Home' Baird Maritime : November 2011 Contents BLACK FLAG
The Surrender Of Germany's
U-Boat Forces 1945
By LAWRENCE PATERSON
After a long, vicious and hard war of
almost six years there were still almost 400
U-Boats in commission at the finish of
World War Two.
This was despite losing around 80 percent of their total number
and a similar percentage of the officers and men who crewed them.
They were the elite of the German forces, tough, well-trained,
clever and determined men. Many were highly motivated
adherents of national socialism.
It was clearly an interesting exercise for the Allies, who were
still at war with Japan, to round up these boats and their crews.
They were spread all around the Atlantic and as far away as
Indonesia and Malaysia.
That the "round-up" went relatively smoothly was a tribute to
the discipline of both sides. A most interesting record.
Available from Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, UK.
HERO OF THE AIR
Glenn Curtiss and the
Birth of Naval Aviation
By WILLIAM F. TRIMBLE
Naval aviation has just celebrated its
centenary. Both Brits and Americans claim
to have invented it.
It is probably fairest to say that America
inspired the concept of naval use of aircraft. The British, it seems,
introduced the idea of aircraft carriers.
Whatever, naval aviation, in its various forms, is a very
important factor in most modern naval activities.
Soon after the Wright brothers first flew, senior figures in the
US Navy saw the value of aviation. They were fortunate in finding
and encouraging inventor and mechanic Glenn Curtiss. They
developed a symbiotic relationship with him.
In twenty years Curtiss, with the active encouragement of some
visionary naval officers, notably Captain Washington Chambers,
made enormous advances. Their benefits were most clearly felt in
World War Two but have continued to contribute ever since.
A fascinating and very thorough history.
Available from The Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA.
BRITISH WARSHIPS 1860-1906
A Photographic Record
By NICHOLAS DINGLE
As history rolls on relentlessly it is
sometimes difficult to recall that Britannia
really did "rule the waves" for two hundred
and fifty years until less than a century ago.
This beautifully produced book helps us
to remember that very important fact of life.
The simultaneously advancing technologies
of photography, naval architecture and shipbuilding have
combined to record some very impressive ships.
The ships so well presented cover perhaps the zenith of The
Royal Navy. The developments that occurred in the half century
covered by this book were frequent and dramatic. Britain, then,
was rich enough to encourage them.
Fortunately, the book does not just focus on "Capital Ships".
They are well described but, importantly, so are the little ones such
as the fast and exciting torpedo boat destroyers. Everything is here
from the 'Warrior' to the 'Dreadnought'. A wonderful record.
Available from Pen & Sword Maritime, Barnsley, UK.
BOOKSVENICE -- PURE CITY
By PETER ACKROYD
A big, bountiful, sweeping history of one
of the greatest maritime cities on the
planet. Venice was not only a city of art
and antiquity but the centre of a great
political and commercial empire.
Its ship-builders were legendary as far
back as the fourth century AD. At its peak the Venetian Arsenale
was one of the greatest shipbuilding centres on the planet. Its
galleys were renowned throughout the Mediterranean. Even today,
a shipyard on the outskirts of Venice is building large cruise liners
and complex gas tankers.
While he concentrates on the art and history of Venice, the
author does not neglect the ships. He describes the galleys and the
"round" or cargo ships. He mentions the efficiency of the Arsenale
where thirty galleys could be built and fitted out within ten days.
The author is completely enchanted with the place. Your
reviewer, who has spent considerable time there, cannot help but
agree. As the author says, there is "Water, Water, Everywhere".
That, really, is what it is all about. Even the garbage trucks and
hearses are boats.
A great, sweeping description of an enchanting city.
Available from Random House. Australia, Scoresby, Australia.
Web: www.randomhouse.com.au and Chatto & Windus, London, UK.
The U.S. Coast Guard
America's Forgotten Heroes
By DAVID HELVARG
The United States Coast Guard, while
nearly as old as the US Navy itself
sometimes seems to have a somewhat
"chippy" self image. It can be regarded as
the junior service.
It is not, of course. The Coast Guard does mostly quite different
things than the Navy. This book tells the reader most of what the
Coast Guard really does. It shows that it certainly has no reason to
have a chip on its shoulder.
The "Coasties", he clearly shows, have a very important role
which they carry out very effectively. They probably have more
adventures and much more interesting lives than most people in
The author describes a lot of those adventures very well. His
book is a great recruiting weapon for the Coast Guard.
Available from St Martin's Press. New York. USA.
GHOSTS OF ROSEVEAR
and the Wreck of the Nancy Packet
By TODD STEVENS & EDWARD
Rosevear is an islet, one of the Western
Rocks near Bishop Rock at the western end
of England's Isles of Scilly. The 'Nancy
Packet' was an East Indiaman, an armed
merchant vessel of the English East India Company.
Islet and ship met in the winter of 1784, on February 25 on a
dark and stormy night. The ship was doomed to become yet
another notable and fatal shipwreck at this entrance to the busy
This well organised and fascinating little book tells the story
of the little ship and some of its more notable occupants. These
especially included its captain and his celebrated wife.
Forty-seven or forty-eight people, crew and passengers, perished
with the wreck.
More than 200 years later the authors dived on and researched
the wreck. It clearly fascinated them, hence this delightful book.
Available from Brown, Son & Ferguson. Glasgow, UK.
BAIRD MARITIME November 2011 65
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