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Vanguard German Battleships 1939-1945 Osprey Books

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Great Book by Osprey Publishing. 48 pages
In this, the first of a five volume series covering the capital ships of the German Navy of World War II, Gordon Williamson examines the design, development and operational use of the battleships used by the Kriegsmarine. These are, specifically, the Schlesien, Schleswig-Holstein, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Bismarck and Tirpitz.This title will include a brief background of German capital ship development, from the old dreadnoughts Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein, basically obsolete by the 1920s but which still played their parts in World War II, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, sister ships that were the first modern battleships built by Germany after World War I and most famous of all, the Bismarck and the Tirpitz. The operational history of all the ships will be included. The Schlesien and Schleswig-Hostein (which fired the first shots in anger of World War II) were used mostly as training ships until the end of the war when they took part in bombardment of Soviet troop movements in East Prussia. The Scharnhorst had a successful career until her sinking at the battle of the North Cape, and the Gneisenau with her ignominious end as a block-ship. Bismarck's short but glorious career and Tirpitz's lonely vigil in Norway's distant Fjords until sunk by RAF bombers using the massive 'Tallboy' bombs are also covered. The variations in appearance of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Bismarck and Tirpitz are illustrated. Each changed considerably during their brief lives. Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau started off with straight, vertical bows that were later changed for the more elegant and stylish clipper type 'Atlantic' bow. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau both had raked funnel caps added and the bizarre aircraft catapults on their after turrets removed during post-launch refits. Tirpitz had her anti-aircraft defensive armament upgraded until she virtually bristled with AA guns.