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Destroyer Cossack

...detailed in the original builders' plans, from Seaforth Publishing

Title: Destroyer Cossack
Author: John Roberts
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-5267-7706-5

Another in the series of original builders plans of famous warships produced between Seaforth Publishing and the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, who hold the originals in their collection. When a warship was completed, the shipyard would provide a set of very detailed drawings to the Admiralty which illustrated the ship 'As Fitted'. As is pointed out in the book, the records of later changes were mostly destroyed after the war rather than being preserved. The As Fitted drawings were not just very detailed but they were also coloured with inks and washes and with great attention to detail.
This latest book is a large format hardback of 128-pages, and includes a few fold-out pages with the larger plans. The Tribal Class destroyers of the Royal Navy, along with others in the Canadian and Australian navies were large, fast ships which had evolved from a possible Cruiser design but ended up as a Destroyer which concentrated on gun rather than torpedo armament. All this plus the detail of that evolution is all explained in the book while the bulk of the content really concentrates on the amazing collection of detailed plans, which are all re-produced in beautiful colour. Some show whole sections of the ship, while others show cross-sections by frame number, detail of gun mountings, shell rooms, machinery, communications and more. Even the fitting of the pneumatic message system which reminded me of many shops from when I was younger, where documents etc would be put into a cylinder and then put into a pneumatic pipe system that would take it to the office or other set destination.
The bulk of the drawings relate particularly to HMS Cossack, a very famous vessel of the class thanks to it's involvement in releasing POWs from the German supply ship 'Altmark' and other work. She was finally torpedoed in October 1941 and sunk. For some of the drawings not available for Cossack, others are included which illustrate other vessels in the class, such as Mohawk, Ashanti, Nubian and others. For anyone interested in the anatomy of warships of WW2 then this not only provides amazing levels of detail, but the coloured plans are artistically a pleasure to look at while for model boat builders this is a fantastic resource of plans and information. I genuinely applaud the author, the publishers and the National Maritime Museum for helping share this level of access to share these so much more widely for those who wouldn't have the opportunity to visit and view the original documents in the archives for themselves.
Thanks to Seaforth Publishing for the review copy.


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