The King George V Class Battleships...

...HMS King George V, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Duke of York, HMS Anson, HMS Howe, from MMP Books

Title:  The King George V Class Battleships

Author: Witold Koszela

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65958-07-5

A 136-page hardcover book from MMP/Stratus and what I feel is a very complete bit of work.  The King George V Class were a modern series of battleships built just leading up to WW2. Modern warships quite different to others still in the Royal Navy which had been built back in WW1. The background, and the context of what the various nations were doing in terms of naval shipbuilding after WW1, along with the limitations and various treaties that were agreed.  These provided the constraints that most nations kept to in the inter-war years.

Then we get the detailed account of the building of the new King George V Class, including archive photos, layout drawings which show the internal layout of cabins, engine rooms etc. Sub-sections within the chapter on 'How they were Built' cover topics such as Hulls, Superstructure, Armour Protection, Propulsion, Armament and so on.  These are all well illustrated with drawings and data tables. Then we get to the story of King George V entering service, and her part in the case of the Bismark, along with the Prince of Wales, which of course was in company with HMS Hood when she was destroyed by the Bismark.  It then moves on to tell the story of the ship throughout WW2, and the various places where she served.  She was even in Tokyo Bay at the end of the war, along with the USS Missouri where the Japanese signed their surrender.

Next comes the 'Prince of Wales and her Tragedy'.  Aside from being witness to the end of the Hood she had a good deal of bad luck, even when the hull was still being built.  Later on she sailed to the Far East, where of course she was sunk along with HMS Repulse, and the impact of air power against capital ships was demonstrated to the world.  This part of the book also contains some fold out pages which carry some modern, colour photos illustrating elements of the wreck where she lies on the sea bed plus a series of colour profiles illustrating all the ships in the class, and the camouflage schemes they carried during their service lives. The book continues with further chapters giving the story of the other three ships in the class as well, the Duke of York, the Anson and the Howe.  All with their histories, data tables, plans and archive photos.

Great for naval historians, interesting reading, and a mine of information for modellers as well.  Easily recommended without any hesitation.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin