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Cruisers - U.S. Navy: books - history and technology

A book on cruisers of the US Navy? Here are books on the history of the American light and heavy cruisers, including the USS Olympia and the New Orleans class.

US Cruisers 1883-1904 - The birth of the steel navy (Osprey)

By the end of the Civil War the US Navy was the most advanced in the world, but in subsequent years America's naval might dwindled. However, in the 1880s a 'New Navy' was born and at the forefront of its fleet were the mighty cruisers.
Naval historian Lawrence Burr details how these cruisers allowed America to rebuild their navy, exploring the design and development of these ships. Placing these advances in context, through vivid accounts of how US cruisers performed in the Spanish-American War of 1898, notably at Manila Bay and Santiago, he investigates the emergence of the US Navy as a major power.
Illustrated with early photographs and full-colour artwork, this is a concise history of the birth and development of a modern navy that was the precursor to the development of modern steel fleets around the world.

Contents: Introduction - A Naval Renaissance - Design and Construction - The Ships - Cruisers in Action - Pointing the Guns - USS Olympia - Conclusion - Select Bibliography - Appendix - Index.

Author:Lawrence Burr
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.1 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.04 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2008)
Series:New Vanguard (143)
Book: US Cruisers 1883-1904 - The birth of the steel navy (Osprey)

US Cruisers 1883-1904 - The birth of the steel navy

Language: English

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US Navy Protected Cruisers 1883-1918 (Osprey)

NEW

After the American Civil War, the powerful US Navy was allowed to decay into utter decrepitude, and was becoming a security liability. In 1883, Congress approved four new steel-constructed vessels called the "ABCD" ships.
The three protected cruisers Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago were the first steel warships built for the US Navy, whose 1880s-1890s technological and cultural transformation was so total it is now remembered as the "New Navy". This small fleet was joined by a succession of new and distinctive protected cruisers, culminating in the famous and powerful Olympia.

These 11 protected cruisers formed the backbone of the early US steel navy, and were in the frontline of the US victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War. It was these warships that fought and won the decisive Battle of Manila Bay. These cruisers also served faithfully as escorts and auxiliaries in World War I before the last were retired in the 1920s.

Written by experienced US naval researcher Brian Lane Herder, and including rare photographs, this book explores the development, qualities, and service of these important warships, and highlights the almost-forgotten Columbia-class, designed as high-speed commerce raiders, and to mimic specific passenger liners.
All 11 protected cruisers are depicted in meticulously researched color illustrations with one depicting the Olympia deploying her full sail rig.

Author:Brian Lane Herder
Specs:48 pages, 24.5 x 18.5 x 0.4 cm / 9.7 x 7.3 x 0.16 in, paperback
Illustrations:b&w photographs, drawings in colour
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2023)
Series:New Vanguard (320)
Book: US Navy Protected Cruisers 1883-1918 (Osprey)

US Navy Protected Cruisers 1883-1918

Language: English

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US Navy Armored Cruisers 1890-1933 (Osprey)

At the dawn of the "Steel Navy" era, the rapidly expanding US Navy's fleet of capital ships consisted not only of battleships but also armored cruisers, the forerunner of the battlecruiser.
Armored cruisers sacrificed the battleship's superlative firepower and protection for superior speed and range but, as this study shows, their role was not always easy to define. Controversial because they were as large and expensive as battleships but not able to withstand a battleship in battle, contemporary strategists pointed out that, "naval wars are not won by running away from stronger ships."

Despite being produced at great expense, tactically they never really had a legitimate mission-traditional deployments were commerce raiding and protection, but despite this, author Brian Lane Herder illustrates how successful the use of armored cruisers was for the US Navy.
After 1906, some replaced US battleships in the Pacific, functioning as oversized gunboats, most notably, the modified armored cruiser Pennsylvania which witnessed the first landing of an airplane on a ship.
On November 5, 1915, North Carolina became the first cruiser to launch an aircraft from a catapult while underway. After the war, surviving US armored cruisers represented the US Navy on their Asiatic station until the final cruiser was scuttled in 1946.

Using detailed, color artwork and photos, this fascinating book describes the development and deployment of these controversial but intriguing ships, providing examples of the key service they played in the US Navy in a variety of defensive and escorting roles.

Author:Brian Lane Herder, Paul Wright
Specs:48 pages, 23.5 x 18.5 x 1 cm / 9.25 x 7.3 x 0.39 in, paperback
Illustrations:b&w photographs, drawings in colour
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2022)
Series:New Vanguard (311)
Book: US Navy Armored Cruisers 1890-1933 (Osprey)

US Navy Armored Cruisers 1890-1933

Language: English

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USS Olympia - Herald of Empire

The USS Olympia is the oldest extant steel-hulled warship in the world. Constructed as part of a congressionally mandated program to build a modern fleet prior to the turn of the 19th century, she became famous as Adm. George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay. Today she is part of a naval shrine at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.

This is a flesh-and-steel history of a pivotal warship that straddled the eras of commerce raiding and battle fleet confrontation in naval warfare. From her conceptual beginnings on drawing boards in Washington to the battle to protect her against age, scrapping, and the advent of big-gun battleships, this landmark study celebrates one of America's classic historic ships.

Author:B. Franklin Cooling
Specs:296 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 x 1.8 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 x 0.71 in, paperback
Illustrations:40 b&w photographs
Publisher:Naval Institute Press (USA, 2007)
Book: USS Olympia - Herald of Empire

USS Olympia - Herald of Empire

Language: English

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US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45 (Osprey)

During World War II, the United States built 72 light cruisers of various classes. In response to the severe air threat that surface ships faced, new cruisers were designed with increasingly heavy antiaircraft weaponry as well as the traditional 6in guns. With the speed and range to keep up with aircraft carriers, and their considerable antiaircraft capability, they were a mainstay of the carrier escorts.

This book examines every US light cruiser produced, including those of the Fargo and Worcester classes, which were actually complete after World War II had ended, tracing their design, development and evolution throughout the war and beyond.

Author:Mark Stille
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.6 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.24 in, paperback
Illustrations:40 b&w and 7 colour photographs
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2016)
Series:New Vanguard (236)
Book: US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45 (Osprey)

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45

Language: English

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US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45 - Pre-war Classes (Osprey)

Designed and produced under the regulations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the heavy cruisers of the Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita classes were exercises in compromise. While they possessed very heavy armament - the Pensacolas, for example, carrying a main battery of ten 8" guns - this came at the cost of protection - armor was the same thickness as a gun cruiser, and incapable of protecting the vessels from enemy 8" fire.
As the classes evolved, these flaws began to be corrected, with the main battery being reduced, and increased protection being added to the vital areas of the ship. Despite these drawbacks, the pre-war heavy cruiser classes served with distinction throughout World War II.

Contents: Introduction - US naval strategy and the role of the heavy cruiser - US heavy cruiser design and development and impact of the Washington and London Naval Treaties - Armament - Radar - The Heavy Cruiser Classes - Analysis and Conclusion.

Author:Mark Stille
Specs:48 pages, 24.5 x 18.5 x 0.4 cm / 9.7 x 7.3 x 0.16 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2014)
Series:New Vanguard (210)
Book: US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45 - Pre-war Classes (Osprey)

US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45 - Pre-war Classes

Language: English

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US Heavy Cruisers 1943-75 : Wartime and Post-war Classes (Osprey)

Versatile warships, the heavy cruisers of the Baltimore class, and their successors in the Oregon City and Des Moines classes, commonly acted as carrier escorts throughout World War II, but also performed bombardment duties in support of amphibious landings.
Post-World War II, the heavy cruisers continued to see service, chiefly in Korea and Vietnam.

Even after the heyday of the heavy cruiser had passed, the ships continued to serve - several were converted into the earliest examples of guided missile cruisers, and created an enduring legacy in the US Navy.
From an established expert on the US and Pacific naval history, this is an invaluable resource richly illustrated with artwork and photographs.

This title follows on from a companion book covering the US heavy cruisers that were built prior to the war, together forming the definitive guide to the US's heavy cruiser classes.

Author:Mark Stille
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.5 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.2 in, paperback
Illustrations:39 b&w and 9 colour photographs
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2014)
Series:New Vanguard (214)
Book: US Heavy Cruisers 1943-75 : Wartime and Post-war Classes (Osprey)

US Heavy Cruisers 1943-75 : Wartime and Post-war Classes

Language: English

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USS Indianapolis (CA-35): From Presidential Cruiser, Delivery of the Atomic Bombs, to Tragic Sinking in WW II (Legends of Warfare)

Despite the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, USS Indianapolis was an imposing warship. She was widely used by US dignitaries in the 1930s, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who sailed aboard the ship many times.
After the outbreak of World War II, she saw service near Alaska before moving into waters nearer the Japanese home islands. There, she was struck by a kamikaze and forced to return to the US for repairs.

Upon completion of the repairs, Indianapolis was selected to transport components of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb from mainland US to Tinian in the Marianas Islands. On the return journey, she was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine, becoming the last large warship lost by the US during World War II.
Delay in the mission to recover surviving crew resulted in the largest loss of life aboard a single ship at sea in US Navy history. The sinking of Indianapolis remains surrounded in controversy, and the wreck was not located until 2017.

Author:David Doyle
Specs:128 pages, 23 x 23 x 1.8 cm / 9.1 x 9.1 x 0.71 in, hardback
Illustrations:240 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Schiffer Publishing Ltd (USA, 2021)
Series:Legends of Warfare
Book: USS Indianapolis (CA-35): From Presidential Cruiser, Delivery of the Atomic Bombs, to Tragic Sinking in WW II (Legends of Warfare)

USS Indianapolis (CA-35): From Presidential Cruiser, Delivery of the Atomic Bombs, to Tragic Sinking in WW II

Language: English

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USN Cruiser Vs IJN Cruiser : Guadalcanal 1942 (Osprey)

Although the war in the Pacific is usually considered a carrier war, it was the cruisers that dominated the early fighting. This thrilling duel presents the cruiser clashes during the battles for Guadacanal , highlighting the Battle of Savo Island and the Battle of Cape Esperance. The first was a Japanese victory that resulted in the loss of four Allied cruisers.
However, in the latter, the Americans managed to turn the tables despite the battle being fought throughout the night.

This book presents a view of the design and development of the opposing weapons systems, illustrated with newly commissioned digital artwork. It uses firsthand accounts to bring the battles to life and explain why the Americans suffered early on, but eventually had their revenge.

Author:Mark Stille , Paul Wright , Howard Gerrard
Specs:80 pages, 24.5 x 18.5 x 0.6 cm / 9.7 x 7.3 x 0.24 in, paperback
Illustrations:b&w photographs, drawings in colour
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2009)
Series:Duel (22)
Book: USN Cruiser Vs IJN Cruiser : Guadalcanal 1942 (Osprey)

USN Cruiser Vs IJN Cruiser : Guadalcanal 1942

Language: English

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US Navy Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers (Osprey)

Faced with an increasingly formidable anti-ship cruise missile threat from the Soviet Union in the early days of the Cold War, and with the recent memory of the kamikaze threat from World War II, the USN placed a great priority on developing air defence cruise missiles and getting them to sea to protect the fleet.
The first of these missiles were sizable, necessitating large ships to carry them and their sensors, which resulted in the conversion of a mix of heavy and light cruisers. These ships, tasked with protecting carrier groups and acting as flagships, entered service from 1955 and served until 1980.

The cruisers served in the front lines of the Cold War and many saw combat service, engaging in surface actions from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. Complementing the conventionally-powered missile cruisers was a much smaller number of expensive nuclear-powered cruisers, including the Long Beach, the USN's largest-ever missile cruiser.
Until replaced by the Ticonderoga and Burke classes of Aegis ships, the USN's 38 missile cruisers were the most capable and important surface combatants in the fleet and served all over the globe during the Cold War.

Using specially commissioned artwork and meticulous research, this illustrated title explores the story of these cruisers in unparalleled detail, revealing the history behind their development and employment.

Author:Mark Stille
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.2 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.08 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2020)
Series:New Vanguard (278)
Book: US Navy Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers (Osprey)

US Navy Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers

Language: English

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Related titles:

U.S. Destroyers - An illustrated design history

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US Flush-Deck Destroyers 1916-45

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[NVG] US Destroyers 1934-45 - Pre-war Classes

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USS Kidd (DD-661): From WWII and Korea to Museum Ship

USS Kidd (DD-661): From WWII and Korea to Museum Ship

David Doyle

English | hardback | 112 p. | 2022

USN Fleet Destroyer vs IJN Fleet Submarine 1941-42

USN Fleet Destroyer vs IJN Fleet Submarine : The Pacific 1941-42

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US Navy Destroyer Escorts of WW II

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Last update:20-04-2024