Pen & Sword Books – Images of War: World War Two At Sea – The Last Battleships


By Philip Kaplan

Published – Pen & Sword Maritime as an Imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd.

Copyright Philip Kaplan 2014

ISBN 9781783036387

Printed and bound in England by CPI Group (UK) Ltd.

Pages: 152

Price: RPR £14.99/$24.95 – New Release Price £11.99
Pen & Sword Books’ Images of War is an ongoing series books on the campaigns and formations of the Second World War. The writers bring together a collection of graphics and often rare photographs supported by text and insets to bring their subject alive. Not limited to WWII, the Images of War series covers WWI and the Korean War alike.

Images of War: World War Two At Sea – The Last Battleships

World War Two At Sea – The Last Battleships is a 152 page softcover book about the history of the Battleship from its humble beginnings in the 14th Century through its use during the Second World War up until the present day with a collection stories from many who served on these Capitol Ships.

Table of Contents

  • Early Efforts
  • The Dreadnoughts
  • Jutland
  • World War One Battleships
  • Surprise
  • Graf Spee
  • Battleship Routine
  • Big Stick
  • The New Capitol Ship
  • Warspite
  • The Tirpitz
  • Bismarck
  • Yamato
  • Iowa Class

Within the fourteen chapters of this book, Philip Kaplan, walks the reader through the history of the Ship of the Line beginnings to the battleship with King Henry VII’s commissioning of the Mary Rose generating the birth of the Capitol Ship. From this point until the Second World War, having a tactical advantage over one’s opponent on the high seas was sought after by many. The Battleship was just such that tactical advantage that would be needed to control the sea.

Throughout this book many of the most iconic battleships are portrayed with rare archival photographs and in depth analysis as seen through the eyes of the men that served on these ships. After a brief beginning in the book on the origins of the Battleship, the book goes into the coming of the all-powerful Dreadnoughts that ushered in the First World War. The race by the raining naval superpowers of the day began to create a more powerful battleship with more speed and larger armament.

This book also takes a look at the advent of the Second World War and how it brought on a new class of a need for superiority over the high seas that was fueled by the ever growing better tactics and strategies from both sides of the war. After the almost complete destruction of the Pacific Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 sinking of half of the battleships the US maintained in the Pacific and rendering the other half unusable until repaired, the role of the Capitol Ship would shift somewhat to the newly born Aircraft Carrier while a new breed of Battleship would be constructed. It would not only be the US but Britain, German, Japan, Russian and Italy would all join in on making the jump into the modern age of ocean battle warfare.


I feel that World War Two At Sea – The Last Battleships as part of the Images of War Series is an exciting look into the development of the battleship and its history leading up until the present day navies of the world. Largely focused on the ships and time frame around the Second World War.  This book is a very well written and informative glimpse into the life of the Battleship; filled with amazing pictures with supporting text of numerous battleships throughout history and the stories accompanying are fascinating. This is a must have for the naval enthusiasts and model shipbuilders alike.

Highly Recommended!!

I wish to thank Pen & Sword Books Ltd. for this review copy of Images of War: World War Two At Sea – The Last Battleships



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