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Book Review
US Navy Light Cruisers 1941–45
US Navy Light Cruisers 1941–45
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941 – 45 from Osprey Publishing LTD chronicles those important USN ships. It is the 236th title of their New Vanguard series.

More than 40 light cruisers were in service or commissioned with the US Navy during World War Two. Heavily armed compared to their Axis rivals, most mounted the USN’s primary warship-killing gun, the Mk 12 6-inch/47, rapid-firing dual-purpose 5-inchers, and powerful anti-aircraft batteries of light and medium automatics. Cruiser expert Mark Stilles continues his USN series with this war history of not only the dozens of ships of four classes, he explores the two classes of cruisers that did not make it into the war before VJ-Day.
    During World War II, the United States built 72 light cruisers of various classes. In response to the severe air threat that surface ships faced, new cruisers were designed with increasingly heavy antiaircraft weaponry as well as the traditional 6in guns. With the speed and range to keep up with aircraft carriers, and their considerable antiaircraft capability, they were a mainstay of the carrier escorts.

    This book examines every US light cruiser produced, including those of the Fargo and Worcester classes (and unofficial Oakland class), which were actually complete after World War II had ended, tracing their design, development and evolution throughout the war and beyond.
    - Osprey

The book is available in three formats: Paperback, eBook (ePub), eBook (PDF). The book is illustrated by artist Paul Wright. Osprey's code for the book is NVG 236.

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941–45 is presented through 48 pages in eight sections and an index:
      * American Naval Strategy and the Role of the Light Cruiser
      * The Impact of the Washington and London Naval Treaties
    American Light Cruiser Weapons
    American Light Cruiser Radar
    USN Light Cruisers at War
      * Omaha Class
      * Brooklyn Class
      * Atlanta Class
      * Cleveland and Fargo Classes
      * Worcester Class
    Analysis and Conclusion

Most of America’s light cruisers were developed under the constraints of the successive Washington Naval Treaty, London Naval Treaty and Geneva Naval Conference. USN struggled to build balanced designs within the weight limits. Mr. Stille discusses these facts in addition to detailed discussion of the ships and equipment, such as:
    • Radar(s)
    • Light AA guns
    • Heavy AA guns
    • Main battery armament
    • Armor
    • Powerplants
    • Aircraft

Tactical doctrine is explored, and how that influenced USN CL assignments. Effectiveness (or lack thereof) and modifications of the ships are presented, as well as tables concerning the subjects. Design and subsequent rebuilding of the ships is discussed. USN CL cruiser armor was light yet heavier compared to IJN designs.

Furthermore, Mr. Stille discusses each of the six classes in satisfying detail:
    • Design And Construction
    • Armament
    • Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service
    • Class Specifications

Photographs and Illustrations
Supporting the text are several dozen black and white photographs. Most are surprisingly clear. Several are even studio quality. Most are water level although there are several taken from aircraft. Many photographs are detailed shots of parts of the ships.

Osprey is known for their original artwork and this book is no exception. The painting of San Juan used for the cover art is detailed and dramatic. Fourteen exceptional illustrations by artist Paul Wright enhance the subject:
    A. Cleveland. Cutaway keyed to 31 items.
    B. Battle scene: Helena in Action in the Kula Gulf in July 1943
    C. The Omaha Class. Three profiles: Omaha as completed; Raleigh at the time of Pearl Harbor; Detroit, late-war outfit.
    D. The Brooklyn Class: Three profiles: Honolulu at Pearl Harbor; Helena at the time of her loss; Nashville in late-war configuration.
    E. The Atlanta Class. Two profiles: Atlanta at Guadalcanal, Nov. 1942; Reno in November 1944.
    F. Battle scene: San Juan at The battle Of Santa Cruz, October, 1942.
    G. The Cleveland Class. Three profiles/planforms: Houston, mid-war; Vincennes, late-war outfit.

Additionally, over a dozen tables presnt data;
    1. USN Light Cruiser Main and Secondary Guns
    2. USN Light Cruiser Antiaircraft Guns
    3. Omaha-Class Construction
    4. Omaha-Class Specifications
    5. Brooklyn-Class Construction
    6. Warime Modifications to Brooklyn-Class Light Cruisers
    7. Brooklyn-Class Specifications (as built)
    8. Atlanta-Class Construction
    9. Atlanta-Class Specifications (as built)
    10. Cleveland-Class Construction
    11. Fargo-Class Construction
    12. Cleveland-Class Specifications
    13. Worchester-Class Construction
    14. Worchester-Class Specifications
    15. USN Light Cruiser Damage by
      Agent of Damage

That last table is particularly interesting in light of USN's calculations that these cruiser designs were a one-hit-one-kill against enemy torpedo attacks. Yet, these CLs proved amazingly survivable, even against Japan's ship-killing Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo.

This is another excellent book for modelers, historians and enthusiasts of USN light cruisers. It is by no means comprehensive, nor is it meant to be. What it is is a detailed basis for further research about one of the particular ships at a particular time. The data concerning weapons is very interesting if you want to compare them to Axis weapons. Other technical aspects are equally interesting to read over. The graphic support – photographs, artwork, profiles and tables – alone are worth the price of the book. My only complaint is, as usual, nitpicky – typos.

Highly recommended!

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for providing this book for review.
Highs: Detailed yet concise text of history and technical detail. Excellent photographic and art support.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: This is another excellent book for modelers, historians and enthusiasts of USN light cruisers.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781472811400
  Suggested Retail: $18.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 11, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. 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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