US Battleships
An Illustrated Technical Reference
by Wayne Scarpaci

reviewed by Timothy Dike

Wayne Scarpaci has published his first in a series of technical reference books on battleships. This one covers  US Battleships from 1941 to 1963. The book traces Capital Ship development from beginning to the last battleships. There is even coverage on many that were ordered and later canceled such as the USS South Dakota BB-49 and the Lexington CC-1 Battlecruiser for you "Never-were" fans. The book starts with the USS Arkansas BB-33  and includes details on the both the USS Utah and Wyoming then converted to  gunnery training ships. Mississippi is also shown in her post war AG fit complete with missile launchers. The Montana class is covered all the way up to BB-71 USS Louisiana. The book also covers the many Pearl Harbor Battleships through their major reconstruct ions. There are photos (some I have never seen before) and line drawings by the author that help illustrate these changes. Another bonus is the really nice artwork also by the author, showings many of these battle wagons in action. I wish that these illustrations were larger, but it gives you an appreciation of the artist. 
One thing I learned from scanning the book was that the USS North Carolina was not designed from the start to have 16" guns! Check out the section covering the original 'as ordered' design scheme XVI, with 14" guns from 1937. It is interesting to see how the design process evolved over time. 

The Alaska class battlecruisers are included as well. The Iowa class is featured up to the early 60's.

Wayne writes:
"This book is the end product of more than 40 years of in depth ongoing research on my part. It is the USN Battleship Reference Book that contains all the information, data, and statistics have I always wished were available in a single volume. It is written in a concise 'no nonsense' 'reference style' that is easy to read, and easy to use. "
A second edition has been released of this book. It now has much improved graphics, and 6 additional pages: 1 on photos of BB62, 1 on photos of BB56 and 3 pages on a reserve fleet pictorial and 1 page on operation crossroads.
This book is soft cover with 134 pages. There are 52 full color original paintings, and 86 new line drawings, and 252 photographs. US Battleships 1941-1963 an Illustrated Technical Reference (ISBN 1438257449) is a great reference to have around. It combines some really nice artwork with the technical data on each class.

It is one of those books that are handy to have when you are discussing the different classes of battleships. It is not as in-depth as books by Norman Friedman, but it is a whole lot easier to read and look up information on the various ships. My only complaint is that some of the photos and line art are not as sharply reproduced as they could be. You can purchase this book from here. Check Wayne's blog for the latest updates. You can also order a signed copy direct from the author using paypal, check or money order at his website

This is the first in a planned series of books on Battleships. 

Planned subsequent volumes: 

  • Vol 2 Italian Battleships 1940-1957 (due to be released, hopefully, in spring 2009)
  • Vol 3French Battleships 1939-1970,  Vol 5 Soviet Battleships and Battlecruisers 1939-1960
  • Vol 6 German Battleships 1939-1945 including the 'H's series designs
  • Vol 7 Japanese Battleships 1941-1947 including the B64/65 class ships
  • Vol 8 British Battleships 1939-1963.
Check Wayne's website for details and to purchase copies of his art. Not only are the Battleships in this book available, but many other ships from all nations and all eras. He also does custom commission artwork.