Warship Perspectives
Essex Class Carriers of World War Two
by Glen Arnold

reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Essex class were the first class of US carriers built without the limitations of the Washington Treaty. They represented the ultimate in war time carrier design. The Japanese had proved how powerful Naval Aviation was, but the lessons were learned quickly by the Americans, who applied them to this class. These fleet carriers were mass produced by US shipyards to make up for the heavy loses that were being felt in the Pacific war. They carried the war home to the Japanese and survived some of the most brutal attacks by the last ditch efforts of the Kamikazes.
Glen Arnold, author of the Atlanta Class Cruisers of WW2, and Flush Deck Destroyers of WW2 has returned with a book dedicated to this important carrier class. Like the other WR Press books this one includes detail drawings and camouflage design sheets, many by Alan Raven. The book details the Essex class carriers from their building, and refitting to their operations at sea. There are many camouflage photo's that show some of the camouflage measure from a variety of angles. In addition the camouflage measures worn by each carrier is listed with the time period they carried them.
Drawings in this book include:
  • Essex Island views after 1944 refit.
  • Essex hull lines (body plan)
  • Boat crane (plan, elevation and side view)
  • SK-2 radar
  • SK radar
  • SC-2 radar
  • Forecastle deck aft plan view
  • Hanger deck aft plan view
  • Forecastle deck forward plan view
  • Hanger deck forward plan view
  • Galley deck plan and elevation views (port and starboard fore and aft)
  • Bridge deck levels
  • General arrangement views mentioned below.
click images
to enlarge
There are many detail photo's that show various aspects of the ship. Changes made during refits are well documented as are the variations within the class. Many of the photo's are the official US Navy photo's that were taken to document the weapons and radar's each one carried. A few were slightly washed out but still clearly show the details. 
The aircraft that operated on these ships are also covered in detail. Aircraft tail and wing marking for the various aircraft squadrons are listed as well as which ships they served on. Each type of aircraft is covered right down to their camouflage and specs. The on deck views will prove to be invaluable to the modeler.
An added bonus is a very detailed  "D" size (22" x 36") fold out general arrangement plans for the USS Essex. The drawings have right and left side elevation and plan views for the August 43 to April 44 period. 

If you plan on building an Essex class carrier or are just interested in this impressive carrier class this book is for you. It is 80 pages in the typical WR Press 9" x 12" soft cover format an excellent value at $26.00.

Other WR Press books reviewed here.

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