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US Fast Battleships 1936-47: The North Carolina and South Dakota Classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – November 23, 2010


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US Fast Battleships 1936-47: The North Carolina and South Dakota Classes (New Vanguard) + US Fast Battleships 1938-91: The Iowa Class + US Destroyers 1942-45: Wartime classes (New Vanguard)
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Product Details

  • Series: New Vanguard (Book 169)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846035104
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846035104
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lawrence Burr has had a lifelong passion for naval history. He was recently the British specialist on a Channel 4 documentary about the battle of Jutland. He has also been part of a team who has conducted underwater explorations of the Battlecruiser wrecks and has visited a number of the key battleships detailed in this volume. He lives in the USA.

More About the Author

Lawrence Burr initiated and co-produced the Channel 4/Discovery Channel documentary Jutland-Clash of the Dreadnoughts, based around extensive diving on the battlecruiser wrecks of the Battle of Jutland. Lawrence has written a number of naval books for Osprey.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Well written and researched.
Dan Welch
Presumed the reader already knew too much of the history of these battlewagons.
CT reader
Still lots of good illustrations and information.
PSU spouse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Lupton on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You could make a good case that these battleships, the U.S. North Carolina and South Dakota classes, were the best overall battleships of history. True, the later Iowa class bettered their performance in speed, and had a slightly higher-velocity version of the 16-inch gun, but the Iowas were 10,000 tons heavier, and were too late to see surface action. Other vessels, like the German Bismarcks and Japanese Yamatos, were even larger but arguably delivered less performance in proportion to size. The British King George V class had inadequate (and unreliable) 14-inch guns, and, as Prince of Wales demonstrated, may have had deficient underwater protection.

This title gives a decent summary of both the design characteristics and war experience of these vital two classes of WWII battleships. Several useful diagrams help the reader to understand how they worked. The turret diagram and accompanying text on pp. 28-29 are especially useful. Illustrations are plentiful, and the captions are well-employed to provide additional information.

I have been studying battleships all my life, yet this title managed to introduce new tidbits for me. For example, during the typhoon that hit the US Pacific fleet, USS North Carolina generally rolled 10 degrees, with a maximum roll of 43 degrees, in conditions that sank three destroyers and damaged much of the fleet. There is a nice summary of the battleship duel between the Japanese Kirishima and the US battleships Washington and South Dakota. The text here clarifies a few things I had not known, such as the high proportion of hits that Washington achieved with radar-directed armament. Yet Washington almost fired on South Dakota in the confusion, which helps account for why the U.S.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard F. Teklits on January 30, 2011
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This was an enjoyable book to read....one of the other reviews summarized this well in stating that this little book had some information that he had not heard of before.
The book does seem to concentrate on the North Carolina class. However, there is information in here that I had never read before. Of particular interest was the description of the night surface action wherein the USS Washington and the South Dakota took on the Kirishima. It has been widely cited that the Washington scored 9 hits with her 16 inch battery. This book cites a post war interview with some survivors of the Kirishima that state the Washington scored close to 20 hits with her 16 inch guns. The author also points out that the relative closing speed of the two ships was 54 knots...meaning that the Washington's main battery turrets had to train 20 degree per minute to stay on target. If the 20 hits are accepted, then Washington scored 20 hits out of 75 main battery rounds fired...an accuracy of @27%...impressive performance by the crew.
I recommend this book and found it to be very enjoyable!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Douglas Johnson on March 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
This Osprey work gives the reader a concise look in to the North Carolina and South Dakota classes of Battleships in WWII.

There is a short description of the factors that influenced their design in relation to the various naval treaties of the day. A short description of construction details is delved in to as is the fire control and radar systems installed throughout the involved ship's histories.

The descriptions of the battles the two classes of ships were involved in are portrayed in a short and precise fashion that will give a reader new to this topic a good understanding of the battles without getting too involved in the usual small details.

For someone with little experience in reading this sort of book this edition is of great value to any growing library on WWII naval combat. For those of greater depth of understanding of such things there is just enough new information to also make it a worthwhile purchase. For those who want more in-depth coverage there are a great deal of larger works available so the cost of this volume might be better spent on shipping for those larger books!

Overall this is a worthwhile volume to have in your collection.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles Stuckey on February 21, 2011
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In keeping with most of Osprey's new line of New Vanguard books this is a concise and informative text on the NC and SD class BBs. Tables in the back of the book give excellent information on each ship's upgrades during the war. The only place I could have asked more is in the battle descriptions, which were good, but brief. I can recommend this for anyone interested in a brief and concise guide to these vessels.
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Fully agree with the positive reviews of this Osprey title. Within the limits of the format, the author does a fine job of highlighting the strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments of these two classes of BB's.

My only criticisms are minor. He mislabels a USN CL as the North Carolina (pg. 30), he wastes some of the limited space he has by using the same pic of the North Carolina at anchor as a museum twice (pgs. 1 & 44) and although the text makes it clear he has read Robert Lundgren's fine web articles on the Kirishima's destruction by the Washington, he does not give any credit to Lundgren in the short bibliography.
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