Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
IOWA Class Battleships
By Lester Abbey
Seaforth Publishing (
ISBN 9781848321113


This volume is number 17 in the Seaforth Publishing Ship Craft series. This series targets two main “markets” of reader. Firstly there are those who could be classified as the “historian” and the second market is the ship modeller.

There were four ships in the US Iowa class. They were the longest serving and the last of the World War 2 battleships. They are perhaps the most famous of US capital ships of all time and it was on the deck of the USS Missouri that the Japanese surrendered in 1945. They last saw action in the First Gulf War of the 1990s. The class has had an outstanding career spanning World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf. There are no other capital ships of any nation who have seen a more illustrious and lengthy service.

This outstanding book is essentially in two sections – first the history of the class is given and then a review of modelling products that cover this class. The first portion covers the design history, careers of the constituent ships of the class, full details on the class modifications / variations, a gallery of period photographs and details of further references.

Although the volume is not large at 64 pages this “history” section has many excellent features. The text is superb and it serves well beyond the “introductory” level. In itself this section is an excellent reference work. There are many details and this portion is exceptionally interesting.

The other portion of the book is aimed at the ship modelling community. It is surprising to find so many modelling products for this class and they are proficiently reviewed in this section. It is recommended that the modeller invests in this tome prior to purchasing any modelling product. The excellent reviews would enable them to assess which modelling products are most suited to their requirements – there is a considerable array of them!

In summary, this book is well suited to both those seeking information on this class of capital ship and those seeking to produce replica models. Both markets are catered for and the author’s work is conducted to a very high standard. I am confident that this book will become an ideal reference volume on the Iowa class for both of these “markets”.

January 2013