British Destroyer vs German Destroyer Narvik 1940. Duel 88

Published: November 24th, 2018     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: David Greentree & David Campbell
Reviewed by: 
Luke R. Bucci, PhD, IPMS# 33549
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 9781472828583
E-Book ISBN #: 9781472828606
Other Publication Information: Illustrated by Paul Wright & Alan Gilliland, 80 pages, B&W photos, color drawings
Price: $24.00
Product / Stock #: DUE 88

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy and IPMSUSA for the opportunity to review!

This book is a revisit to the naval battles at Narvik, Norway, relatively early in WW2, after the "Phony War" during the winter of 1939-1940. Unlike other Osprey books, this issue is 80 pages (not counting the front/back covers) and packed with expert interpretation and technical facts. The two Battles of Narvik had greater strategic importance than first glance would suggest, but also was the largest scale of destroyer vs. destroyer action in the European theatre.

This book has eleven sections:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design & Development
  • Technical Specifications
  • The Combatant
  • The Strategic Situation
  • Combat
  • Analysis
  • Aftermath
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

Unusual B&W photographs accompany color drawings of side and overhead views of representative destroyers with what looks to me like original colors, very close to what was actually applied. Maps and tables also give vital data to support the narrative, and there is a color two-page illustration of the action.

This is the most comprehensive report on the Narvik naval battles I have seen and delves into the explanations as to why and how the events unfolded. Lessons were learned or ignored, with long-term consequences for each side during the war. The fog of war was never more present (literally and figuratively) than this clash, exemplifying that chance still had the final say. SNAFUs and FUBARs ruled the days. If a few small circumstances were different, this battle could have gone much different, possibly affecting the course of WW2. Both sides learned valuable lessons, but the loss of half of Germany's fleet destroyers and repairs to seven of ten remaining seriously crimped the ability of Germany to even think about invading England in 1940, leading to the famous Battle of Britain air campaign instead.

This confusing series of battles is given context as to why the two sides behaved as they did and gave even treatment to British and German plans and conduct - something lacking in previous accounts. While not designed for modelers, it does have decent figures and photos to help build the ships involved.

Summary

British Destroyer vs. German Destroyer Narvik 1940 delivers a lot of information and thoughtful commentaries, with engaging photographs and color illustrations. This book is not short, but is an excellent lesson on boldness, communication, technical expertise and personal behaviors. Highly recommended if you like eyeball-to-eyeball, ship-to-ship duels before radar.

Figures

  • Figure 1: Front cover ofUS Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945 showing one of the Green Dragon ships - green-camouflaged transport versions off Corregidor.
  • Figure 2: Back cover of US Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945.

References

  • https://ospreypublishing.com/us-flush-deck-destroyers-1916-45?___store=o...
  • www.destroyerhistory.org
  • www.navsource.org/archives
  • Blundell WDG. Royal Navy Warships. 1939-1945. Almark Publishing Co., Ltd. Middlesex, England, 1971. ISBN 0 85524 034 2
  • Beaver P. German Destroyers and Escorts. Aztex Corporation, Tucson, AZ, 1981. ISBN 0-89404-060-X
  • Dickens P. HMS Hesperus / ex-Brazilian 'H'-class Destroyer. Warship Profile 20. Profile Publications, Ltd., Windsor, Berkshire, UK, 1972. SBN 85383 060 6
  • Jones DH. Kriegsmarine destroyers. Pt. 1. Plastic Ship Modeler1994; 1(1):9-11.
  • Jones DH. Kriegsmarine camouflage 1939-1945 Part I. Plastic Ship Modeler1995; 2(2):27-29.
  • Lenton HT. German Surface Vessels 1. Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY, 1966.
  • Lenton HT. British Fleet & Escort Destroyers Volume One. Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY, 1970.
  • Lenton HT. German Warships of the Second World War. Arco Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1976. ISBN 0-668-04037-8
  • Patrini SV. Leberecht Maass Class German WW2 Destroyers Type 34, 34A, 36.Morskie Collection No. 5, Moscow, Russia, 2004. (www.modelist-konstruktor.ru)
  • Whitley MJ. Destroyer! German Destroyers in World War II. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1983. ISBN 0-87021-143-9
  • Whitley MJ. Destroyers of World War Two. An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-326-1
  • Whitley MJ. German Destroyers of World War Two. 2nded., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1991. ISBN 1-55750-302-8
  • Williamson G, Palmer I. German Destroyers 1939-1945.Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-504-X
  • Young J. A Dictionary of the Ships of the Royal Navy of the Second World War. Patrick Stephens Ltd., Cambridge, UK, 1978. ISBN 0 85059 332 8
  • Front cover
    Front cover
  • Rear cover
    Rear cover

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