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BOOK REVIEW: Pirates & the Lost Templar Fleet

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Pirates & the Lost Templar Fleet

by David Hatcher Childress.

The litany of conspiracy-theory speculation is enough to make history buffs weep. No wonder we suffer from fake news. This book's subhead is: The Secret Naval War Between the Knights Templar and the Vatican. This is NOT a history of medieval Templar naval efforts to battle French (and Vatican-allied) ships...it is a 700-year overview of every conspiracy theory and half-truth about Templars treated as fact, including the Ark of the Covenant buried on Oak Island (Canada), all 17th century pirate captains were Templars, and Homer's Odysseus was caught in the tidal bore of the Bay of Fundy (Canada). This mish-mash tosses everything to see what sticks.

At times I thought a Cthulu book I was reading offered just as accurate a depiction of history...

If I have to say something positive, it had a short discussion about, and small reprints of, old 15th and 16th century maps (I enjoy cartography) – that were created by aerial cartography (!?) – and that Columbus used such cartography to found a Templar haven in the New World. See what I mean?

Tags:  warships 

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Book Review: Pursuit: The Chase and Sinking of the Battleship Bismarck

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by Ludovic Kennedy. This 1974 book also ignores Ultra, but reads almost like a thriller. It points out miscalculations and mistakes on both sides as the Bismarck came oh so close to slipping away, courtesy of missed signals, clever maneuvers, and that 'one in 100,000' chance torpedo hit that jammed the rudder at 15 degrees. Of some amusement: the Bismarck's opening salvo against the cruiser HMS Norfolk blew out Bismarck's own forward radar -- you'd think that someone in German engineering would have tested that in the initial sea trials. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Naval  reviews  warships  WW2  WWII 

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Book Review: The Naval War Against Hitler

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by Donald MacIntyre. Reading this 1971 book just after reading the Ultra at Sea book, I was amazed that MacIntyre never mentioned Ultra. This may be because the book predated the release of Ultra archives. Still, it contains a nice overview of British naval strategy punctuated by tactical actions against the Axis (Italians in the Mediterranean Sea included), with all the high profile battles dissected: Bismarck, Narvik, U-Boat war (bulk of book), PQ-17 and Arctic convoys, Operation Pedestal, Scharnhorst, Axis efforts against Allied convoys in the Mediterranean Sea, and Allied efforts against Axis convoys in the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoyed it, albeit with an Ultra caveat.

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Tags:  Naval  reviews  warships  WW2  WWII 

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Book Review: Ultra at Sea: How Breaking the Nazi Code Affected Allied Naval Strategy During World War II

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by John Winton. Although the prose often plods along like a cargo ship chugging across the Atlantic at 6 knots, the information within is like a tanker full of aviation gas reaching Malta. German disbelief that anyone could break the Enigma code helped Britain maintain a constant stream of intercepted and deciphered German naval information -- put to good use in avoiding U-Boat wolfpacks, picking off weather ships, and tracking naval movements. Of real interest is the chapter on how sloppy Allied habits with Ultra information probably should have tipped the Germans off that their codes had been broken, but the Germans discounted that the allies could break their 'unbreakable' code. Enjoyed it.

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Tags:  Naval  reviews  warships  WW2 

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Book Review: SMS Blucher: Super Drawings in 3D

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by Martin Samuel and Wolfgang Bohlayer. This 82-page softcover book, sized 8.25x11.75 inches, offers five pages of history and 78 pages of color 3D drawings of ship systems inside and out. Full profile, cutaways, system layers, alterations -- it's all there for modelers of this WWI German armored cruiser. The real ship went down in the North Sea on January 15, 1915. This book offers the closest thing to a ship tour you can get today. Also includes 1:350 scales plans on a separate 22.75x15.75-inch sheet. Enjoyed it.

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Tags:  reviews  warships  WWI 

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