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Book Review
US Navy Aircraft Carriers 1922-1945 Prewar Classes

by: Rui Matos [ SKIPPER ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights


I must admit that this is only the tenth book I have on aircaft carrires, and since my first one was Norman Friedman’s “U.S. Aircraft Carriers – An illustrated Design History” with ship plans bu A.D. Baker III (Navall Institute Press ISBN:0-87021-739-9) perhaps the reference bar was set a “little” high – and still is my own “bible” for US Navy aircraft Carriers issues, doubts and reference.

Whats inside?

Here is the table of contents:
- Early US Navy carrier doctrine
- The prewar US Navy carrier air group

- Prewar naval aircraft
- Weapons
- Radar

USS Langley (CV-1)
- Design and Construction
- Armament
- Service modifications
- Operational History
- Assessment

The Lexington Class (Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3))
- Design and Construction
- Armament
- Service modifications
- Operational History
- Assessment

USS Ranger (CV-4)
- Design and Construction
- Armament
- Service modifications
- Operational History
- Assessment

The Yorktown Class (Yorktown (CV-5), Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8))
- Design and Construction
- Armament
- Service modifications
- Operational History
- Assessment

The Wasp (CV-7)
- Design and Construction
- Armament
- Service modifications
- Operational History
- Assessment


Color Plate Commentary


My feelings about it

I have found this Osprey book a good, accurate and of course, consise reading. It must have been very difficult to Mr Mark Stille to condense all the available information on this first five classes of aircraft carriers in such a small amount of space. Hats off, for your abbiliy on producing “juice” (pardon the pun!.)
The modus operandi is always the same for all five classes, which is a good comparison procedure. I have found very important to include the explanation of the Washington Naval Treaty limitations and all the difficulties and issues related with the experiments of creating a new class and type of ship.
The evolution of the features of each class and ship is also described, making it very interesting to see that the same class of ship was wearing different type of weaponry and early warning technology – radar – in the same period. The main emphasys is on these items, and retrieval/launch apparatus, but also described are machinery, protection and other modeling relevant details. Since the dates of these overhausl are stated, and related with battles and missions, in the Operational History of every vessel described in this book, it will be a good resourse to the more “accurate” modeler wishing to portray his model in a particular date and place.
I must admit it opened my apetite to make severall 1/700 dioramas!

Appart from the reading, easy but detailed, each CV Class is accompained by some black and white pictures, small, but most of them sharp and clear – providing a good help for the modeler. A nice detail, at least for me, is that some of these pictures are “new”.

The colour plates and their description are a valuable asset to this book. They are represented in ship profiles with several measures applied. This measures are always so difficult to explain to the newbies in this particular area.
A double page cutaway, with two insets, a quad boffors 40mm gun mount and a Dauntless SBD-3 from VB-6 helps giving the notion of the complexity of this class of ships.
My only complaint is that the colourfull airwings of the prewar period and their replacements could be better described and illustrated. The Related Titles Index books on the back of the back cover mention some of the planes, but none covers completely the early period airwings and its colourfull painting schemes and types of planes.


I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Aircraft Carriers. Although not a “bible” it is a good value for the money.
This book could also make a good companion and serve as a complement to a more graphic one, like “Squadron/Signal Publications – Warships number 5 – U.S. Aircraft Carriers in Action Part 1” (ISBN: 0-89747-265-9) and with a little budget, a couple of reading hours and some clinic eye after the inspection of pictures and colour plates it will make a difference in your next Flattop model.

other reccommended readings

Appart from the above mentioned books, this is also a good companion and complement to some of my "winning" ;)

"Carrier Air Wing in Original WWII Color - US Navy Air Combat 1939-1946"
By Robert Lawson & Barret Tillman
Published by Motorbooks International
ISBN: 0-87938-983-4

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on ARMORAMA
Ok, this time it is not a Submarine... Not even a Model. Yes, it is a book!With the “Garry Beebe’s Flattops Campaign” starting in January 1st, I was tempted by the colour plates of this book and bought it at one of our fewer and fewer LHS (kitmania).
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1841768901
  Suggested Retail: US$14.95
  Related Link: http://www.ospreypublishing.com
  PUBLISHED: Nov 28, 2005
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Rui Matos (skipper)

Hi all Crew Members!
Rui Matos, 39 years old (in 2006), married, former Portuguese Navy Fire Control Radar Operator , and "owned" by two cats - James, Stripes (Riscas in portuguese, now deceased) and Moon (Lua)!
I've been modeling since I was 6, but only have turned to Submarines in 1991 o...

Copyright ©2020 text by Rui Matos [ SKIPPER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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    My small Aircraft Carriers Book collection
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