NAVAL ARCHIVES VOL. IX

Reviewed by: Dr James Bosbotinis

A Polish publication, distributed in the UK by Casemate, Naval Archives is an annual periodical covering a diverse range of naval subjects. In this edition for example, there are articles on early 20thcentury Austro-Hungarian battleships, the German heavy cruiser Seydlitz, U-boat operations in the Gulf of Finland in 1944/45, and US Navy preparations for the entry into service of the F-35. The authors are principally Polish, which brings an interesting perspective to the analysis across the various articles. It does however also result in some translation issues, although they are not for the most part, significant. The articles are well-written and illustrated. Naval Archives also includes illustrated sections dedicated to ‘The Famous Warships’; in this edition, the Austro-Hungarian battleship Radetzky, the Polish destroyer Grom, the US Navy’s Second World War escort carrierCasablanca, and the Second World War German destroyer Z-37. The latter’s images are 3D, and to be viewed with the glasses included with the publication. In this reviewer’s opinion, the 3D imagery did not particularly add anything beyond the standard two-dimensional illustrations.

The articles themselves in this edition of Naval Archives are interesting. The cover article on the Radetzky-class battleships of the pre-First World War Austro-Hungarian Navy provides a detailed overview of the ships’ design and development with a brief overview of the Austro-Hungarian Navy from 1890-1906/7 as context. The article is well-illustrated and includes a basic ship specification table. The article on the German heavy cruiser Seydlitz is similarly detailed and illustrated, providing an account of the implications of the Treaty of Versailles for the inter-war German navy, particularly with regard to heavy cruisers, the development of the Seydlitz itself, the abortive attempt to convert the ship to an aircraft carrier (‘Weser 1’), and the ships’ fate following its capture by the Soviets. The following article on ‘U-481 in the Gulf of Finland’ provides a fascinating account of U-boat operations in 1944-45, drawing on the logbook of the captain of U-481. For those interested in Second World War Italian battleships, the article on ‘Italian Battleships in Drawings’, will appeal. The final article, ‘Lemore Prepares for Lightning Strike’, is intended to provide an overview of US Navy efforts to prepare for the entry into service of the F-35. However, the article appears to have been written in 2015 and is thus rather dated. It is nonetheless a good article and would make useful background reading. In all, Naval Archives, at £13.95, offers value for money and some good reading. It is certainly worth looking out for, in particular if the specific issue contains articles of interest.