Warship Pictorial 45 - Square Bridge Fletcher
by Rick E. Davis

 Reviewed by Martin J Quinn
July 2016

Classic Warship Publishing has released a new book, the 45th in it's Warship Pictorial line.   This one focuses on the Square Bridge Fletcher class destroyers, which constituted almost 2/3 of this class of ships.
This book features 72 pages with over 115 images - including several in color - of the "Square Bridge" Fletcher class destroyers, the most numerous variant of the most numerous class of destroyers ever built. 

As with the previous "Round Bridge Fletcher" volume, the book is laid out by different variants within the Square Bridge type:

  • Square Bridge Fletcher's armed with two twin 40mm mounts, one on the fantail. 
  • Square Bridge Fletcher's armed with three twin 40mm mounts
  • Square Bridge Fletcher's armed with five twin 40mm mounts (first three)
  • Square Bridge Fletcher's armed with three twin 40mm mounts ("standard" type)
Within this last group of "Square Bridge Fletcher's armed with three twin 40mm mounts", the book is further sub-divided by Builder/Yard:
  • Bath Iron Works
  • Federal - Kearny
  • Boston Navy Yard
  • Charleston Navy Yard
  • Bethlehem Shipbuilding - Staten Island
  • Bethlehem Shipbuilding - San Francisco
  • Bethlehem Shipbuilding - San Pedro
  • Gulf Shipbuilding
  • SeaTac/Todd Shipbuilding
There is a small section on radar countermeasures mounted on the square bridge variants, and then a section on square bridge Fletcher's with the late-war Anti-Kamikaze Modification. 

As with CW42 - Round Bridge Fletchers, the layout of the book seems unorthodox at first, but once you flip through it, it makes sense and groups the types of variants together.   Also included in the book is a page on the development history of the class, and a roster of the Square Bridge ships and their fates (fourteen were lost during the war).   The book does not deal with post war careers.

click to
enlarge images
While the author lists a variety of sources, it looks like most of the photos are sourced from the National Archives.  The photo selection is varied and of high quality, with lots of detail shots. 

Another fine book from Classic Warships Publishing, especially for fans of the Fletcher class and in particular, the later war square bridge version.  I was unaware of all the subtle differences within the square bridge units.   With it's breakdown of these differences and high quality photos, this is will be a great addition to the reference library for both naval enthusiasts and scale-modelers alike.  This is Warship Pictorial 45 - Square Bridge Fletcher. Published by Classic Warships Publishing ISBN 978-0-99969199-1-3. Price is $18.00 US retail and it is available direct of from one of their vendors listed on the Classic Warships website.  Get your copy now. 

Thanks to Classic Warships for the review sample. 


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