Looking to dip my toe into the naval world: Book recommendations? (Full Version)

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Rison -> Looking to dip my toe into the naval world: Book recommendations? (12/24/2012 11:12:13 PM)

Merry (nearly) Christmas everyone.

I am nearly done with Frank's Guadalcanal for the second time. Last time I read it was because of a recommendation here when I started playing UV . . . a few years back! Normally, my interest has always been with what happened on the ground or in the air - I have never felt the same draw towards the sea. However, this read through of Frank's work has revealed in myself a much bigger interest in the naval side of WWII then I have previously had. I have shelves of books of planes, tanks, rifles and sorts. I am very comfortable with what, in general, it was like to be on the ground, or in the air.

However . . . having lived in land locked states my entire life and my naval experiences being limited to lakes, I find that much of what it meant to be in the navy is lost on me. I have a number of books covering Pacific battles that have also been recommended here, but I do not have a *single* naval reference book as these books are more interested in the general movement and engagements of ships - rather than extensive details on the ships and what was going on in them. I know there is quite a few great resources online for naval history, but I prefer books.

I perused the mega-book thread but found only a couple potential titles for what I am specifically looking for. So I am looking for some more specific recommendations for my situation. Obviously there is Morrison, but outside of that I am looking to:

1. To expand my knowledge of what it was like to be on a ship back then. I have a number of books that give a great 'this is what it was like to be a pilot or soldier' (such as Fire in the Sky). Is there something similar for the navy? A book that goes over the terms and parts of the ships and what was typically done in combat and so on. I have found that many of the naval terms and actions that Frank assumes the reader understands, I do not [:D] I would like to.
2. To expand my knowledge of specific ship types. If I wanted to know some specific detail on a Fletcher DD, I could find it here. Or pictures and explanations of different components of that ship. Details, details, details. Thats why we play AE after all isnt it?
3. Good ship histories. I have Enterprise's, but thats it.

I am interested in WWII, and obviously posting in here, the PTO. I am well aware that an internet search could get some recommendations, but I have found that WitP players give some of the best recommendations around.

Thanks in advance for your help!




ecwgcx -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/24/2012 11:25:43 PM)

For my money, I would recommend "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by Hornfischer. It details the Battle of Samar especially, IMHO, the greatest surface battle in American Naval History. Also, "Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea" by Hammel does a great job of explaining the back-to-back battles of November 13-14. Heck,if you want to have an idea of what life aboard ship was like you could also read "The Caine Mutiny"
Just my two cents, enjoy.
Greg.




SpitfireIX -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/25/2012 12:59:53 AM)

When you say you "have Enterprise's", I presume you mean The Big E, by Edward P. Stafford. I can't recommend that book highly enough; I've probably read it at least 20 times, starting when I was in about the 6th grade.

For your first point, I would also recommend Stafford's Little Ship, Big War, which details his wartime experiences aboard DE-343; the USS Abercrombie. Except for repelling a few kamikaze attacks, the ship didn't see much action, but the book is an excellent first-person account of an officer's life aboard a DE.

Hitting both points 1 and 3, I would recommend both Wahoo by Dick O'Kane, and Wake of the Wahoo by Forest Sterling. These are very good first-person accounts of most of Wahoo's career; O'Kane was XO for her first five war patrols; Sterling was yeoman for her second through sixth.

Another very good submarine account is Thunder Below, by Gene Fluckey, about his experience in command of the USS Barb during the latter part of the war.

Battleship at War, by Ivan Musicant, is a good history of the USS Washington.

For generally learning about naval vessels, I'd recommend all of Norman Friedman's books on US and British warships, though some of them are rather difficult to find.

http://www.amazon.com/Norman-Friedman/e/B001JP9YFM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1356396695&sr=1-2-ent#/ref=la_B001JP9YFM_pg_2?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB001JP9YFM&page=2&ie=UTF8&qid=1356396768




Rison -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/26/2012 12:22:37 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: ecwgcx

For my money, I would recommend "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by Hornfischer. It details the Battle of Samar especially, IMHO, the greatest surface battle in American Naval History. Also, "Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea" by Hammel does a great job of explaining the back-to-back battles of November 13-14. Heck,if you want to have an idea of what life aboard ship was like you could also read "The Caine Mutiny"
Just my two cents, enjoy.
Greg.


Thanks Greg. Will check those out. Found them easily enough on Amazon.




Rison -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/26/2012 12:33:40 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: SpitfireIX

When you say you "have Enterprise's", I presume you mean The Big E, by Edward P. Stafford. I can't recommend that book highly enough; I've probably read it at least 20 times, starting when I was in about the 6th grade.



Yes, sorry. Read it, and enjoyed it. But wasnt really in a 'naval' mood when I did.

quote:


For your first point, I would also recommend Stafford's Little Ship, Big War, which details his wartime experiences aboard DE-343; the USS Abercrombie. Except for repelling a few kamikaze attacks, the ship didn't see much action, but the book is an excellent first-person account of an officer's life aboard a DE.

Hitting both points 1 and 3, I would recommend both Wahoo by Dick O'Kane, and Wake of the Wahoo by Forest Sterling. These are very good first-person accounts of most of Wahoo's career; O'Kane was XO for her first five war patrols; Sterling was yeoman for her second through sixth.

Another very good submarine account is Thunder Below, by Gene Fluckey, about his experience in command of the USS Barb during the latter part of the war.

Battleship at War, by Ivan Musicant, is a good history of the USS Washington.


Looks like some great books. I see a bunch of others on Amazon that are along these viens, but again, I am looking for recommendations from readers here - not based on whether or not it works on someones kindle!

quote:


For generally learning about naval vessels, I'd recommend all of Norman Friedman's books on US and British warships, though some of them are rather difficult to find.


I saw Friedmans works recommended in the mega-book thread. They are pretty pricey. Do you have some of them? Are they more about design decisions (ie. four pages about why they decided to move a certain bulkhead) or about actual characteristics of the ships? In other words, is it good reading for someone looking to dip their toe into the naval world, or more for someone who got their undergraduate in naval ship design?

Thanks again for all the recommendations. Any more would be appreciated by anyone.

Thanks




CaptDave -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/26/2012 4:13:56 AM)

Adding to Spitfire's submarine books, Clear the Bridge! is the one O'Kane wrote about his time on Tang. The only problem I have with either of his books is he tends to use the same phrases over and over and over and over and over and over and...

On the other hand, it's interesting to read both Wahoo and Wake of the Wahoo. There are times when you wonder if the two authors actually served on the same boat!

There are any number of similar submarine books; in fact, I've seen more of this genre than I have similar books about surface vessels. You might find Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis to your liking; author is Dan Kurzman. It deals with a specific, short time period, but as I recall (I haven't read it for a few years) there is some detail on shipboard action during that time. It does spend more time on the SNAFU regarding rescue.




LargeSlowTarget -> RE: Looking to dip my toe into the naval world: Book recommendations? (12/26/2012 7:35:49 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rison

1. To expand my knowledge of what it was like to be on a ship back then. I have a number of books that give a great 'this is what it was like to be a pilot or soldier' (such as Fire in the Sky). Is there something similar for the navy? A book that goes over the terms and parts of the ships and what was typically done in combat and so on. I have found that many of the naval terms and actions that Frank assumes the reader understands, I do not [:D] I would like to.


James J. Faheys "Pacific War Diary. The secret diary of an American Sailor."

Fahey enlisted in the USN in 1942 and describes training and shipboard life on CL Montpelier from the 1943 Solomons through the Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa, end of the war, homecoming and discharge from the POV of an ordinary sailor. Nimitz has said of this book: "A well-written account of life on a naval vessel in an active theater of war... I wholeheartedly recommend Fahey's book".

I also recommend Tameichi Hara: "Japanese destroyer captain" for a glance at the Japanese side.


Edit: Got me "Big E" for xmas - highly recommended!




DivePac88 -> RE: Looking to dip my toe into the naval world: Book recommendations? (12/26/2012 7:51:14 AM)

I would say that Shattered Sword is a must for anybody wanting a Detailed analysis of carrier warfare in the Pacific.




warspite1 -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/26/2012 7:52:50 AM)

Rison I can help (I hope) with some of your requirements:

For a general reference book covering every ship that fought in World War II (plus the neutral navies of the world too) I can thoroughly recommend:

Conways - All The World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. The definitive, one volume reference guide imo. An indispensible work to enable you to quickly get to grips with armament, speed, protection etc of every ship type.

For more detail on specific ships and ship types I recommend:

Burt's - British Battleships
Friedman's - British Carrier Aviation
Jordan and Dumas - French Battleships
Bagnasco and De Toro - Littorio-class Battleships
The Osprey Vanguard Series are also quite useful.

Again for higher level naval reading I would recommend something like:

O'Hara's - Struggle For The Middle Sea (The Battles in the Mediterranean)
O'Hara's - On Seas Contested (An overview of the main navies of World War II)

Then for specific battles and campaigns then I would go for these:

Pacific and Far East

Parschall and Tully's - Shattered Sword (Midway)*
Middlebrook's - The Sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse

Europe

Haarr's - The German Invasion of Norway* and the Battle for Norway* (these books focus on the naval aspect of the campaign).
Winton's - The Forgotten Fleet*
Winton's - Carrier Glorious
Grove's - The Price of Disobedience
Zetterling and Tamelander's - Bismarck
Middlebrook's - Convoy SC122 & HX 229

* The above are all good, but those with an asterisk are outstanding books in the Frank's Guadalcanal bracket.

Hope some of these help.




Rison -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/27/2012 12:44:31 AM)

Thanks CaptDave, LST, DivePac and Warspite for the recommendations. Amazon appreciates your help with their business!

Would still be very appreciative of any other recommendations.

Thanks

Rison




sprior -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/27/2012 10:45:14 AM)

For the North Atlantic try The Cruel Sea or Escort. Both written in the 50's but by men who were there.




Paladin1dcs -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/27/2012 12:07:26 PM)

For a brief historical overview, I'd suggest picking up a copy of Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS). You can reference it online at www.hazegray.org but there's a few things that aren't covered on the site that are covered in the books. If I remember correctly, I got my set of 16 books for about $100 from a veteran's widow in San Diego during an estate sale, only to find out that they were signed copies which had been autographed by several Admirals, including Nimitz, King and Halsey.




LargeSlowTarget -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/27/2012 1:56:37 PM)

[X(] What a treasure!




Paladin1dcs -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/28/2012 12:22:10 AM)

Yeah, I didn't even realize what I had until I was looking through some of the older ships and one of the descriptions of an old WWI era scout cruiser had King's signature underneath it. I thought it odd until I saw Nimitz's autograph under the picture of a BB (I think it was the Arkansas, which was his first assignment as a LT IIRC).

The more I looked, the more signatures I found. Some were pretty easily recognizable and some took some work to figure out who they belonged too. All in all, I seem to remember seeing about five or six signatures spread over the entire collection. King's was the most memorable though, as it was extremely shaky, written in pencil and seemed to be very old.




BBfanboy -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/29/2012 12:26:57 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: ecwgcx

For my money, I would recommend "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by Hornfischer. It details the Battle of Samar especially, IMHO, the greatest surface battle in American Naval History. Also, "Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea" by Hammel does a great job of explaining the back-to-back battles of November 13-14. Heck,if you want to have an idea of what life aboard ship was like you could also read "The Caine Mutiny"
Just my two cents, enjoy.
Greg.

+1 on the Last Stand ... incredible that the survivors of the ships sunk in this heroic action were not rescued for three days!




BBfanboy -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/29/2012 12:49:54 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: sprior

For the North Atlantic try The Cruel Sea or Escort. Both written in the 50's but by men who were there.

+1 on The Cruel Sea - a classic I read in high school. My dad was a corvette sailor and the novel rings true to the conditions they faced.

Another superb book from the British experience - Freedom's Battle - the War at Sea 1939-45 (can't remember the author). A fairly thick paperback that reads easily, covering a series of heroic battles that the British fought, mostly in the early part of the war when times were desperate. The best part, though, is the description of the action by a squadron of six British DDs that sank the Japanese CA Haguro in a night torpedo attack late in the war.

For the Mediterranean theatre, check out "Malta Convoy" [lots of air-sea-sub action] or Admiral Andrew Cunningham's "A Sailor's Story". I've never read a better description of the Battle of Matapan [three Italian CAs and a DD sunk] than Cunningham's. He also gives due to the brave Italians who piloted converted torpedos into Alexandria harbour and placed mines that heavily damaged two British BBs.

For US submarine warfare, I liked Grider and Simms "War Fish" since it is a sampling of the greatest achievements of many subs rather than the story of just one. You can feel the tension reading about a sub penetrating minefields using newly developed sonar to get into the Sea of Japan. Or Sam Dealy's use of the "down the throat" shot to sink DDs attacking him.

And for a detailed accounting of an allied disaster most historians barely mention, read Richard Newcomb's "Savo", the battle that almost lost the Guadalcanal campaign right at the outset. Lots of mistakes by virtually every player in that tragedy, including the Japanese who won a great victory but let an even greater one get away!




SpitfireIX -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (12/31/2012 6:54:29 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rison

I saw Friedmans works recommended in the mega-book thread. They are pretty pricey. Do you have some of them? Are they more about design decisions (ie. four pages about why they decided to move a certain bulkhead) or about actual characteristics of the ships? In other words, is it good reading for someone looking to dip their toe into the naval world, or more for someone who got their undergraduate in naval ship design?

I own, and have read at least once, US Aircraft Carriers, US Battleships, and US Cruisers. I'm planning to acquire some of his other books soon. They are generally very expensive; however, my local library has most of them. If your local library doesn't have them, you can try inter-library loan.

The books do focus on design issues; however, they're generally about important issues; for example, the debate over whether to get rid of 30 days' worth of extra provisions or the flag quarters in order to get the Yorktown class down to its displacement limit. For another example, Friedman includes a very useful table in US Aircraft Carriers showing the changing aviation ordnance load-outs for the various CV classes.

US Cruisers has a discussion of the performance of the various designs in battle and how they met, or didn't meet, expectations; I don't recall whether US Carriers and US Battleships contains such discussions.

[edit] Missing word and unclear sentence.




Rison -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/12/2013 8:19:17 PM)

Sorry for the delay, thanks for the suggestions and links. As always, its tempting to buy books much faster than I can read them. Plenty to read on this list.

Thanks again for everyones contribution. Currently reading Last Stand of Tin Can Sailors and quite enjoying it.




John 3rd -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/13/2013 3:57:38 PM)

Read Kaigun if you want the Japanese developmental side of it. Pricy but magnificent...




ny59giants -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/13/2013 4:49:20 PM)

While not a book on the Pacific War, I am reading "The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 Perceptions, Power, and Primacy" by S.C.M. Paine. I've only read close to 100 pages, but it has been a great eye opener and educational experience to learn the background of this area. It has so far set up the dynamics between Japan, China, Korea, and Russia. The conflicts that came out in WW2 started just before this war and I was very ignorant of them before reading this book. IMO, I believed this area of the world is still a powder keg waiting to explode again and the little of it I have read has firmed up that conviction. There are conflicts and grudges over 150 years old still going on over there. I will need to re-read this book again in a year or two as there is lots of information to absorb. [&o][&o]




Sardaukar -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/13/2013 6:53:26 PM)

H.P.Willmott:

Barrier & Javelin
Empires in Balance

For grand strategy point of view.




CaptDave -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/13/2013 10:58:57 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: ny59giants

While not a book on the Pacific War, I am reading "The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 Perceptions, Power, and Primacy" by S.C.M. Paine. I've only read close to 100 pages, but it has been a great eye opener and educational experience to learn the background of this area. It has so far set up the dynamics between Japan, China, Korea, and Russia. The conflicts that came out in WW2 started just before this war and I was very ignorant of them before reading this book. IMO, I believed this area of the world is still a powder keg waiting to explode again and the little of it I have read has firmed up that conviction. There are conflicts and grudges over 150 years old still going on over there. I will need to re-read this book again in a year or two as there is lots of information to absorb. [&o][&o]


I fully agree with this statement. I've spoken a couple times now at my Toastmasters club on our refusal to learn from history, and this is a prime example.




MateDow -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/14/2013 2:18:48 PM)

Where to begin??!?

I have always liked the Last Battle Station by Duane Schultz which talks about the operations of the USS Houston in the DEI campaign. Hornfischer has one as well (Ship of Ghosts), but Schultz was a crew member so I'd go with that one. Another good history of a single ship is Becton's The Ship That Wouldn't Die about the USS Laffey.

Tully's Battle of Surigao Strait is a really good look at the battle, but it assumes that you are familiar with the battle.

If you are looking for detailed histories of the entire naval war, Roskill's or Morrison's official histories are good. Both of these series have new soft cover versions which came out recently that makes them relatively inexpensive.

If you are looking for detailed ship design and construction books, you can't beat Friedman's books for US ships and Burt's books on British battleships. I actually prefer the way that Burt does his and wish someone would write that sort of book on US ships. Friedman has recently written really good books on the British Cruisers, and Jordan is writing good stuff on French ships.

Shattered Sword and Kaigun are two that I'd recommend that others have recommended.

Those should be enough to put a hit on your Amazon account. [:D]




Jorge_Stanbury -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/14/2013 3:30:38 PM)

Try:
"Pacific crucible", Ian W. Toll
this is a good recount of the early pacific war; detailed but not techincal

"Iron coffins", A. Werner
a personal account of submarine warfare from the perspective of a German U-boot captain, one of the few that survived from "happy times" to the end




netjam99 -> RE: Semi-OT: Looking for specific naval reference books (1/14/2013 4:46:31 PM)

I bought Pacific Crucible at the Houston Hobby Airport this past week while travelling. Great book for a Airplane trip. I am just past Pearl Harbor a few chapters in. Good thick book as Jorge said...lots of detail!

One of the huge advantages to these War Games is all the content that you can go off and read up on. History books come alive too when you already have a grasp on the units, maps, etc from playing AE!




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