HUNTERS AND KILLERS: Volume 1 Anti-Submarine Warfare
1776-1943; Volume 2 Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943
By Norman Polmar and Edward Whitman. Naval Institute
Press, ( 1) 2015. 224 pp. $44.95 ( 2) 2016. 272 pp. $49.95
ISBNs: 978-1-59114-689-6, 978-1-61251-897-8
These two volumes comprise the most comprehensive history
of anti-submarine warfare (ASW), with the first covering ASW
through World War I up to the turning point in the Battle of the
Atlantic in World War II. The second volume covers the rest of
that war and then ASW in the Cold War, in which it resumed its
tremendous importance as the Soviet Union tried to outpace the
United States and its allies in a technological and tactical race.
Despite the technical nature of ASW, these books are highly readable in their discussions of the ships, aircraft, sensors, weapons,
tactics and people who waged this most opaque type of warfare.
THE LAST BIG GUN: At War & At Sea with HMS Belfast
By Brian Lavery. London: Pool of London Press, 2015.
440 pp. $36.95
The number of warships that rate their own full-book tribute
are relatively few, but the author, a historian of the U.K. Royal
Navy, makes the case that the Town-class cruiser HMS Belfast
is deserving. Its keel broken by German mine after only four
months into a blockade of German ports, Belfast spent more
than two years under repair before returning to the fight. Its role
in protecting convoys off North Cape from German warships
led to the ship, with its new radar, playing a leading role in the
December 1943 sinking of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst.
Belfast provided gunfire support for the D-Day landings in
Normandy in mid-1944 and was sent to join the British Pacific
Fleet in 1945 in the war against Japan. Belfast also provided
gunfire support to U.N. forces in the Korean War. The cruiser
was decommissioned in 1963, but in 1971 was moored in the
Thames River in London as a part of the Imperial War Museum.
ON WAVE AND WING: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect
the Aircraft Carrier
By Barrett Tillman. Washington: Regnery History, 2017.
332 pp. $29.99
The author, an expert on naval aviation, marks the centennial of the
aircraft carrier to present a lively history of the carrier and how it
shaped the nations that operated them and the nations pummeled
by them. This book is not a comprehensive history but a collection of narrative accounts, summaries, anecdotes, snapshots and
highlights of carriers and their technology, and the aviators who
launched from them. Tillman does not hold back on his opinions,
which are very informed from a lifetime of interviews with aviators.
VERY SPECIAL SHIPS: Abdiel Class Fast Minelayers
of World War II
By Arthur Nicholson. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2015.
208 pp. $55.95
Offensive minelayers have an especially dangerous mission, dashing into enemy waters to seed minefields and
then escaping, usually under the cover of darkness. The
six Abdiel-class minelayers of the U.K. Royal Navy chronicled in this comprehensive book used their speed to lay
mines along the Italian coast and the Andaman Islands, as
well as run blockades to resupply Malta and Tobruk, evacuate British soldiers from Crete, land Royal Marines in
Madagascar and support amphibious operations in the Pacific.
The Abdiels took a high toll on Italian destroyers, as well as
smaller warships and patrol boats, during World War II.
Books Highlight Anti-Submarine Warfare,
WWII Warships, Raiders and Aircraft
BY RICHARD R. BURGESS, MANAGING EDITOR