Home' Baird Maritime : July 2011 Contents TUDOR SEA POWER
The Foundation of Greatness
By DAVID CHILDS
Another big, beautiful work of maritime
history from Seaforth Publishing. This one is
even more special and valuable then usual.
The author very methodically, rationally
and clearly describes the laying of the foundations that Great Britain
and the British Empire were built on.
Those foundations were, in large part, developed through the
establishment of the British (later Royal) Navy. It, perhaps
unusually, arose from a background of slaving, piracy, privateering
and what might now be called commerce raiding.
It was the inspired free enterprise captains such as Drake,
Hawkins, Grenville and Raleigh who created the techniques and
technologies that built the Royal Navy. In this they were strongly
supported by their greedy and needy sovereigns Henry VII, Henry
VIII, Mary and Elizabeth.
Their daring resourceful, "go at 'em" approach made Britain
great for three centuries. The author brings it back to life
brilliantly. If only this book were to be studied by the boring, grey
bureaucrats who rule today's navies.
Available from Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, UK.
THE CINDERELLA SERVICE
RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945
By ANDREW HENDRIE
The front cover painting summarises the
content of this book every effectively. The
Royal Air Force Coastal Command's main role
was hunting and destroying German U-Boats.
As the book so eloquently describes, it
performed that role and others with relentless effectiveness,
particularly from early 1943. It was then when it finally acquired
the aircraft and equipment it needed and had developed the
appropriate techniques to use them effectively.
The author describes the lack of recognition accorded Coastal
Command's achievements by politicians and the media. Hence the
sobriquet "Cinderella Service" when it was compared with the
fame of Fighter Command and Bomber Command.
Hendrie does a very good job of evening the score on that
subject. He examines every activity of Coastal Command's work,
people and equipment. He highlights its many successes and the
casualties suffered in achieving them. A valuable history of a
rather neglected subject.
Available from Pen & Sword Books. Barnsley, UK.
The Transformation of Ship Design
and Construction, 1820 -- 1920
By WILLIAM H. THIESEN
The almost precipitous decline of American
shipbuilding from its zenith 65 years ago
makes if difficult, perhaps, to accept that
American shipbuilders led the world for more than a century.
Rapacious unions, slack management and interfering politicians
have united and conspired to shrink American shipbuilding to a
pale shadow of its former self.
This very valuable and educational history returns us to the
glory days of innovation, co-operation and efficiency of the
highest order. Everything that America used to be best at. The
"Can Do" country.
Rather like the Japanese and Koreans in the twentieth century,
nineteenth century American shipbuilders studied the best
technology from around the world and improved it. This
"benchmarking" formed the basis of America's maritime "great
The author describes it very well. Modern shipbuilders, indeed
all industrialists, could learn a lot from this excellent book.
Available from the University Press of Florida. Gainesville, USA.
THE ART OF COMMAND
Military Leadership from George
Washington to Colin Powell
Edited by HARRY S. LAVER
& JEFFREY J. MATTHEWS
This collection of nine high quality essays
serves to reinforce your reviewer's theory on
That is essentially that once a commander reaches one star
rank or above his required skill set becomes just as much political
These essays examine the politics and other aspects of
command by looking at the careers of Washington, Grant, George
C. Marshall, Eisenhower, Puller, "Hap" Arnold, Hyman Rickover,
"Hal" Moore and Colin Powell.
While the collection would have benefitted from the inclusion
of Admiral Chester Nimitz and Air Force General Curtis LeMay, it
is still a useful and enlightening selection of leaders.
A lot can be learned from these analyses.
Available from The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington, USA.
IRON MEN AND TIN FISH
The Race to Build a Better Torpedo
During World War II
By ANTHONY NEWPOWER
As is fairly well known, US Navy submarine
commanders had significant problems -- some
even fatal -- with their Mark 14 torpedoes in
the first part of World War II.
While the problems were quickly discovered and described, the
submariners had major problems being taken seriously by the
Defence bureaucracy and the scientific establishment.
This " head in the sand" attitude was intensely frustrating.
However, by eventually forcing the issue, a number of leading
submariners successfully campaigned for improved torpedoes.
They were very dramatically proved to be correct. In the two
years from December 1941, US submarines sank 515 ships totalling
2.2 million tons. In 1944 alone, they sank 603 ships totalling 2.7
A very well told story of brave, intelligent and determined
young men who effectively overcame not only the Japanese
enemy but their equipment suppliers as well.
Available from The Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA.
Edited by ROD HEIKELL
and LUCINDA MITCHELL
For those of us who sail on the
Mediterranean and even for those who
only dream of doing so, this is the
Updated and improved every two years, it simply gets better
and better and distinctly more useful. Every bit of useful
information you can imagine covering from Gibraltar to Beirut,
and from Venice to Alexandria, for example, and every bit of sea
or ports between.
With its lengthy and balmy summer, cleanish water, absence of
nasty wildlife, masses of history and civilised cuisine, the Med is
close to the ultimate cruising ground. It is equally attractive from
both commercial and leisure perspectives.
The authors have seen and documented it all. From personal
experience, your reviewer knows that their level of accuracy is very
high and their opinions valuable.
Available from Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson, St Ives, UK.
BAIRD MARITIME July 2011 53
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