USS Iowa [BB-61]

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Doyle
Other Publication Information
Hard Bound ; 9” x 9”, 128 pages
Product / Stock #
Legends of Warfare - Naval #4
Company: David Doyle Books - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: David Doyle Books - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

David Doyle’s latest book is one of the initial entries into a new series called ‘Legends of Warfare’ with entries in Ground, Naval, and Aviation. The first Ground book is focused on the Panzerkampfwagen IV, the first Naval book was on the USS Yorktown (CV-5), and the first two Aviation books are on the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (#4) and Douglas TBD Devastator (#3). This tome is the second release in the Legends of Warfare – Naval series.

After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle ‘graduated’ to full-fledged books in 2003. His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles. He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics. David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that still displays at shows. In June 2015, was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide." Be sure to check out David’s website at where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP all his books that are still available.

BB-61 is arguably the fifth USS Iowa and will be followed by a Virginia Class submarine, USS Iowa (SSN-797). BB-61 was the lead ship of her class, the last of the US Battleships. The USS Iowa was ordered on July 1939 and was built at the New York Naval Shipyard. Her sisters were USS New Jersey (BB-62), USS Missouri (BB-63), and USS Wisconsin (BB-64). All four still serve as museums. USS Illinois (BB-65) and USS Kentucky (BB-66) were started but not completed before World War II ended and were subsequently scrapped.

BB-61 served in the Atlantic and Pacific in World War II and was actively involved in raids along the North Korean coast during the Korean War. She was decommissioned in 1958 but was reactivated in 1984 to counter the Soviet Navy expansion. April 1989 saw tragedy strike when her number 2 gun turret exploded; killing forty-seven crewmen. Several investigations followed with the end result being improved procedures for handling gun powder. BB-61 was again decommissioned in October 1990 but was brought back in 1999 once again. She was donated to the Pacific Battleship Center in Los Angeles in 2011.

The front cover features a color photograph of BB-61 firing a volley from her number two turret during a training exercise in July 1984 near Puerto Rico. The back cover is an enlarged clip of a photograph from page 107 of the USS Iowa passing through the Panama Canal on February 1986. You get 128 glossy pages graced by clear, well captioned photographs. I counted 270 well captioned photographs; 112 in color and 158 in black and white. Many of the selected photographs are being published for the first time, coupled with vivid captions.

David Doyle starts off with an introduction that led to the 1938 design of a new class of ‘fast battleships’ capable of 33 knots and carrying nine 16” guns. The fist photograph depicts the keel laying ceremony on June 27, 1940 at Brooklyn Navy Yard. David continues with another ten pages of construction photographs, including many in vivid color, followed by another twelve pages covering the hull launch and subsequent fitting out. The next fourteen pages addresses the commissioning and shakedown of BB-61, again with many vivid color pictures. Chapter Four, page 44, starts her service career as the USS Iowa goes to war as is depicted in the following Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Construction
  • Chapter 2: Launching and Fitting-Out [Page 19, 26]
  • Chapter 3: Commissioning and Shakedown
  • Chapter 4: USS Iowa Goes To War [Page 58, 62]
  • USS Iowa Data (Table)
  • Chapter 5: Peacetime
  • Chapter 6: War In Korea [Page 81]
  • Chapter 7: The Long Rest
  • Chapter 8: Return To Service [Page 115]
  • USS Iowa Crewmen Personnel Killed on April 19, 1989 (Table)

Chapter 9: Preservation

One of the sections I found quite interesting was the color photographs throughout the book. I have to say that I really never understood the process of fitting out until reading this book. The process of mounting the massive 16” guns is shown, as is the construction of their respective gun houses. Another color picture depicts BB-61 during June 1944 in the Marianas Campaign dressed in Measure 32 camouflage. The USS Iowa’s modernization in 1983 is well described in color over a series of ten photographs that certainly brings the modernization process to life.

The USS Iowa is well represented in kits in a variety of scales, including 1/1200, 1/1250, 1/700, 1/600, 1/400, 1/350, 1/200, and 1/144. Many of these kits are rather generic of the class, but there are plenty of upgrades to model a kit specific to BB-61. The Scale Shipyard also sells a 1/96 resin if you have the room available.

This is a gorgeous hard-bound book and is well worth the money. David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with detailed captions. I am definitely looking for more monographs in this new and affordable series of books from Schiffer.

Highly recommended!


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