This book features three classes; the Deutschland Class (pre-dreadnought Battleships Deutschland, Hannover, Pommern, Schlesien, and Schleswig-Holstein), the Nassau Class (Battleships Nassau, Rheinland, Posen and Westfalen) and the Helgoland Class (Battleships Helgoland, Oldenburg, Ostfriesland and Thüringen).

Germany didn’t exist as a nation until 1871, so as a new major power they were late in having a battle fleet of their own.  The book begins with the story of the formation of the German Navy under Kaiser Wilhelm II to include key milestones and personalities in its formation and development.

There book has a logical layout with the classes discussed in order.  Details are given for the armaments, armored protection, stability (sea keeping), power plant configurations, design characteristics and modifications.  The story of each battleship is told with a synopsis of all the activities for each ship.  This information will give you a great foundation of knowledge for further research.  The range data for the primary and secondary armaments is given in hm (hectometers) instead of the more common meter or yard measurements.Simply take the figure given and multiply it by 100 to convert to meters.

The first class discussed is the Pre-Dreadnought Deutschland Class.  The author then goes on to discuss appearance of the Dreadnought to the world stage, which brought about a revolution in warship design, capabilities and construction.  The technical improvements which came about during this period are discussed in detail which really adds a lot to the story of the German Battleships.The author then continues the Nassau class and then Helgoland class.

The book has a lot of visual appeal.  The cover is features artwork of the SMS Thüringen pounding away at the British armored cruiser HMS Black Prince during a night engagement.  There are many black and white period photos all throughout the book.  There are several diagrams which show the layout and thickness of the armored protection of each battleship class.  Large tables list key dates, costs, characteristics and performance data for each battleship within each class which makes it very easy to find information at a glance.

There are several color profiles with both side and overhead views of the SMS Deutschland, SMS Westfalen and SMS Helgoland.  There are several pages of artwork featuring; SMS Pommern exploding after being hit by several torpedoes from the destroyer HMS Onslaught, SMS Thüringen pounding away at the HMS Black Prince, and SMS Westfalen and Rheinland in the ice off Eckerö with several Swedish ships in the background.  There is a cut-away profile of SMS Rheinland with key features labeled.

In conclusion, this is an excellent reference for the Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes of German World War I Battleships.  There is a lot of great information here that is well organized and easy to follow.The history of each ship, while brief, is thorough and provides for a great foundation for further research.

Rating 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Review Sample provided by the reviewer

Scott Espin – Model Builder International – 




Categories: MBI REVIEWS

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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