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
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau
By Steve Backer
Seaforth Publishing (
ISBN 9781848321526



This is another interesting addition to Seaforth Publishing’s Ship Craft Series. In essence there are two main parts to this exciting book – firstly there is the data / information on the ships and secondly there is a specialised description of models and modelling products.

These two Nazi German ships are very famous and were fast capital ships – often called battle cruisers because of their high speed and modest main armament. These two ships often operated together and this culminated in the well-known Channel Dash in 1942. Gneisenau’s career came to an end due to bombing and the Scharnhorst was eventually sunk off the North Cape in an epic battle with the Royal Navy.

The book is aimed at essentially two groups. Firstly there are those people who are interested in this class of ship, its history, design, operations and the second group are those who build replicas / models of these ships.

The “history” group are well catered for as there is plenty of detailed data on the design of the class, its history, technical dimensions, the careers of each ship in the class, camouflage schemes, the appearance of the ships in the class (and how to tell them apart) and a set of very carefully selected references.

This is a compact book and the “history” part of the book gives an excellent description of this class of warship. Given its size, all the main features one would expect in such a volume are there. This makes the book a very interesting read and significantly the text is more than just an introductory resume of the ships. In itself it is a highly detailed reference work.

The “modelling” section describes the various modelling products and their associated showcases etc. This is interesting and there is an ample discussion of these issues. Certainly this book will be a necessity to anyone modelling this class of warship. It is recommended that the modeller should invest in this book before purchasing any modelling product as they are evaluated here. This book would help to make a more informed choice of any modelling product that would suit their requirements.

Overall, the book offers expert advice on both the design / history and modelling of these ships. It gives highly detailed information and it appeals to both historians and modellers. The author has done a splendid job with this book and it comes highly commended.

January 2013