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United State Navy Submarines 1900-2019...


...from Pen & Sword



Title: United States Navy Submarines 1900-2019

Author: Michael Green

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52674-206-3


There is something about submarines which many of us find intriguing. Their reputation has, I think, come largely from the German U-boats of WW1 & WW2, while nuclear power has changed them out of all proportion to what they were.

The book is a simple, chronological sequence, and starts by considering the first Holland VI boat which they introduced to service back in 1900. It weighed 82 tons, had a crew of 6 and weighed just 82 tons. It could travel submerged at just 6.2 mph and carried just a single torpedo. That is such a contrast as now, just over 100 years later, the latest boats weigh in at over 21,000 tons, have a crew of around 150, underwater speeds of over 30mph and can carry 16 nuclear missiles with a range of over 4,500 miles. The first chapter explains the development of submarines within the US Navy up to the start of WW2, a period of great change and resulting in boats that became much more capable. The supporting archive photos show the great variety in these early developments.

Chapter 2 moves on to WW2, and sets out the 5 classes of fleet-submarines, the Seadragon, Tambor, Gato, Balao and Tench. As well as the boats themselves the author considers other things such as weaponry, radar, torpedoes (including problems they encountered) and more. They had great success against Japanese warships and merchant shipping in the Pacific and the text is supported by another good selection of archive photos (both inside and out) as well as some colour images of boats that are now preserved as museum exhibits.

At the end of WW2 the US Navy took home some German U-boats, including the modern Type XXI, which was technically advanced. Pictures show these when under evaluation and then the post war US built submarines that were influenced by these designs. Chapters 3 and 4 look at the Diesel Electric boats and then the Nuclear powered boats. Again, we get to see them both inside and out. Armament is also covered, from the early 'Loon', a missile basically a modified V1 and then the later Regulus I and II. Again, we also see a lot of experimentation in individual boats, and modifications caused by the changing technologies. This is followed by chapter 5, the Post Cold War submarine programmes. Again, some marvellous photos to support the text. This also considers the boats, their armament and their roles.  Seeing the size differential between the large nuclear missile boats and the smaller Attack boats make for some interesting comparisons. Another excellent book in the Images of War from author Michael Green.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.


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