United States Navy Submarines 1900–2019

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Michael Green
Other Publication Information
Soft Bound ; 7.5” x 9.8”, 234 pages
Company: Pen & Sword - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

Michael Green is a freelance writer, researcher, and photographer. He specializes in military subjects and has authored and coauthored over 100 non-fiction books, for both children and adults. His books have been translated into several languages. Mr. Green is an honorary lifetime member of the "Marine Corps Tanker Association," as well as the U.S. Army Brotherhood of Tankers. Michael Green lives in Dale City, California.

Pen & Sword’s latest book in the Images of War series is a square back soft cover includes 234 gloss paper pages. I counted 130 black and white period photographs. There are 95 color photos, 8 black and white illustrations, and 17 color illustrations.

Michael Green provides a great deal of coverage of the US Navy’s different submarine classes, from the first USN submarine, the Holland VI, to the future in the yet-to-be-built Columbia. It is truly amazing the changes that have occurred in the 119 years this book covers. Focused on submarine development, Michael, covers each class along with plenty of explanations on general submarine technology improvements. All photographs and illustrations have a nice detailed caption to further engross the reader. The sections include:

  • Dedication
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Notes To The Reader
  • Chapter One: The Early Years
    • The US Navy’s First Commissioned Submarines
    • Displacement
    • Simon Lake’s Submarines
    • First Submarines Class
    • Designations: Part One
    • New Submarine Classes
    • E-Class and F-Class
    • Early Submarine Builders
    • G-Class Through to K-Class
    • L-Class Through to M-Class
    • When is a Submarine a Boat
    • N-Class
    • O-Class
    • AA-1 Class
    • T-Class
    • R-Class
    • Submarine Fairwaters and Bridges
    • S-Class
    • Construction Details
    • Designations: Part Two
    • Experimental S-Class Submariens
    • Diesel-Electric-Drive S-Boats
    • Submarine or Submersible?
    • Wartime Influence
    • The V-Boats
    • Interwar Submarine Builders
    • First Three V-Boats
    • Designations: Part Three
    • Argonaut Class
    • Narwhal Class
    • Dolphin Class
    • Cachalot Class
    • Designations: Part Four
    • Porpoise Class
    • Air-Conditioning
    • New Directions
    • Shark and Perch Classes
    • Salmon Class
    • Visual Identification Markings
    • Sargo Class
    • Their Wartime Contribution [Page 41 and 67]
  • Chapter Two: Second World War
    • Seadragon Class
    • Timbor Class
    • End of the Line
    • Mackerel Class
    • Gato Class
      • Description
    • Wartime Submarine Ship-Builders
    • Balao Class
    • In Combat with the Balao Class
    • Tench Class
    • Underwater Weaponry
      • Description
      • Problems with the Mk. 14 Torpedo
      • Looking for a Solution
      • New Torpedoes
      • Late Ware Torpedoes
    • Hitting the Target
      • Radar
      • Sonar
      • Other Electronic Devices
      • Surface Weaponry
    • Summary [Page 98
  • Chapter Three: Cold War Diesel-Electric Submarines
    • The Guppies
    • Cutting Costs
    • Fleet Snorkel Programme
    • The Last Guppies
    • Looking for a Mission Improvised Radar Pickets
      • Dedicated Radar Picket Submarines
    • The Loon Cruise Missile
    • The Regulus Cruise Missiles
    • Grayback Class
    • Hunter-Killers
    • Miscellaneous Roles
    • The End for the Fleet Boats
    • Albacore
    • Barracuda Class
    • Tang Class
    • Darter
    • Mackerel Class
    • Barbel Class [Page 146 and 170]
  • Chapter Four: Cold War Nuclear-Powered Submarines
    • The Father of the Nuclear Navy
    • Seawolf
    • Skate Class
    • The End of the Line
    • Dedicated Radar Picket
    • Skipjack Class
    • Halibut
    • Tullibee
    • New Type of Propulsion System
    • Narwhal
    • Identifying Code Letters
    • Thresher / Permit Class
    • New Weaponry
    • Sturgeon Class
    • Submarine Builders
    • Tomahawk Cruise Missile
    • Glenard P. Lipscomb
    • Los Angeles Class
    • Seawolf Class
    • Jimmy Carter
    • Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles
    • Boomers
    • Missile Types
    • Ohio Class
      • Ohio Class Details
      • New Roles for the Ohio Class [Page 211]
    • Chapter Five: Post-Cold War Submarines
      • Virginia-Class Description
      • Columbia Class
  • Bibliography

There is no shortage of interesting photographs and their lengthy captions. I found the three photographs on Page 170 and 171 quite interesting. An unarmed experimental submarine, AGSS-569 Albacore, confirmed the advantages of having a teardrop shape that greatly improved speed under water. Albacore was refitted many times with different hull, noise-reduction, tail, and propeller configurations that were put to good use in future submarine design. What I was not aware of was that it had speed brakes to help slow her down. Today, the SAGSS-569 Albacore is now preserved in a museum park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Michael Green delivers a great summary on US Navy submarine development. I read this book over a week (there is more text than I have seen in any Images of War book). Michael Green laments that he wished he had room to present even more detail in text and photographs, so maybe there will be a Volume Two. If you have one of the previous books in this series, you know what you can look forward to.

My thanks to Pen & Sword, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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