U.S. Aircraft Carriers 1939-45
...in the Casemate Illustrated series
Title: U.S. Aircraft Carriers 1939-45
Author: Ingo Bauernfeind
A recent addition to the Casemate Illustrated series of books tackles the topic of the US Aircraft Carrier in WW2, a time of rapid and unquestionably impressive development. A 240-page hardcover book packed with information and hundreds of archive images.
The books starts off with both a Forward and an Introduction. The Forward is by an ex-crew member of the second carrier named the USS Hornet. The first, CV8, was famous for the Doolittle raid, but she was sunk at the battle of the Santa Cruz islands. She was replaced by a new ship, CV12, and he includes the story of how when it was due to be scrapped, years after the war, he was part of the group who managed to save it, and turn it into a preserved museum ship, one that is available for all to visit. The chapters are then divided into logical subjects, starting with Fleet Carriers, then Escort and then Light carriers before tackling Carrier Aircraft. Each of these holds details of all the various classes and the individual ships, along with the many well known battles they were involved in during the war. Then for chapter 6 it moves on to a closer look at the remains of the USS Saratoga, which was finally sunk by an atomic weapon test at Bikini Atoll. The underwater photos and the scans are fascinating. Next is chapter 6, a photographic guided tour of the many different compartments/features of the preserved USS Hornet. That leaves the final chapter to focus on the Essex class carriers, and how these were developed after the end of WW2.
I have long been interested in aircraft carriers and this has been one of the most interesting books, at a reasonable price, that I can think of. A good balance between all the details within the text and data tables, along with a large number of archive images plus the modern images of both the wreck of the Saratoga and the tour of the preserved Hornet. Considering there was just the Lexington and Saratoga around at the time of the Pearl Harbour attack, the book also highlights the huge advances in the design of carriers and aircraft in a few short years, coupled to the amazing industrial capacity of the USA to build and deploy all these ships. It really did mark the end of the battleship as the key warship, to be replaced by the power of the aircraft carrier, which now weigh in at over 100,000 tons. Super book.
Thanks to Casemate for our review copy.