Battleship Duke of York, An Anatomy from Building to Breaking

The further successful partnership of two skilled marine authors, with strong artistic backgrounds, and a publisher with a very strong reputation for producing outstanding, definitive books on naval subjects . The large format and an excellent facing pages bifold at the centre make this a memorable study of Britain’s last battleship in service Most Highly Recommended

NAME:  Battleship Duke of York, An Anatomy from Building to Breaking
FILE: R3374
AUTHOR: Ian Buxton, Ian Johnstone
PUBLISHER: Seaforth Publishing, Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £45.00                                              
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   Cold War, Second World War, WWII, World War II, World War 2, KGV 
Class, final battleship, Royal Navy, big gun navy, capital ship, failure to preserve, 
building, naval architecture, breaking

ISBN: 978-1-5267-7729-4

PAGES: 284,  most photographs and drawings are B&W, but there are technical 
drawings in full colour, as available. A high image content that is outstanding
IMAGE: B3374.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yeasllh3
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The further successful partnership of two skilled marine authors, 
with strong artistic backgrounds, and a publisher with a very strong reputation for 
producing outstanding, definitive books on naval subjects . The large format and 
an excellent facing pages bifold at the centre make this a memorable study of 
Britain's last battleship in service  Most Highly Recommended

The British have an appalling record for keeping examples of excellence in military engineering for future generations to enjoy and understand. It is incredible that a nation which produced thousands of battleships over several hundred years has managed to preserve only one, Nelson’s Trafalgar Flagship, HMS Victory. There have been many excuses for this neglect of heritage but thus far no one has managed to think of a credible justification. The real reason is a lack of will. We could expect at the very least to see the last battleship to be built and the last battleship in service to have been preserved and open to the public who contributed the money to build them.

The authors have attempted the next best thing, in creating a book with strong photographic content and excellent drawings to offer a tour from Building to Breaking for the last battleship in service, HMS York.

HMS York was a member of the KGV Class of battleships, laid down in the final approach to WWII. They encapsulated all that Britain had learned about the design and construction of big gun battleships over hundreds of years. They were built well by yards that had produced generations of battleships. However, they joined the Fleet as the real role of capital ship had been appropriated by the aircraft carrier, the early versions of which had been built on keels laid down to provide battleships and battlecruisers, but taken over and completed as the first aircraft carriers. The process was reversed for the last battleship to be built, HMS Vanguard, when she was equipped with guns landed from Courageous and Glorious which had been converted into aircraft carriers.

HMS York and HMS Vanguard both deserved to have been preserved for the nation, but for different reasons. HMS York and her KG5 sisters was designed for long service, as had previous classes. HMS Vanguard has been variously described as a ‘Woolworth Battleship’, and a ‘Cut Price Battleship’, an economy battleship armed with her Great Aunts’ teeth. Her primary purpose was to provide a reserve to take the place of other battleships that might have been lost. In the event, the Royal Navy made solid use of Fleet and Light Fleet Carriers and a special Escort Carrier Class to provide close air support for convoys. The classes which were desperately short in supply were destroyers, frigates and corvettes. The remaining battleships were put to good use but their primary role of taking on enemy capital ships at long range was replaced by carrier-based attack aircraft that could find and hit the enemy’s ships far beyond the range of the largest battleship main gun. Even the epic chase of Bismark by the Home Fleet may have seen the German battleship pounded by heavy guns from KGV and other battleships, but she was disabled by carrier aircraft to allow the British battleships to get within range and further seriously damaged by torpedoes from smaller supporting warships.

In reviewing this book there was not the time to double check on the scrapping dates for the last battleships. The 1957 edition of the Observers Book of Ships carries a line drawing of HMS Vanguard and a photograph of HMS Anson but by 1960 all British battleships had been scrapped.

The authors have produced a carefully researched review of HMS York that is as close as any book can come to the real ship. Most of the images are B&W because that was the format in which HMS York was recorded through her career and eventual breaking. Photocopies of official drawings have been recorded in full colour and drawings of major features, such as the main armament in its turrets have been included also in full colour. Of special note are the two pages which are bi folds that open into a full length side view cutaway drawing at a large scale of 1/8 in to 1 ft.

This book is very unlikely to be equalled and is offered at a very aggressive price. Not a book to miss.