Italian Cruisers of World War II
Mark Stille is a retired Commander of the US Navy and has written a succession of books for Osprey Publishing on naval topics. He continues as an intelligence analyst at the Pentagon. New Vanguard 258 covers Italian cruisers of World War Two, an overlooked topic. This book joints Stille’s previous Osprey Vanguard 182 book on WW2 Italian Battleships (previously reviewed for IPMSUSA in 2011). Like other Osprey books, this issue is 48 pages (not counting the front/back covers) – not enough for an in-depth treatment of WW2 Regia Marina cruisers, but enough for an excellent synopsis of design, characteristics and history of each ship.
This book provides four pages of full-color side profiles of specific Italian cruisers, a two-page cutaway illustration of the Pola, a heavy cruiser, showing internal arrangements, and two full page illustrations of specific cruisers in specific actions. The book is sectioned into an Introduction with a brief overview of Italian cruiser origins, design, weapons and fire-control, followed by sections on major battles, heavy cruisers, light cruisers and an overview.
There are only a few inaccuracies in the book, most notably the Far Right Figure legend on Page 8 that misidentified the 100mm/47 (4 inch) antiaircraft mounts of Montecuccoli as being 4.7 inch (they are accurately referred to as 100mm/47 4inch throughout the book otherwise). The last paragraph on page 7 seems to have a missing sentence about dispersion of shot. But these two minor issues do not detract from the rest of the information, which is accurate.
I agree with the interpretations and analyses of WW2 Italian cruisers by the author. It is interesting to note the failures and successes of Italian cruisers, and a wonder any of them survived to the Armistice in 1943, considering the unrelenting, growing Allied presence, lack of new ships, lack of new technologies, and general problems between the services.
Italian Cruisers of World War II delivers a lot of information in a quick and easy read, with engaging photographs and color illustrations. This book is an excellent primer for those interested in learning about Italian cruisers of World War Two. It is not in-depth, and not what serious modelers would rely on for details, but all the basic information is summarized. For instance, the illustrations of camouflage schemes are helpful to modelers, but only show one side of each ship (rarely were the two sides equivalent). I look at this volume as a good starting point to pique interest in an overlooked subject, and I look forward to New Vanguard editions on remaining Italian warship classes.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy!
- Figure 1: Front cover of Italian Cruisers of World War II showing heavy cruisers in action during the battle of Calabria/Punto Stilo.
- Figure 2: Back cover of Italian Cruisers of World War II.
- Osprey Publishing
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