A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey, The Design of Iowa-Class Battleships Vol. 1
By John M. Miano
Hardcover, 302 pages, appendices, bibliography
Self-Published, copyright 2021 by John M. Miano
Dimensions: 11.0 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
Author John Miano has rare, perhaps even unique, access to the USS New Jersey (BB-62) as a museum ship as well as the drawings and blueprints of her which are archived there. He has used this access to enter and photograph a vast number of her interior spaces, many of which are not open to the public. In fact, several of the spaces he has photographed were not routinely entered by the crew when the ship was active so there are some really unusual and out-of-the-way areas shown in this book.
The book is organized by deck and each chapter begins with a labeled line drawing identifying each space by name. Then the author proceeds through the deck, photographing representative spaces. Captions are extensive, detailing what is shown in the photographs along with any interesting history and technical descriptions of the equipment shown so the reader knows exactly what they are looking at. These are supplemented with pictures taken when the ship was active which helps explain how the equipment was used operationally or shows a previous configuration. The Main Battery turrets, Engine Room #2 and Fire Room #2 are handled as separate chapters. The topside views will be of most interest to modelers, and many are viewed from unusual perspectives.
Being self-published, the paper quality could be improved, and there are some captions which would benefit from the attentions of an editor. However, these are minor points given the extensive coverage and amount of technical detail in the captions.
As a young Ensign I cross-decked to the New Jersey for a month in October 1985, and served aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) until 1989. There are many photographs of areas I knew well, even accounting for the inevitable differences between sister ships. Many other photographs are of spaces I never entered, being outside of my responsibilities. Several are spaces which were only entered for inspection purposes while the ships were in service, but show some interesting detail of the ship’s construction or armor layout. A must-have book for the battleship enthusiast, recommended.
Anatomy of The Ship The Battleship Scharnhorst
By Stefan Draminski
Hardcover, 336 pages, bibliography
Published by Osprey Publishing, January, 2021
Dimensions: 9.98 x 1.16 x 9.83 inches
A battlecruiser is a ship designed with heavy guns, light armor, and high speed. Their intended niche is generally understood to be as a commerce raider, or as a “cruiser-killer” to counter commerce raiders. The philosophy is be able to out-run battleships with heavier armament and to out-gun everything else. Scharnhorst (and her sister Gneisenau) don’t fit neatly into this classification, being both fast and well-armored, but only having a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 inch) guns. Long described as battlecruisers, it has more recently become common to refer to them as battleships.
Regardless of the semantics, Scharnhorst was a handsome ship, as is ably demonstrated by this book. The opening chapter is a technical description of the design, which is followed by a chronology of her service history. Both of these sections are well illustrated with photographs. The remainder of the book is comprised of line drawings and full-color computer rendered perspectives of the ship and her component systems. The cover indicates there over 600 drawings and 400 “colour 3D views”. These are a treasure-trove for the modeler. Given that several of the details are of equipment common to other Kriegsmarine vessels, they will be of use for anyone studying German surface combatants of the Second World War.
The sheer volume of the information makes these books a bargain, each page contains several line drawings and/or renders of specific details. The renders are beautifully done and quite intricate. The one criticism I would offer is more of the 3D views should have a full page to themselves – only a dozen are reproduced on their own pages. A very nice touch is the artist has accounted for several of the various camouflage and marking schemes in the renders, so it is possible to see the paint evolve along with the equipment changes over time.
This book contains loads of detail and is presented well, in keeping with the standards of the Anatomy of the Ship series. It is an indispensable reference for the ship modeler, a cornucopia of information for the naval enthusiast, and a great value considering the volume of content. Recommended for any naval history collection.
When the Iowa-class battleships were recommissioned during the 1980s they generated a considerable amount of public interest and were very popular subjects with photographers. The Navy obliged and made them available for access by the media which resulted in a large number of pictures available today. However, the similarities between the ships have resulted in many of these photographs being mis-identified both on the internet and even by authors who should know better. In this post I will point out a few of the more easily identifiable differences which will allow battleship fans to make a proper identification.
The Battleship USS Iowa Anatomy of The Ship
By Stefan Draminski
Hardcover, 352 pages, line drawings and 3-D renderings throughout
Published by Osprey Publishing, January 2020
Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Most modelers and military history buffs are familiar with the Anatomy of the Ship series. The majority of these books were published during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and are mainly devoted to detailed line drawings of the subject vessel and her fittings. The publishing history is convoluted – they were published by Conway Maritime Press in Great Britain, along with both Phoenix and the U.S. Naval Institute in the United States. After a long hiatus the series is again being produced with updated volumes on previous subjects along with new titles.
The current iterations have featured red covers up to this point. Conway published an updated volume on the Yamato and Musashi, the next volume is published by Osprey and the subject is the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61). The new series retains the line drawing format of the original, but adds a striking new element in the form of full-color computer rendered perspective views. These are consistent with the style of Kagero’s Super Drawings in 3D series. Most page spreads contain a mix of the standard line drawings and color perspective views, this proves quite effective in conveying the appearance of the specific detail. The result is a book with two to three times the content of the original. One thing I feel is under appreciated about books such as this is that much of the equipment was standardized and was common to ships of other classes, so the drawings will be of interest even if researching an entirely different ship which utilizes the same items of equipment.
In the case of Iowa, the author has constructed nine individual computer models to present the ship during different periods. The Iowa was frequently refitted, and her appearance changed after each shipyard availability, sometimes drastically. The reader can follow these modifications chronologically with the turn of a page. The renderings show many of the interior spaces of the ship, some as cut-aways, others as expanded layers. I did my service aboard the Iowa’s sistership Missouri (BB-63) from 1985-89, so it was interesting for me to find many very familiar details. Others were different, either due to era or the inevitable differences in construction between sisters. There were a few strange omissions. The main battery turrets and their interiors are covered well, but only the exteriors of the 5”/38 mounts are shown. The interior of the bridge is absent, and only the basic layouts of Engineering spaces are represented. Having said that, what is there is spectacular, and I’m sure I’ll be studying this book for hours. I was a fan of the series before the addition of the color perspective renderings, given the amount and quality of the content these new books are bargains. Highly recommended.
More Kingfisher photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/os2u-kingfisher-pacific-theater-camouflage-and-markings/