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RutgerS

Reading material for a beginner?

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Alpha Tester
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Hi guys, i'm a WoT vet, and a WoWp beta tester. But now i'd like to learn about battleships, especially about their history, famous ships, famous battles, etc etc...

 

so can you recommend reading material, be it online or in books to get me started?

 

I do prefer starting in the battleship era, so the 1700-something ships of the line don't really interest me, i want steel :)

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Alpha Tester
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Dreadnought and Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie tells the story of the dawn of the battleship era and the key battles they were involved with in WW1. That would be my recommendation for getting started with this era, as it makes sense to start at the beginning.

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Beta Testers
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In terms of TV documentaries, there's not much. There's Greatest Tank Battles for WoT or Dogfights for WoWp, but the closest thing you'll find for warships is Battle Battle 360°, but that series is US-centric. Otherwise, you can find miscellaneous episodes of other documentary series, such as Seconds from Disaster's episode about the sinking of the Bismarck.

 

In terms of Wikipedia, there's no article on ship maneuvering or strategy that I know of. The only articles that mention naval strategy without simply being an article about a naval battle that I know of are these: http://en.wikipedia....-control_system and http://en.wikipedia..../Crossing_the_T

 

In terms of other free material for reading about naval strategy, the only thing that comes to mind is PBS's analysis of the battleship Yamato: http://www.pbs.org/w...omy-yamato.html

 

In my opinion, it seems that ships are simply too large and complex for people to be interested in them.

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Alpha Tester
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YouTube has some decent documentaries on battleships and individual engagements.  Just search for Battleship Documentaries and take your pick.  They cover some strengths and weaknesses but not much on tactics.

 

If you want detailed information on tactics I believe we have a few amateur historians and navy veterans that could likely give you some insight if you ask particular questions.

 

For example, the "preferred" method of engaging an enemy fleet is crossing the T.  You line of ships crosses the head of the enemy column at 90 degrees, they can only fire their forward  guns (or aft guns if you cross astern of them) while you can fire full broadsides.

 

Then there are the armaments of the vessels, some are better than others.  I suggest http://www.navweaps.com/ for that information, it is fairly accurate and is broken up by nation and era.  It even says which weapons were carried on which classes, it includes armor penetration values and ranges, reload times, weight of shells, types of shells, pretty much everything.

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Alpha Tester
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Assuming you prefer a paper book to online research, hit your local used or half price book store. Over the last many years Naval Annuals from this period were reprinted and can often be found at very reasonable prices. Jane's, Brassey's, Conway's are names to know.

 

If you want a single reference (that comes in several volumes  :Smile_teethhappy: ) Conway's "All the World's Warships" is the one to get.

 

I also recommend anything by David K. Brown.

 

And if you really want to get your bookshelf stocked this is the place:

http://www.usni.org/store/books

 

I hope that helps.

 

Note: I just checked Amazon for pricing on Conway's, I swear I had NO idea. The 1906-1921 volume is priced at $750 American money new.

I. am. shocked. and. dismayed.

From now on I will take much better care of mine.

Edited by Capcon

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Beta Testers
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I'd suggest reading some of the books in Osprey Publishing's New Vanguard series, there are plenty of books in the series about warships.  While not overly long (most books in the New Vanguard series are only 48 pages long), they provide a good overview of the subject.  Here's the link to Osprey Publishing's website http://www.ospreypublishing.com

Edited by Robert9670

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Alpha Tester
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View PostRobert9670, on 17 January 2013 - 07:55 PM, said:

I'd suggest reading some of the books in Osprey Publishing's New Vanguard series, there are plenty of books in the series about warships.  While not overly long (most books in the New Vanguard series are only 48 pages long), they provide a good overview of the subject.  Here's the link to Osprey Publishing's website http://www.ospreypublishing.com

Have to second these as being nice 'light' reference books, and their reasonably priced too, compared to a lot of the more serious reference books that often go for ~$200-300.
Edited by Elouda

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Alpha Tester
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If you don't get bored easily by lots of technical information, then Anything by Norman Friedman is excellent. Excellent information on the development of US naval vessels.

 

The Jane's series of books is good for statistics and basic information on the vessels themselves. Have most of the ones published from WW1 to WW2.

 

Battleship Bismarck by Burkard Baron Von Mullenheim-Rechberg is fantastic. Highly recommend it.

 

The World's Worst Warships: The Failures and Repercussions of Naval Design and Construction, 1860 to the present day by Anthony Preston is good.

 

Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of her Survivors by James Hornfischer, 2/3 of the book is on the PoWs stories, but the initial parts of the ship herself is excellent.

 

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour, also by Hornfischer. Good account of Destroyer operations

 

The Mountain State Battleship USS West Virginia by Myron J. Smith. Another excellent read on a generally overlooked battleship

 

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter Borneman, pretty decent overview of the admirals and strategy on the seas.

 

All of these are excellent books that are currently sitting on my desk and I recommend all of them.

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View PostElouda, on 17 January 2013 - 09:23 PM, said:

Have to second these as being nice 'light' reference books, and their reasonably priced too, compared to a lot of the more serious reference books that often go for ~$200-300.
I recently bought the New Vanguard series (published by Osprey Publishing) book Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45 by Mark Stille at Barnes & Noble, and it's a good read about the light cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.

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For Imperial Japanese Navy I'd recommend Kaigun and Dull's Battle History. Both are available and affordable.

 

http://www.amazon.co... navy 1887-1941

 

http://www.amazon.co...l japanese navy

 

View PostRobert9670, on 17 January 2013 - 09:56 PM, said:

I recently bought the New Vanguard series (published by Osprey Publishing) book Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45 by Mark Stille at Barnes & Noble, and it's a good read about the light cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.

Yes, but it weights 0.36 pounds. Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War (epic tome no longer in print, sadly) weights 7.2 pounds. See? It's light! :tongue:

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Alpha Tester
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USS Arizona: Marines at war

 

The Battle of Leyte Gulf by HP Wilmott. It's long but INCREDIBLY detailed, awesome details on the battle of Surigao Strait.

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Alpha Tester
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For video docutainment, which presents the U.S. Naval War of WW2 in a broad overview, try 'Victory At Sea'. (Links here: http://en.wikipedia..../Victory_at_Sea

 

For pure entertainment with some assistance by the various navies in the historical accuracy department, see, "Sink The Bismarck!" and, "Midway." Both of these films sacrifice some historical acccuracy for a simplified story which could fit in the allotted time available on the film.

 

Many of the Naval dramas of the 1940's and '50's are propaganda pieces with very little in the way of historical accuracy, but many of these are also actually dramatizations of events which occurred in the war. True stories like, "Attack and Capture," tend to do poorly in the box office, even though the story of the capture of the U-505 became a legend in the U.S. Love stories like the one embedded in, "They Were Expendable," do much better.

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View Postbrian333, on 17 January 2013 - 11:18 PM, said:

For video docutainment, which presents the U.S. Naval War of WW2 in a broad overview, try 'Victory At Sea'. (Links here: http://en.wikipedia..../Victory_at_Sea

For pure entertainment with some assistance by the various navies in the historical accuracy department, see, "Sink The Bismarck!" and, "Midway." Both of these films sacrifice some historical acccuracy for a simplified story which could fit in the allotted time available on the film.

Many of the Naval dramas of the 1940's and '50's are propaganda pieces with very little in the way of historical accuracy, but many of these are also actually dramatizations of events which occurred in the war. True stories like, "Attack and Capture," tend to do poorly in the box office, even though the story of the capture of the U-505 became a legend in the U.S. Love stories like the one embedded in, "They Were Expendable," do much better.

For an even better historical movie, Tora Tora Tora!

Sacrifices very little detail for a two and a half or three hour epic!

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Beta Testers
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Another book I'd like to suggest is Shinano: The Sinking of Japan's Secret Supership, written by Joseph F. Enright, who commanded USS Archer-Fish (SS-311), the submarine that sank Shinano.

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