NAVAL ARCHIVES VOLUME 07

Reviewed by: James Bosbotinis

Available in the UK via the publishers Casemate, Naval Archives is a Polish periodical, which comes out annually. Featuring Polish and international authors – in this particular issue, the British naval and aviation historian Matthew Willis – Naval Archives includes a selection of articles covering a wide range of naval historical subjects. Naval Archives Vol. 07 includes articles on HMS Warspite; the Grumman Avenger; the role of U-boats in meteorological operations in the Second World, particularly the operations of U-387 in the High North; the development of destroyers, in particular those of the Royal, US, French, German, and Russian/Soviet navies, from the turn of the twentieth century until the 1950s/60s; and the contemporary Russian Navy.
Also included are illustrated sections depicting ‘The Famous Warships’; in this case, the Imperial Russian Navy cruiser Varyag, the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Hood, and the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato. The article on Warspite, which is a history of the ship, also includes an illustrated section. Some of the illustrations of the Yamato are 3D, for which glasses are provided, although in this reviewer’s opinion, the 3D imagery did not particularly add anything beyond the standard two-dimensional illustrations.
The articles themselves were interesting and generally well-written, although in cases, there were some minor translation issues. The article on U-387 was particularly interesting, providing an examination of a niche subject, as was the article on destroyer developments. Willis’s piece on the Grumman Avenger was excellent, providing a succinct overview of the development and combat employment of the aircraft in US and Fleet Air Arm service in the Second World War. The article on the ‘Russian Navy (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot) In The 21st Century’ was unfortunately somewhat outdated and contained minor errors. However, this did not detract from the general quality of the publication. The articles feature a good selection of accompanying photographs and relevant tables, plus, references are provided in endnotes. At £14.75, and encompassing some 80 pages, Naval Archives offers good value and much intellectual stimulation. It is certainly worth looking out for and a good read for both the casual reader and the academic or professional.