top five naval history books

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top five naval history books

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1usnmm2
Sep 20, 2007, 11:15am

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2RainMan
Sep 25, 2007, 9:59pm

Three by N. A. M. Rodger:

The Safeguard of the Sea
The Command of the Ocean
The Wooden World

3usnmm2
Sep 26, 2007, 7:10am

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4usnmm2
Sep 26, 2007, 7:12am

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5usnmm2
Sep 26, 2007, 7:13am

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6RainMan
Sep 26, 2007, 9:01pm

Thanks, usnmm2, I am familiar with some of the other books by Dean King and Dudley Pope.

On Trafalgar, do you know Adam Nicolson's book "Seize the Fire" or various by Colin Whiteon Nelson?

7usnmm2
Sep 27, 2007, 4:37am

No I'll have to look them up

8Shrike58
Sep 28, 2007, 4:32pm

Off the top of my head:

Silent Victory
Two Ocean War
A Naval History of World War I
The Defeat of the Spanish Armada
Shattered Sword

You Napoleonic fans might be inclined to find it lacking.

9usnmm2
Edited: Sep 28, 2007, 7:22pm

#6 Rainman

No it's not "Seize The Fire" but Decision at Trafalgar by Dudley Pope. It's on amazon And it's in the vane of the Great Mutiny. It gives you a complete picture of the history of the day. How it effected the whole country. sort of a slice of history of the day that England got the news of the victory

10usnmm2
Sep 28, 2007, 7:49pm

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11surly
Sep 28, 2007, 10:31pm

British Battleships, 1860 to 1950: A History of Design, Construction and Armament
Cruisers in action, 1939-1945
Dreadnought: A History of the Modern Battleship
Fighting Admirals: British Admirals of the Second World War
United States Destroyer Operations in World War Two

I lean to the tactical and technical rather than to the strategic.

12Allen_Bass
Nov 14, 2007, 5:31pm

Surley:

You really do need to educate me about the British admirals in WWII I lean very strongly towards the Pacific and Nimitz. See, e.g., E.B. Potter's "Nimitz". As a tactician, I would think that Midway would be your cup of tea (not to pun). On a larger scale, his "island hopping" strategy was the key to victory, which couldn't have been accomplished with out the fast carriers.

There are any number of good books on the fast carriers and submarines (the other component to success). Of the latter, Gene Fluckey (a MOH recipient) revolutionized submarine tactics. His modest recounting in "Thunder Below" is worth reading. Ned Beach went from pre-war S boats to nuclear submarines (commanding the first entirely submerged circumnavigation. He received the Navy Cross for his service as XO on the Tirante in its "deck awash" attack on shipping in the Sea of Japan. The commander, George Street, receive the MOH. Beach, too, as a modest telling of his career in "Salt and Steel". His "Run Silent-Run Deep" is probably the best fictional account of submarine service.

As for surface action, I would think that the nod would go to Samuel Eliot Morison's "Rising Sun in the Pacific" volume in his monumental History of U.S. Naval Operations in WW II, for its account of the battle for Guadalcanal and his description of the Japanese attacks down the Slot. I wouldn't down play the tin cans that carried much of the Atlantic victory through ASW or those that served as pickets against the Kamikaze attacks, but I think the actions in the Slot(e.g., Salvo Island) truly showed the horrors of modern surface warfare, perhaps unsurpassed until we saw what just two Exocet missiles could do to the Stark (true, a FFG not a DD, but the point remains); indeed, a good argument can be made that the WWII ships were much more survivable than the current ones. Didn't something simialr happen to an RN ship in the Argentine campaign?

For Atlantic WWII action, I would turn to Morison's volume, "The Battle in the Atlantic".

For WWI, I would turn to any of the good books on U Boats (the name of my favorite, with excellent technical descriptions, escapes me right now). I would argue that the inconclusive action at Jutland rang down the curtain on the deadnaughts. The sinking of the Bismarck showed that it truly had rung down.

14JimThomson
Mar 21, 2009, 7:57am

Lately I have read one of the most fascinating works of naval history; THE NAVAL WAR AGAINST HITLER by Donald Macintyre. It is the story of the other naval campaign that had to be won, the Battle for the Mediterranean.
The British Empire was mutually self-supporting. The loss of contact with India, Burma, Australia and New Zealand would have crippled Britain and made the war unsupportable. Lose the Med. and lose the war was the thinking.
To relieve the island of Malta, the Royal Navy was willing to lose a dozen freighters and several warships to get a single cargo ship to the island EACH TIME the island had to be resupplied. And it did.
In order to defeat the Afrika Korps, the Allies not only had to invade Morocco but to sever the supply line across the Mediterranean. This is a most under-reported campaign, and Mr. Macintyre corrects the imbalance. Highly recommended.