In this new offering from Osprey Publishing, author Jon Guttman writes about the pilots who flew with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), as well as those who flew against them. As a former carrier sailor, my interest in naval aviation quickly drew my interest for this review. The pilots who flew during the “Great War” also hold a special fascination for me, as this new technology was being introduced with few realizing how it would eventually change the world, and how wars would be fought in the future.
This offering by Osprey is written in seven chapters, which are titled “Sky and Sea”, “Zeebrugge Hornets’ Nest”, “The Marine Feld Jastas”, “Detached Duty”, “Aces over the Baltic”, “Action over the Adriatic”, “Allies in Camels”, followed by Appendices. There are ninety-five black and white photographs contained within this publication as well as eleven pages that contain thirty-six color plates of various aircraft. The captions that accompany the photographs and some of the color plates provide good detail, while there are longer descriptions of the color plates contained at the end of the book.
In Chapter 1, there is a discussion on the origins of naval aviation, mentioning the use of balloons towed by ships during the American Civil War, and in the early 1910’s, the development of seaplanes and flying boats. There is even mention of Eugene Ely, and his flights that would lead to the development of the aircraft carrier. This short chapter also tells the tale of German pilot Pluschow, who was in Tsingtau, China, when Japan declared war on Germany, and spent some eleven months making his way back to Germany after surviving Japanese attempts to take down his Rumpler Taube.
Chapters two, three, and four are focused on the German pilots and their aircraft, while Chapter 5 is dedicated to Russian pilots. Pilots from Austria-Hungary, Italy, and the United States of America are the subject of Chapter six, and Chapter seven discusses the lone American Naval ace of the war, David Sinton Ingalls, as well as Greek Navy pilot Aristeides Moraitinis. The level of detail is very good throughout, with the chapters containing short stories within them, which any reader with an interest in this topic will certainly find interesting.
As with other Osprey books in my collection, this latest offering is well written, and the author, Jon Guttman, has penned nineteen other books on World War I topics in the Osprey line. In addition, Harry Dempsey has been the illustrator for all of the Osprey publications on the First World War. I found the photographs to be interesting, and the drawings are up to the high standards that one can expect with Osprey.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any modeler wanting reference to more of the Naval Aces of World War I, as Part 1 of this book focused more on the RNAS. As mentioned previously, the art and photography are very good, and again, the book is well written and informative. I would like to thank the folks at Osprey Publishing for providing this book to the IPMS-USA for review, and I appreciate having been afforded the opportunity to write this appraisal. As always, thanks to you the reader for taking the time to read my comments.