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The Battleships of the Iowa Class...


...A Design & Operational History, from Naval Institute Press, via Pen & Sword



Title: The Battleships of the Iowa Class

Author: Philippe Caresse

Publisher: Naval Institute Press

ISBN: 978-1-59114-598-1

Four huge battleships of the US Navy made up the Iowa Class, the Iowa itself, along with New Jersey, Wisconsin and Missouri. Back in 2018 my wife and I had the chance to visit the Missouri, now a museum ship moored just a stones throw from the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour. Since making that visit I have to admit I have become fascinated by these huge and impressive vessels.
A large book of 522 pages, it was first published in French back in 2015. This new edition is an English translation published by Naval Institute Press, and distributed here in the UK by Pen & Sword. It is divided into 2 main sections. The first gives us the stories of the design, development and the various elements of these huge ships.  These include the many systems, such as armament, radar, propulsion, armour protection, accommodation, ships' boats and much more. Built in WW2 they also served in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War, having been subject to a number of upgrades, including significant modernisation in the 1980's. These changes including fitting modern systems, including Cruise Missiles and Phalanx CWS mountings. At the stern, the seaplane catapults of WW2 were replaced by helicopter landing platforms. Fantastic detail which will enthuse naval historians and modellers alike. It even includes the fate of the two uncompleted vessels of the class, the Kentucky and the Illinois.
The second major section of the book provides the stories of the careers of each ship in turn, right through to their current preservation as museum ships. The text is marvellously supported by some 900 illustrations, which include a host of archive photos, in both colour and black & white along with line drawings, maps and colour artwork. A double page spread of the Wisconsin firing her main armament is especially impressive.
An impressive book not just for size and weight, but with a level of detail of the service careers of these historic ships which would be hard to imagine can be improved. Having been a visitor to the Missouri, and seen the contrast of those huge 16in main guns, the commemorative plaque showing where the Japanese signed the surrender at the end of WW2, to the armoured boxes of the crusie missiles which fired the opening shots of the Gulf War in 1991. So good that the ships are preserved today.


Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.


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