Reviewed December 2014
by Timothy Dike
New from Robert Gehringer and Antonio Bonomi is this hard bound book on the "Tirpitz Volume 1, a beast is born". It covers the ship from it's construction in 1936 to her first time at Gotenhafen (Hitler's visit in May '41, shortly before the Bismarck sortie). That's over 170 pages just on these early year and those photos are extensive with around 300. Many have never appeared in print before and some are in color. The book is dual language with both German and English text. 

I don't think I have ever seen a book that so thoroughly documents the construction and movement of a ship as it was built and fitted out. There are charts and maps showing not only the ships track from the slips to the docks, but even the engineering studies of stress loads on the hull during the process. While the Tirpitz may be the star of the show, there is some really fascinating sights all around the ship as you get a good look at the facilities in the background. Tugs, destroyers, yachts, auxiliaries, buildings, cranes, floating dry-docks, and railroad equipment can all be seen in and around her. For those who like building dioramas, this book is a gold mine. 

There are color profiles showing some of the paint jobs worn during this period. Take note of the one with the building windows on one side. Photos back up these camo jobs. Some information on the proper handling the Arados is covered. You can almost follow along as the Tirpitz puts to see for the first time. Another fascinating section is the then-and-now photos showing how some of the key photo locations look today. 

click images to enlarge

 You can purchase this book online at the Bismarck-Tirpitz site for 49,95 € or about 63.00 US at today's rates. The site is in German, but you can use Goggle translator service to make it easier to navigate. This is a fascinating read for the naval enthusiast, and I am eagerly looking forward to future volumes (note the s). Rumor has it that there are many stacks of unpublished photos for future volumes. I would urge modelers and historians alike to get a copy and help support this publisher so we can see more in the future.