Book Review British Naval Weapons of World War 2. Destroyer Weapons.

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, May 15, 2019.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    British Naval Weapons of World War 2
    The John Lambert Collection.
    Volume 1: Destroyer Weapons

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    John Lambert & Norman Friedman
    Seaforth Publishing,
    Pages: 240
    ISBN: 9781526747679

    British Naval Weapons of World War Two


    Pom Poms & drinking brought me to this...
    I mean, really:



    So... when Pen & Sword (Seaforth's publishing overlord) decide they'll offer you review copies, they give you a dedicated page of things you might be interested in to review.
    It's quite clever, as it engenders a certain seriousness in accepting copies, but doubtless also plays on the bibliophile's likelihood to choose things that might please them. Thus, perhaps: chances of better reviews & more likely to be turned in. (We have had a bugger of a time chasing reviews in the past).
    Personally, I try very hard not to take the piss. Rather cautious in what I've accepted so far & tried to stay in my specialist bounds, but then this cropped up.

    Oh dear. Moral dilemma.
    I'm no expert on Naval warfare (as any fule kno that visits here regularly).
    I am, however, rather keen on how weaponry works & technical drawings, along with a longstanding strange affection for the Pom Pom. I also like technical military history books.
    Really wanted to see what it was like, knew the chap's name from some 'Anatomy of the Ship' titles, but... Navy stuff. Am I qualified to review such a thing?..
    Stared for week or two, then very late one night/early morning after 'a few' drinks watching Pom Pom & Bofors videos, I clicked on it.
    So I can only apologise to true Naval nerds for my own slant on things, but here we go.

    Mr Lambert was a former Navy man & Copper.
    The coppering seems to have been there to pay for his real interest of sitting in the NMM Draught room discussing ships & ship plans with similar obsessives, while writing books & articles about such for assorted magazines, societies & publishers..
    He drew more than 850 detailed plans of ships, weaponry & associated equipment with the intention of creating a book, but sadly died in 2016 before he could start, so they've gathered them up & are releasing them edited by Mr Friedman. (Looked him up: far from a lightweight in the world of Naval history.)

    The first quarter of the book is descriptions of the various systems as employed/developed from the end of the First War to the Second on Destroyers, with a decent explanation of the changing face of British Destroyer doctrine. I find it hard to be absolutely certain of the historical quality here (see above, not a Navy obsessive), but the info is dense, well-written, & interesting to my layman's eyes. A theme running through is the growth of Anti-Aircraft weapons as that threat increased, so plenty about Pom Poms (did I mention I like Pom Poms?).

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    "Faith in the weapon was enormous", apparenty, and I'd never really registered it was a direct response specifically to Dive-bombing where traditional gun-laying was inadequate so 'fill the air with shot' was the main counter.
    There's also a lot of good detail on mountings, directors etc.
    Something I'd definitely not seen was a twin rapid QF 6pdr mount seen as a counter to coastal craft (radar & twin searchlight aided) two barrels mounted side by side in a barbette with alternating breech opening & a rating doing manual loading. Really got me intrigued as to how closely related the guns were to standard QF 6pdrs or if the one seen here & (I think) on smaller craft was a distinct Naval variant.

    All the text is accompanied by fine, large, high-quality photographs with thorough captions. I should perhaps stress it's very much about the weaponry itself (clue in that title), which is what makes it more interesting to me than something more general. I do like a bit of focus & it stays firmly on Main armament, AA, Torpedo tubes, directors etc.
    The Text section is all linked to the true meat of the book, though: the Drawings.

    If you're going to make a proper model of a British Destroyer - just get this.
    Mr Lambert had a hell of an eye for fine detail & each weapon is visually picked to pieces in the most thorougfh style. There's a slight sadness in that where he personally added notes to a drawing they reek of quality & depth of knowledge. He never completed the full text to accompany the drawings so all we have are these glimpses. Mr Friedman has done a fine job in the preceding text, but you just know Mr Lambert's explanations might have been even more thorough. Reminds me how much is lost when a true expert passes on.
    There isn't much I can say about the drawings section other than it's c.150 pages of high quality work. If someone did a series on tanks like this, I'd snap it up, but it's not something I've ever seen outside of Naval stuff - perhaps because ship obsessives have those beautiful Admiralty drawings to start off with when looking at types & individual vessels.
    Additional drawings show the placement of gear on deck. Reproduction is very sharp & crisp throughout, & if I had the skill I'd be getting the plasticard out & building a Pom Pom right now.

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    Conclusion:
    It's good, & bodes very well for others in the series.
    Modellers ought to love it, for concentration of detail in one place, Naval history types can add it to their growning shelves (My old man liked it, & he's a ship nut), and it retains value for the more general Military History/Weapons/Technology types. It's also got that fondle factor that Seaforth seem to be achieving in their recent output - quality paper, solid binding & crisp printing.

    Some dodgy sample shots that don't do justice to the drawings, but hopefully give an idea of what to expect:
    IMG_20190515_132008962.jpg IMG_20190515_132109363_HDR.jpg IMG_20190515_161554666.jpg IMG_20190515_161617952.jpg IMG_20190515_161627900.jpg

    Apologies again for my drink-fuelled diversion from wheeled things & lack of Naval depth, but I do know what a c.£30 technical military book should be, and this easily surpasses that level.


    Oh dear... I think I might start buying more Naval books...


    And now some Pom Pom stuff from IWM. Just because:
    [​IMG]
    ON BOARD THE BATTLESHIP HMS RODNEY. SEPTEMBER 1940.. © IWM (A 832)
    IWM Non Commercial License

    [​IMG]
    ON BOARD THE DESTROYER HMS KELVIN. 1941.. © IWM (A 3855)
    IWM Non Commercial License

    [​IMG]
    ON BOARD THE BATTLESHIP HMS RODNEY. SEPTEMBER 1940.. © IWM (A 830)
    IWM Non Commercial License

    [​IMG]
    SCENES ON BOARD THE DESTROYER HMS ASHANTI AT SCAPA FLOW. 31 OCTOBER TO 2 NOVEMBER 1941.. © IWM (A 6207)
    IWM Non Commercial License

    [​IMG]
    ON BOARD THE BATTLESHIP HMS RODNEY AT SEA. 1940.. © IWM (A 2089)
    IWM Non Commercial License

    [​IMG]
    ON BOARD THE BRITISH CRUISER HMS SHROPSHIRE. 8 TO 12 MARCH 1942.. © IWM (A 8064)
    IWM Non Commercial License
     
    Owen, Ewen Scott, hucks216 and 3 others like this.
  2. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Member

    Volume II:Escort and Minesweeper Weapons is due to be published on 31 July 2019. Currently £28.49 on Amazon.
     
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Categorising weapons by the ships they were on seems a strange way to do it. I mean, pom-poms were not specific to destroyers; there must be some logic to it that I can't see...
     
  4. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Member

    Agreed it does seem strange.

    A lot of these drawings seem to have been published in other books in the past so i’m Not sure just how much if any new material there actually is. I’d like to see these volumes before I spend my hard earned on them
     

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