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Book Review
US Nuclear Submarines
The Fast Attack (New Vanguard 138)
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by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

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This first look review is of Osprey Publishings, "US Nuclear Submarines: The Fast Attack", the latest addition to the "New Vanguard" line of informative manuals. This series gives the reader a large amount of information packed into a small package, by condensing and highlighting all the pertinent details of the subject at hand, thus making for an excellent starting point in any reference situation.

Nuclear power definitely revolutionized submarine design, and provided the opportunity to stay submerged for a very long time, trailing the enemy or training weapons on land-based targets from secret positions, “always there, never seen.” This new manual from Osprey examines the fast attack submarine, from the very start to the present day useage.


US Nuclear Submarines: The Fast Attack
(New Vanguard 138)

ISBN: 978 1 84603 168 7
24 color photographs
19 black & white photos
7 color plates

Author: Jim Christley
Illustrator: Tony Bryan

US Price: $15.95
UK Price: £9.99
Canadian Price: $21.00

Content Listing


1.) The Propulsion Problem

2.) Evolution: Nautilus to Virginia
~Going Nuclear
~Nautilus Class
~Skate Class
~Skipjack Class
~Thresher and Permit Classes
~Sturgeon Class
~Los Angeles Class
~Seawolf Class
~Virginia Class

3.) Fast Attack Submarine Sensors
~Electronic Surveillance

4.) The Fire-Control System and Weapons

5.) History and Operational Use
~What did fast attacks do?
~Rescue Operations
~Where did they all go?



Personal Observations

"Blind Man's Bluff", and "The Hunt for Red October" immediatlely come into mind when fast attack nuclear submarine's are mentioned, and this new addition offers the reader a "fresh focus" on the design and development of one of modern warfare's most controversial weapons...Chapter one takes the reader on a journey from the early design and developmental ideas of nuclear propulsion, through each class of fast attack submarine, using detailed charts and tables listing key information, data, and specifications. Top notch photography, both color and black & white, compliment and illustrate the subject text, with the addition of color illustrations as well. Complete service history of each class is also documented,

Chapters two and three examine the inner workings of the submarine, and focus on may key elements of the design, such as sensors, radar, and firs control systems. The full color centerfold layout illustrates the interior of a Los Angeles Class submarine, with key points duly noted and listed. There is a very cool section listing the weapon suite of the fast attack submarine, again, giving all the details of each missile in a chart style format.

Emphasis on pertinent details is prevalent throughout the text to provide the reader the maximum amount of explanation of the subject at hand...the author writes in a style that is both informative, and exciting, being an ex-submariner himself.

The final Chapter, number five, details the submarines history and operational use, from patrols to sea rescue operations, closing down with an explanation of just where all of these beauties have gone to.

The manual closes with a fine bibliography, with a detailed listing of references and further reading, from general overviews to complete technical operations.

The book was written byJim Christley, who retired from the US Navy in 1982 as a Senior Chief Petty OIfficer, serving on seven different submarines, from diesel to nuclear fast attacks, to ballistic missile boats. He has written many articles as well as a book on the subject, in addition to providing technical illustrations to several books on submarine design and history.

Tony Bryan, who provides the beautiful color plkates and illkustrations of this publication, is a freelance illustrator of many years, living and working in Dorset. He was initially in engineering, working for many years in military research and development, and has a keen interest in military hardware. Tony has provided illustrations for many magazines and books, including a number of titles for Osprey Publishing in the New Vanguard Series.
Highs: Detailed subject information, top-notch photography
Lows: The end!
Verdict: Overall, although not geared toward the modeler in general, still deserves a second look by submarine shipwright enthusiasts...definitely recommended from this modelers point of view!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781846031687
  Suggested Retail: US Price: $15.95
  Related Link: Official Company Website
  PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2020 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. All rights reserved.



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