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French Battleships, 1922-1956 Hardcover – Nov 5 2009
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“Naval nerds delight! The magnificent tome, French Battleships 1922-1956, has been awaiting review for a year; it was not some thing to be rushed. John Jordan and Robert Dumas have turned their passion of studying French capital ships into a durable and valuable historical work of reference, which is also the kind of book which can in spire. As with the great book, The Battlecruiser HMS Hood, by Bruce Taylor, I think I will keep my copy of French Battleships under my pillow for ready reference.” ― Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy
About the Author
John Jordan is the editor of the Warship annual and a lifelong student of French naval history on which he has written extensively.
Robert Dumas is France's leading expert on warship design, and the author of numerous books and monographs on the ships of the Marine Nationale.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is worth purchasing for its own sake, however. Although much of the material is similar to its predecessor, it is organized differently, and it is written in English. It also contains additional material, including 2 preliminary chapters discussing the planned/constructed French battleship predecessors of these ships, color plans and profiles showing paint schemes, and a bit more historical discussion. The book also exhibits very high-quality production values, with improved line drawings, diagrams, and photographs.
The bibliography is a bit sketchy.
Although I already own the Dulin/Garzke/Webb "Allied Battleships in World War Two", as well as the Dumas monographs mentioned above, and thus already have access to similar material, I was happy with my purchase.
This book is near definitive on the four battleships of the Dunkerque and Richelieu classes. Everything imaginable is covered here; the full political, technical, economic context in which these ships were developed are fully covered from the paper designs of the 1920s to the final years of the 1950s. The ships are described in great detail not only in words but photos and copious drawings as well. The weapons, projectiles, aircraft are given the full treatment. The operations are by no means neglected - the entire careers are covered with the actions supported by very helpful maps and diagrams of damage suffered. Infrastructure is also well covered with detailed maps of the various shipyards included. There are also 8 pages of color profiles and plans included.
Only nits can be picked with this book. The book mentions that although the secondary guns were dual purpose the directors were not; different directors were provided for AA and surface fire. I would have liked some discussion of this curious feature. There is also more emphasis on the intended outfit of these ships instead of the as fitted state. Thus we get plan views of the intended placement of the 37mm ACAD mounts but none of the close range AA as fitted. Most seriously there are no detailed line drawings of the ships as built like most ship monographs have. True, the color profiles and plans make up for this to some degree but they are two small and the color obscures the detail that is present.
But as said these are nits. This book will satisfy the most demanding reader. The retail price is steep but it is fully representative of the books superb value.
The book covers all aspects of design development, construction and history of the Dunkerque, Strasbourg, Richelieu, and Jean Bart, as well as the partially completed Clemenceau and unbuilt Gascogne. many alternate designs for these projects are also discussed in some detail, with features shown in a number of drawings.
My only minor complaints are that some of the good pictures from Mr. Dumas' previous works on the subject were not included (although many great new pictures were), and I would have preferred that some of the drawings and color plates could have been printed in a larger format. In fact, the detail in the color plates is fantastic, and it would be great if they were offered in a larger format as prints.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the topic.