these books are published in the U.K., but there are many buyers of these books who are more comfortable with inches and feet, and it would be a trivial matter for the author and publisher to include both sets of units.
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By eldan fales on April 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of a series of historical books that deal with one class of ships in the German Navy of World war 2. This volume covers the 2 Bismarck class Battleships, and the 2 Sharnhorst class ships that were actually more realistically Battle Cruisers. These books are well 3D illustrated and written in a Tidy manner and don't use conjecture from the point of the writer. This book is a must along with the rest of the series for any one interested in World War 2 Naval history, or any war history buff at all. These books are well priced and would make good gifts for students of history, or someone who likes set collections. This will be one of the books that I recommend to purchase along with a book that I am currently writing about the Plan Z ships that Germany was planning to build for World War 2.
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